Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Sat Feb 24, 2024 12:49 pm

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POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 02/24/2024


Arming Ukraine “is the cheapest possible way for the United States to improve its security. The fight is carried out by the Ukrainians, they are the people who are dying. "The United States and Europe supply them with weapons," said Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor of The Economist , in an appearance on Jon Stewart's television program , the media that published Valery Zaluzhny's article in November that marked a before and after in the relationship between political and military authorities. In that article, the then commander in chief of the Armed Forces requested from his partners a long list of weapons that Ukraine had been demanding for months. Zaluzhny used the words “stalemate” for the first time to define the situation on the front, something that at the time caused great controversy and the anger of the Government, which continued to cling to the fiction of the possibility of victory on the front. But, in addition to material aid, Zaluzhny also asked for help to create a strategic reserve. Wars cannot be fought only with missiles, drones and electronic equipment that disables the opponent's weapons.

The idea of ​​the superiority of Ukrainian soldiers, real or imagined, has been one of the constants of the narrative of this war. For two years, Ukraine and its partners have boasted of having better soldiers who also had better training. Russia, for its part, had, according to this theory, low-quality troops and low morale. Until the progressive introduction of soldiers recruited during the partial mobilization decreed in September 2022, the Russian Federation had a contingent that was numerically much smaller than the Ukrainian one and which, spread along a front of around a thousand kilometers, had few options for maintain the line and even less continue offensive actions. The official Western narrative alleged that Russia would not be able to arm and equip the soldiers and even cast doubt on the authorities' ability to recruit the announced number. Months later, when it had been proven that the Russian Federation had managed to integrate these soldiers into its group in Ukraine and a notable improvement in the troops' defensive performance was evident, the idea of ​​the differential element that the quality of the Ukrainian troops and the much better training they had received in NATO member countries.

The courage and worth of its troops continue to be the basis of the Ukrainian war discourse until the end not only on the part of the Government but also of the opposition, all of them aware that, after the war, the group of veterans will have a weight politician without whom it will be difficult to obtain electoral victories. Yesterday, Oleksiy Goncharenko, the opportunistic deputy from Poroshenko's party who began his political career in the Party of Regions, wanted to refer to this. As an argument to convince the United States of the need to support Ukraine militarily, Goncharenko, apparently setting himself up as a spokesperson for the collective, stated that Ukrainian soldiers are willing “to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans in the trenches near Tehran, in Korea. of the North and even near Beijing.”

However, and although no major media has yet seriously considered the real level of casualties in Ukraine, the doubt about the state of kyiv's troops has become one of the most commented topics by the Western press. A week ago, Olexadr Syrsky gave the order to abandon Avdeevka, citing the need to preserve the lives of the troops, a questionable argument considering that the fate of the battle was sealed, but one that suggests a certain shortage. In fact, albeit subtly, the difficulty of replenishing casualties was one of the main ideas of Valery Zaluzhny's November essay.

“As Ukraine enters its third year of war,” Foreign Policy writes this week, forgetting the nearly eight previous years in which the Ukrainian army lived in the trenches, “victory against Russia seems an increasingly distant prospect. The failure of last summer's counteroffensive, coupled with the stagnation of Western aid, has put the Ukrainian military on the defensive. Although Ukrainian authorities do not publish casualty figures, at least 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers have likely died in the past two years, U.S. officials told The New York Times in August 2023. Since then, war fatigue and The level of casualties has increased as the intensity of the battle has also increased in certain areas of the front and the defeat of Ukraine has been consummated on the central Zaporozhie front, where troops were squeezed to capture places like Rabotino. , a pocket of fire in which Ukraine continued to suffer casualties even after claiming victory.

“With no end in sight, the Ukrainian army is struggling to find enough soldiers,” France Presse writes this week in one of many articles that call into question Ukraine's ability to maintain an adequate number of soldiers to hold the front. “Fatigue and calls to relieve soldiers pose a dilemma for the military leadership, which needs more personnel to hold out against Russian attacks.” “It is the paradox of the situation,” proclaims in Foreign Policy the Kiev political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko, who affirms that “the majority of Ukrainians are patriots, but many have the opinion that the military should be in charge of fighting and that civilians "They will simply support them." It is a certainty that the mobilization law, which aims to recruit half a million soldiers, is unpopular despite the massive popular support for continuing the war that the Government alleges. And it is also true that fewer and fewer men want to fight.

In another article published this week that addresses the same problem, AP observes around Krasny Liman that “along the icy, muddy front line, commanders say their army is too small and composed of too many. exhausted and wounded soldiers. As the war enters its third year, the most urgent and politically sensitive challenge facing Ukraine is whether it can recruit enough soldiers to repel an enemy with many more fighters at its disposal.

The situation has been completely reversed compared to the months before the preparation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. With an exhausted group and insufficient to maintain such an extensive front, Russian troops hastily prepared a defense line in places such as Kremennaya or Svatovo - in the Krasny Liman area - to avoid a dangerous rupture of the front in the north of Lugansk. On the defensive and with the press warning that good news from the front should not be expected for a while. But Western wishes that Moscow would not be able to recruit the soldiers needed to hold the lines were not fulfilled, and coupled with the efficient construction of defensive fortifications and the correction of errors that had undermined its war effort, the Russian Federation defeated the Ukrainian troops in Artyomovsk - although at the cost of enormous losses and the destabilization caused by the Wagner mutiny - and in Zaporozhie, to now finally achieve the first advances on the most complex front, that of Donetsk. Now, to justify the renewal of the international effort and prepare a new counteroffensive, Ukraine demands more weapons and more ammunition. Only large quantities of foreign weapons and ammunition are needed and Ukraine will do the rest, the government says. Even if he doesn't have the soldiers to do it.

Google Translator


From Cassad's Telegram account:

📝 Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of the special military operation (for the period from February 17 to February 23, 2024) | The main thing:

- Over the course of a week, the Russian Armed Forces improved the situation along the front edge of the Kupyansk direction and repelled 25 counterattacks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

— The missile forces of the Russian Armed Forces hit the tractor launcher, ammunition and the transport-loading vehicle of the Patriot air defense system;

— The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Kherson direction in a week amounted to more than 460 military and 14 field artillery pieces;

— Based on the results of the past week, Russian troops improved the situation along the front line in the South Donetsk direction;

— Within a week, Russian troops liberated the village of Pobeda in the Donetsk direction and occupied more advantageous positions; 12 counterattacks were repelled;

— The Russian Armed Forces in the Avdeevsky direction continued to advance in a western direction;

— Over the course of a week, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 37 strikes on military installations in Ukraine and places of deployment of Ukrainian Armed Forces and mercenaries;

— Aviation and air defense of the Russian Armed Forces shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter and a Mi-8 helicopter within a week;

— The total losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in a week in the Donetsk direction exceeded 2,560 military personnel, 12 tanks and 31 armored vehicles were also lost;

— During the week, Russian troops repelled four attacks by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Novodonetsk and Shevchenko areas in the DPR;

— The Russian Armed Forces repelled 39 counterattacks in the Avdeevka direction, the Ukrainian Armed Forces lost 2,900 troops;

— The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost 4 tanks, 13 armored combat vehicles and more than 390 military personnel in the Kupyansk direction in a week;

— The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost up to 1,195 military personnel and six tanks in the southern Donetsk direction within a week;

— The Russian Armed Forces repelled three attacks by the 82nd mountain assault brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Rabotin area of ​​the Zaporozhye region;

— During the week, Russian aviation and air defense shot down 7 Storm Shadow missiles, a Patriot air defense missile system, 4 S-200 missiles and 652 Ukrainian Armed Forces drones.

▫️In the South Donetsk direction, units of the Vostok group of troops improved the situation along the front line and defeated units of the 72nd mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the 102nd, 108th, 127th, 128th defense brigades in the areas of the settlements of Vodyanoye, Novodonetskoye, Staromayorskoye, Urozhaynoye of the Donetsk People's Republic, as well as Chervonoye, Priyutnoye and Lugovskoye of the Zaporozhye region.

Four attacks by assault groups of the 58th motorized infantry brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were repelled in the areas of the settlements of Novodonetskoe and Shevchenko of the Donetsk People's Republic.

The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces amounted to 1,195 military personnel, six tanks, six armored combat vehicles, 23 vehicles and 16 field artillery guns.

▫️In the Kherson direction, Russian troops took control of the village of Krynki, took up more advantageous positions and inflicted comprehensive fire damage on the personnel and equipment of the 28th, 65th, 118th mechanized brigades, 35th, 37th marine brigades, The 121st and 126th Terrestrial Defense Brigades in the areas of the settlements of Malaya Tokmachka, Verbovoye, Orekhov, Shcherbaki, Lugovoye in the Zaporozhye region, Zolotaya Balka, Mikhailovka, Ivanovka, Tyaginka and Zmeevka in the Kherson region.

In addition, three attacks by the 82nd mountain assault brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were repelled in the area of ​​​​the village of Rabotino, Zaporozhye region.

Enemy losses amounted to more than 460 military personnel, five tanks, six armored combat vehicles, 33 vehicles, six boats and 14 field artillery pieces.

▫️During the week, aviation and air defense systems shot down : a MiG-29 fighter , a Mi-8 helicopter of the Ukrainian Air Force, seven Storm Shadow cruise missiles , a Patriot anti-aircraft guided missile , four S- anti-aircraft guided missiles converted to hit ground targets. 200 , three HARM anti-radar missiles , six JDAM guided bombs and 42 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers , as well as 652 unmanned aerial vehicles .

▫️As a result of a group strike with high-precision weapons, the Missile Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation hit : a launcher, a tractor, ammunition and a transport-loading vehicle of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system made in the USA.

▫️In total , since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed : 572 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,223 unmanned aerial vehicles, 473 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,188 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,223 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,145 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 18981 units of special military vehicles.

🔹 Russian Ministry of Defense



German parliament to vote on delivery of long-range air-borne missiles to Kiev

For those who are interested, the leading German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has posted on its website a link to live coverage of the debates taking place in the Bundestag this week over the Ukraine war and German arms deliveries to Kiev. ... 37018.html

A vote is expected next week and some observers speculate that the parliament will approve dispatch to Ukraine of the long-range, 500 km version of the Taurus cruise missiles despite the opposition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

As might be expected, the Russians have been following the debates very closely. On yesterday’s edition of the Evening with Vladimir Solovyov talk show, they posted a four or five minute video of one Bundestag deputy addressing the chamber earlier in the day. His anti-Russian rant was delivered with the same kind of insane intensity of Hitler at one of his mass rallies. He concluded with the remark that defeating Russia militarily must become Germany’s national purpose. If this sounds like a re-run of WWII with an ending more favorable to Berlin, then you can understand Solovyov’s switching from Russian to his mock guttural German when presenting the video clip.

This entire experience reminded me of the bits of European wisdom that I was hand-fed by my Italian colleague in ITT Europe soon after my move to Brussels from New York in 1980. Contradicting the prejudices of Americans and the Anglo-Saxons, Luigi insisted that Italians are the most realistic-minded people on the Continent , whereas the Germans are the most Romantic, meaning hot-headed. He thought he knew this from personal experience, since he was married to a German lady at the time.

Today’s edition of the Russian state television talk show and news wrap 60 Minutes featured a senior military expert who is often a panelist on their program discussing the reasons why the Germans may indeed be ready to ship their long-range Taurus to Kiev and what escalatory effect this will have on the war.

As he sees it, the decision in favor of delivering the Taurus is that the Biden administration is saying behind closed doors that it is ready to ship to Ukraine its 500 km version of Himars. The difference between the two missile systems is that Himars is ground launched from an artillery rocket system while Taurus is air launched. In practical terms, given the devastation that the Russians have inflicted on most every military air field in Ukraine and given the drastically diminished fleet of suitable jets owned by the Ukrainians today, the launch vehicles for Taurus might have to be F-16s or other planes based in Romania or another NATO country, which becomes a very risky proposition for reasons we will discuss below. But in terms of threats that both long range missiles present to Russia, the expert left no doubt that these are real and unacceptable.

Yes, Russia’s air defense systems are very effective. Perhaps 90% of incoming missiles of this performance quality are shot down or otherwise disarmed. But that still leaves 10% which will inevitably make their way to targets within the Russian Federation heartland and cause vast damage. They cannot reach Moscow, but they certainly can destroy the Crimea bridge, for example. This threat will exist even if the numbers of such missiles delivered to Ukraine are rather limited, for example, a total of 100 units.

For these reasons, if the United States and Germany do indeed opt to send such long-range missiles to Ukraine, the expert believes that Russia will have to abandon its hitherto ‘humane’ conduct of the war and become similarly vicious. Specifically, he is recommending Russian missiles targeting the Rada (parliament) building in Kiev, leveling it to the ground, the Ukrainian central bank and other decision making centers. This would be the first response but we can easily imagine the Russians proceeding to the escalation that has been mentioned publicly in past weeks, namely striking the factories producing Taurus and perhaps even the Himars wherever they are. NATO military targets would no longer be off limits.

Would this take us closer to WWIII? Of course, it would. But do take note as to which side, Russia or NATO, will be taking us across the River Styx to hell.


As an historian by training, I always look for contradictory causal factors. In the given instance, they are today present aplenty and there is no need to end this essay on the deeply pessimistic note set out above.

The hopeful signs come from the growing awareness of military officials, politicians and even some media outlets in the West that the struggle of Ukraine against Russia is a hopeless cause, as demonstrated by the major Russian victory in Avdeevka and the Russian advances on the ground and at other parts of the 1200 line of contact.

I put in this context the following amazing remarks by Donald Trump during a campaign talk yesterday. Said Trump: “Russia defeated Napoleon. Russia defeated Hitler. Russia has a military machine.” For those who have been nodding off for the past decade or so, Trump just said what no other American or European politician has admitted over that decade: namely that Russia defeated Hitler, not the Americans by their Normandy landing. If you are a school kid in Belgium, you only hear about Normandy and I imagine the same is true in schools across the Continent and in the U.S. of A. Who put this bee in Trump’s bonnet, I cannot say, but the fellow or gal deserves a medal.

Meanwhile, it is no secret that Zelensky is coming under intense challenges at home, and even within his Servant of the People group of Rada deputies.

Zelensky has cancelled the constitutionally mandated presidential elections in April and, and none other than his predecessor as president Piotr Poroshenko publicly asserted a day ago that Zelensky will have lost his right to hold office after 31 March. With the dismissal of General Zaluzhny as chief of the armies, Zelensky now bears on his own shoulders the shame and disgrace of defeat at Avdeevka and of the further territorial losses that are sure to follow in the days ahead.

For these reasons, it is entirely conceivable that with or without any further deliveries of money and weapons to Kiev the government will fall and whoever takes charge will be empowered to enter into talks with the Russians over capitulation.

Should that happen in April or May, the preconditions will be set for a possibly dramatic shift away from the Center Right European Peoples Party and Center Left Socialists and Democrats in elections to the European parliament in June. These are the parties that have turned the European parliament into a rubber stamp of Cold War ideologists.

Perhaps this hopeful view of developments in the coming several months is too good to be true. But absolutely no one can say with certainty, so why not hazard a guess.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2024

Postscript, breaking news, 22 Feb. pm: the vote on arms deliveries to Ukraine was held this afternoon and several resolutions were put before the Bundestag. One which explicitly named the Taurus missiles as among the weapons systems for immediate delivery sponsored by the CDU-CSU was defeated. Another with a more vague formulation to send to Ukraine ‘long range weapons’ was approved by a vote of 382 to 284 with two abstentions. What exactly will be shipped is unclear. ... s-to-kiev/


Ukraine Weekly Update
23rd February 2024

FEB 23, 2024


Latvia To Deport Russians


Russians residing in Latvia face deportation if they fail the dreaded language exam - according to RT. Why is there not a liberal outrage, you may ask.

Alexei Navalny

As Alexei Navalny’s Life Hangs in the Balance, So Does the Fate of the ...

Alexei Navalny was a Russian dissident with ‘unsavoury views’ - so they say - who died in Russian custody. He had been imprisoned on corruption charges. The other day, he collapsed on a daily walk and could not be resuscitated. A Russian investigation into his death judged that he died of natural causes. If you would like to know more about the man and the way the West is using his death for propaganda purposes look here and here. You may need to use Brave and New Private Window in Tor to access RT. The above chart from RT shows how ridiculously biased the Western media is. The EU has called for an international investigation into Navalny’s death - which is fair enough. But why not do the same for Gonzalo?

Jens Stoltenberg has suggested that we should all donate to Ukraine and defeat Russia in memory of Navalny. A German MP went further to suggest that the West should steal Russian assets in Navalny’s name. Excuse me, I can feel a bout of nausea coming on!

Maidan - 10th Anniversary Feb 18th

February 18th marks the tenth anniversary of a pivotal moment in the Maidan Coup (Feb 18th-23rd 2014). This is when peaceful demonstrations turned violent, possibly through the actions of ‘planted’ activists. Maria Zakharova talks about it here.


Dead Russian Documents Sold in OZ

Disgracefully, documents from dead Russian soldiers are being sold to Australians as souvenirs - which confirms Ukraine as probably the most corrupt country on earth. Maria Zakharova had this to say about it:

The depth of their moral decline is such that they do not hesitate to sell the belongings of dead Russian servicemen, including personal documents - passports and military IDs. We know that one of the residents of the city of Geelong in the Australian state of Victoria received from Ukraine and sold through local social networks items that belonged to fallen Russian soldiers.

Tucker Radicalised

Tucker Carlson in a supermarket in Moscow, Russia - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2024
Tucker Carlson did some grocery shopping in Moscow this week and has been ‘radicalised’ by the fact that groceries are much, much cheaper than in the US. Why is that, he is asking. If you have Telegram you can watch his report here.

UK Behind Destruction of Il-76 Military Transport Plane

Ilyushin Il-76 military transport airplane of the Russian air forces near the village of Yablonovo in Belgorod region, Russia - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.02.2024
On January 24, the Ukrainian Armed Forces shot down a Russian Air Force Il-76 military transport plane over the Belgorod region that was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners set for exchange. A source close to Sputnik claims that the attack was carried out at the insistence of British advisers. It sounds as if this could have been a mistake rather than a deliberate act designed to kill POWs. I have heard it rumoured that all Ukrainian air defence systems are operated by NATO people. That would not surprise me.

Ukraine Using Chemical Weapons
Russian Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops checking a chemical plant in the Donbass for signs of leakage after a Ukrainian shelling attack. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.02.2024
Sputnik is reporting that the Ukrainians have employed US supplied chemical weapons on a number of occasions. Substances such as Ricin and Tabun have been used. You can read more here.

Russia May Abandon ‘Two Plus Four’ Treaty
This treaty, between Germany, France, the UK and the US allowed East and West Germany to unite but on condition that:

Article 2 - A united Germany will never use the weapons at its disposal.

Article 3 - Refusal from the production, possession and disposal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Article 5 - Only German forces will be stationed on the territory of the former GDR, from which Soviet troops will be withdrawn, and foreign forces (troops integrated into allied structures, such as NATO) and nuclear weapons will not appear there.

Article 7 - emphasizes Berlin's complete sovereignty over internal and external affairs.

The use of weapons against Russia appears to be in breech of this treaty and Berlin’s sovereignty is a joke.

Ukrainian Concerns

Ukrainian Poll Reveals Declining Trust in Leaders - Really!

A recent poll shows that only 40% of Ukrainians trust General Syrsky, the new commander of the armed forces. His predecessor, Zaluzhny had the trust of 94% of the people. Trust for the once great Z has declined from 77% in December to 64% - according to RT. The fact that Z still has so much support is flabbergasting to use an old fashioned term; the propaganda must be really good. Former PM of Ukraine, Nikolay Azarov, makes the same point in this article. Another poll showed that only 36% of Ukrainians believe the country is headed in the right direction - this is down 10% from a previous poll.

Zelensky/Macron Military Deal?

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Elysée Palace in Paris, on Sunday, May 14, 2023.
Macron has promised Z $3 billion in aid and ‘cooperation with artillery’ during 2024. But there has been no formal military alliance. The above photo is from May 14th 2023, I’m not sure that the apparent cordiality exhibited here still exists. The photo below was taken on February 16th 2024.

Macron could be be saying ‘ Hard luck kid - Don’t worry, I believe Florida is pleasant this time of year’.

Give Them Shovels

The Ukrainian Minister of Justice has suggested that convicted criminals be released and given shovels so that they can participate in the war. Giving them guns would be too risky, Denis Malyuska said. But they could dig defence works.




So - the formidable fortress from which the Ukrainians have been killing thousands of civilians in Donetsk City and the DPR over the past ten years has finally fallen. The Russians are now advancing westward - beyond it.

View of a damaged church in Avdeyevka, Donetsk People&#x27;s Republic.A lot of war crimes have been recorded against the civilian population of Avdeyevka by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, DPR head Denis Pushilin said.He clarified that part of the civilian population remains in the city, and that the Russian military is taking local residents to temporary accommodation facilities and providing all necessary assistance. - Sputnik International

The Military Chronicle provided this report:

At night [i.e. 3 am on the 17th February], the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Syrsky, ordered the Armed Forces of Ukraine to abandon the city and retreat as best they could. The information was confirmed by the commander of the Tavria group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tarnavsky. Moreover, the latter has already managed to announce the withdrawal of the entire Ukrainian army from the settlement, confirming that many are being taken prisoner.

Individual units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine most likely do not even know about this order yet - they are surrounded, have lost communication, are disorganized and have lost control. Most of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fleeing from the city are accumulating in the Khimik area, from where they are already running to the west through fields and plantings. Ours are advancing on the shoulders of the retreating and are already in this area, meeting the fleeing Armed Forces of Ukraine from the flanks.

The Two Majors summed it up as follows:

The enemy is defeated and flees. There is still a lot of combat work to be done in the direction, but Avdeevka was fortified by the enemy for about 10 years. Entire enemy institutes developed special types of reinforced concrete, fortified areas were conceived as impregnable.

The withdrawal from Avdeevka was not an orderly one and much heavy equipment and many wounded were left behind. Some say that Azov’s 3rd Brigade was in Avdeevka, lost 600 men in four days and left without permission, thereby contributing to a collapse rather than a planned retreat. They say that Syrsky caught up with events by ordering a retreat rather than being in control of them. Some Ukrainian Telegram Channels lend support to these claims by citing evidence of flight rather than organised withdrawal. They also express a resigned acceptance that ‘there will more and more Avdeevkas’.

Another Ukrainian channel reported on an agreement that was allegedly made by the Ukrainians with the Russians in relation to their wounded. These Ukrainians expressed concern that in future, soldiers could make deals with the Russians that would secure their surrender rather than their deaths. I agree, I think surrenders could become a problem for the Ukrainian army before very long.

If you would like some interesting speculation about what the Russians will do next you may enjoy a shortish summary by Honzo, Feb 18 (post 26) Moon of Alabama (Ukraine thread).

The Russian MoD reckons the Ukrainians suffered at least 1500 casualties on February 17th. Many more Ukrainian ‘strays’ will be picked up as part of the Russian ‘clearing’ operation underway and one report suggests that at least 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers have already been captured.

The Duran boys (32 mins) provide some political analysis in which they reveal Zelensky’s anger that the City was abandoned. They confirm that there was a mass exodus even before Syrsky gave the order to leave. The political infighting is likely to increase.

By the end of the week, Russian forces had pushed further west and were fighting for the villages of Lastochkino and Severnoye. The capture of Avdeevka, which is key to the Ukrainian defences of the Donbass, will give the Russians access to a railway line that will allow them to bring supplies to the area more easily.

Personally, I think that Avdeevka will have a very prominent place in the Russian historical memory - especially for those in the Donbass. Even though the people in Donetsk city and the DPR will certainly suffer more shelling, they will feel elated at the capture of the main source of their distress since 2014. This short video from 2015 shows what the local people felt about the Ukrainian fascists who had surrounded their Avdeevka, placed military bases in shopping centres and started shelling their neighbours in Donetsk. 90% wanted to be part of the DPR.

Zaporozhye - Rabotino - Verbove


On 21st February it was reported that Krynki had been completely captured by the Russians. One report suggests that the Ukrainians lost 3,500 men attempting to create a bridgehead here since last October. But some reports suggest that some Ukrainians are still holding out in Krynki.

Kupyansk - Sinkovka

According Slavyangrad to on 22nd February:

The Russian Armed Forces continued to destroy the enemy near Sinkovka and in the populated area itself. The enemy is not going to leave this point, he snaps with all his might. Our artillery and aviation are working without stopping. The TOS-1 crew burns out Ukrainian dislocation points in the central and western parts of Sinkovka.

South Donetsk


According to Rybar on 21st February 14.00 hrs:

A few hours ago, Russian military personnel raised the Red Banner over one of the houses in the center of the village of Pobeda, where fighting had been ongoing for months. The settlement is now under Russian Armed Forces control. Around Pobeda, the AFU constructed a defense line along Marinka - Pobeda - “Menagerie”. This fortified area near the village had been hindering Russian troop movement towards Kostyantynivka, a location on the logistics route to Ugledar.

So, the capture of Pobeda may cut supplies to Ugledar - a strong fortress on a hill - which has been a thorn in Russians’ side for a long time.


Zelensky to Ditch US


In a recent speech, the once great Z warned the US that unless its House of Representatives agrees to provide Ukraine with aid the US will be dropped as a strategic partner. This will have Congressmen and Senators quivering in their boots. Does Z really think that Ukraine is anything but a plaything to be kicked around in the US political arena. Doh! ... update-67d

(More at link.)


Ukraine Can No Longer Win - It In Fact Never Had A Chance To Win

A former U.S. Colonel opines in The Hill:

Ukraine can no longer win - The Hill, Feb 22 2024

Welcome to the club, I'd say, but its nearly two years to late for that. Ukraine lost the war on February 24 2022, the day the Special Military operation had started.

There never was a chance for Ukraine to win.

I will first let the Colonel recap the established narrative to then add my observations to it:

Two years ago, the Ukrainian Armed Forces defied expectations immediately. Days before Russia’s massive combined arms incursion, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke for the U.S. military when he predicted to Congress that Kyiv would fall within 72 hours.
Many military analysts similarly predicted the Russian Armed Forces would quickly rout the overmatched Ukrainians. American leaders encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to leave the country, lest Russian troops assassinate him.

These projections of immediate success for Russia misread the progress Ukraine had made in capability and readiness since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. They also overestimated the Russian forces’ readiness, air superiority, and command cohesion.

That is all - somewhat - true.

There were expectations that the Russian forces would quickly conquer Kiev and overthrow the sitting government. However, the Russians never applied the necessary manpower to do so. Pacifying and holding an enemy city in modern times generally requires abound 1 soldier per 40 inhabitants. When the war started Kiev had about 3 million inhabitants. Taking and holding the city would have required some 75,000 troops. But the Russian forces never deployed more than 40,000 troops into the general direction of Kiev.

Thus the military aim was not to take the city. It was to apply pressure to achieve a political aim.

Immediately after the war had begun the Ukrainian government had agreed to hold peace talks. Over the next weeks these were held first in Belarus and later in Istanbul. In late March, after Ukraine had agreed during the negotiations to not join NATO, Russia made the good will gesture of pulling its troops back from the capitol. But in early April the U.S. and UK intervened and pressed Kiev to abolish negotiations.

The western political and military leadership had simply misread the Russian aim, thought its military was weak and had come to the wrong conclusions.

That also happened in the following phase:

One year ago, all signs were encouraging. Ukrainian forces had been bloodied, but they held on to territory in the east in defiance of expectations. Successful counteroffensives allowed Ukraine to regain territory in the south. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy defiantly declared the coming year one of “our invincibility.” American aid to the country offered a king’s ransom in artillery and anti-tank weapons through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and the flow seemed unceasing.
Inspired by Ukraine’s stunning success against the much larger and more advanced military, the West galvanized behind Zelensky and his troops. Tragically, all these indicators led to unrealistic expectations.

Russia has started the war with its military structured in peace-time formations. It had only used its standing forces, not any conscripts or mobilized troops, to launch the Ukraine campaign. The main organizational structure of Russian troops at that time were the Battalion Tactical Groups.

Excursus: During Soviet times the military had the classic war-time structure of Divisions with 4 to 5 Brigades each of which each had 4 to 5 Battalions each of which had four to five Companies. Such structures require lots of people.

To save money Russia did away with the Division layer. The Motorized Infantry Brigades, consisting of one tank Battalion, two motorized infantry Battalions and two artillery Battalions, were shrunken into Battalion Tactical Groups.

About a third of the artillery and tanks formations were eliminated as well as half of infantry. Instead of some 4.000-4.500 soldiers in a Brigade formations the Battalion Tactical Groups had each kept only 2,000 men. The no longer manned and needed equipment was put into storage.

The peace construct of a Battalion Tactical Group was a lot cheaper than the people intensive Brigade structure but still had about 2/3rd of the original fire power. The idea had always been that, should a war happen, the BTG structure would be re-filled with mobilized men and restored equipment to again become a full-sized brigade. - End Excursus

It was not until August 2022, after the failure of another round of negotiations, that the Russian leadership decided to go on war footage. A mobilization was launched, equipment was pulled from storage and peacetime BTG formations were revived into full Brigade structures. The Division command layer was reestablished. All this required time and retraining. The war industry had to be set up to support a longer fight.

There is a saying: "The Russians are slow to saddle but ride fast." It can be applied here.

During 2022 to early 2023 the sparse Russian forces were required to use economy of force. Positions of less value were guarded by a minimum of forces (Kharkiv, Kherson). When those forces came under pressure the positions were simply given up. Defensive lines were build to guard more valuable ground.

By spring to summer 2023 the Russian forces had (re-)grown to full war power. The systematic destruction of the Ukrainian forces could finally begin.

As soon as the Ukrainian forces tried to challenge the revived Russian formations, most famously in their failed 'counter offensive, the got beaten the hell out of themselves. Pressed to produced more gains the political leadership of Ukraine demanded that its troops attack everywhere and never retreat.

That fitted the political Russian aim of demilitarizing Ukraine. Defending from well dug positions and with an increasing advantage of artillery and air power the Russian forces decimated attacking Ukrainian forces.

At the end of last year the Ukrainian military started to change its tactic. For a lack of forces and material it had to go into a defensive mode. The Russian forces, now fully equipped and battle ready, started their offensive campaign:

Today, the situation is grim. The fighting has slowed to a cruel slog that works to Russia’s favor. Ukraine runs low on troops and munitions, while Russia maintains both in plenty. The long-planned, high-risk, months-long Ukrainian spring 2023 counteroffensive failed, with Ukraine unable to regain territory seized by Russia. Support for Zelensky in Ukraine and the West has finally slipped. American aid is logjammed in Congress, and the U.S. seems tired of funding the war.
Over much of the past two years, following those predictions of immediate Russian victory, analysts and policymakers have gone in the other direction with a new set of misjudgments: that the Russian Army is a paper tiger; that the generals will turn on Putin; that Ukraine will bleed Russia out in Donbass.

The reality, two years in, is that there is no path to victory for Ukraine, at least not in the sense of pushing Russian troops back to 2021 lines of control. After Ukrainian troops abandoned Avdiivka following some of the war’s heaviest fighting — the most significant loss or gain by either side in nine months — almost all advantages accrue to Russia.

War, as seen by the Russians, is a slow process that requires that all elements, political, civilian and military, are synchronized. In that view winning this or that battle does not matter much. It is the long term approach that makes the difference. It takes time to achieve the steady state that over time creates victory. Only when that state is achieved can the real destruction of the enemy begin.

Russian forces are currently attacking in all directions. The Ukrainian forces lack personnel as well as munitions. It is only a question of time until the Ukraine has to give up and to seek peace under whatever unfavorable condition.

There never really was, and is no longer a way, to change that path.

The $60 billion aid package held up in Congress will not significantly change the future. This fight is a long haul one that will require additional aid. The spigot will close at some point — perhaps soon — turning off aid and sealing Ukraine’s fate.

The endgame in Ukraine is approaching fast. It may indeed come much sooner than many are today willing to admit.

Posted by b on February 23, 2024 at 16:05 UTC | Permalink ... .html#more


Russia’s ‘Aggressive Attrition’ Cracks Fortress Avdeevka
FEBRUARY 22, 2024

The Russian army has captured the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka after several months of offensive. Photo: NEO/File photo.

By Brian Berletic – Feb 20, 2024

The term “aggressive attrition,” coined by geopolitical analyst Alexander Mercouris, can be described as a strategy of deliberately and aggressively creating strategic and political dilemmas compelling an adversary to commit large amounts of manpower, equipment, and ammunition to well-prepared areas of operation.

Russia has employed this strategy successfully across the line of contact in Ukraine over the course of its Special Military Operation (SMO) following its beginning in February 2022.

The strategy is part of a long-term process of degrading Ukrainian military capabilities, fulfilling the “demilitarization” component of the SMO’s stated objectives.

Russia is successfully achieving this by leveraging its large advantage in military industrial production, creating larger amounts of long-range fire capabilities than Ukraine can field, and using it to target and degrade Ukrainian defenses.

Ukrainian forces are compelled to either suffer significant losses by maintaining these defenses, or withdraw. For mainly political reasons, Ukraine has consistently decided to hold defenses long after Russian forces have created effective areas of operation in which aggressive attrition unfolds.

Aggressive Attrition Cracks Fortress Avdeevka
The most recent example of this is the Donetsk city of Avdeevka where Ukrainian forces constructed formidable defenses built up since 2014. Russian infantry, armor, and artillery have faced-off against Ukrainian forces there since the SMO began, but as Russian military capabilities grew in quantity and quality, these Ukrainian defenses were no longer viable.

Despite the extensive network of trenches, bunkers, tunnels, and the use of multi-storey concrete residential buildings as well as a large industrial zone to the north of the city, Ukrainian forces began suffering unsustainable losses.

When Ukrainian forces were finally ordered to fully withdraw, the BBC reported Russian forces outgunned their Ukrainian counterparts 10:1.

Russia did this by leveraging its greater number of infantry and armor, as well as its larger volumes of artillery fire. This includes 122 and 152 mm artillery pieces, as well as a variety of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) ranging from unguided area effect systems like the BM-21 Grad to satellite-guided rocket systems like the Tornado-S, Russia’s equivalent to the US-made HIMARS and M270 MLRSs.

While Ukraine has attempted to offset its growing disadvantage in artillery fire through the use of first-person-view (FPV) kamikaze drones, according to Ukrainian forces themselves, Russia enjoyed at least a 2:1 advantage in this capability in and around Avdeevka. In addition to FPV drones, Russia employs longer range kamikaze drones including the Lancet with a range up to 40 km, making it an effective counter-battery (anti-artillery) capability.

Russia is using other long-range fire capabilities Ukraine does not possess an equivalent to, like the Iskander short-range ballistic missile complex with a range of 500 km, further than the US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) which has a range of approximately 300 km.

Russia is also leveraging its advantage in military aviation and the use of a growing assortment of glide bombs ranging from 250 to 1,500 kg, released at ranges outside what remains of Ukraine’s mobile air defense systems along the line of contact.

The larger of the glide bombs have a destructive capacity far exceeding that of artillery shells and even rockets and missiles, capable of penetrating bunkers and leveling even the largest concrete buildings being used as cover.

To defend against glide bombs, Ukraine has attempted to move its less-mobile, longer-range air defense systems (Patriot, NASAMS, IRIS-T) dangerously close to the line of contact. This allows for random and infrequent “ambushes” along the line of contact, but is insufficient to provide actual air defense for the line of contact.

This is because Ukraine faces a critical shortage of long-range air defense systems. Over the past 2 years, Russia’s significant and growing military industrial output has enabled a steady cadence of long-range cruise missile and kamikaze drone strikes on targets all across Ukraine, exhausting Ukraine’s supply of air defense interceptors. This long-range strike campaign has also targeted and destroyed Ukraine’s air defense systems themselves.

Because the collective West’s military industrial base is incapable of sufficiently replacing both interceptors and the systems launching them, Ukraine’s ability to defend its airspace in general has been significantly reduced. This also means there are far too few long-range air defense systems to provide along the entire line of contact to defend against glide bombs.

A Four-Dimensional Strategy
Western analysts have limited their study of the ongoing conflict to the three dimensions of the here-and-now. They classify battlefield achievements only by territorial gains. Because relatively little territory is changing hands, Western analysts have concluded the conflict is a “stalemate.” They also conclude Russia lacks sufficient offensive potential to break the stalemate, based solely on the lack of large-scale Russian offensive operations.

Yet, Russia’s success in Avdeevka contradicts this claim and demonstrates the impact aggressive attrition is having along the rest of the line of contact.

There are many different achievements possible on and off a battlefield, many of which can ultimately shape the outcome of any ongoing conflict far beyond territorial gains or losses.

Russia’s military industrial base, already far ahead of the collective West, continues to grow in both the quantity of weapons and ammunition produced, and the types of capabilities being fielded, as The Guardian recently admitted. On the battlefield, over the past two years, Russia has patiently and systematically depleted Ukrainian military capabilities to critical levels.

It is clear, especially after the decisive defeat of Ukraine’s 2023 offensive, that Russia launching its own offensive into likewise well-prepared minefields protected by long-range artillery, and an array of armor and anti-tank weapons would be strategically unwise. Reducing these capabilities now, shapes the battlefield for offensive operations later.

Russia’s strategy consists of multiple distinctively different stages spanning a period of time. It also consists of smaller operations using aggressive attrition along the line of contact at specific locations like Avdeevka, contributing toward an accumulative cycle of aggressive attrition against Ukrainian forces in general. Local collapses in Ukraine’s fighting capacity are contributing to a much greater, overall reduction in Ukrainian military capabilities.

Inevitably, this process will result in “disproportionately large Ukrainian casualties, territorial losses, and refugee flows. It might even lead Ukraine into a disadvantageous peace,” as warned in the RAND Corporation’s 2019 paper, “Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground,” regarding the dangers of Washington providing lethal aid to Ukraine and provoking a large-scale conflict with Russia.

And if this is the dilemma the US and its allies find themselves in waging a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, a similar dilemma on a vastly greater scale awaits US foreign policymakers in regard to the war they seek to provoke with China. Unfortunately, US foreign policy circles are so absorbed by their pursuit of US primacy, they have failed to understand how unachievable it is in the first place.

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

(New Eastern Outlook) ... -avdeevka/
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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Sat Feb 24, 2024 6:05 pm

Ukraine War at 2-Year Mark With No End in Sight
February 24, 2024

Despite Ukraine’s loss of Avdiivka, neither Zelensky nor his ministers are making any effort to revive peace talks or seek a political resolution to the conflict, writes Abdul Rahman.

Avdiivka after Russian rocket strike on May 23, 2023. (Donetsk Regional Military Civil Administration, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

By Abdul Rahman
Peoples Dispatch

Speaking at the annual Munich Security Conference last weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky refused to entertain any idea of peace talks and instead sought more weapons and financial support from his Western allies to “defeat [Vladimir] Putin.”

Zelensky was speaking days after his country’s forces withdrew from Avdiivka, an important town located a few kilometers away from Donetsk city. Russia’s subsequent occupation of the town was perhaps its biggest breakthrough since May 2023 when its forces captured Bakhmut.

The loss of Avdiivka came as the war completes two years today, Feb. 24, and amid a decline in the West’s support for Ukraine which has been key to its sustaining a defense against Russia.

The war began after Russia declared support to Ukraine’s Donbass republics which had declared independence after the 2014 U.S.-backed coup in Kiev and the war the coup-regime launched against the resisting Russian-speaking minorities.

Russia has also accused NATO of using Ukraine to challenge its security. According to the U.N., the war has killed over 10,000 civilians and forced millions to flee their homes in Ukraine.

Zelensky accused the West of “keeping Ukraine in an artificial deficit of weapons, particularly in deficit of artillery and long-range capabilities,” allowing Russia to “adapt to the current intensity of the war.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal repeated the need for more weapons during his visit to Japan on the eve of the war anniversary, specifically asking for more long-range missiles from his country’s Western allies. The West has already supplied several lethal offensive weapons, including fighter jets, to Ukraine.

What is missing in all this rhetoric and demands by Zelensky and his ministers is any call or proposal to revive peace talks or seek a political resolution to the conflict.

No Path to Peace

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visiting Avdiivka on Dec. 29, 2023. (President Of Ukraine, Wikimedia Commons, CC0)

During the Munich conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and reiterated his country’s support for a negotiated settlement of disputes. However, reports indicated that China refused Ukraine’s invitation to attend a conference in Switzerland noting, that Russia has not been invited.

There has been no negotiation between Ukraine and Russia since the West forced Ukraine to withdraw from talks in April 2022.

China submitted a 12-point peace proposal in February 2023 focusing on bilateral talks, along with suspension of West’s arms supplies to Ukraine and withdrawal of sanctions against Russia.

However, Ukraine has maintained that there won’t be any talks with Russia until it withdraws from all Ukrainian territories and faces trials for war crimes. It has also rejected several other peace proposals submitted by countries last year, including one by the African Union.

Reacting to Ukraine’s insistence on not inviting it to the proposed peace summit in Switzerland, Russia maintained that any summit without its participation would be a futile exercise. It has also said that Ukrainian conditions for peace are unrealistic.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Western backers, the EU and the U.S., refuse to put any pressure for peace and instead are trying to maintain that they are committed to the Ukrainian cause to defeat Russia despite obvious domestic discontent.

The EU recently decided to extend its sanctions against Russia until February 2025. It is also pushing for a fresh round (13th package) of sanctions.

The EU’s decision to impose fresh sanctions overcomes strong protests from member countries such as Hungary. Several European countries have been facing popular protests, particularly from their farmers, against their government’s policies vis-a-vis Ukraine.

Farmers have been complaining that the funding of Ukraine’s war efforts and policies benefiting the country are harming their material interests at a time when they are facing income stagnation.

One such farmers’ protest at Poland’s borders with Ukraine has blockaded the flow of people and goods, prompting Zelensky to call it a sign of popular “erosion of solidarity on a daily basis.”

After much delay, the EU finally approved a $54 billion aid package to Ukraine earlier this month. The aid would be dispersed to Ukraine in the next four years.

In the U.S., which has already provided close to $80 billion in aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, tough negotiations are on to get Republicans on board for a $97 billion combined aid package to various countries with $60 billion for Ukraine alone.

So far, House Republicans have maintained their opposition to the aid package despite the Senate passing the bill earlier in February. ... -in-sight/


Kremlin eyes shifting momentum on yearslong crisis
By Ren Qi in Moscow | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-24 07:17

Natalia Patrashku holds a portrait of her son at a memorial in Yevpatoriya, Crimea, on Thursday. Alexey Pavlishak / REUTERS

When Russia's special military operation in Ukraine began in February 2022, some predicted it might take as few as three days for Russian forces to capture the capital Kyiv.

But with the conflict now entering its third year, Moscow seems to be trying to turn the enduring battle to its advantage — by biding time and waiting for Western support for Ukraine to wither, while it maintains steady military pressure along the front line.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly signaled a desire to negotiate an end to the fighting, but said Russia will hold onto its gains. At Putin's annual news conference in December, "when will the conflict stop" was the first question asked.

In an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this month, Putin urged the United States to push its "satellite" Ukraine into peace talks, declaring that "sooner or later, we will come to an agreement".

As the Kremlin watches for more signs of crumbling Western support, Russian forces have recently captured the eastern stronghold of Avdiivka after a fierce battle in which Ukrainian forces reported a desperate shortage of munitions. The seizure set the stage for a potential Russian push deeper into Ukraine-held territory.

Kyiv said it withdrew soldiers from the stronghold to save their lives.

"While no large-scale offensive is currently taking place, Russian units are tasked with conducting smaller tactical attacks that at minimum inflict steady losses on Ukraine and allow Russian forces to seize and hold positions," said Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds of the Royal United Services Institute. "In this way, the Russians are maintaining a consistent pressure on a number of points."

Putin had made increasingly confident statements recently ahead of Russia's presidential election in March, declaring Ukraine "does not have a future" and — in the interview with Carlson — that a strategic defeat of Russia is "impossible by definition".

Analysts said only drastically ramped up Western support for Ukraine as it runs out of munitions can change the momentum.

"It is a race by both sides to rebuild their offensive capacity," Andrea Kendall-Taylor, senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, said.

"If the Western funding does not come through, if Russia gains some sort of advantage, then they have the possibility of making some more gains. The momentum has shifted."

Kendall-Taylor added that if Ukraine can hold its lines this year, it could pressure Russia more next year if new resources come through.

Although the summer brought some Ukrainian successes, there was no breakthrough on land. Limited advances continue at great cost to both sides and the implications for Ukraine are grim. The implications for Russia are not much better, as people from both sides started to want a cease-fire, experts said.

By far, more than 10 million civilians have been evacuated from their homes and there has been a huge loss of life. Exact figures on military casualties are unclear, as both Kyiv and Moscow give little away.

Military mobilization

To keep the conflict away from day-to-day life in Russia, the Kremlin mobilized 300,000 reserves in October 2022. Nine months later, the maximum age limit for reservists to be called up was raised to 55 in another push to bolster numbers.

Ukraine is also scrapping age limits to increase military mobilization. A current bill in the Ukrainian parliament will lower the minimum age that civilians can be mobilized from 27 to 25, making it harder for those trying to avoid being drafted. There are also moves to raise the current limit of 60 for personnel and 65 for officers.

Both sides have also suffered heavy equipment losses over the course of two years. It is estimated that Russia has lost more than 3,000 tanks, its entire pre-conflict inventory. Moscow has now placed its economy on a wartime footing and moved defense factories to round-the-clock production in three shifts.

Russia's GDP grew 3.5 percent last year, with a 7.4 percent growth in manufacturing. This allows ordinary life to continue in Russia despite the conflict and also helps to smooth out some inequality between the wealthier and poorer regions, which suffer a disproportionate number of casualties.

Russia's spending on defense is now 6 percent, a figure that some economists consider unsustainable without huge cuts in other public expenditure.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has suffered much more heavy losses, but Western military replenishments have allowed it to maintain inventories while upgrading quality, former diplomat John Dobson said.

But given the losses sustained by both sides and the attritional character of trench warfare, the current stalemate is likely to persist, he said. The bottom line is that neither side can carry out a large-scale attack without incurring very heavy casualties, and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. ... b8d75.html


From the 'Fat Chance' file:

FEBRUARY 23, 2024

Video description:

Nicolai N. Petro, author of “The Tragedy of Ukraine” explains how the latest development on the battlefield combined with the history of Ukrainian nationalism will lead to a process in which even the “Banderites” will want to strike a peace deal with Russia to preserve what is left of motherland—even against the will of the western neocon warmongers who have been wreaking havoc on Ukraine for the sole purpose of fighting a proxy-war with Russia. The great Ukrainian awakening is only a matter of time, and Russia knows it. The only question is how many more Ukrainian soldiers the nationalists are still willing to throw into their early graves before doing what should have been done in April 2022: a neutrality agreement and a true process of reconciliation. This tragedy must end and will end because at the end of the day, the neocons are willing to “fight to the last Ukrainian” but they have made it utterly clear that sacrificing their own is not on the menu. So wake up, Ukraine, and build a new future already without this poison that is the NATO neocon crowd. ... th-russia/

For a guy who wrote a book on the subject Nicky is pretty damn clueless: 1)what part of 'de-nazification' does he not understand? That is unconditional. 2)Has he not listened to those Nazi scum this past decade? They threatened The Clown with lynching if he dared negotiate two years ago. They are on a mission to save the "White Race" from slavic-jew-commie-whatevers and vow to fight to the last dipshit. Works for me, when this is over anyone with a Nazi tat should spend the rest of their miserable lives in a Siberian mine, and no amnesty this time!


Why Putin Went to War
February 24, 2024

Two years ago today Vladimir Putin explained why he went to war. He said he had no intention to control Ukraine and only wanted to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” it, after the U.S. had pushed Russia too far, wrote Joe Lauria.

Putin explaining his reasons for going to war. (AP screenshot from YouTube)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Originally published Feb. 24, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a TV address Thursday morning that the goal of Russia’s military operation was not to take control of Ukraine, but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” the country. Moments after he spoke, explosions were heard in several Ukrainian cities.

The Russian Defense Ministry said these were “precision” attacks against Ukrainian military installations and that civilians were not being targeted. It said Ukraine’s air force on the ground and its air defenses had been destroyed.

The Ukrainian government, which declared a state of emergency and broke off diplomatic relations with Russia, said an invasion was underway and that Russia had landed forces at the port city of Odessa, on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, as well as entering from Belarus in the north. It said it had killed 50 Russian troops and shot down six Russian fighter jets, which Russia denied.

Putin said one of the operation’s aims was to arrest certain people in Ukraine, likely the neo-Nazis who burned dozens of unarmed people alive in a building in Odessa in 2014. In his speech Monday, Putin said Moscow knows who they are. Russia said it aims to destroy neo-Nazi brigades, such as Right Sector and the Azov Battalion.

Putin said the aim was not to occupy Ukraine, but he gave no indication when Russia might leave. It could be over quickly if Russia’s objectives are met. But war has its own logic and often lays waste to military plans.

The BBC reported that according to Ukrainian authorities 50 civilians have been killed so far. President Joe Biden is certain how this will turn out.

“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said Wednesday night. “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

Diminishing Russia

Biden speaks on Ukraine at White House last Friday. (Ruptly screenshot.)

Biden is to make a televised address on Thursday after he coordinates a response to Russia’s military action in Ukraine with the G7 and NATO. Biden said he will announce a new package of economic sanctions against Russia, in addition to those imposed on Monday, but reiterated that U.S. and NATO forces would not become involved.

According to TASS, Russia’s news agency, the EU said it intends to weaken “Russia’s economic base and the country’s capacity to modernize.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson even hinted at British military involvement. “Our mission is clear,” he said. “Diplomatically, politically, economically and eventually militarily this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”

In a White House readout after the last phone call between Biden and Putin this month, Biden said Russia would be “diminished” if it invades, a longstanding U.S. goal.

In addition to the sanctions, Russia has faced widespread condemnation from most of the world, expressed at United Nations meetings this week, including an emergency session of the Security Council on Wednesday night. Several nations spoke in melodramatic tones about the military operation changing global security. Many of those nations supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

On Monday, Putin said he would send Russian “peacekeepers” into Lugansk and Donetsk, which he recognized as states independent from Ukraine. The West denounced it as an invasion, triggering the first round of sanctions against Russia.

Putin said the Russian troops were sent in to protect ethnic Russians, many of whom have now fled for safety over the border to Russia.

Combat in Donbass

Fierce fighting was reported Thursday along the line of separation between Ukrainian forces and militias from Donetsk and Lugansk. It is not clear to what extent Russian forces are taking part in the Donbass battle and if the aim is to capture all of the two breakaway provinces.

Both had voted for independence from Ukraine in 2014 after a coup overthrew the elected president Viktor Yanukovych. The new Ukrainian government then launched a war against the provinces to crush their bid for independence, a war that is still going on eight years later at the cost of 14,000 lives.

Neo-Nazi groups, such as Right Sector and the Azov Battalion, who revere the World War II Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, took part in the coup as well as in the ongoing war against Lugansk and Donetsk.

A Matter of ‘Life or Death’

The Russian military action follows demands made in December by Russia to the U.S. and NATO in the form of treaty proposals that would require Ukraine and Georgia not to join NATO; U.S. missiles in Poland and Romania to be removed; and NATO deployments to Eastern Europe reversed.

The U.S. and NATO rejected the proposals and instead sent more NATO forces to Eastern Europe and have been heavily arming Ukraine.

In his address on Thursday morning, Putin said the military operation he was launching was a “question of life or death” for Russia, referring to NATO’s expansion east since the late 1990s. He said:

“For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends. For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation. This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact. It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty. It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.”

Detailed Explanation of Causes and Aims of Operation

Silets Sokalskyi Lvivska battlefield monument in Ukraine of Soviets soldiers against Nazi invaders. (Viacheslav Galievskyi/Wikimedia Commons)

In his 3,350-word speech, Putin laid out in full detail the reasons he decided to take military action and what he hopes it will achieve. The speech is a devastating critique of U.S. policy toward Russia over the past 30 years, which no doubt will fall on deaf ears in Washington.

Western media is so far ignoring the speech or superficially dismissing it. But it has to be carefully studied if anyone is interested in understanding why Russia launched this military operation. Just calling Putin “Hitler,” as Nancy Pelosi did Wednesday night, won’t do.

Hitler in fact features in Putin’s address. For instance, addressing the Ukrainian military, Putin said:

“Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.”

He linked the Nazis’ invasion of Russia to NATO’s threat today, saying this time there would be no appeasement:

“Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late.

As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.”

Putin said the existential threat from NATO’s expansion was the main reason for military action:

“Our biggest concerns and worries, [are] the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.

It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?”

Putin called the Americans “con-artists” for lying about NATO expansion. He referred to:

“promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics.”

Putin said Russia had long wanted to cooperate with the West. “Those who aspire to global dominance have publicly designated Russia as their enemy. They did so with impunity. Make no mistake, they had no reason to act this way,” he said.

Cold War Triumphalism & Its Consequences

U.S. soldier conducts search of family’s home in Iraq, 2006. (Navy Journalist 1st Class Jeremy L. Wood)

Putin said the collapse of the Soviet Union had led to a redivision of the world and a change to international law and norms. New rules were needed but instead of achieving this

“professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states … we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves.”

Putin then said this “absolutism,” with the Soviet Union no longer as a barrier, led to unchecked U.S. aggression, starting with NATO’s bombing of Serbia in 1999, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and U.S. involvement in Syria. Russia has been taking note of the destruction Washington has wrought, even as it seems whitewashed from American minds.

“First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law.

Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.

But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white power, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq.

It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true. We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.

Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism.”

Putin said over the past days “NATO leadership has been blunt in its statements that they need to accelerate and step up efforts to bring the alliance’s infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. In other words, they have been toughening their position. We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.”

Ukraine, he said, had essentially become a de-facto NATO member posing the greatest threat to Russia.

“Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us. Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy. The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape. Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.”

A Parting Shot at European Vassals

Putin also blasted America’s European allies for not having the strength of principle or the moral fiber to stand up to Washington. He said:

“The United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them. Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same ’empire of lies.’”

[Read the full text of the speech.] [Kremlin and other Russian government websites are down after apparent cyber attack. The full text of the speech can be found on Bloomberg News here.] ... ine-feb-24 ... nt-to-war/


The Alienated State of Ukraine: The Paths of the Government and Population are Diverging
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on FEBRUARY 23, 2024
Dmitri Kovalevich


Growing numbers of Ukrainians are unwilling to sacrifice themselves to defend the existing state.

On February 6, the Verkhovna Rada (national legislature) of Ukraine voted to endorse the decree issued by President Volodomyr Zelensky to extend martial law for another 90 days. The new decree prolongs martial law until May 13, 2024. This definitively settles that there will be no presidential election in Ukraine by March 31, 2024, the anniversary date of Zelensky’s election in 2019 on a five-year mandate.

The Rada likely faces a similar extension of its five-year mandate, which will expire in July 2024. The election law of Ukraine (English translation here) prohibits holding elections during martial law, and the latter can be prolonged indefinitely provided some semblance of threat can be found and cited. A classic despotism has actually taken shape in Ukraine since 2014 and has accelerated since 2022. But the reverse side of this is a growing detachment and alienation of the population from the Ukrainian state.

The example of Ukraine can now be clearly cited to demonstrate the Marxist theory of the capitalist state as an apparatus of violence in the hands of the ruling classes. For two years now, there has been a real roundup of people throughout Ukraine for the compulsory military draft. The unfortunate draftees are typically rushed to the front lines of the NATO/Ukraine war against Russia with minimal training, weapons, and protective wear (winter wear, for example). At the same time, under pressure from Western creditors, the remnants of social services in Ukraine continue to be drastically cut on the pretext that there is limited funding.

Since January 2024, Ukrainian men have even been refused treatment in Ukrainian public hospitals without permission from the military commission, which is a direct violation of their human and civil rights. The head of the ‘Kravets and Partners’ law firm in Ukraine, Rostyslav Kravets, says that the refusals to provide medical assistance using specious grounds, including the lack of a military service card or certificate from the military enlistment office, can be interpreted as a violation of the Ukraine constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (approved by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948).

As a result, for an ordinary Ukrainian stripped of personal protection by members or institutions of the ruling class, the Ukrainian state has fully turned into an instrument that wants to take his or her life and health without offering anything in return. This leaves little motivation for many Ukrainians to fight, as many messages on Ukrainian Telegram channels are noting.

The Telegram channel XUA recently wrote: “Ukrainians have turned against the military enlistment officers not only because of the tightened conscription, which is usually done illegally, but also because of the state’s negligent attitude to the problems that arise for the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) directly on the battlefield. Many severely wounded soldiers become permanently disabled, and there is limited assistance from the state for treatment and rehabilitation of wounded war veterans. They often end up paying for their own medical treatments or rehabilitation, sometimes including expensive prosthetics, and this while they look for a good job, which is very difficult to find these days. The result is that many Ukrainians are losing motivation to join the armed forces. They are not interested in being sent to the war front while suffering the hardships of a person deemed expendable by the state.”

Igor Krivosheev, an MP from Zelensky’s ‘Servant of the People’ party, suggests that men who do not want to fight should “swim across the Tisa” (a river in Ukraine sharing the border with Romania) and find a different citizenship. “If you in Ukraine are not ready to join this war in one way or another, you need to look for another country. If you are not ready to take this responsibility, then there is an opportunity to swim across the Tisa and seek another citizenship,” Krivosheev said.

However, the MP is being hypocritical, as he would know that dozens and hundreds of Ukrainians are being caught daily at the country’s borders in efforts to flee the country, including along the Tisa River. Those who are caught are invariably sent to the front lines.

The Ukrainian state acting as a deity demanding blood from its citizens

Ukrainian officials and nationalists are now increasingly talking on Ukrainian television channels about the need to fight the Russians “for free”, that is, without financial compensation or medical rehabilitation to combatants and the wounded. The Ukrainian state is acting like some kind of deity in which one places blind loyalty and for which one accepts all sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life.

All people and things Russian are demonized and portrayed as some kind of existential threat that has existed for thousands of years and will always exist. Ukrainians should prepare for permanent war and not expect any compensation, since the country’s economy will continue to be ruined and the United States and European Union are unlikely to sponsor forever their project of Ukraine as the ‘anti-Russia’.

In other words, Ukrainians are being offered to fight a forever war for some abstraction consisting of little more than a violent state apparatus and its institutions of violence, headed by officials and their children educated in Western universities, as the present and future rulers of Ukraine.

For decades, Western propaganda has attacked pro-Soviet sentiments in Ukraine, demanding that Ukrainians become ‘pragmatic’ by placing their own personal gains uppermost in life and discarding Soviet-era idealism. Now they are being asked to be ‘pragmatic’ by fighting for a different set of ideals diametrically opposed to the earlier ones.

The desire to cancel the Russian Revolution of 1917

Ukrainian television, which broadcasts exclusively the official positions of the country’s authorities, constantly urges Ukrainians to fight, citing the civil war and foreign military intervention that followed the 1917 Russian Revolution so long ago. The official ‘Telemarathon’ of the regime in Kyiv, broadcast for hours each and every day, cites an alleged ‘failure’ in 1918 Ukraine to fully mobilize militarily. This, in turn, is cited as the reason for the defeat of the nationalist (that is, pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist) Ukrainian People’s Republic in its war in 1918-19 against Bolshevik-led and other political forces (Social Revolutionaries, anarcho-communists) who were seeking political and social revolution.

Ukrainians are being told that back then, as of now, a conscription law was debated for a long time while thousands of adult men enrolled in universities for the sake of deferment or they paid bribes in order to avoid military service. As a result, it is claimed, the city of Kiev was surrendered to the newly formed Red Army without a fight. On February 5, 1919, the armed forced of Ukrainian Bolsheviks entered Kiev without a single shot being fired. The city had been more or less abandoned three months earlier by the bourgeois-nationalists because their own military formations had proven unreliable and unwilling to fight.

However, the real reasons for the defeat of the bourgeois-nationalists were economic. The Bolshevik-led forces were successfully addressing the economic concerns of the people, especially in advocating land reform. The Ukraine economy of the time was almost entirely agrarian, and like today, the country was one of the poorest in Europe. Then, as now, the nationalists were prepared to sell off Ukrainian farmland and other valuable national assets to capitalist interests in France and Britain in order to obtain Western arms and loans. Today, Ukraine’s leaders say they are being “forced” to sell off farmland and other valuable national asset by foreign creditors as a condition of obtaining more loans, but this argument doesn’t assuage public anger over the policy nor preserve loyalty to this government.

The online publication Strana in Ukraine comments, “It should be noted that the Ukrainian rural population was skeptical about the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) and was not in a hurry to defend it, primarily because of its unclear position on the land issue. Unlike the Bolsheviks with their decree declaring land reform, the UNR never approved the unambiguous transfer of all the landlords’ lands to the peasants.”

Since secession from the Soviet Union in 1990/91, Ukrainians have “voted with their feet” against neoliberal reforms and right-wing nationalism of successive governments in Kiev. Millions have left the country seeking better livelihoods abroad, primarily in Western Europe.

Cognizant of this troubling trend, Ukrainian officials have stopped conducting censuses. The last national census was more than 20 years ago, in 2001. According to various estimates, the population of the country today is only some 60 to 70 percent of the population in 1991. Many millions more have left the country since war broke out in 2022, while several million more now live in the ‘new territories’ of Russia, that is, the former regions of Ukraine that Russia has seized and where referendum votes have taken place to formally secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. (Kyiv, by the way, does not recognize any of the referendums among Ukrainian citizens to join Russia that have taken place as far back as 2014, notably in Crimea on March 16, 2014 and several times in the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. It continues to include all of them in its population estimates of Ukraine.)

The mass exodus of the population and the prolonged embellishments (falsifications) in official reports of the true demographic situation have played a cruel joke on Kyiv, causing it to overestimate its own strength. This was manifested in Zelensky’s conflict with the now-former head of the AFU General Staff, General Valeriy Zaluzhny. The latter wanted significantly more personnel to replace the army’s losses and prepare it for more hard fighting, thus putting elected leaders like Zelensky in a tight spot. How are the elected leaders to tell the country that only brute force against unwilling conscripts can boost the army’s numbers? Add to this the fact that many of those who have chosen to remain in the country have no liking or loyalty to the current Kyiv regime. Forced conscription of such people is fraught with the danger of eruption of social revolution.

The authors of the Ukrainian website ‘Liberal’ are openly voicing this concern. They write: “The fact is that Ukraine is no longer capable of fighting the way Zaluzhny is trained to fight. This would require conscription of another half a million people, and such a resource exists only in theory. In practice, it does not exist at all. Our society is heterogeneous, and anyone who is ready to give his life for Ukraine has already done so. The rest are indifferent, if not hostile, to the government’s fate.

“Such people are often more than simple draft dodgers. They are also ‘waiters’ [that is, Ukrainians who are ‘waiting’ and hoping for the Russian forces to arrive]. You don’t have to be V.I. Lenin in order to understand that the existence of half a million ‘dodgers-and-waiters’ avoiding forced conscription is a direct path to social revolution and in no way saves the front.”

Add to this the many more Ukrainians who do not want to fight in order to save their lives and may have a growing realization that the only way to avoid such a fate may be to fight for the right not to fight.

A shaky apparatus of violence

Mass, forced conscription in Ukraine requires a large apparatus of violence, that is, bodies whose job is to capture reluctant Ukrainian recruits and send them to the front. This is far from easy. Even some Ukrainian police officers and special services personnel are being driven into the trenches to plug new gaps at the front. In early February, police officers were targeted and sent to the front as storm troops staged a revolt. The incident highlighted simmering and continuing tensions between the nationalists in power and those who opposed them a decade ago during the Maidan coup.

Police officers in the city of Dnipro (renamed from the Soviet-era name ‘ Dnipropetrovsk’ in 2016) claim that they are being forced by the deputy head of the National Police Department in Dnipropetrovsk Region, Volodymyr Bohonos, to join a military assault brigade. There was even a verbal altercation between the policemen and Bogonos. In a video circulating on social media, you can hear some of the policemen recalling that they used to be in the ‘Berkut’ special police units of the government overthrown in 2014. They once dispersed the paramilitaries in Kiev who spearheaded the coup that year and are today pressing for war to continue against Russia.

One of the police officers recalls to the deputy head of the current police department, “Do you remember which unit you came to? Where did you come from? You were a henchman of the protests on Maidan (Maidan Square in central Kiev) while I was in the Berkut. Do you understand the problem we are now talking about?”

At the end of last year, the leadership of the Ukrainian police opposed involving police in handing out military summonses. The head of the National Police, Ivan Vygovsky, said that the police already had too much work to do. They have nevertheless been forced to hand out summonses, organize raids seeking conscripts, and stand guard at checkpoints to nab draft evaders.

As police officers are pressed into front line military service, crime rates are on the rise in Ukrainian cities as hundreds of thousands of men are unable to work legally. Employers in Ukraine are now obliged to submit lists of employees to the country’s military commission, following which the employees are typically dispatched to the front.

In early February, Dnipro city topped the list of cities in Eastern Europe with the highest crime rate, according to the ‘Numbeo’ website based in Serbia. Four more Ukrainian cities were included in its list of cities with the highest crime rates: Odessa is in second place, Kharkiv is in fifth place, Kyiv is in eighth place and Lviv is in thirteenth place.

In February, Ukrainian emergency rescuers began to be sent to the front lines en masse; this while the country faces increased threats of fires, wildfires, and other disasters. Ukrainian rescuers are appealing to their leadership to leave them to do their jobs.

The rescuers also draw attention to the omnipresent corruption in the country. A message by employees of the State Emergency Service read: “Unfortunately, decisions of who among us will be sent to the front are decided not by the results of conscription regulations and orders, as it should be. Our department chief set a price of (US$ equivalent) $5000 [to stay home and avoid military service].”

Crisis of legitimacy in the Ukraine legislature

The constant violation of laws and trampling of the constitution for the sake of fighting Russia as well as the cancelation of elections that were to take place early in 2024 has created a crisis of legitimacy, even in the Rada. If earlier, Ukrainian millionaires and top officials paid large sums for a seat in the legislature, now they cannot escape from it and resign their mandates should they no longer wish to take responsibility for the disastrous state of the country. The head of the Servants of the People faction in the Rada, David Arahamiya, said in late January that at least 17 of his fellow party members were ready to surrender their Rada mandates. Other party groups and factions also have such MPs.

MP Olexander Dubinskyy writes on Telegram that he is sure there are many more MPs of the Servants of the People party who wish to resign their mandates. “Many of them are anxiously awaiting and hoping for permission to go on a foreign business trip, from which they have the option of never returning,” he writes. “They continue to attend Rada sessions in the hope of acquiring a coveted permission to leave the country.”

According to Dubinsky, there are some 50 such members in the Rada. “Already, several of my former colleagues in my party faction have told me that they believe the only way to get out as a Rada deputy is to acquire a criminal record.”

Ukrainian MP Yevhen Shevchenko writes that some Rada deputies have been stripped of all rights and been threatened with criminal prosecution as “agents of the Kremlin”. He also warns that deputies are also capable of revolt. “There is one truth. A cornered person is first afraid, then begins to hate the one who cornered him, then turns into a wolf and attacks the despot,” Shevchenko wrote in his telegram channel, referring to the office of President Zelensky as the ‘despot’.

Ukraine economy at severe risk

Many big businessmen in Ukraine oppose forced conscription because they cannot run their businesses and earn money without sufficient workers, that is, without the very people who produce surplus value for them. The president of the Confederation of Employers of Ukraine, Oleksiy Miroshnichenko, recently complained that the military is trying to force businesses to perform functions that are not theirs, notably in handing out military summonses. He is demanding that employed workers be given a deferment from conscription, as economic activity is impossible without them. The European Business Association also claims that the adoption of the government conscription bill could paralyze the Ukrainian economy.

Ukrainian bankers see a looming threat to the entire banking system as people refuse or are unable to repay loans, withdraw their deposits, and send money abroad. They, too, are dissatisfied with conscription and the penalties against evaders. “What should banks do in such a situation? We are facing credit defaults and a new rise of problem portfolios, substantial ones at that, as restrictions on banking services become widespread,” a chairman of the board of one of the Ukrainian banks told the Strana media outlet.

Strana cites the banking official: “Restricting access and use of banking services involves more than restricting access to bank accounts, freezing use of credit cards, or banning money transfers. There are also credit services. Yes, it is possible to restrict or ban new loans, but what to do with the repayment of old ones? Sure, we can ‘withdraw’ a person from access to bank services, but that means he may not settle with us. Even if we require early repayment of a line of credit or credit card debt, the person may simply not have the necessary funds and may not have property which the bank could seize and sell.”

Strana also reports: “According to the National Bank of Ukraine, from the beginning of 2022 to July 2023, the share of problem loans in the total credit portfolio of the banking system, including businesses, increased from 30 percent to 39.26 percent. This has begun to improve only in recent months; the rate of problem loans has dropped to 37.7 percent by the beginning of November 2023.

The bill on military conscription provides for increased restrictions on draft evaders, including blocking their credit cards and freezing their funds in banking accounts. It is reported that many males are withdrawing their funds from banks and registering these funds as well as other property in the names of wives, daughters, or grandparents who are not targeted by conscription.

In other words, the apparatus of violence of the Ukrainian state is trying to force workers, peasants, deputies, bankers, and policemen all at the same time. This risks leaving the state and government apparatus acting with the support, or at least acquiescence, of only a very narrow group of people.

The shrinking of the state

So who is behind Ukraine’s state apparatus? Who has an interest in its survival?

First of all, there is Zelensky’s sharply narrowing circle of people. That circle is narrowing as Ukraine’s economy collapses and government budget revenues and Western aid shrink, prompting an intra-species struggle for financial flows within the central government.

Secondly, there are the surviving Ukrainian radical nationalists. The forced conscription of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men (most of who do not share the nationalists’ views) is a matter of personal survival for the nationalists. A Ukrainian neo-Nazi from the Aidar battalion in early February threatened to harm draft evaders because they are beginning to self-organize. Yevhen Dikiy, an ex-company commander of the ‘Aidar’ far-right paramilitary battalion, was reported in late January saying, “The evaders are scared rats. They bite when in a pack, but they’ll get to the point where we will have to take matters into our own hands. We have enough hands and iron and determination for that, believe me. We will clean them up, such that nothing will remain of from them.”

In other words, the survival of ordinary Ukrainians who do not want to go to the front is at odds with the political and perhaps survival of thousands of radical nationalists. The latter will fight to the death, remembering the fate of thousands of Nazi collaborationists during and following World War II.

Dikiy says he is primarily concerned about the spontaneous riots against conscription that are on the rise across Ukraine. In some cases, such spontaneous riots may even hit innocent civilians who are suspected of cooperating with the military enlistment offices and helping them capture draft evaders. In early February, for example, a mob of women in the western Ukrainian village of Kosmach nearly lynched a woman and her child who had traveled to the village. She was suspected of “working for the military enlistment office” and having come to the village to identify possible draft evaders. For millions of Ukrainians, the main ‘enemy’ in the country is no longer a Russian soldier but the Ukrainian military officer or policeman who is seizing ordinary Ukrainians to be sent to the front.

Another party interested in preserving Ukraine’s state apparatus alienated from the people is the elites of the West, for whom the war in Ukraine is a “moral crusade,” as writer Lawrence Norman of the Wall Street Journal described their viewpoint in a February 1 report. The Office of the President of Ukraine is actually offering a deal to these modern-day, Western crusaders. In January, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke to the Western economic elites assembled at their annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland. “We are offering you the best deal in the world: you don’t sacrifice your soldiers, you give us weapons and money instead, and we will finish the job.”

Ukrainian economist Oleksiy Kushch recently warned that conscription in Ukraine threatens that society and the state may go in opposite directions. “A strategic risk is the diverging of society and the state. A significant part of society will go into a ‘catacomb state’, completely severing the networks that connect it to state institutions. The transition of a part of society in opposition to state institutions during the war is a huge risk, an unacceptable one, I would say,” he wrote.

In practical terms, wrote Kushch, strengthening military mobilization in Ukraine through repression, or even preserving the status quo, risks citizens withdrawing their money from banks en masse, closing their bank accounts, quitting their jobs, and henceforth working illegally without paying any taxes.

What the Ukrainian economist threatens, in fact, has been developing in Ukraine for a long time. Many of us have to use bank cards, which are not registered anywhere but manage to work. We use medical services which ”officially” do not exist. We work wherever we are fortunate enough to find work and buy products that formally never entered the territory of Ukraine and were not produced here. This is exactly the ‘catacomb state’ against which Kushch warned.

One of my neighbors associates the modern Ukrainian state with death. In his opinion, the state apparatus is writhing in agony and dying, but it wants to drag him and his family down with it. For this reason, he distances himself from the Ukraine state as much as possible. Since the beginning of Russia’s Special Military Operation, he has shunned any and all dealings with state bodies, avoiding even state-affiliated charitable foundations. He does not understand why a state structure that has given him and his family nothing during its entire existence–denying him proper medical treatment, education or even protection from street gangs, allegedly because of the need to implement neoliberal reforms demanded by Western creditors–now demands of him his very life.

Intuitively, he recognizes that the survival of the Ukrainian state in its current form is at odds with the survival of his family and at odds with the very survival of the nation as a whole. ... diverging/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:38 pm

730 days later
POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 02/25/2024


Ukraine's Western allies marked the second anniversary of the Russian military intervention as expected: with more sanctions and visits to kyiv to demonstrate that Ukraine remains a priority for their governments. In both cases, these are more demonstrative than practical steps. On the one hand, it is unlikely that the thirteenth package of sanctions, approved to coincide with February 24, will achieve what the previous twelve have not achieved. This same week, media such as The Guardian admitted, for example, that Russian weapons production is “much higher than we expected.” The sanctions, which exactly two years ago promised to destroy the Russian economy, and especially industry, have also failed to achieve the international isolation they sought. Despite the obvious failure of coercive measures, the United States and its allies continue to periodically introduce sanctions packages that, each time, promise to make it difficult for Russia to access essential manufacturing materials, international capital, and threaten Russian cooperation with Chinese companies. , Indians or Turks in search of that isolation that is so resisted.

On the other hand, the visit of the president of the European Commission accompanied by Prime Ministers Trudeau and De Croo of Canada and Belgium and the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is nothing more than a demonstration of the continuation of a strategy of unconditional support for Ukraine that It was launched long before February 24, 2022, but at that moment it experienced its turning point. Yesterday in kyiv, Úrsula von der Leyen reaffirmed political and economic, but also moral support for Ukraine. «My visit to kyiv comes on the second anniversary of the Russian war of aggression, and I come to honor the extraordinary resistance of the brave Ukrainian people. "We have recently made important announcements about financial support for Ukraine, but it is also crucial to express our moral support to them," she said. Without the slightest originality, his speech reproduces the usual lines of kyiv and its partners in recent years: forgetting the eight years prior to the Russian invasion and insisting on a unity of the Ukrainian people against Russia that is false and ignores the part of the population that rose up against the irregular change of Government ten years ago. Like Metsola in the past, von der Leyen also includes the moral aspect of European obligations. All of this until Ukraine “is free”, that is, it recovers all of its territory, even if it has to be at the expense of the opinion of the population of regions such as Crimea, Donetsk or Lugansk, which in this decade have explicitly rejected the Kiev Government, its nationalist agenda and its Euro-Atlantic ambitions.

Neither of the two aspects - sanctions and promises of support - are the step that kyiv expects from its partners. “The only sanctions that really affect and scare both Putin personally and the elites of the Russian Federation are weapons,” President's Office advisor Mikhailo Podolyak wrote on social media, demanding “a lot of weapons. A really large amount of weapons for Ukraine. Long-range, anti-missile, anti-ship weapons. The rest is a fiction, a delayed awareness, a chronicle of the process, a prolongation of the war, a dangerous illusion that it is possible to stay on the sidelines . " Ignoring other obvious problems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, kyiv demands weapons and funding. None of these aspects will solve, for example, the Ukrainian difficulties in replenishing their ranks and compensating for their losses. However, in a context in which narrative tries to replace reality, it is necessary to ignore shortcomings and twist reality to make the impossible probable.

Any visit to kyiv is a sign that Ukraine remains one of the top priorities of Western countries. However, this presence and the moral support it entails are not enough for the Ukrainian Government, which depends on a notable increase in assistance from its partners to allow itself, at least for a while longer, not to have to give up any of its objectives. . To do this, the Ukrainian president needs attention, but, above all, money, weapons and ammunition. With the idea of ​​the indispensable nation as his main argument, Zelensky has tried this week, again, to convince US congressmen of the need to continue supporting the Ukrainian war effort. To do this, the Ukrainian leader wanted to address Donald Trump directly, whom he demands to go to Ukraine to see the war with his own eyes. He has done so, as in the past, through an interview given to the Fox News channel , a favorite of the Republican candidate. Zelensky has also met with a group of US legislators, from whom he has demanded approval of the $60 billion that Joe Biden has requested for the defense of Ukraine. Without them, Zelensky assures, Ukraine runs the risk of not winning this war. Like the idea of ​​a “stalemate” on the front a few months ago, the word lose does not enter the vocabulary of Ukrainian speech. The war is not at that point, which would require a collapse of the State or the Armed Forces of Ukraine which is not to be expected under current conditions, especially when Kiev's troops continue to show their ability to cause casualties on the Russian side and They have weapons to prevent Russia from exercising its air superiority and impede the action of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.

According to Zelensky, Ukraine is “730 days closer to victory.” And to keep fighting for it, no matter how realistic the goal, it needs its partners, especially the United States. However, Zelensky's meeting with representatives such staunch defenders of Ukraine as Chuck Schumer or Richard Blumenthal can only be a public relations act with little pressure value on skeptics. “This visit is a strong message from the United States and the American people. This shows that the United States supports Ukraine. “Americans are on the side of truth and we share common values,” Zelensky’s statement stated. Polls support Zelensky's opinion of the American population's favor of Ukraine. In the latest survey carried out by YouGov, 56% of the population supports maintaining or increasing US military assistance to Ukraine compared to 26% who believe that levels of support should be reduced.

Despite the lack of success in regaining territory and war fatigue, support for Ukraine persists in both the United States and European Union countries. In the case of European countries, this support contrasts with growing skepticism about Ukraine's chances of winning the war, victory understood as the expulsion of Russia from all Ukrainian territories according to its 1991 borders. With Sweden, Poland and Portugal as the most optimistic countries and Hungary and Greece notably pessimistic, the European average is around 10%. That is the proportion of the population of these 12 EU countries that is confident in the possibility of Ukraine winning the war. However, that average rises to 25% when it comes to what to do: support Ukraine in the recovery of its territories. Compared to them, more than 40% defend “pushing Ukraine towards a negotiation and peace process”, a worrying fact for kyiv, which has made it clear that a negotiation that did not take place according to its terms would mean a capitulation.

These figures and the lack of military financing from its priority partner are not the only concerns for kyiv. Unlike last year, when the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn the Russian invasion, the initiative could not be repeated in 2024. Despite the harsh speeches of Western foreign ministers, the United Nations' priority at the moment is the war in Gaza. As France Presse wrote yesterday , “a year ago, at this time, the General Assembly called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops, with an overwhelming majority of Member States, 141 countries, voting in favor and only seven against.” However, the situation has changed, not only due to the very serious situation of the Palestinian civilian population, but also due to the international perception of the attitude taken by Ukraine with respect to the conflict. Although Zelensky had never hidden that Israel is one of his references, the Ukrainian president's strong support for the Netanyahu government, whom he wanted to visit in November, has represented a barrier in Ukraine's relationship with Arab or Muslim-majority countries. “Arab countries will remember how Ukraine voted regarding Gaza,” AFP writes , citing a diplomatic source from one of the Arab countries.

“We can see how, in these two years, global security has only deteriorated,” Kuleba said on Friday. “More and more wars are breaking out around the world. "One of the reasons for this bleeding wound is in the heart of Europe," he insisted with a speech that cannot be convincing to those who have seen how Ukraine tried to blame Russia for Israel's war against Gaza and has actively denied the right to the Palestinian population to fight against the occupation while using that argument as a basis to demand weapons from its partners. The double standard implies that Ukraine deserves moral, economic and political support to fight against Russia, a right that does not extend to other peoples who confront those who try to impose their will on them, be it the Palestinian people at the international level or the of Donbass internally. Only Ukraine deserves weapons and ammunition to impose its freedom. And everything that contradicts that maxim is considered a grievance, an aggression against Ukraine.

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From Cassad's Telegram account:

⚡️ Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of the special military operation (as of February 24, 2024)

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to conduct a special military operation.

- In the Kupyansk direction, the active actions of units of the “Western” group of forces inflicted fire damage on units of the 30th and 32nd mechanized brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and repelled three counterattacks in the area of ​​​​the settlement of Sinkovka, Kharkov region.

The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces amounted to up to 55 military personnel, two pickup trucks, as well as the Gvozdika self-propelled artillery mount.

- In the Donetsk direction, units of the “Southern” group of troops improved the situation along the front line, inflicted fire damage on units of the 28th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the 241st terrestrial defense brigade in the areas of the settlements of Krasnoe and Kurdyumovka of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

In addition, in the area of ​​the Bogdanovka settlement of the Donetsk People's Republic, a counterattack of the assault group of the 42nd mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was repelled.

Enemy losses amounted to over 395 military personnel, two tanks, four armored combat vehicles, nine cars, as well as a Gvozdika self-propelled artillery mount and a D-30 howitzer.

- In the Avdeevsky direction, units of the Center group of forces continued to occupy more advantageous lines and positions, and also defeated concentrations of manpower and equipment of the 24th and 53rd mechanized brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In the areas of the settlements of Pervomaiskoe and Lastochkino of the Donetsk People's Republic, two counterattacks of assault groups of the 59th mechanized and 3rd assault brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were repelled.

The enemy lost up to 425 military personnel killed and wounded, three tanks, 10 armored combat vehicles and 24 vehicles.

- In the South Donetsk direction, units of the Vostok group of forces inflicted fire on formations of the 108th Terrestrial Defense Brigade in the area of ​​the village of Lugovskoye, Zaporozhye region.

In addition, in the area of ​​the village of Shevchenko, Zaporozhye region, a counterattack by the assault group of the 58th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was repelled.

Enemy losses amounted to up to 125 military personnel, six vehicles, as well as a US-made M777 artillery system.

- In the Kherson direction, as a result of coordinated actions of units of the Dnepr group of troops in cooperation with artillery, a complex fire defeat was inflicted on units of the 65th and 118th mechanized brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the areas of the settlements of Rabotino and Verbovoye, Zaporozhye region.

Enemy losses amounted to up to 35 military personnel, eight vehicles, a US-made M777 artillery system, a Gvozdika self-propelled artillery mount and a D-30 howitzer. In addition, a field ammunition depot of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was destroyed.

- Operational-tactical aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles, missile forces and artillery of groupings of troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation hit manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 117 regions.

- Air defense systems in the areas of the settlements of Yasenovoye and Selidovo of the Donetsk People's Republic shot down two MiG-29 aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force.

During the day, the following were intercepted: a JDAM guided aerial bomb and two US-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems.

In addition, 92 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed, including in the areas of the settlements of Volnovakha in the Donetsk People's Republic, Chubarevka in the Zaporozhye region, Novaya Zburevka and Novaya Mayachka in the Kherson region.

In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed: 574 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,315 unmanned aerial vehicles, 473 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,207 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,223 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,152 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 19,030 units of special military vehicles.

Google Translator


Two Years On… Ukraine Conflict a Historic Watershed Exposing Western Imperialism’s Dead-End

February 23, 2024

The emerging multipolar world order led by Russia, China, and the Global South is pushing the old Western arrogant order into historical oblivion

This week marks the second anniversary of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine that began on February 24, 2022. President Vladimir Putin ordered the intervention of Russian forces for two reasons: to protect the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass region which had endured eight years of NATO-backed aggression; and, secondly, to denazify the regime that the Western powers had illegally installed with a coup d’état in Kiev in 2014. The tenth anniversary of that coup on February 22 was also marked this week.

Two years on, the first objective has been substantially achieved. Russian forces control most of the Donbass region, as well as Kherson, Zaporozhye, and Crimea. These regions are now legally part of the Russian Federation following historic referenda. In sum, Ukraine has lost about 20 percent of its pre-conflict territory to Russia. The concerned populations contend that they have rejoined Mother Russia.

The military victory last week for Russian forces in the key city of Avdeevka portends the imminent full taking of the Donbass along its historic provincial lines. That breakthrough also speaks of the near collapse of the Kiev regime forces. Two years on, the cities and towns of Donetsk and Lugansk have been rebuilt after suffering the vandalism and war crimes of the Kiev regime. The NATO-backed regime still attacks communities but the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine are appreciably safer and better off than they were two years ago.

As for the second objective, the denazification of the Kiev regime has still not yet been achieved. However, the regime is but a shell of its former incarnation when with the help of NATO weapons and military advisers it was waging a brutal aggression against ethnic Russian communities.

Moscow has stated that it will continue its military operation in Ukraine until the neo-nazi regime is eliminated. There seems to be little doubt that that objective will be met given the superior firepower on the Russian side and the rapidly deteriorating condition of the NATO-backed forces.

The Russian achievement is quite remarkable given that the U.S.-led NATO bloc (30 nations) has flooded Ukraine with a vast array of heavy weapons. The United States and its European allies have spent – wasted – up to $200 billion in supporting the Kiev regime over the past two years. Despite the inordinate flow of weaponry and mercenaries, Russia has secured the territory it set out to obtain, and the NATO-backed side is facing collapse.

The course of the war is on Russia’s side. From the outset, Moscow said it had no intention to occupy all of Ukraine. But the collapse of the regime in a rump state is no doubt something that Russia wants, and the betting odds point to that eventuality as the cabal in Kiev descends into corruption, backstabbing, and infighting.

But, importantly, the military situation in Ukraine is only part of a much bigger picture of global confrontation and one that speaks to an existential crisis for Western imperialism.

On February 25, 2022, the day after Russian forces began their special operation, our SCF weekly editorial stated that the intervention would finally confront NATO’s aggression existentially.

Our editorial then was headlined: “U.S., NATO-Backed Aggression Towards Russia Finally Checked”.

Here is a lengthy clip from that article which gives the context of that historic moment:

“A NATO-backed anti-Russia regime on Russia’s doorstep attacking Russian people is clearly unacceptable. The volume of NATO weapons flowing into Ukraine over recent weeks was pointing to a larger war footing. Then at the Munich Security Conference last weekend [in February 2022] Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky dropped the incendiary threat that Ukraine could develop nuclear weapons. Clearly, the security situation for Russia was crashing several red lines.

“Of course, the chorus of condemnation from the United States and its Western partners is shot through with hypocrisy. They claim that Russia has ‘shattered peace in Europe’ and they have moved to impose an all-out economic blockade to ‘strangle the economic functioning of Russia’. The U.S. and NATO have for years trashed international law and the UN Charter with their criminal wars and regime-change operations. Their duplicity and hysterics are adding more layers of confusion to the problem.

“Western media have systematically concealed the global problem of U.S. and NATO aggression. The misinformation and disinformation are manifest with claims that Russia is embarked on ‘a barbaric venture’ and ‘unprovoked war’. To claim ‘unprovoked’ betrays extreme ignorance of the situation.

“Russia has for years warned that U.S. and NATO aggression was posing a critical danger to international security and had to stop. The revoking of arms control treaties by the U.S. (the ABM, INF, Open Skies Treaty) and the expansion of missile threats near Russia’s borders were no longer tolerable. Ukraine is really just one element of the bigger picture. But this week, Russia has moved finally to stop the aggression. It is a historic watershed.

“Moscow says that its aim is to deNazify and demilitarize an illegitimate NATO-backed regime in Kiev. It says it has no intention to occupy Ukraine. As of this writing, Moscow has indicated it is open to negotiating as it always has been. What Russia is seeking is a more comprehensive security agreement with the U.S. and NATO for Europe.

“More widely, the United States must also end its belligerent ideological view of Russia and China as enemies. The U.S. has to come to terms with a multipolar world order in which its unilateral diktat is no longer tenable, legally, politically, or morally. That is the ultimate challenge for international peace and security.”

Back to the present writing of this week’s editorial, it should be noted that a month after Russian intervention in Ukraine, a potential diplomatic settlement to end the conflict was negotiated in March-April 2022 via mediation by Turkey. The peace deal was sabotaged in April 2022 by the United States and Britain (Boris Johnson on an errand from the Biden Administration) who overruled the Kiev regime and insisted on a full-blown war. Nearly two years later, the Ukrainian military death toll has climbed to 500,000 and the Kiev regime is rendered nearly defunct.

The upshot is that Ukraine has been callously devastated by the United States and its imperialist partners in a proxy war against Russia – a war that the Western powers have all but lost.

But this epoch-making conflict has significance way beyond the disaster of Ukraine.

What is evident to the whole world is the criminal nature of the U.S.-led Western axis.

While the Western powers have fueled a futile slaughter in Ukraine, they are also seen by the world to be complicit in genocide in Gaza with their unbridled support for the Israeli regime even as it massacres Palestinian civilians, including women and children, by the hundreds every day for the past five months. The death toll is nearly 30,000.

The United States – the lead hegemon in the Western imperialist axis – is also recklessly ramping up provocations against China through its illegal weaponizing of Taiwan.

The true face of Western “democracies” and their so-called “rules-based global order” is fully revealed. It is the ugly face of fascism.

For decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the Western powers, which had covertly sponsored the rise of European fascism, were able to project a fraud on the world claiming to be virtuous champions of pro-democracy and pro-peace. Informed people always knew the Western pretensions were a sordid sham.

Since the watershed conflict in Ukraine – and thanks to Russian fortitude and resolve – the Western charade now stands exposed. The U.S.-led axis of Western imperialism is finally facing a nemesis, a day of reckoning.

The emerging multipolar world order led by Russia, China, and the Global South – the world’s majority – is pushing the old Western arrogant order into historical oblivion. The United States and its rogues’ gallery of partners in NATO are crumbling from their own lies, duplicity, and untenable dead-end of warmongering rackets.

The conclusion of our editorial from two years ago stands the test of time: “The U.S. has to come to terms with a multipolar world order in which its unilateral diktat is no longer tenable, legally, politically, or morally. That is the ultimate challenge for international peace and security.” ... -dead-end/


10 years of the Anti-Bandera rally in Sevastopol
February 23, 11:05


On February 23, a People's Will meeting was held in Sevastopol, at which the first people's mayor of the South-East, Alexey Chaly, was elected. And although the first Russian flag was raised on February 22 in Kerch (therefore, Kerch was the first), it was February 23 that is considered the starting point of the beginning of the Russian Spring as a whole, and the Crimean Spring as its component element.

For me (as for so many), this day divided my life into before and after.
Even in the morning of that day there was no clear understanding of what to do. After the rally, this clarity appeared. 10 years later, we can say in the words of Hemingway - “There are 50 years of undeclared war against fascism ahead, and I signed up for the entire term.”

Also, this day became the starting point for the fulfillment of a long-standing dream (and not only mine) of returning my hometown home. Therefore, for 10 years now, February 23 has been a double holiday for Sevastopol and Crimea.

He outlined his impressions of the rally in a well-known article ( ), which brought truly great media fame and subsequently introduced him to a huge number of people.

Happy holiday everyone! And Happy Soviet Army and Navy Day! And Happy Beginning of Russian Spring!

Development of logistics routes on NATO's eastern flank
February 23, 23:58


Development of logistics routes on NATO's eastern flank

NATO railway for the war with Russia: Alliance countries are increasing logistics capabilities on the eastern flank The

Rail Baltica railway, which is under construction, which will pass through Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, Warsaw and Berlin (length 870 km), is included in the EU Military Mobility project. This will make it possible to use the infrastructure of the Baltic countries in the interests of the unhindered movement of military cargo and military personnel across Europe. Later, Finland will be included in the route, which will expand logistics capabilities to the Scandinavian region. In fact, this region is being included in the so-called “military Schengen”, which is being actively promoted by the leadership of the armed forces of NATO countries.

The implementation of the “Military Mobility” project intensified ( ) after the start of the Northeast Military District. In 2023, we repeatedly noted the inclusion of the railway and road infrastructure of Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova in financing under the project. In the future, NATO logistics will be expanded by the inclusion of Moldovan and Ukrainian railways converted to European gauge into the “military Schengen” ( ).

Such actions will significantly increase NATO's ability to move cargo from the military-industrial centers of Western Europe and the Balkans to the countries of the eastern flank, where the Rapid Reaction Force (NRF) is expected to be deployed in the event of a crisis and the application of Article 5 of the Alliance charter.

Thus, NATO functionaries, endlessly declaring Russia’s desire to “invade the EU,” are themselves openly moving NATO’s military infrastructure closer to the borders of Russia and Belarus, hypocritically hiding behind the imaginary “Russian threat.” - zinc

The Ukrainian Armed Forces left Lastochkino
February 24, 17:00


Actually, as mentioned earlier, after leaving the Avdeevsky coking plant, the enemy in Lastochkino will not last long.
After lunch, the enemy reports that the remaining forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have withdrawn from Lastochkino due to the threat of encirclement. From our side, the release of Lastochkino has not yet been officially announced, but apparently this will be done in the next 24 hours. It can be expected that after the completion of the battles for Severnoye, pressure will begin to build up on the enemy’s main line of defense west of Avdeevka - Berdychi-Orlovka-Tonenkoye. In Petrovskoye the enemy is no longer there; in Severny he still controls part of the village, but that’s also not for long.

In the Zaporozhye direction, our troops today occupied the center of Rabotino. The Rabotinsky ledge will apparently also become history in the coming weeks. The enemy's introduction of reserves into battle helped slow down, but not stop, the advance of the Russian Armed Forces.

2 years SVO
February 24, 18:40


Interview for the 2nd anniversary of the SVO for Business Online.

— Boris Alexandrovich, how has our army changed in two years?

— If we talk about global changes, we see that approaches to strategy, tactics, and technical equipment of the armed forces are fundamentally changing. We are seeing the growing role of unmanned systems, electronic warfare systems, and the need to increase the use of high-precision weapons. As a result, the range of their use increases.
We also see that thanks to intelligence systems, the war has become very transparent. The old fog of war no longer works, everything is different now. Accordingly, all this affects the actions of both our armed forces and enemy forces. Everyone is forced to adapt to new realities, technology, and military mechanisms. The army, of course, is changing and will continue to change. Of course, many things stand the test of time, real war, while others, on the contrary, do not show their effectiveness in new conditions.

— In terms of combat experience, in your opinion, how much have we changed relative to ourselves?

— If we take the situation at the beginning of a special military operation, then we have fewer illusions, and more realistic approaches began to prevail. The attitude towards waging war has changed; there is a clear understanding that we are fighting proxy forces with the active participation of NATO. Our main enemy in Ukraine is NATO, and Ukraine is human formations that are equipped, supplied, and provided by the countries of the alliance. It is with this understanding that we are conducting combat operations.

— How much has our country changed over the past two years?

— The country has changed quite significantly. Lately we have seen very serious changes, maybe some people think they are too fast. From my point of view, they are rather insufficient in many areas. But nevertheless, this is a decisive departure from the policies that were pursued in previous decades. The country is finally saying goodbye to Westernism. This is a civilizational change for our country; we see that Westernism is being destroyed infrastructurally, just as attempts to make friends with the West by surrendering their national interests ended in their time.
All this entails issues of import substitution, restoration of the military-industrial complex and industry, changing approaches to migration issues - a lot of things. The changes for the country are global in nature. It is clear that she is still in the process of these changes and, most likely, will move along this path further. There is no reason to believe that pressure from the West will stop. This is the beginning of a new Cold War - a process that, as we remember, dragged on for decades.

— On February 23, 2014, a large rally took place in Sevastopol. This event marked the end of the Euromaidan stage, the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine and the Russian Spring as a reaction to it. If Euromaidan activists knew what would happen in 10 years, would they be surprised?

“Some of those who came out then wanted this. They did not hide the fact that they were striving for Ukrainization and war with Russia. They got what they wanted. On the other hand, those who wanted to make Ukraine a European country without corruption, oligarchs, and make it the most technologically advanced, received exactly the opposite of their expectations. Of course, many of them will never admit that they themselves destroyed the state.
Part of the neo-Nazi public initially said that it was the Russian Federation that was to blame for everything, that it was not allowing Ukraine to develop tolerably, that it was necessary to carry out Ukrainization and prepare for a war with Russia. They followed this course and quite logically arrived where they wanted.
But those who expected de-oligarchization, the fight against corruption, European life, were simply used and thrown first to the sidelines, and are now being used simply as cannon fodder. Their expectations were very seriously at odds with reality. And yes, I repeat, these people are sincerely convinced that their choice then does not play any social role.

— If you remember Ukraine before the start of the special military operation, it was a very loose entity. The oligarchs played a big role there, and for some time they even had personal armies. During the war, Vladimir Zelensky managed to concentrate power in his hands. Is it true that the vertical of Ukrainian power has significantly “improved” during the Northern Military District?

— I wouldn’t say that she herself was pumping herself somewhere. It was made this way because Ukraine exists under the yoke of directive control from the outside. The Ukrainian authorities are absolutely not subjective, even in personnel matters they are subordinate to the external control loop. Therefore, adjusting the oligarchs, the military, and the puppet administration is primarily the work of Washington, and not some local centers of power.
It is not a big secret that the Ukrainian oligarchs, starting with Rinat Akhmetov, were kicked into loyalty to the new regime that arose after the coup by the same Americans. Akhmetov, who supported Viktor Yanukovych, was summoned to the US Embassy, ​​where he was directly threatened that if he disobeyed, his assets in the West would be taken away. The same thing happened with Igor Kolomoisky*, Zelensky’s former sponsor. Now he is being persecuted, for quite a long time, by the United States, and they are putting direct financial pressure on him. The situation is exactly the same with oligarch Dmitry Firtash. And with many others, however.
All opportunities to assemble a new system of power from the oligarchs do not appear, primarily due to external pressure. Simply because the regime there assembles for itself. All competition to this regime lies in the oligarchic circle, somewhere it is situationally contradictory, but if their interests run counter to the interests of the United States, they are put in a dependent, subordinate position. If necessary, sanctions and other measures of influence are imposed on these persons. The same applies to judges of the Constitutional Court, some military officers, and special services. Let's say, difficulties with the resignation of Valery Zaluzhny arose because the United States was not interested in his dismissal, but a conflict arose in this dependent administration, which Victoria Nuland eventually came to resolve. After this, agreements were reached, according to which Zaluzhny, of course, was eventually removed.

“From the point of view of an outside observer, they contributed very well, until about October last year, when Zaluzhny spoke in The Economist magazine. In your opinion, what exactly was the conflict between Zelensky and Zaluzhny?

— The catalyst for the conflict was the defeat of the Ukrainian army in the Battle of Zaporozhye, in which Zaluzhny was formally in command. Everyone was waiting for results, but there were none. They were expected in both Kyiv and Washington, but the result turned out to be disproportionate to the investment in this operation. The search for those to blame began, and in the end everything was shifted to the United States and back, inside Ukraine - from the military to the political leadership and vice versa. And after that, disputes arose that Zaluzhny could replace Zelensky in the future, that the Americans were counting on him as a controlled person. Therefore, a political campaign initiated by Zelensky’s entourage began against Zaluzhny. This led to an aggravation of the crisis. There was also wiretapping of Zaluzhny’s office through the SBU. Then it turned out that Zaluzhny was mocking Zelensky, which, of course, was reported to the president. And this also escalated the crisis.
The result of all these showdowns was the search for someone to blame after the unsuccessful Zaporozhye battle. As we see, as a result, a whole group of Ukrainian generals lost their posts. On the other hand, Zelensky has concerns about Zaluzhny’s political prospects. Over time, when there are new military defeats and problems with mobilization that fall on the head of state, Zaluzhny has the prospects of becoming a popular truth-telling general who warned everyone about everything, but was prevented.

— About a month and a half ago, Verkhovna Rada deputy Maryana Bezuglaya said that Zaluzhny is an alcoholic. Is this true or just swearing?

— If you read the transcripts of Zaluzhny’s wiretapping, where he called Zelensky a drug addict, it is quite possible that this is a kind of response to the data received. Something like “I’m a fool myself.”

— If at the beginning of a special military operation it seemed to everyone that Bayraktar would raid and disperse the stupid Russians, now FPV drones are in trend, already hunting for specific soldiers. How rapid was the evolution of this type of military?

“For those who have followed conflicts in the Middle East, the increasing role of drones on the battlefield has been obvious. This is not a secret; the same kamikaze drones showed excellent performance back in the Yemen war. It was clear how they work in Karabakh; there were not only Turkish Bayraktars there. Well, a number of other conflicts, including Libya, demonstrated this aspect. Ukraine has scaled this experience to a serious industrial scale. There are more and more different types of drones, including ammunition-carrying quadcopters and FPV drones. All this posed a serious challenge to modern electronic warfare and air defense systems, especially tactical ones. Of course, no one prepared for such a scale; it all took shape during the process. It is now obvious that in the future the role of drones on the battlefield (this, by the way, applies not only to airborne ones, but also to ground ones) will only increase as the principles of swarm use and the use of neural network technology are introduced. As a result, their role will begin to grow both in Ukraine and in subsequent conflicts in other countries. We will see increasing use of these devices.

— At the beginning of the Northern Military District, all sides counted the number of tanks each other had. Supposedly, whoever has more of them is stronger. But practice has shown that tanks, as a rule, fire from closed positions, otherwise they become a target. How did the role of tanks change in this war?

— Tanks remain a very important element at the tactical level. Of course, in conditions of total mining, no one will see global tank armadas breaking through in any direction. But again, this does not mean that tanks are only engaged in supporting infantry or shooting from closed positions. We see that during assaults on populated areas, plantings, and strongholds, tanks continue to play a significant role. Yes, their vulnerability has increased due to the dominance of drones and ATGMs. The measures that are taken as protection against FPV drones - these are protective screens, networks, mobile electronic warfare systems - only show that tanks will simply change, and not become a thing of the past. Of course, this is an acknowledgment of the modern realities of the battlefield. The task of protecting them will simply be solved in a new way. Moreover, there is an understanding that the conflict in Ukraine turned out this way, and in other wars, which will be less intense, in other theaters of military operations, tanks will find it easier to operate. But everything will be adapted to this theater of military operations. As an example: Western tanks that were transferred to Ukraine were forced to retrofit them with Soviet dynamic protection, install non-standard nets, and electronic warfare systems. They are also caught by Lancets and FPV drones, and they also adapt.

— In August 2022, our guns fired several tens of thousands of rounds per day. This created a literal lunar landscape. Now this figure has fallen. What happened to the artillery? Does she have nothing to shoot with or has she become more accurate?

- On the one hand, this is a completely reasonable measure of accumulation and saving. Shells are not taken out of thin air; there are warehouses and production. Extreme numbers of fire support cannot be maintained at all times. There were operations when several trains of shells could be fired. For example, before Avdeevka in the fall, artillery was used very limitedly, and then we see active use during the assault on the city. Shells are a renewable but valuable resource, so there is a certain rationing per day, and it covers most of the SVO. The enemy has the same thing; they have been rationing for quite a long time. And, say, during the offensive in the Zaporozhye region, they fired a very large number of ammunition. In addition, the role of adjustable, precision-guided munitions is increasing. Of course, there are not enough of them yet, but, for example, “Krasnopol” solves the same problem that previously had to be solved at the cost of tens and hundreds of conventional shells.

— Two years ago it seemed that we would complete the campaign relatively quickly. But it turned out that the war would last a long time. Then our enemy got excited: they say, now NATO will help, we’ll just throw our hats at Russia. As a result, it turned out that the collective NATO is unable to produce as many weapons as Ukraine needs, at least for parity. Why has NATO failed to get on a military footing in two years?

“They are part of the process of deploying military production, designed for 2025-2026. By this time, ammunition factories should begin to operate more actively. For example, the United States is already actively increasing the production of 122 and 155 mm shells. Europe is also trying to do this, but due to objective circumstances they are less successful, but the process is underway. In a further war, and, according to the US, it could last until 2026 and 2027, supplies may increase.

— Then, in February–March 2022, there was a general opinion that if Russia did not collapse right now, then certainly by the summer, and definitely by the end of the year. Two years later, we show growth in GDP and industrial production, while our Western “partners,” on the contrary, show decline or stagnation. Where did they go wrong?

— They moved part of their production to Asian countries and other regions. In addition, they pursued a policy of deindustrialization, relying on the financial sector, which became dominant in the United States and Western Europe. All this led to a distorted idea of ​​the structure of the economy, which gave rise to very peculiar, to put it mildly, views on its real sector. In turn, when trying to exclude the Russian Federation from this system, it turned out that the role of Russian energy resources, the Russian market and the economy is much higher than the 2-3 percent that was usually depicted in the system of international division of labor. It turned out that the exclusion of official energy supplies from Russia collapsed the German economy, which is already suffering enormous damage. Germany had previously been the driving force of the EU economy, even under Angela Merkel. This gave rise to a cascade of collapses in a group of countries, which, following Germany, introduced sanctions against Russia, but continued to buy Russian energy resources at unique market prices through third countries. The Russian Federation, as the owner of these resources, received a significant financial cushion, which made it possible to painlessly diversify its trade, purchase equipment, and so on. It was not possible to isolate Russia economically.
The USA and the West found themselves in the same position as Napoleon, who at one time tried to impose a continental blockade of Great Britain. During the Napoleonic Wars, he tried to close all supply channels to Britain, but since it still had major partners, including the Russian Empire, this made it possible to bypass the blockade and neutralize all efforts. Russia now also has such partners - India, China, Brazil, South Africa and a group of other countries. This devalues ​​the Western strategy, which hit Europe rather than the Russian Federation.

— One of the US plans is the so-called “degreasing” of European economies. Is this correct in your opinion?

— The United States is partly solving this problem; this is a completely appropriate point of view. The fact is that the United States has already played this way in its history. It may be recalled that after World War II they acted in this manner in conjunction with Great Britain against the Soviet Union in the early stages of the Cold War. They then actively supported the process of decolonization, which the USSR advocated. This destroyed the British Empire so that these colonies and territories would come under American control.
Now we see that the United States and NATO are formally together, but nevertheless the States are pursuing their own interests and do not forget that the weakening of Europe in the context of the fight against Russia is also in line with their interests. Since production flows to the United States, financial capital flees there, and Europe becomes more and more vassalized, less and less subject, which allows the United States to maintain military-political control there. Therefore, the suicidal steps that the German leadership is taking completely satisfy the US leadership. This closes the door for Europeans to create strategic autonomy. They talked a lot about it, but if the current Eurocentric course is maintained, this is almost impossible.

— Over the past two years, thoughts have begun to appear more and more often that the Ukrainian campaign will smoothly develop into an Eastern European war, for which Poland is actively preparing. Do you think this is real?

- This is a very real scenario. They are practically preparing for it, preparing the population. But such a scenario is only possible if they are completely confident that nuclear weapons will not be used. As I understand it, it is important for Russia to make it clear that any hot conflict with NATO will necessarily be nuclear, since at the moment only the presence of nuclear weapons restrains NATO from attacking the Russian Federation. If we didn't have nuclear weapons, they would have attacked long ago.

“Isn’t this a political card that they are playing for their own internal purposes?”

— It is obvious that the Russian threat is a universal bogeyman, which also serves to increase defense appropriations, investments in the military-industrial complex, and so on. But this is one side of the coin. But the other one says that many steps related to increasing the grouping of troops, their concentration near the borders of Russia and Belarus, plans for a war against Moscow, as well as other steps, including territorial claims, all these calls to deprive it of certain territories - this constitutes a constant threat of attack by a group of countries of a united Europe, which will be covered by the US nuclear umbrella. The same conditions existed during the Soviet Union after the Cold War was declared. Accordingly, we need to solve the same problems, only in worse conditions, because the vast territories and resources that were then are now inaccessible to us.

— There are estimates that there are no more than 15–17 million people in Ukraine now. How accurate are these estimates? What will be the approximate population of Ukraine after the end of the SVO?

— Now there are clearly less than 20 million people, taking into account the lost territories, refugees, losses, and the ongoing demographic catastrophe associated with increased mortality and low birth rates. All together leads to further depopulation. Ukraine suffers numerical non-combat losses of 400–500 thousand per year; in 2024, another 300–400 thousand people will be killed, if you look at the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2023. All this will lead to further reduction and flight of the population. If it were not for closed borders, the country's population would have decreased by millions more people who would have fled from the threats of mobilization.
We can say that the population of Ukraine will be steadily declining in the coming years. This applies primarily to the male working population, who will either be killed or flee if the current political course continues. And what will remain by the end of the North-Eastern Military District will hardly allow us to consider Ukraine as an at least somewhat effective state entity. If there is anything left there at all.

— By the beginning of the Northern Military District, the number of Kyiv troops reached 250 thousand. The last time Zelensky spoke about the number of Ukrainian Armed Forces at 880 thousand people. At its peak it was just over a million. How much have the Armed Forces of Ukraine changed quantitatively? How many of those who started the campaign in February 2022 are fighting?

- Taking into account the estimated losses, which range from 450 to 600 thousand irreversible, of course, a significant part of the initial armed forces is included in these figures. These are the killed, missing, or captured. Of course, those armed forces, if not nullified, are significantly battered. But due to the mobilization of mercenaries, the enemy continues to maintain a certain number of armed forces.
As far as I know, 880 thousand is an inflated figure; in the Armed Forces of Ukraine there are actually about 600–650 thousand. This is indirectly confirmed by the fact that they are now conducting a check, since they do not know where a huge number of people are located who are listed but do not appear anywhere. Behind these voids in the numbers are hidden the dead, deserters and the like. The only people who probably know the real numbers are the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and our intelligence, perhaps. In addition, it is not clear how to count the mercenaries who exist in Ukraine and are included in this composition.
At the moment, the main task of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is to make up for losses. At the current pace, they need to recruit at least 20-30 thousand people every month.

— Quite recently, Alexander Syrsky said that too many Ukrainian soldiers have not been to the front line, they should be introduced to him. What did he mean? Are only a limited number of troops fighting, and the rest are in the rear? Or is he going to carry out a new wave of mobilization using special methods?

— Mobilization will happen in any case, it’s already underway. Now they are simply trying to legitimize various illegal methods in its implementation. They literally scoop up people on the streets and send them to meat. As for the troops, there is a stratification in the brigade. There is the combat staff of the brigade, and there are rear personnel who are located at a distance and do not participate in the battles. There are also criminal commercial battalions that recruit merchants, those who have paid off their money. As a result, people somewhere in Zhitomir are standing at a checkpoint and doing nothing. They are also trying to recruit those who paid off and are sitting in the rear to serve for a second time, to nullify all bribes and kickbacks in order not to go to the front. Everyone is kicked out again. Someone will make a lot of money from this, collect bribes and so on for the second time.
We saw specific examples in Avdiivka when, to plug holes in the defense line, they threw into battle rear personnel, electronic warfare specialists, and repairmen, because there were problems with personnel. And these are the people they also mean; they also need to be put into the fire.

— We remember the battles for Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, for Soledar and Artemovsk, now the battle for Avdeevka has taken place. It seems that the enemy ignores the experience gained and does the same thing every time. Do you agree with this?

— The enemy continues to rely on certain political and media accents during the conduct of hostilities, sacrificing purely military aspects. This leads to the fact that in situations where, for objective military reasons, positions need to be abandoned, they are held for political reasons, which leads to excessive losses. In fact, the politicians themselves, while demanding to keep it, are forced to admit that the “fortress” has to be abandoned.
In Avdeevka we saw the same thing. In Artemovsk there was exactly the same situation. There, by the way, the same General Syrsky commanded the troops, who acted in a very formulaic manner. This led to terrible consequences for the Ukrainian army. In the battles for the city alone, 72 thousand enemy soldiers died. How many were left wounded, missing, or captured? How many died trying to surround him? In Avdeevka it turned out to be exactly the same meat grinder, the same story.

— How will the military campaign progress in the summer of 2024?

“We can expect that in the coming months the enemy will sit on the defensive and try to accumulate some forces for subsequent operations.” We'll see which ones during the summer campaign. Perhaps in May he will be able to begin some local actions, strikes. Well, more serious military operations are, of course, June and July. The Russian army, accordingly, will act in the same spirit, maintaining the initiative, and will try to advance in a number of directions in the next couple of months - beyond Avdeevka, Ugledar, Kupyansk, Seversky ledge. There will definitely be progress, but how big they will be, we’ll see, the General Staff will demonstrate this to us, which will show how well it operates at the front. - zinc

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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Mon Feb 26, 2024 1:09 pm

A year for survival
POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 02/26/2024


The visits to Kiev, the events in the capitals of Western countries and the avalanche of opinion articles and political statements about the importance of continuing to arm and finance Ukraine as long as necessary, until victory, until it regains freedom and peace have reaffirmed this weekend the commitment of foreign allies to the continuation of the war. However, far from the expectations of a year ago, with increasing difficulties in obtaining the necessary funds and producing the ammunition that the fight requires, doubts about Ukraine's tactics and strategy stand out above the confidence in the victory that still exists. show the polls carried out in kyiv.

The Razumkov Center, for example, observes in its latest panel that 85.8% of the population is somewhat or very confident in Ukraine's victory. Doubts begin to appear when defining that victory. There are two options that stand out from the rest: 38.1% would consider the recovery of territorial integrity according to the borders prior to the secession of Crimea a victory, while 27.3% would like to go even further with the aspiration of “ destroy the Russian army and promote the insurgency or disintegration of Russia.” The apparent triumphalism contrasts with the evolution of the percentage of the population that believes in victory, which has been decreasing since last summer, when it exceeded 93%. Of that percentage, 79% were very confident in victory compared to the current 62.3%. When analyzing the results of the Ukrainian surveys, we must not only remember the dependence of sociological centers on foreign funding (in this case USAID), which can condition the results, but also the conditions under which they are carried out. . In the last decade, it has been common to ignore the opinion of the population of Donbass and Crimea. In this case, the center has only carried out surveys in the territories under kyiv's control and in places where military activities are not taking place, that is, far enough from the front to not experience the day-to-day fighting. As Anatol Lieven stated a few months ago, the will to continue the war and the optimism of victory is reduced proportionally to the distance from the front.

Lieven, a dissenting opinion who has stood out for months by not believing in the expectations of victory of the Ukrainian Government, is one of the many analysts and experts who have published recent articles related to the expectations of the war for 2024. A year after it began to be taken for granted by Ukraine and its partners that the Zaporozhie counteroffensive would break the front, causing the Russian collapse, the position of those who have questioned Ukraine's ability to recover all or even part of its lost territories has stopped being marginal. Already in December, The Wall Street Journal raised the need to use the current year to prepare, not an offensive for the coming months, but for 2025. Volodymyr Zelensky's announcement of the transition to a defensive phase and the hasty start of constructions similar to those prepared by Russia in 2023 and which received so much ridicule in Ukraine were a confirmation that Ukraine is aware that it is currently in a vulnerable position in which a broad attack is unfeasible.

The increase in military commitments by European countries to compensate for the delay in US financing and the Biden administration's struggle to obtain new financing for the Kiev war confirm that, despite the disappointment over the failure of the Zaporozhye counteroffensive and The current situation, the West continues to see Ukraine as useful in their common fight against Russia, ensuring that funding will persist. The Russian hope that the country will be left to its fate like, for example, Afghanistan, is just a wish that does not take into account the outcome of operations in the rear, especially in the Black Sea. Ukraine's fiasco in the ground offensive, added to the setbacks that have occurred since then in both Donbass and Zaporozhie (Russia captured Marinka and Avdeevka and continues to advance slowly on those fronts while recovering ground in Rabotino, the only success of the counteroffensive summer), eclipse the Ukrainian successes in the rear. The insistence of British intelligence on exalting, and perhaps exaggerating, Ukrainian control of the Black Sea through drone attacks and “asymmetric warfare” shows the interest of the United Kingdom, a traditional naval power, in continuing with the current dynamic in a place which, since the 19th century, has been considered strategic.

Ukraine will continue to receive weapons and financing as long as it avoids the collapse of its armed forces, has prospects of victory or continues to be useful to its allies by wearing down Russia in areas they consider priority. However, the dynamics of the front, the Russian superiority especially relative to artillery fire and its production capacity, and the correlation of forces on the front prevent Ukraine and its partners from trying to repeat the dreamed scenario for 2023. Even so, the Ukrainian authorities, who must maintain the illusion of victory among the population to make possible the recruitment of the half a million soldiers that they aspire to mobilize, insist on implying that their plans have not changed. This has been done recently by Zelensky and this weekend by Defense Minister Umerov, who stated that “everyone says that our results speak for themselves better than our actions. We are doing everything possible and impossible to achieve an emergence. There is already a plan for 2024. We don't talk about it publicly. “It is powerful, it is strong, it not only gives hope, but it will give results in 2024.” However, the weapons required of its partners - long-range missiles and drones mainly - point to the continuation of the current situation: defensive on the land front and attack in the rear, attacking both targets in Crimea and Russia and trying to keep the Black Sea Fleet out of the game with maritime drones. For the moment, through a video showing images of the place, Kirilo Budanov yesterday announced future attacks against the Kerch bridge.

This same week, several analyzes published in major media insist on the objective need for Ukraine to focus on defense against the Russian fortress. “Just a year ago, many predicted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive, bolstered by European tanks and missiles and American artillery and air defenses, could push the Russians back to where they stood on February 24, 2022,” writes The New York Times , actually reducing the expectations of Ukraine, which said it aspired to enter Crimea. The change is notable: “Now, some hard lessons have emerged. The sanctions that were supposed to bring the Russian economy to its knees – “the ruble is almost immediately reduced to rubble,” President Biden declared in Warsaw in March 2022 – have lost their sting. The International Monetary Fund's prediction that the Russian economy would contract sharply was short-lived; With the huge stimulus of military spending, it is growing faster than Germany's. “Income from oil exports is higher than before the invasion.”

The economic situation and the capacity for growth is not the only factor that the media highlights when presenting Ukraine's prospects for 2024 as a mandatory defense to, perhaps, consider the possibility of an attack in 2025.

“It is the third year of the country's large-scale war with Russia and it has been a decade since Moscow illegally annexed Crimea and triggered a conflict in eastern Ukraine,” says Politico , using the main fallacy about how the war began in 2014. “After despair over the initial attack, followed by skyrocketing hopes for a quick reversal, events on the front now point to a year of stagnation,” he adds, defining Ukraine’s “ambitious military objective for this year” as “ hold on” and focus his argument on the military production capacity and availability of troops. Artillery and air defense ammunition is in short supply and weapons such as ATACMS and F-16 tactical missiles will not arrive in significant numbers in the short to medium term. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops are exhausted and the country has a much smaller demographic base than Russia's when it comes to replenishing its ranks. As usual, Politico bases its casualty figures on Ukrainian and Western sources, which put Russian losses at 46,000 dead in the battle for Avdeevka, in which it believes the words of Zelensky, who stated that Russian deaths are seven times higher. to the Ukrainians.

This week, an article published by the Financial Times that reached the same conclusion, the need for short-term defense to plan a long-term attack, estimated Ukrainian casualties at 70,000. Curiously, this is the same figure reported by The New York Times on August 18, 2022. Since then, it has been noted that Ukraine has fought in Rabotino, where it found itself in a pocket of fire from which it could not advance, Kupyansk , Kremennaya, Marinka, Artyomovsk and Avdeevka, battles in which, judging by the press, he does not seem to have suffered any casualties. What's more, yesterday Volodymyr Zelensky put the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the war at 31,000, a figure that is difficult to believe taking into account the intensity and length of the war.

Propaganda linked to casualty figures is reproduced when reporting Russian losses. According to Politico , US authorities estimate Russian casualties at 315,000, including deaths and serious injuries. The figure contrasts with the 75,000 casualties that Meduza , a Russian opposition newspaper based in the European Union, claims to know about, or the 44,654 that Mediazona has confirmed . Whatever the actual figures, which may never be fully known, Western media discourse continues to focus on the idea of ​​Russian casualties far exceeding Ukrainian ones, recruiting difficulties in the Russian Federation, and a tactic of waves of men sent to die that contradicts recent allegations of increased numbers of Russian troops on the front. Ukraine does not have the numerical superiority required for large-scale offensive operations. And although increasing industrial production is the objective of both the countries of the European Union and the United States, in 2024, the West will not be able, according to media such as Politico , to surpass the production of Russia, which also has the help of allies. like the People's Republic of Korea.

The conclusion reached by the media is clear. “Firstly, this spring is about managing expectations, as Ukraine will not have the equipment and personnel necessary to launch a meaningful counteroffensive; secondly, Russia, with the help of its allies, has secured artillery superiority and, together with relentless ground attacks, is crushing the Ukrainian positions; and third, without Western air defense and long-range missiles, as well as artillery shells, kyiv will have difficulty mounting a credible and sustained defense.”

In these circumstances, only the most radical expect a major attack even within a year. "It will be a year of strategic and defense strengthening for both Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic community, a time to build the necessary military and industrial base," Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur was quoted as saying by Politico , adding that "By 2025, Ukraine could have sufficient capabilities and means to defeat Russia."

“For the Ukrainians to have any chance, military history suggests they would need a 3-to-2 advantage in troops and considerably greater firepower,” writes Anatol Lieven in Time magazine , who, from a realist perspective, observes that the situation has changed compared to the first months of the Russian military intervention. “Ukraine enjoyed these advantages in the first year of the war, but now they are in the hands of Russia and it is very difficult for it to recover them,” he says, recommending that Kiev negotiate a peace that Kiev will not accept, since it would imply “leaving for later the territorial question.” For Zelensky, who in May will only have the legitimacy of granting war against Russia, this type of negotiation would only be possible under pressure from his partners, for the moment comfortable with the idea of ​​a Ukraine on the defensive in Donbass or Zaporozhie. , but with the capacity to attack military objectives and civil infrastructure in places as strategic as Crimea. ... rvivencia/

Google Translator


From Cassad's Telegram account:

Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of the special military operation (as of February 25, 2024) The main thing:

the Russian Armed Forces occupied more advantageous positions in the Avdiivka direction and repelled seven counterattacks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

— The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces per day in the Donetsk direction exceeded 360 military personnel;

— Within 24 hours, the Russian Armed Forces defeated 3 brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the South Donetsk direction, the enemy lost up to 140 military personnel;

— Russian air defense forces destroyed 77 Ukrainian drones in one day;

— The Russian Armed Forces repelled 4 counterattacks in the Kupyansk direction, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost up to 180 people;

— The Russian Armed Forces destroyed the Grad MLRS combat vehicle in the South Donetsk direction.

Also, 77 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed, including in the areas of the settlements of Novokrasnyanka, Raigorodka, Troitske, Golikovo of the Lugansk People's Republic, Sladkaya Balka of the Zaporozhye region and Chernomorivka of the Kherson region.

In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed: 574 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,392 unmanned aerial vehicles, 473 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,220 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,225 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,161 field artillery and mortar guns, as well as 19,055 units of special military vehicles.

In the South Donetsk direction , units of the Vostok group of forces inflicted fire on the formations of the 72nd mechanized , 58th motorized infantry brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the 121st terrestrial defense brigade in the areas of the settlements of Novodonetskoye, Ugledar and Staromayorskoye of the Donetsk People's Republic.

Also, in the area of ​​the settlement of Novodonetskoye, Donetsk People's Republic, a counterattack by an assault group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was repelled.

Enemy losses amounted to up to 140 military personnel, two tanks, three armored combat vehicles, seven vehicles and a Grad MLRS combat vehicle .

In addition, the electronic warfare station “Bukovel-AD” and the ammunition depot of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were hit.

▫️In the Kherson direction, as a result of coordinated actions of units of the Dnepr group of forces, fire damage was caused to accumulations of manpower and equipment of the 28th and 65th mechanized brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the areas of the settlements of Rabotino and Shcherbaki, Zaporozhye region.

Also, in the area of ​​​​the village of Rabotino, Zaporozhye region, two counterattacks of assault groups of the 15th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine were repelled.

The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces amounted to up to 30 military personnel, three vehicles and a US-made M777 artillery system .

▫️Operational-tactical aviation , unmanned aerial vehicles , missile forces and artillery of groupings of troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation hit manpower and military equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 127 regions.

▫️During the course of the day, air defense systems shot down six rockets from the HIMARS multiple launch rocket system.

In addition, 77 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed, including in the areas of the settlements of Novokrasnyanka, Raigorodka, Troitskoye, Golikovo in the Lugansk People's Republic, Sladkaya Balka in the Zaporozhye region and Chernomorivka in the Kherson region.

📊In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed: 574 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,392 unmanned aerial vehicles, 473 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,220 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,225 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,161 field artillery and mortar guns, as well as 19,055 units of special military vehicles.


(Totals -25% but that may change soon.)


Avdeevka Denouement: Russian Momentum Turning Point
FEB 24, 2024

A lot of revealing things have come to light in the continuing coverage of the Avdeevka denouement. For the first time, the U.S. mouthpiece was forced to acknowledge Russia is having success: (Video at link.)

This was followed by a series of MSM articles that blew the lid on some of the true losses incurred by the AFU at the final collapse.


The above WaPo article begins with:

KYIV — Ukraine failed to safely evacuate all its troops from the eastern city of Avdiivka during its disorderly retreat last weekend, despite claims from its new top military commander that the move was designed to save lives and avoid encirclement by the advancing Russians.

But the most shocking report came from NYTimes which stated that soldiers close to the action confirmed upwards of 850-1000 AFU were captured during the chaotic retreats:




They go on to write:

But the capture of hundreds of soldiers could change that calculus. American officials have said in recent days that morale was already eroding among Ukrainian troops, in the wake of a failed counteroffensive last year and the removal of a top commander. Because of those problems, the officials said, Ukraine’s military has struggled with recruitment.

So why is this so shocking? Beyond the simple admission of such a huge amount of captures in merely a day or two, the most profound thing is that it confirms Russian figures, which I reported last time. I wrote that Russian sources said at least 500+ had been captured, and pro-UA accounts had scoffed at this number. Thus, if this proves that Russian estimates of captures were accurate, it means Russia’s other even more critical figures are likely accurate as well—for instance, about total AFU losses in Avdeevka.

Shoigu gave the figure as 2,400 casualties just in the final two days of the collapse:


And as for Russia? Shoigu reported the final capture of Avdeevka happened with “minimal losses” on the Russian side:


Some would laugh at the disparity—but as I said, NYTimes already grudgingly proved Russia is giving accurate figures. For anyone who’s been watching the many ‘clean up’ videos that have streamed out post-liberation, you’ve likely seen the mountains of AFU corpses being cleared by Russian forces.

Estimates have total Ukrainian losses in Avdeevka anywhere from 30-60k, but it’s difficult to know the total amount. As for Russian losses, the Ukraine side claims their usual unsourced exorbitant numbers, like 50-100k, etc. One interesting aspect was a Russian blogger named ‘Murz’ who wrote a long despairing rant days ago, claiming Russia lost 16,000 men in Avdeevka, and then took his own life. Murz was close with Strelkov, and together they had long formed the backbone of what some could call a 6th column ‘bloc’. Murz was famous for his constant viterupative complaints and insults against the Russian MOD, as well as regularly wrong ‘predictions’ about Russia losing or not being able to capture anything further.

In light of that, it’s difficult to take Murz’s casualty count seriously, as he was merely a blogger with connections to the military but would not actually be privy to casualty tallies. Also, it should be noted that he expressly said the 16,000 figure was for the entire front ranging from ‘Nevelske to Novoselovke’, which encompasses the very active battlefield of Pervomaiske through Avdeevka and more.

Ultimately, MediaZona has Russia averaging something like 200 weekly dead across the entire war since early October, when the Avdeevka offensive began.


This would allow for something like 3000 dead along the entire front since that period, of which Avdeevka would only be a fraction. If I had to guess, I would say it’s possible Russia lost 2000-4000 in Avdeevka. But recall, Shoigu said Ukraine lost 2500 just in the final two-day collapse—so, extrapolate that out for the entire 4 month campaign. After all, Shoigu said Russia threw 200 tons of precision bombs on Avdeevka daily, equivalent to 200 1000kg Fab glide-bombs, or 400 of the Fab-500s.

Soldiers from Wagner who fought in both Bakhmut and Avdeevka indirectly support this assertion as they’ve recently stated that it was easier in Avdeevka as Ukrainians much more often simply fled rather than putting up a fight: (Video at link.)


But the remarkable thing is that the losses for Ukraine appeared to be so grave, that it seems to have set off a downward spiral of panic and collapse. Figures all across the pro-UA side are now ringing alarm bells. For instance, White House spokesman Sabrina Singh said that if aid is not given soon, Ukraine will have to start choosing “which cities they can or can’t defend”:


Top Ukrainian figures are now publicly echoing that the AFU lines may soon collapse, or are already collapsing on every front:


Here, Vladimir Raschuk, the commander of the Rubezh Brigade from Dnepropetrovsk, predicts the liberation of Dnipro itself “soon” if emergency measures are not taken: (Video at link.)



Though it seems hyperbolic to say this, especially since we’ve said it many times before, but there is a definitive tone shift going on now. A clearly palpable panic is beginning to set in, with the directness of the warnings coming from officials reaching new levels of urgency. Foremost of this recent spate is the following:

Image ... =107169502

Recall we’ve had statements before, from around January, saying that Ukraine’s stockpiles could last ‘two months’. This seems to concur with that.


But here’s the kicker from the article above:

U.S. officials predict similar scenarios will play out elsewhere in Ukraine as the government there is forced to make tough choices on where to put its remaining air defenses -- and as Russia makes greater use of its airpower, including lobbing satellite-guided glide-bombs much as it was in Avdiivka.

"The things that are protected today -- they will not be able to protect all of these locations in the future if they don't maintain supplies of interceptors," the senior defense official said. And if Russia gains control of the skies, "it completely changes the nature of this fight."

Followed by:

Added one Ukrainian official: "Our primary goal is to deter Russian aviation. If we can't do that, it's time to pack our things."


Things are clearly heading in a direction where the Russian war machine is picking up full steam on all sides of the front, which just so happens to coincide with the not-too-distant start of spring. Of course, we must traverse another Rasputitsa mud season first—but the trajectory clearly points to a very bad situation for Ukraine by April or May.

Russian forces have all the initiative, all the tempo, and are breaking through in every sector of the front, according to latest updates.

New York Times on the next likely strikes of the Russian army after Avdiivka. The most likely scenario is the development of an offensive north of Ugledar with an overhanging strike and encirclement of the city.
Another point of focus of the Russian Armed Forces is Rabochino, where events are taking place right now, and the AFU command considers this area to be the most tense, and the concentration of Russian forces is more than near Avdiivka. Another 100 thousand Russian soldiers are gathered in the area from Kremennaya to Kupyansk.

The BBC, meanwhile, already writes that the fall of Avdiivka will mark the biggest change in the front line since the battles for Bakhmut and will have a much stronger impact on the situation than the same Bakhmut.
The commander of the infantry platoon of the 53rd brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated as it is-almost the entire group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine west of Donetsk was tied in logistics to Avdiivka, there are no similar distribution hubs and interchanges west of this city for tens of kilometers. Of course, the capture of Avdiivka will have the greatest impact on the front line in the coming weeks.


Now there’s continued word that Russia gathers a ‘huge force’ in the Zaporozhye region:


That’s in regard to the offensives that have already begun around Rabotino. And as of this writing, reports are now streaming in that Rabotino has either been totally captured or almost entirely, as well as AFU having fully retreated behind the first dragon teeth of the Surovikin line just east of there near Verbove:



That would mean Ukraine is back almost entirely to the starting line of their ‘counter-offensive’.

Unfortunately for Ukraine, rumors of huge embezzlements undermined any defensive preparatory work on Zaporozhye, which is likely why Russia is now able to swiftly retake territory:


The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers did not have enough money for "dragon's teeth" for Zaporizhzhya Regional State Administration of Ukraine

The capital construction department of Zaporizhzhya first opened an auction, but then it was closed due to the lack of funding from the state budget. The local authorities expected to buy 45 thousand concrete pyramids for 88 million hryvnias to fight tanks.

Thus, defense expenditures are simply ignored by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. They simply removed half of the military commanders from their posts, and there is not enough money not only for weapons, but also for concrete blocks. And all because the overseas sponsors have not signed the check yet.

As well as this from Rezident UA:

Our source reported that defensive structures were never systematically built in Ukraine, due to the desire to make money on this issue.

Now information has emerged that the Ministry of Defense team was unofficially strengthened by ex-deputy OP Kirill Timoshenko

According to available information, he is seen every day in the ministry itself.

The functionary, as a former curator and manager of the “Big Construction”, was entrusted with the work of coordinating the construction of fortifications. Kirill Timoshenko knows how to make money on construction sites and manage large budgets, which is why Bankova really needs such a person. ... n-momentum

(Much more at link, check it out.)


Anybody Is Surprised?

I am not. War for the US is grift. Yes, Smedley Butler and racket, we all know that, but this is different here per this DoD Report. As Bloomberg reports:

[color+red]The Pentagon has opened more than 50 criminal investigations into U.S. aid to Ukraine, the agency's inspector general said. At a briefing Thursday, Inspector General Robert Storch said the probes, which are at varying stages, are examining "procurement fraud; product substitution, theft, fraud, or corruption; and diversion." "We have not substantiated any such allegations, though that may well change in the future," he said, according to Bloomberg.[/color]

Well, much of stolen weapons ranging from Javelins to small arms and even Stingers will end up, and you have guessed it, in Europe. In fact, they are already there. I wonder who has them, right? And then, of course, as reported in Russian media there are serious issues with sustainability or, rather, lack thereof with the US shipping its advanced systems such as Patriot PAC3s to 404. Not that the repairing and maintaining them would help with modern ISR. Meanwhile Russian forces continue to liberate townships around Avdeevka. Today Lastochkino and Severnoe have been liberated. In Rabotino the battles rage in the center of the town and, in general, the front is collapsing. Hence, yet another "A-50 shot down", another Russian division "destroyed" and VSU are about to capture Moscow.

Still, why these reports now? Hm. ... rised.html


FEBRUARY 24, 2024 NATYLIESB ... ian-nazis/


Two Years After the Start of the SMO, the West is Totally Paralyzed

Pepe Escobar

February 24, 2024

February 24, 2022 was the day that changed 21st century geopolitics forever, Pepe Escobar writes.

Exactly two years ago this Saturday, on February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin announced the launching – and described the objectives – of a Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine. That was the inevitable follow-up to what happened three days before, on February 21 – exactly 8 years after Maidan 2014 in Kiev – when Putin officially recognized the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

During this – pregnant with meaning – short space of only three days, everyone expected that the Russian Armed Forces would intervene, militarily, to end the massive bombing and shelling that had been going on for three weeks across the frontline – which even forced the Kremlin to evacuate populations at risk to Russia. Russian intel had conclusive proof that the NATO-backed Kiev forces were ready to execute an ethnic cleansing of Russophone Donbass.

February 24, 2022 was the day that changed 21st century geopolitics forever, in several complex ways. Above all, it marked the beginning of a vicious, all-out confrontation, “military-technical” as the Russians call it, between the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder, its easily pliable NATOstan vassals, and Russia – with Ukraine as the battleground.

There is hardly any question Putin had calculated, before and during these three fateful days, that his decisions would unleash the unbounded fury of the collective West – complete with a tsunami of sanctions.

Ay, there’s the rub; it’s all about Sovereignty. And a true sovereign power simply cannot live under permanent threats. It’s even feasible that Putin had wanted (italics mine) Russia to get sanctioned to death. After all, Russia is so naturally wealthy that without a serious challenge from abroad, the temptation is enormous to live off its rents while importing what it could easily produce.

Exceptionalists always gloated that Russia is “a gas station with nuclear weapons”. That’s ridiculous. Oil and gas, in Russia, account for roughly 15% of GDP, 30% of the government budget, and 45% of exports. Oil and gas add power to the Russian economy – not a drag. Putin shaking Russia’s complacency generated a gas station producing everything it needs, complete with unrivalled nuclear and hypersonic weapons. Beat that.

Ukraine has “never been less than a nation”

Xavier Moreau is a French politico-strategic analyst based in Russia for 24 years now. Graduated from the prestigious Saint-Cyr military academy and with a Sorbonne diploma, he hosts two shows on RT France.

His latest book, Ukraine: Pourquoi La Russie a Gagné (“Ukraine: Why Russia has Won”), just out, is an essential manual for European audiences on the realities of the war, not those childish fantasies concocted across the NATOstan sphere by instant “experts” with less than zero combined arms military experience.

Moreau makes it very clear what every impartial, realist analyst was aware of from the beginning: the devastating Russian military superiority, which would condition the endgame. The problem, still, is how this endgame – “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, as established by Moscow – will be achieved.

What is already clear is that “demilitarization”, of Ukraine and NATO, is a howling success that no new wunderwaffen – like F-16s – will be able to change.

Moreau perfectly understands how Ukraine, nearly 10 years after Maidan, is not a nation; “and has never been less than a nation”. It’s a territory where populations that everything separates are jumbled up. Moreover, it has been a – “grotesque” – failed state ever since its independence. Moreau spends several highly entertaining pages going through the corruption grotesquerie in Ukraine, under a regime that “gets its ideological references simultaneously via admirers of Stepan Bandera and Lady Gaga.”

None of the above, of course, is reported by oligarch-controlled European mainstream media.

Watch out for Deng Xiao Putin

The book offers an extremely helpful analysis of those deranged Polish elites who bear “a heavy responsibility in the strategic catastrophe that awaits Washington and Brussels in Ukraine”. The Poles actually believed that Russia would crumble from the inside, complete with a color revolution against Putin. That barely qualifies as Brzezinski on crack.

Moreau shows how 2022 was the year when NATOstan, especially the Anglo-Saxons – historically racist Russophobes – were self-convinced thar Russia would fold because it is a “poor power”. Obviously, none of these luminaries understood how Putin strengthened the Russian economy very much like Deng Xiaoping on the Chinese economy. This “self-intoxication”, as Moreau qualifies it, did wonders for the Kremlin.

By now it’s clear even for the deaf, dumb, and blind that the destruction of the European economy has been a massive tactic, historic victory for the Hegemon – as much as the blitzkrieg against the Russian economy has been an abysmal failure.

All of the above brings us to the meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers this week in Rio. That was not exactly a breakthrough. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it very clear that the collective West at the G20 tried by all means to “Ukrainize” the agenda – with less than zero success. They were outnumbered and counterpunched by BRICS and Global South members.

At his press conference, Lavrov could not be more stark on the prospects of the war of the collective West against Russia. These are the highlights:

Western countries categorically do not want serious dialogue on Ukraine.
There were no serious proposals from the United States to begin contacts with the Russian Federation on strategic stability; trust cannot be restored now while Russia is declared an enemy.
There were no contacts on the sidelines of the G20 with either Blinken or the British Foreign Secretary.
The Russian Federation will respond to new Western sanctions with practical actions that relate to the self-sufficient development of the Russian economy.
If Europe tries to restore ties with the Russian Federation, making it dependent on their whims, then such contacts are not needed.
In a nutshell – diplomatically: you are irrelevant, and we don’t care.

That was complementing Lavrov’s intervention during the summit, which defined once again a clear, auspicious path towards multipolarity. Here are the highlights:

The forming of a fair multipolar world order without a definite center and periphery has become much more intensive in the past few years. Asian, African and Latin American countries are becoming important parts of the global economy. Not infrequently, they are setting the tone and the dynamics.
Many Western economies, especially in Europe, are actually stagnating against this background. These statistics are from Western-supervised institutions – the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD.
These institutions are becoming relics from the past. Western domination is already affecting their ability to meet the requirements of the times. Meanwhile, it is perfectly obvious today that the current problems of humanity can only be resolved through a concerted effort and with due consideration for the interests of the Global South and, generally, all global economic realities.
Institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the EBRD, and the EIB are prioritizing Kiev’s military and other needs. The West allocated over $250 billion to tide over its underling thus creating funding shortages in other parts of the world. Ukraine is taking up the bulk of the funds, relegating Africa and other regions of the Global South to rationing.
Countries that have discredited themselves by using unlawful acts ranging from unilateral sanctions and the seizure of sovereign assets and private property to blockades, embargoes, and discrimination against economic operators based on nationality to settle scores with their geopolitical opponents cannot be considered guarantors of financial stability.
Without a doubt, new institutions that focus on consensus and mutual benefit are needed to democratize the global economic governance system. Today, we are seeing positive dynamics for strengthening various alliances, including BRICS, the SCO, ASEAN, the African Union, LAS, CELAC, and the EAEU.
This year, Russia chairs BRICS, which saw several new members join it. We will do our best to reinforce the potential of this association and its ties with the G20.
Considering that 6 out of 15 UN Security Council members represent the Western bloc, we will support the expansion of this body solely through the accession of countries from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Call it the real state of things, geopolitically, two years after the start of the SMO. ... paralyzed/


NATO Freakout Over Crumbling Ukraine Military: Poland Threatens US with Nuclear Development if No Aid Package
Posted on February 26, 2024 by Yves Smith

Admittedly the Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski is rabidly anti-Russian. Fortunately, there does not seem to be much mainstream Anglosphere press amplification of his remarks at the UN last Friday and his follow-up comments to Bloomberg and CNN. As we’ll see, they are based on the barmy idea that Russia will roll up Poland after fully eating up Ukraine. So Poland is threatening the US that if it does not keep pouring money into the Ukraine black hole, NATO members will have to take matters into their own hands by getting nukes.

As we’ll discuss soon, the vehemence of Sikorski’s comment seems triggered not just by the House’s refusal to approve $61 billion for Ukraine, but also the spectacle of the Ukraine forces starting to crumble with a defeat that at the end turned into a rout in Adiivka.

In a recent post, we considered the question of how Russia seemed vanishingly unlikely to defeat its ultimate opponent, the US and NATO, in the Ukraine proxy war, and what that could mean for how Russia prosecutes the Ukraine war. Recall the Clausewitz standard:

War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.

While NATO members may eventually settle down into what Aurelien calls epic sulking, Sikorski’s remarks illustrate that the most ferociously ant-Russian NATO members, Poland and the Baltic states, will continue to whip up fears of Russian invasion and sapping of precious bodily fluids.

And could they do more than just bark at Russia? As we’ll discuss, Poland’s current and likely near-term support of the Ukraine conflict may Russia in a tricky position and could even affect how it paces the war.

First, let’s look at what Sikorski said1:

🚨 Poland's Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski: If the US fails to deliver military support to Ukraine despite the Commander-in-Chief's desire to do so (President Biden), allies will start developing their own nuclear weapons because America is dysfunctional and unreliable.

Recall that Sikorski, who at the time was not in the Polish government, thanked the US for the destruction of the NordStream pipelines.

His recent remark is not a direct threat but it still is awfully specific. Fortunately, Poland and the Baltic states are not well positioned to move it forward: Wikipedia does not list any of them as having nuclear reactors. Nevertheless, Sikorski’s remarks about nuclear weapons make for a jarring contrast with Poland’s position in opposition to nuclear power being include in the EU “green finance taxonomy”.

Sikorski’s threat display demonstrates that Ukraine defeat at Adiivka has punctured the very large propaganda balloon about inevitable Ukraine victory. For one-stop shopping, Similicius the Thinker has an excellent sitrep that is very heavy on Western news coverage, with alarmed headlines from virtually all major outlets, including the Washington Post, New York Times, The Hill, Politico, ABC.

In concert with downbeat official statements, many reports did not try to pretty up the fact that the Ukraine forces crumbled in Adiivka, by highlighting the capture of troops and the disorderly evacuation, aka rout. Moreover, the press is also covering unsightly realities like the exhaustion and demoralization of Ukraine forces, the losses they have suffered, and even the almost medieval conditions in the trenches.

But Sikorski’s belligerent talk is in keeping with the assessment of Politica’s morning European newsletter, that the posturing greatly exceeds the ability to do much:

LEADERS’ SUMMIT IN PARIS: Some 20 European leaders are meeting today at the Elysée Palace for a hastily convened summit in support of Ukraine….

Their goal? Getting their mojo back to help Ukraine win against Russia’s advancing troops….

Words vs. actions: The problem with the EU’s enthusiastic support? To date, the rhetoric hasn’t been matched with sufficient ammunition and weapons deliveries — with North Korea and Iran sending more ammo to Russia than the entire EU has to Ukraine….

But many Europeans are gloomy: Without action to back it up, the Elysée is increasingly alone in its optimism. Only one in 10 Europeans think Ukraine can win, according to a recent poll….

The question European leaders will need to answer: Are they prepared — and willing — to step in and make up for a flagging U.S.?.

A careful reader will notice that this is just a new version of the old “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian” strategy, that the EU is at best intending to send more weapons when its and the US’ deliveries were not enough to overcome Russian forces. A new analysis, republished in TASS, dutifully recounts how Western weaponry in the famed summer counter-offensive greatly exceeded what Russia brought to that fight. Of course, there is the wee matter that the West provided almost nada in the way of air support, which is considered in the sort of doctrinal offensive that the US and NATO ginned up. And among other failings, they also appeared not to have contemplated Russia mining their too-clearly-announced line of attack, and then quickly mining behind the advancing forces, so they suffered more losses when retreating.

And the “do more of what so far has failed” not only does not acknowledge that Western weapons cupboards are looking mighty bare, but also, as Scott Ritter and Brian Berletic have pointed out, disparate EU weapons systems, like a multiplicity of tanks, creates a logistical nightmare, so the value of those arms is blunted by the complications in deploying and sustaining them. And there is the elephant in the room: that Ukraine has long ago run out of the ability to shanghai conflict-capable men, and has taken to press-ganging the unfit (in age and intellect) and is also conscripting women. The media has chosen to focus much more on shrinking weapons supplies, but has increasingly started to include more mentions of the manpower shortage, particularly of anyone with a modicum of experience.

However, second, there is a more immediate and serious cause for concern. The US and EU member states still keep moving up the escalation ladder with Russia as Project Ukraine founders. And a move that had seemed unduly provocative may now be under serious contemplation, as in having nominally Ukraine-piloted F-16s attack Russia, potentially out of NATO states. Jens Stoltenberg has also just announced that NATO is on board with Kiev attacking targets “outside Ukraine,” aka in Russia, so long as the target has been approved, presumably meaning colorably military. From the Financial Times:

Ukraine has the right to strike “Russian military targets outside Ukraine” in line with international law, the Nato secretary-general has said for the first time since the start of the full-scale war nearly two years ago.

Jens Stoltenberg earlier this week acknowledged that the use of western-supplied arms to strike targets in Russia had long been a point of contention among Kyiv’s allies, due to fears of escalating the conflict….

A Nato official confirmed to the Financial Times on Thursday that Stoltenberg said Kyiv had the right to self-defence, including by striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine….

In recent months Kyiv has stepped up strikes on military targets inside Russia with drones and long-range missiles, including an oil depot used by the Russian army near St Petersburg.

However, due to western sensitivities around attacks on Russian territory, Ukraine has only ever alluded to its responsibility. A spokesperson for Ukraine’s air defence forces, Yuriy Ignat, said that Ukraine “as a rule, does not comment”.

France and the UK, which have already supplied Kyiv with long-range missiles, have been cautious about endorsing such strikes for fear of escalation with Moscow.

Russia had said a long time ago that any use of foreign materiel or bases in an attack on Russia would amount to an act of war and Russia would respond.

But Russia has not treated this line as hard and fast. That is likely because that Ukraine and its NATO helpers have bothered with creating a veneer of deniability with these attacks, for instance depicting some as the doing of dissidents in Russia. It’s also close to conventional for major powers to send little green men in to “advise” pet state actors and as we know all too well from the Middle East, sponsor terrorists as long as we like their choice of enemies.

But Russia is well aware of transgressions. Precision targeting almost certainly means US/NATO assistance. Many of the weapons platforms, such at the Patriot, are difficult to master and thus are pretty certain to be operated in large measure by NATO “volunteers”.

Foreign mercenaries have been active in Ukraine. Russia has even been credited with striking gatherings of NATO “advisers.” In his recent Tucker Carlson interview, Putin mention that, in order, Polish, Georgian and US mercenaries are most active in Ukraine. Per Alexander Mercouris, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu briefed Putin that the Ukraine war effort was being run by the West, out of Poland (presumably based on this session. Note I have been unable to find a transcript or an English subtitled version).

Let’s put this in context of the state of play. Many of the panicked reports describe that Ukraine really will run out of many critical weapons, at least relative to the level needed to prevent catastrophic losses, starting at the end of March. The most important is air defense, which is reportedly set to dry up then. This is far and away the biggest potential casualty: with Russia having total control of the skies, it could take out many more targets.

Mind you, experts point out that even if the US $61 billion were approved in early March, it’s not clear how much the US could deliver quickly given its depleted stocks. Zelensky want to acquire Patriot missiles, which are already in short supply.

But the $61 billion is also reported to be necessary to fund Ukraine’s much anticipated mass conscription, which has yet to be approved. Ukraine, which has its own currency, certainly could “print” if it wanted to to finance the initiative. One assumes the actual constraint is political: that without ongoing Western support, Ukraine would suffer mass upheaval as citizens rebelled against throwing yet more men and now even women into the meat grinder. The government apparently judges that there is not enough Banderite muscle to compel compliance in the absence of Western backing.

However, the Financial Times, consistent with earlier accounts, warns that the NATO forces are seriously contemplating at least two avenues of attack directly on Russia:

In Germany, lawmakers are seeking to persuade Chancellor Olaf Scholz to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine, a long-standing demand from Kyiv as it could use the advanced German weapon to strike Russia’s supply lines.

The government’s parliamentary majority on Thursday was set to approve a motion asking Scholz to deliver “additional long-range weapons systems” to Kyiv, which many take to mean Taurus. The German missile has a slightly longer range than its French and British equivalents and is more sophisticated against reinforced structures, such as bunkers and bridges.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted last year that Moscow could strike western-supplied F-16s outside Ukraine’s borders, which he said risked bringing Nato into a direct conflict with Russia. “This seriously risks dragging Nato further into this armed conflict,” Putin said in June.” The tanks are burning and the F-16s will burn just as well.”

The pink paper is being coy about F-16s. It is not just that they would be Western-supplied. They would almost certainly have to operate from airbases outside Ukraine, since they require pristine runaways and Russia could make sure there weren’t any. Poland appears to be too far from Russia (even Crimea) for the F-16 to launch attack anywhere that might raise Russia’s hackles. But Romania might be plausible for continuing to attack the Donbass. Readers?

Now it may be between the distance to Russia proper and the low likelihood that the F-16s would be effective even if they got that far that Russia is more worried in principle than practice. Scott Ritter has said that an F-16 would be visible to Russia upon takeoff and the odds of a pilot returning alive was 20%.

However, many commentators have taken note of the current uncomfortable resemblance of the current conflict to the runup to World War I, including a plethora of incompetent leaders and key officials. Many contend that no one wanted a big war (which is an exaggeration; there were interests that wanted a fight) and that conflict blew big due to a series of miscommunications and misreadings, plus rigid treaty obligations.

So Russia is no doubt mindful of the risk that the West could do something colossally stupid, as in mount a serious enough attack on Russia to protect its amour propre that Russia would be compelled to retaliate against an offending NATO member.

This is a long-winded set-up to an amendment to the view of the earlier post, which argued that Russia had ample reasons to move slowly even when the Ukraine military started imploding: the need to do first things first (fully capture and clear all the oblasts that joined Russia), see what the progress of economic and political collapse implied for the best next steps. and the lack of a real need to move rapidly.

We also stressed that the principle of “Do not make sudden moves around crazy people” also argued for a measured approach.

But if the NATO powers look determined to inflict damage on Russia, even if that would be unproductive to counterproductive, that could suggest a need to move faster, not necessarily in terms of territorial acquisition (occupying terrain is costly and would add to the Collective West freakout) but the pace of destruction of the Ukraine military. Heads exploding across NATO-sphere suggests Russia might want to take maximum advantage of the soon-to-open window of Ukraine being badly undersupplied, most of all on the critical air defense front. Simplicius gives a very good description of how Russia is now punching Ukraine from multiple directions, regularly catching Western planners off guard and disproving the claim that in the brave new world of ISR, surprise is impossible.

Simplicius and other point out that Russia has been concentrating forces, both in the Zaporzhizhia area and has been reversing the meager gains of the great Ukraine counteroffensive, and also has troops buildups not just near Kharkiv but also Sumy. The map-watchers so far think they are not big enough for a big arrow offensive.

But it does mean Russia would not find it hard to feed a great many more men into positions opposite the already-bucking line of contact. And a decisive collapse might persuade the West it had no good countermoves save licking its wounds and trying to foment terrorism within Russia, a la the IRA in England.

In other words, it seems possible that Russia could kick its operations into a higher gear than otherwise necessary to protect the West from itself.


1 Sikorski’s remarks at the UN, which then led to a round of press interviews: (Video at link.) ... ckage.html

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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 27, 2024 1:12 pm

Gas: economic and geopolitical factor
POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 02/27/2024


Relatively missing for months, overshadowed by the development of events on the front, the gas issue has returned to the political agenda related to the Ukrainian conflict. And it has done so both on the part of Ukraine and the United States, and due to the latest news about the investigations into the attack against Nord Stream. On February 6, claiming that the case is not within its jurisdiction, Sweden decided to close its investigation and hand over the materials at its disposal to the German authorities. Yesterday, under a slightly different premise, Denmark did the same, leaving the burden of the investigation in the hands of Germany, the most affected country, since the Nord Stream communicated directly with its priority energy supplier until 2022, Russia. The Danish authorities explained yesterday that, despite having verified that the explosions were due to intentional sabotage, "there are no sufficient reasons" to continue with a criminal case. The closure of the cases in Sweden and Denmark leaves the German investigation as the only ongoing investigation, weighed down by the lack of interest in establishing that it was probably not an enemy, but an ally who blew up the gas pipelines and also by Poland's refusal to cooperate. With Ukraine in the crosshairs of all known evidence, the role of Warsaw looking the other way, as an intermediary or accomplice, is also in question. According to the media, both Sweden and Denmark had cooperated with the German investigation, while Poland had refused to share the evidence at its disposal with Berlin.

But the gas issue is not limited to the European attempt to make people forget what happened in September 2022 in the Baltic Sea. Important as an economic factor, but also geopolitical, the interests linked to gas are not limited to the Nord Stream situation but affect the interests of Ukraine, European countries and the United States. In the case of Kiev, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal insisted after his meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico that there will be no transit of Russian gas through Ukraine from 2025. After years in which Kiev begged its European partners that forced Gazprom to maintain gas transit through its territory, Ukraine has finally opted for the opposite. At that time, an impoverished Ukraine, having lost part of its economic relations with Russia and trying to finance its war in Donbass, sought to maintain the lucrative revenues implied by a gas transit agreement with Russia.

These contracts not only financed part of the expenses of Ukraine's war against Donbass, but have been one of the bases of the wealth of the oligarchic clans that have dominated the Ukrainian economy since independence. Now, the Zelensky Government is trying to deprive that oligarchy of those shares of power and replace those figures with big international capital. But, above all, kyiv seeks a complete break with the Russian Federation, also with regard to gas transit, now that it is trying to definitively link itself, even if under conditions of subordination, to Western countries. Ukraine thus believes it has other sources of income, which is why it is now giving up the income for which it fought so hard in the past. However, the fact that the issue has returned to the public agenda after the meeting with one of the countries that advocate the resumption of economic relations with Russia and that is, in turn, reluctant to continue military assistance to Ukraine , suggests that it may still be a card in the negotiation

At the international level, the gas issue has also been present on the political agenda for years. The United States never approved of the strong ties of European countries with the Russian Federation in that regard. The case of Germany stands out above the rest as it is the continent's leading economy. For this reason, and especially because of its significance as a symbol of the deepening relationship between the two great European powers, Washington always fought against the Nord Stream project. Once the construction of the expansion that the United States tried to prevent was completed, Nord Stream-2 never came into operation. As it had promised to do if there was an invasion of Ukraine, Germany prevented the inauguration of the gas pipeline. However, its existence continued to make possible the future resumption of the economic and political relationship between Russia and Germany, the feared Berlin-Moscow axis, with the potential to expand to Beijing. In September 2022, still to be resolved by whose hands, although all Western eyes have long been pointing to kyiv, that problem ceased to be a problem. The explosions in Nord Stream 1 and 2 left three of the gas pipeline's four pipes out of operation. The possibilities of resuming gas transit require a multimillion-dollar repair, for which only Russia has been very discreetly in favor.

The war had already caused Germany and other Western countries to begin the process of disengaging and abandoning Russian energy products. The disappearance in 2022 of the Nord Stream, already paralyzed at that time, did not represent a change, but it does have implications for the future. By the time the attack against Nord Stream destroyed the possibility of maintaining direct relations between Germany and Russia, the diversification of energy sources had already begun, among which were gas from countries as democratic as Qatar or Azerbaijan and the increase in liquefied gas imports. This is where curiosities have occurred, such as the sharp increase in the import of liquefied gas from Russia in countries such as Spain or Belgium. However, the great winner of this political and economic game of the paradigm shift in the European energy market has been the United States.

The investment in preparing ports for the reception of liquefied gas has been millions in countries like Germany, accustomed to the availability of cheap and accessible gas through different gas pipelines, has had to prepare for the changes brought about by the Ukrainian conflict. and the renunciation of economic relations with Moscow.

Despite having fought for years against Russian gas to try to gain a share of the lucrative European market, the United States announced this week that there will be no investments in the creation of new liquefied gas export infrastructure. Taking into account the difficulties that the European Union has suffered in finding the necessary markets to replace Russian gas, the news has caused concern on the continent, especially in those countries with greater gas import needs. Although Washington has insisted that the measure will not affect the supply of liquefied gas that the United States must supply to Europe, the news shows a change in energy policy that makes the raw material, not only more expensive than the Russian one, but less reliable. After years of pressure on European countries to voluntarily and for political reasons give up a cheap energy source, the United States adds a dose of uncertainty that has surprised European countries, which have already lost the opportunity to resume imports from Russia .

The apparent US information bomb hides, however, large doses of electoral theatrics. The United States is aware that it cannot interrupt the supply of liquefied gas to European countries if it wants the European Union to increase its economic and military assistance to Ukraine. The argument for the stoppage of new projects is based on an environmental argument: for years, activists against climate change have warned of the unsustainability of these exports, an especially important reasoning among the young population. Just over nine months before the elections, Joe Biden is desperately seeking to mobilize the young vote, especially taking into account that his position on Israel's war against Gaza has meant a significant drain on votes. Faced with the clearly pro-Israel positions of older generations, the younger ones show, according to surveys, their rejection of Israel's actions and their distaste for Joe Biden's position. In this context, the sudden change of attitude regarding gas exports is an attempt to regain that lost vote. At the moment, this is not a ban, but rather a review that will last for months. After the elections, a Republican victory would immediately reverse the decision and it is more than likely that a Democrat would do so as well.

In Ukraine, gas can act as a card in negotiations with countries reluctant to continue and increase the supply of financing and weapons. In the United States, it has become an electoral weapon. In both cases, it is the European countries that have to manage the uncertainty. ... opolitico/

Google Translator


From Cassad's telegram account:


The battle for Krasnogorovka
about the situation at the end of February 26, 2024

🔻In the Donetsk direction, Russian troops continue offensive operations and expansion of the zone of control west of the capital of the Donetsk People's Republic.

▪️In Krasnogorovka, the Russian Armed Forces advanced in the private sector in the area of ​​Shevchenko Street and Paris Commune . According to yet unconfirmed reports, battles are already taking place in the industrial zone of an abandoned car repair plant .

▪️If in the south of the settlement the situation is more or less clear, then to the east of Krasnogorovka everything is covered with the “fog of war”, because from the side of Staromikhailovka , judging by the absence of any information, there were no attempts to advance. Artillery strikes are actively being carried out on the village.



Avdeevka direction: Assault on Orlovka and Tonenky,
the situation as of 17:00 on February 26, 2024,

the Russian Armed Forces continue to build on their success after the capture of Avdeevka, advancing on several sectors of the front.

On the northern flank there are attacks on Berdychi and Semyonovka, where the presence of the enemy who retreated from Avdeevka remains. There have been no attempts to advance here yet, since Petrovskoye is located in a lowland, and the secret accumulation of forces is a difficult task.

At the same time, the RF Armed Forces, relying on Lastochkino, after airstrikes, advanced in an armored group along the O0542 highway and caught on the southern outskirts of Orlovka on Brothers Paukov Street north of Shkolny and Michurinsky-3 headquarters.

At the same time, battles are taking place on the southeastern and southern outskirts of Tonenkoye, access to which was opened after the cleansing of Severny. Russian forces are advancing from at least two directions: through the fields and plantings to the south and along the Tonkaya gully.


Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of the special military operation (as of February 26, 2024) The main thing:

the Russian Armed Forces repelled three attacks by assault groups of the Ukrainian Armed Forces per day in the Donetsk direction, the total enemy losses here exceeded 420 military personnel;

— Russian air defense systems shot down two Storm Shadow missiles and five HIMARS shells in one day;

— The Russian Armed Forces hit a Norwegian-made NASAMS air defense missile launcher;

— The Russian Armed Forces repelled seven attacks by the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Sinkovka in the Kharkov region and two counterattacks near Tern in the DPR;

— The Russian Armed Forces improved the situation along the front line in the Avdeevka direction, repelled six counterattacks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the enemy lost up to 410 troops;

— The Russian Armed Forces in the southern Donetsk direction occupied more advantageous lines and positions, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost up to 150 military personnel;

— More than 60 Ukrainian drones were shot down per day by Russian air defense systems;

— The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost up to 145 military personnel and 7 pieces of equipment in the Kupyansk direction per day.

Also, 62 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed, including in the areas of the settlements of Novokrasnyanka, Lisichansk of the Lugansk People's Republic, Kopani of the Zaporozhye region and Gladovka of the Kherson region.

In total , since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed : 574 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,454 unmanned aerial vehicles, 474 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,237 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,226 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,167 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 19,095 units of special military vehicles.

▫️In the South Donetsk direction, units of the Vostok group of forces occupied more advantageous lines and positions , and also inflicted fire defeat on the formations of the 128th Terrestrial Defense Brigade in the areas of the settlements of Vodyanoye, Urozhaynoye and Staromayorskoye of the Donetsk People's Republic.

In addition, two attacks by assault groups of the 102nd Terrestrial Defense Brigade were repelled in the area of ​​the village of Marfopol, Zaporozhye region.

The enemy's losses amounted to up to 150 military personnel, three armored combat vehicles, four vehicles, as well as an electronic warfare station.

▫️ In the Kherson direction, as a result of active actions by units of the Dnepr group of forces, fire damage was caused to accumulations of manpower and equipment of the 44th airmobile and 65th mechanized brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the 15th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine in the areas of the settlements of Orekhov and Malaya Tokmachka Zaporozhye areas.

In addition, in the area of ​​​​the village of Rabotino, Zaporozhye region, an attack by the assault group of the 118th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was repelled .

Enemy losses amounted to up to 50 military personnel, a tank, two armored combat vehicles, nine cars, a D-20 howitzer, and a Grad MLRS combat vehicle.

▫️Operational-tactical aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles, missile forces and artillery of groupings of troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation hit a launcher of the Norwegian-made NASAMS anti-aircraft missile system, as well as manpower and military equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 107 regions.

▫️Air defense systems shot down two Storm Shadow cruise missiles, as well as five HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems.

In addition, 62 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed , including in the areas of the settlements of Novokrasnyanka, Lisichansk of the Lugansk People's Republic, Kopani of the Zaporozhye region and Gladovka of the Kherson region.

▫️In total , since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed : 574 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,454 unmanned aerial vehicles, 474 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,237 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,226 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,167 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 19,095 units of special military vehicles.

🔹 Russian Ministry of Defens


Google Translator


Debunking Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski’s Pro-Ukrainian Appeal To The American People


FEB 26, 2024

Without realizing it, Sikorski is doing more to discredit the US than Congress’ failure to pass the latest aid package since he’s getting some people’s hopes unrealistically high about the possibility of strategically defeating Russia only for them to inevitably be disappointed regardless of whether it passes, while Congress’ approach implies tacit recognition of the cold reality that the West can’t win.

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski made a pro-Ukrainian appeal to the American people while talking with Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. The gist was that their country will lose its credibility if Congress doesn’t pass another Ukrainian aid package since it would undermine faith in the US after Biden infamously pledged “to do whatever it takes for however it long it takes” to strategically defeat Russia. His rhetoric is easily debunked though since nobody should have ever taken those words at face value.

They were always aimed at boosting Ukrainian morale and galvanizing Western unity with the intent of encouraging the rest of that bloc to follow America’s lead. After the counteroffensive failed, allied support waned once it became impossible to maintain the false narrative of Kiev’s “invincibility”, which was peddled over the prior 18 months for misleading the public into supporting this proxy war. Upon that happening, many folks became apathetic, and some even reversed their stance towards the conflict.

Furthermore, few are falling for anti-Russian fearmongering after realizing that this country doesn’t pose any credible threat to NATO if it can’t even expel Ukraine from the entirety of Donbass despite two years of trying, thus discrediting Sikorski’s claim that Russia wants to turn Poland back into a “colony”. His host prompted him to put an anti-Trump spin on everything too by asking him about the former President’s comments about NATO, which he said risk emboldening Russia and undermining European confidence.

According to Sikorski, it’s their confidence in Article 5 – namely that America will intervene in defense of its fellow allies in the event that they’re attacked – which is the most important part of NATO, and this is supposedly threatened after what Trump said. Not only that, but Poland’s top diplomat also added that East Asians might wonder whether America will intervene in their defense if they’re also attacked, which was an allusion to anti-Chinese fearmongering and plans to build a so-called “Asian NATO” via AUKUS+.

What he deliberately omitted to mention is that the US doesn’t have legal mutual defense obligations to Ukraine like it does to NATO members and those East Asian countries like Japan and South Korea with whom it has similar agreements. The same goes for Taiwan, which isn’t a country unlike Ukraine, yet Sikorski wants to muddle everything in the American people’s minds in order to mislead them into pressuring their lawmakers on Ukraine aid out of fear that the US will lose its credibility if it doesn’t pass.

Left unsaid is the fact that the West’s military-industrial wherewithal is a lot weaker than expected after this bloc ran through almost all of its stockpiles in just two years’ time without inflicting their hoped-for strategic defeat on Russia. To the contrary, Russia’s resilience in the face of last summer’s counteroffensive enabled it to actually gain ground by the end of the year, thus ironically inflicting a strategic defeat on the West by exposing the hollowness of its military-industrial complex and planning.

Since Russia already won the “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” with NATO by far, no amount of money is going to make a difference in reshaping these dynamics since it’s all about weapons production, not financing. Russia is simply out-producing the entire West, which is why it’s gradually gaining ground instead of retreating, though the pace with which it’s advancing has been very slow due to Ukraine’s NATO-built defenses over the past decade and its suicidal “meat wave” tactics in major battles.

Without realizing it, Sikorski is doing more to discredit the US than Congress’ failure to pass the latest aid package since he’s getting some people’s hopes unrealistically high about the possibility of defeating Russia only for them to inevitably be disappointed no matter whether or not it passes, while Congress’ approach implies tacit recognition of reality. Russia’s victory in Avdeevka reinforces the fact that the West can’t win, yet the Polish Foreign Minister still keeping up the charade with his psychological games.

The most “pro-Ukrainian” policy that the West can implement is therefore forcing Kiev to resume negotiations with Russia aimed at reaching a pragmatic compromise on the Kremlin’s security guarantee requests in light of the new military-strategic reality two years after the special operation began. That would alleviate the immense hardships that Zelensky is forcing his people to bear in pursuit of the abovementioned delusional goal, though it’ll likely still be some time before everything finally ends. ... n-minister


10,000,000 rubles are sent to the winners
February 26, 22:36


The promised prize of 10,000,000 rubles for the first destroyed American Abrams tank is sent to the 15th separate motorized rifle brigade.

Destruction of the NASAMS air defense system
February 26, 18:56


In the Zaporozhye area, our reconnaissance tracked down a Norwegian NASAMS air defense system. The launcher was destroyed by an Iskander OTR missile.

Google Translator


NATO’s Debate Over Whether To Conventionally Intervene In Ukraine Shows Its Desperation


FEB 27, 2024

NATO is planning for a possible Russian breakthrough across the Line of Contact later this year but isn’t yet sure how to react if that happens.

French President Macron hosted over 20 fellow European leaders in Paris on Monday to discuss their next moves in Ukraine, including the possibility of a conventional NATO intervention, which he said they hadn’t ruled out for reasons of “strategic ambiguity” despite not reaching a consensus on this. His Polish counterpart Duda also confirmed that this subject was the most heated part of their discussions. The very fact that this scenario is being officially considered shows how desperate NATO has become.

Russia’s victory in Avdeevka, which was the natural result of it winning the “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” with NATO, prompted policymakers to contemplate what they’ll do in the event that it achieves a breakthrough across the Line of Contact (LOC) and starts steamrolling through the rest of Ukraine. They hadn’t previously considered this to be a serious possibility until last summer’s failed counteroffensive exposed the weakness of their military-industrial complex and tactical-strategic planning.

It's now a credible scenario that’s reviving speculation about a Polish-led intervention aimed at drawing a red line in the sand for halting any potential Russian breakthrough before it gets too far. This would preserve the G7’s “sphere of (economic) influence” in Ukraine while preventing that former Soviet Republic’s collapse and thus averting another Afghan-like foreign policy disaster for the West. The problem, however, is that Poland also doesn’t want to be put up to this only to be hung out to dry.

Although Poland has comprehensively subordinated itself to Germany after the return of Berlin-backed Prime Minister Tusk to power late last year and envisages carving out its own “sphere of influence” in Western Ukraine, this doesn’t mean that it wants to lead a Western intervention there. The risk of World War III breaking out with Russia by miscalculation is much too high and Poland might fear that NATO won’t activate Article 5 if it clashes with Russia inside Ukraine in order to prevent that from happening.

These concerns could explain why there wasn’t any consensus during Monday’s meeting on this issue since other members wisely won’t want to take the chance of catalyzing an apocalyptic scenario, ergo the reason why the West might be plotting a false flag in Poland to blame on Russia and Belarus. President Lukashenko warned about that in late February, and if it comes to pass, then it could serve as the trigger for pushing Poland into leading a Western intervention in Ukraine without full NATO backing.

Warsaw could be misled to believe without any written guarantees that it has the bloc’s support and Article 5 would be activated if its forces clash with Russia’s there, but only to be hung out to dry if that happens so as to stave off World War III by miscalculation for the greater good. Nevertheless, it would still serve the purpose of drawing a red line in the sand that could halt Russia’s advance since NATO might escalate via brinksmanship afterwards by promising to activate Article 5 if the clashes continue.

Poland would also be left to pick up the tab in that event by having to pay the financial and physical costs of this de facto NATO intervention, thus representing an amoral form of “burden-sharing” that would fall solely on its taxpayers instead of the rest of the bloc’s. The farmers’ protests that are rocking that country right now could lead to a full-blown rebellion if that happens since others could join in, however, which the ruling liberal-globalists would prefer not to unfold since they fear that they’d risk losing power.

That’s why they’re reluctant to lead a Western intervention in Ukraine since there’s a high chance that it’ll backfire on them in particular and Poland’s national interests in general despite being to the benefit of Western hegemony as a whole. Whatever ends up happening, the takeaway from Monday’s meeting in Paris and the details that were revealed about their discussions is that NATO is planning for a possible Russian breakthrough across the LOC later this year but isn’t yet sure how to react if that happens.

Poland could either be pushed to preempt that voluntarily or after being manipulated by the false flag that President Lukashenko warned last week is being plotted, with the second option also potentially being employed right after any breakthrough. If this occurs before NATO’s “Steadfast Defender 2024” drills wrap up in June, then those of the bloc’s forces that are presently training in Poland for its largest continental exercises since the Old Cold War could play a pivotal support role or possibly join in as well.

Should a breakthrough occur after those war games end as part of the Russian offensive that Zelensky claimed is being planned for as early as May, however, then Poland probably couldn’t count on as much NATO support and would likely be pressured to go it alone (at least at first) with only vague promises. Another possibility is that the exercises are extended, whether in whole or in part, including through the semi-permanent stationing of some other NATO forces like Germany’s there until the offensive ends.

That might give Poland enough reassurance to take a leap of faith in plunging head-first into Ukraine with the expectation that the rest of NATO will follow even if they purposely lag behind in order to avoid World War III with Russia by miscalculation as was previously explained. It remains to be seen what’ll happen, but as Macron himself said, “we will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war” and this therefore means that NATO will certainly intervene to some extent if Russia breaks through the LOC.

The bloc can’t afford another Afghan-like disaster, let alone on European soil in the most geostrategically significant conflict since World War II, which is why it won’t sit idly on the sidelines as Ukraine collapses if there’s a credible chance of that happening and Russia steamrolling through the ruins. The only reason why they’re now planning for this is because Russia’s victory in the “race of logistics”/“war of logistics” makes it conceivable sometime later this year, though it of course can’t be taken for granted either. ... entionally

Low probability, though the admonition to not make any sudden moves around crazy people is well taken. However, I don't think they're crazy, I think this bluff. Europe is not anywhere near ready to mess with an aroused Bear. Significant US ground forces, not just a trip wire, would take months to deploy, giving Russia all the time in the world to prepare. Russia will take back Novorossiya and no more, settle it's security concerns and a neutralized Ukraine will be left for Europe to sort out.


Ukraine can produce much more weapons. What is needed for this?

Translation of a post in Ukrainian liberal media: Military industrial progress and its financial limitations / the positive example of Israel / the idea of military industrial integration with the EU

FEB 20, 2024

The original (28 December 2023) was published here, on Economic Truth, a sub-publication of Ukrainian Truth, the premiere Ukrainian liberal publication.

The domestic defense industry is significantly increasing production. To realize its full potential, there is a lack of financing, personnel, and effective interaction between the state and business.
"They produce nothing, the Ukrainian defense industry will soon cease to exist," Russian President Putin said in June. Domestic defense plants are like Ukraine's air defense system: they have already been destroyed three times in Russian military operations, but their capacity is only growing.

Western partners are reducing the supply of equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, while Russia is increasing its spending on the war by 70%. It is becoming clear that from 2024 on, Ukraine will rely more on its own weapons production. This is not just a matter of the "million drones" promised by Zelenskyy. The political leadership should also think about classical weapons: armored vehicles, ammunition, missiles, air defense, etc. All of this is in the context of limited time and funding.

The enemy produces military equipment in shopping centers and even bakeries. The Russians are rapidly modernizing their developments for the needs of the front line and putting all innovative ideas on the assembly line, even if they were invented by Ukrainian engineers.

The Russian defense industry is a large-scale state system with enormous financial capabilities. It can only be resisted by another system that works much more efficiently even with fewer resources. Ukraine has no choice but to transform its own defense industry into such a system.

What Ukraine produces

During the first months of the great war, Ukrainian gunsmiths survived under fire and moved to safe places. Those who managed it faster invested and built new production chains. When it became clear that military plants were capable of operating under Russian missiles, the attitude towards the defense industry changed: the state increased orders and began investing in capacity expansion.

However, the equipment for weapons production is expensive and specific: procurement of individual machines can take two years. Therefore, the defense industry began to show the first results only in the second half of 2023.

The state-owned Ukroboronprom [Ukrainian Defense Industry] increased its arms production by 92% over the year. Despite the constant missile threat, state-owned enterprises are exceeding production targets. The production of new types of weapons has begun: self-propelled artillery, ammunition, kamikaze drones, etc.

Domestic enterprises produce several analogs of Russian "Shaheds". For example, as part of the Black Box project of the Come Back Alive Foundation, private companies are assembling kamikaze drones that have caused $900 million in damage to Russia. Ukroboronprom has launched mass production of the Liutiy UAV. It is known that it is produced in dozens per month and has already had a combat flight at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers.

Hundreds of Stugna anti-tank missiles are produced every month. Water drones for hunting Russian ships are mass-produced by several companies. Ukrainian producers of the Bogdan self-propelled artillery system can produce a dozen vehicles a month.

Innovative Ukrainian water drones effectively counteract the Russian Navy

FPV drones, reconnaissance drones, and electronic warfare systems are being produced by dozens of companies and hundreds of engineers. The restoration and production of armored vehicles continues. The number of Ukrainian armored vehicles produced has probably exceeded 1,000.

Ukrainian designers are working on several projects for domestic air defense: it is planned to combine launchers, radars, and missiles from different systems. More and more information about the missile program is becoming available. The Defense Ministry hints that it will order the latest “Coral” anti-aircraft missiles from Luch Design Bureau.

Ukrainian Neptune missile sinks Russian cruiser Moskva

Despite the successful first steps, the domestic defense industry covers only a small part of the needs of the front line. The government is confident that in 2024 it will be able to increase arms production many times over. However, there are several obstacles to overcome.

Where to get the money
In 2024, the Ministry of Defense will allocate UAH 265 billion for arms procurement. First, this is 25% less than in 2023. Secondly, most of these funds will be used to purchase imported equipment.

Fortunately, not only the Ministry of Defense, but also the State Special Communications Service, the National Guard, the Security Service of Ukraine, city councils, foundations, and individual military units order weapons. In 2024, the State Special Communications Service alone will spend more than UAH 43 billion on drones, which it will receive from the redistribution of the so-called military personal income tax.

In total, $3 billion will be spent on the purchase of Ukrainian weapons in 2024. This is three times more than in 2023, but it is not enough. According to the Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshyn, the budget money is enough to utilize only half of the Ukrainian defense industry's capacity.

The purchase of only "a million FPV drones" will cost about $500 million. Contracting for a year of Bohdan air defense systems at the current production rate will cost another $200 million. In addition, the state needs to buy domestic ammunition, missiles, unmanned systems, and assemble and repair armored vehicles.

Israel once found itself in a similar situation. The country sought to develop its own defense industry, but did not have the funds to do so. Then the country's authorities agreed with the United States that 25% of their military aid (hundreds of millions of dollars annually) could be converted into shekels and spent on the purchase of Israeli weapons.

Ukraine can also apply for such conditions, but in this case the donor will be the European Union, not the United States. The bloc is currently developing a joint defense strategy. The failure of the plan to produce 1 million rounds of ammunition for Ukraine suggests that the capacity of their defense industry does not cover real needs.

In November, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced her readiness to include Ukraine in the EU's defense strategy to meet Kyiv's needs for military equipment. The idea of financing orders for Ukrainian companies with European funds has already been discussed at a high level.

However, it is not an easy task to integrate into the EU defense industry and gain the trust of European officials. To do this, reforms need to be accelerated: form an independent supervisory board at Ukroboronprom, demonstrate zero tolerance for corruption, and create more joint ventures with Western companies, adopting their connections and management methods.

Scaling up production
Economic theory says that large long-term contracts make it possible to make products cheaper through bulk orders and optimization. This is called "economies of scale" and it is extremely important in the defense industry. Many Ukrainian companies find it difficult to achieve this effect for several reasons.

The first is that the Ministry of Defense cannot pay 80% of the advance payment to everyone, as manufacturers want. Less working capital ties hands and does not allow for optimization of supply chains.

This contradiction can be resolved by launching a program of preferential lending for manufacturers. According to Vladyslav Belbas, director of Ukrainian Armor, companies can currently take out loans at only 20% per annum. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced the idea of including arms manufacturers in the preferential lending program "5-7-9%" in the summer, but the relevant changes have not yet been implemented.

The second reason is that the supply cycle for some parts can take up to 12 months. To plan effectively, manufacturers should at least know how much product they have to ship at the end of the year.

To do this, the Ministry of Defense should return to long-term order planning. The surveyed EP manufacturers agree that the Ministry has increased the duration of contracts over the past year, but many companies still do not have a planning horizon for the next year.

The third reason is that the state is unable to fully utilize domestic factories and at the same time prohibits the sale of weapons abroad. Partial opening of arms exports is an unpopular decision, but it will allow military enterprises to earn more, optimize their operations and invest in development on their own.

Ukrainian-made Novator armored vehicle that can be exported

Meanwhile, the Russians have kept arms exports open. Their military factories still receive billions of dollars in revenue from sales on the global market, which helps them develop their technologies and reduce the cost of products for the state customer. With proper planning, Ukraine can do the same.

"I am sure that at some point we will have to open the market and allow our defense companies to export. This will happen after the victory, but if we find an acceptable solution, we will do it earlier," Kamyshin said.

The fourth reason is a shortage of personnel. Taras Chmut, head of the Come Back Alive Foundation, said that one domestic defense company failed to complete a contract because it could not find operators of computer numerical control machines. Almost all arms manufacturers have faced this problem.

To solve this problem, it is worth sending engineers, designers, mechanics, and welders from the front to defense plants. So far, the military leadership is not considering this option. In the meantime, the situation on the labor market may become more complicated, as a new wave of mobilization is being prepared starting in 2024.

For its part, the Ministry of Education should retool technical and higher education to train as many specialized personnel for military enterprises as possible.

Innovations on the assembly line
Ukrainian engineers are able to find innovative solutions for asymmetric warfare: FPV and maritime drones are proof of this. The only question is the speed of technology implementation and mass production.

In order to put a development on the assembly line, the Defense Ministry must issue an operational permit and, before that, conduct a series of tests and inspections. Due to uncertainty and bureaucratic obstacles, the ministry only allowed 21 new domestic developments to be put into service in the first year of the great war.

In 2023, the Ministry of Defense significantly shortened procedures, launched the Accelerator, and allowed the Brave1 cluster to begin the certification process. The result is a sevenfold increase in the number of new developments.

According to the Ministry of Defense, in 2023, 155 samples of Ukrainian equipment were approved for operation, of which 34% were aviation drones, 8.3% were armored vehicles, 3.8% were electronic warfare, and 1.9% were ground robots.

Since the beginning of the great war, the state has almost stopped giving money for new developments, and this has had an unexpected effect: 80% of defense companies began to finance development out of their own pockets, and the industry has seen a significant increase in the number of effective project managers and investors.

To accelerate the birth of innovations, the Ministry of Defense should start funding priority developments together with business. For example, the electronic warfare means mentioned by Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi. Currently, the Ministry does not plan to increase spending on research and development (R&D). Since 2022, it has been allocating UAH 3 billion annually. This means that the R&D budget is being reduced in line with inflation.

The issue of formulating the Defense Ministry's request for new developments is also unresolved. Designers often do not understand what characteristics the military needs and, most importantly, what products the state will buy.

The technological race at the front is accelerating. Equipment can lose its relevance after two or three months of use, so detailed communication between the military and manufacturers should be simple and efficient. ... y-industry

Essentially delusional, but what do you expect from liberals?
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Wed Feb 28, 2024 1:17 pm

Verbal escalation
POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 02/28/2024


Without time to think about possible diplomatic solutions even in the long term, European countries seem to have launched a race to present themselves as Ukraine's most faithful military ally. Two years after the Russian invasion and almost ten since the start of the war in Donbass, media and population interest may have waned, but that of the ruling class of the Euro-Atlantic countries has not. Having already approved the financial assistance with which to maintain the Ukrainian State and institutions, European leaders such as Olaf Scholz have appealed to the countries of the European Union to increase their individual contributions to the Ukrainian military effort. Until now, the European Union as a bloc and the United States have been Ukraine's two main donors, the former focusing on economic assistance to maintain civilian institutions and the latter on the war effort. However, the delay in the approval of new US funds at a time when kyiv's troops are on the defensive and trying to slow Russian advances in Donbass, has prompted the need for European authorities to increase their assistance. to Ukraine. This support, which, as Ursula von der Leyen explained in her recent visit to the Ukrainian capital, must be economic, political and moral, can be manifested in different ways: through promises of the future, with weapons and ammunition or through statements that say exactly what kyiv wants to hear.

Although currently without the industrial capacity to sustain on their own the needs of a high-intensity land war like the current one, European countries, like Canada, have expressed their support for Ukraine through bilateral security agreements. These treaties, which commit specific amounts of military assistance for the coming years and guarantee logistical and military support in the event of aggression, do not imply in any case clauses of direct intervention by the signatory countries. Trying to downplay their importance, the Russian press has described them as small Budapests , in reference to the guarantees of maintenance of the territorial integrity of Ukraine to which the great powers committed themselves in exchange for the Ukrainian renunciation of the Soviet nuclear weapons that were in its territory (but for which it did not have the codes, in the hands of Moscow) without relevance to the current war. However, the agreements imply an economic commitment for military maintenance and the supply of weapons and ammunition for the coming years, those in which the future promise of membership in NATO will be maintained. Although Jens Stoltenberg has taken it for granted, this incorporation into the Atlantic bloc requires the approval of all member countries, some of which have openly shown their reluctance. Taking into account that these are countries as important as the United States or Germany, the proposal has a large dose of uncertainty that, in any case, will not be definitively resolved until the end of the war or, at least, the existence of an armistice

The attempt to contain the war on Ukrainian territory (or Russian-Ukrainian in terms of rearguard attacks, for which Ukraine seems to have obtained some leeway from its allies and suppliers) depends on it, something that Russia has so far shared. and the United States. This is why, for example, there was no retaliation when Russia shot down, through a maneuver of its fighters, one of the Ripper drones patrolling the war zone in the Black Sea or that Washington did not even leave a few hours of doubt. about the origin of the projectile that hit Poland in 2022 and cost the lives of two civilians. To the chagrin of Zelensky, who insisted that it was a deliberate attack by Russia against a NATO country, US authorities confirmed with unusual speed that the origin of the explosion had been a Ukrainian anti-aircraft projectile.

Avoiding direct confrontation between nuclear powers has been, until now, one of the main tasks of Russia and the United States, which, unlike other aspects, have shared the need to keep NATO countries out of direct intervention. . Hence, in the two years since the Russian invasion, Ukraine's demands for direct NATO intervention – closing the skies by imposing a no-fly zone, for example – have been met with coldness and the entry of Western troops into the country has not appeared on the political agenda.

It was Emmanuel Macron, the last European leader who met with Vladimir Putin with the intention of trying to prevent an attack on Ukraine, who introduced the idea with statements that have caused surprise and rejection in almost equal parts. The main leaders of the countries of the European Union met in Paris at a summit that sought to expand military assistance to Ukraine, alleviate the absence of US military contribution and show that continental countries are capable of maintaining their own security policy and that Don't depend on Washington. The meeting showed the image of unity that Zelensky expects from his partners, who also showed the commitment to military assistance that Kiev wants from them, remembering, of course, the words of the Ukrainian leader, who a few weeks ago confirmed that Europe could not, itself, cover the needs of the war. But it was from one of the European countries, France, that Zelensky heard for the first time the possibility of direct intervention by regular Western troops.

With few words, without further explanation or the slightest agreement with his partners, the French president, who wanted to show himself as a great European leader capable of providing ideas and solutions, stated that “there is no consensus to officially send any ground troops. That said, no possibility should be ruled out. “We will do everything we can to ensure that Russia does not prevail.” It is curious that the French president referred to “official introduction” instead of simply “intervention” when introducing the possibility of direct intervention by Western countries in Ukraine into political and media discourse, especially given the recent controversy between Moscow and Paris. Announcing the death of a French citizen, Russia accused France of sending mercenaries to the Ukrainian war, something that Macron's government tried to vehemently deny, although with questionable credibility. The presence of soldiers of French nationality has been confirmed and, taking into account that every soldier - volunteer or not - of any nationality who has fought in Donbass has been described as a mercenary by countries like France, it is to be expected that the definition is the same on the other side of the front. Macron, who appealed to strategic ambiguity to not give more details, insisted on the need to “do whatever it takes,” implying that his Government is willing to apply measures for which not only is there no consensus, but they have caused the rejection of his allies.

It is no surprise that the enthusiasm has come from Ukraine. “Any discussion about increasing, expanding or changing the formats of aid provided to Ukraine can only be welcomed. Because this is a direct signal: the risks are clear, what Russia is at stake is evident, and Ukraine and Europe will respond accordingly. The leaders of several European countries suggest broadening the scope of the debate, introducing new variables, outlining what can be done. And this is excellent. Ukraine needs all possible solutions that increase its military capabilities here and now ,” wrote Mijailo Podolyak, ignoring the rejection of a large part of European leaders.

As expected, Russia has condemned the statements, insisting that the presence of Western troops on Ukrainian soil would mean direct participation in the conflict. At a press conference, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred to the direct confrontation with NATO that would mean . “In that case we are no longer talking about the possibility, but about the inevitable nature,” he insisted. But the criticism has not only come from Moscow. At the national level, Jean Luc Melenchon has stated that “a war against Russia would be crazy. This bellicose verbal escalation of a nuclear power with another major nuclear power is in itself an irresponsible act”, a rejection that Marine Le Pen has also joined.

At the international level, even Jens Stoltenberg, who has stated that there are no plans to send troops from Alliance countries to Ukraine, has distanced himself from the French idea. This is what countries as important to the Ukrainian war effort as Germany and Poland have done. “Yesterday in Paris we agreed that we all have to do more for Ukraine. Ukraine needs weapons, ammunition, air defense. We are working on it. One thing is clear: there will be no ground troops from European or NATO countries,” wrote German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Other countries with less political or military weight, such as Sweden, Italy, Spain, Slovakia and Austria, have also rejected the French declaration. The last two have been the ones who have most vehemently criticized Macron.

In the morning, Robert Fico stated that the appearance of this type of ideas "suggests that there are a number of NATO and EU countries that are considering sending troops to Ukraine bilaterally." “I cannot say for what purpose or what they would do there,” the Slovak Prime Minister continued, adding that the Paris meeting “is confirmation that the West's strategy in Ukraine has completely failed.” Austria, a technically neutral country but one that has openly supported Kiev, has gone a step further to criticize the debate caused by Macron's words and insisted that what is needed right now is "a diplomatic perspective."

Faced with the rejection that Macron's words have caused in a large part of continental leaders - always excepting the Baltic countries - the ambiguity of the United Kingdom draws attention. Although both the British and American governments are comfortable with the idea of ​​proxy war , which is causing significant wear and tear on one of their opponents without the need for direct involvement and with great benefits for their military industry, neither of the two countries has criticized the proposal. Washington limited itself to denying that it was planning to send troops and London rejected the possibility of "a large-scale deployment of troops", perhaps leaving open the possibility of the presence - official or unofficial - of other types of smaller contingents whose presence in Ukraine may be denied.

Neither the criticism nor the lack of support for its proposal have undermined the morale of France, which reaffirmed its position in the afternoon, alleging that the presence of Western troops in Ukraine could be carried out without “crossing the threshold of belligerence.” Anonymous NATO sources collected by various media outlets were along the same lines. EFE , for example, stated yesterday that “NATO sources consulted on the matter stated: “We must remember what this is: a war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine, flagrantly violating international law,” the sources stressed. According to international law, they add, “Ukraine has the right to self-defense and we have the right to support them.” The right to self-defense and the fiction of remaining below the “threshold of belligerence” collide with the obvious danger of escalation that the presence of European troops in the Ukrainian theater of operations would entail, a war incomparable to any of those waged by those armies in recent decades and for which neither the troops nor the military industry are prepared.

Google Translator


From Cassad's telegram account:

Forwarded from
Voenkor Kitten
Military expert Boris Rozhin on the main points during the Special Military Operation of the Russian Federation on the territory of the former Ukraine in the Avdeevsky direction by 23.23 Moscow time on February 27, 2024, especially for the Voenkor Kotenok channel @voenkorKotenok :

The enemy finally retreated to the settlement line. Berdychi-Orlovka-Tonenkoye, where he plans to hold the defense in “prepared positions.”
SBU agent Butusov states that there are no prepared positions there, and the money allocated for them was actually stolen by the officials and generals responsible for this.

Russian troops established full control over the village. Severnoye and Petrovskoye (Stepovoe) (there are confirming videos from the villages). In fact, the forefield in front of the new line of defense of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been taken.

Accordingly, battles have already begun for the very line of defense of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The enemy confirms that fighting is already taking place on the outskirts of the village. Berdychi, on the outskirts of the village. Orlovka and in the village itself. Thin.
There are reports of the settlement being abandoned. A subtle enemy, but so far without objective evidence.
Loss of n.p. Thin, most likely, will lead to a quick loss of the item. Orlovka.
The enemy feels most strongly in the settlement. Berdychi, since there are still quite numerous armored vehicles of the 47th mechanized brigade operating in the area of ​​the village.

The RF Armed Forces are increasing the use of drones and KABs, which makes it difficult for the enemy to organize long-term defense, since the number of long-term fortifications is limited, hastily dug trenches and landings are filled with bombs and shells, and drones cut off supplies with attacks on armored vehicles and vehicles.
The dominant position of the Avdeevsky coking plant, where our drone operators are already in full swing, ensures an increase in unmanned influence on the village. Berdychi and Orlovka (which has already led to the destruction of at least 1 Abrams and a pair of Bradleys).

In n.p. Pervomaiskoe - no changes yet, fighting for the center of the village is ongoing.
As our troops consolidated in the settlement. Severnoye and Tonenkoye, pressure on Pervomaiskoye will be increased.

The enemy expects a serious increase in pressure on the village in the near future. Ocheretino, but so far the front line there is relatively stable.


❗️🇷🇺🇺🇦Gulyai-Polye section (Zaporozhye direction) : progress at Marfopol,
the situation is ending on February 27, 2024

❗️Another section of the front, which had been in a static state for a long time, came to life.

▪️The Russian Armed Forces, north of Marthopol , advanced about a kilometer in a night rush with several assault groups. According to preliminary information, the enemy was at least partially driven out of the Gulyai-Polye Dachas holiday village near the Gaichur River .

▪️Units of the 102nd SRW Armed Forces of Ukraine, which lost several observation posts as a result of the Russian attack, tried to counterattack, but were unsuccessful. Further advance of the Russian Armed Forces in this area is quite possible given the dispersal of enemy attention to other sectors of the front.

▪️Moreover, neighboring Gulyai-Polye , Chervony and Zelenyi Gai are systematically attacked by artillery, aviation and UAVs. Although the Ukrainian Armed Forces have concrete fortifications at their disposal in Chervonoye , their maneuvers are limited by the Gaichur River . The road to Gulyai-Polye is devoid of natural barriers, but is heavily mined.

🔻Whether this is part of the plan for an offensive operation or a one-time successful advance - time will tell. After all, back in the fall, Russian assault groups were already advancing in this area, reaching the reservoir adjacent to Chervonoye and gaining a foothold there.

Then Russian soldiers managed to occupy the Gulyai-Polye dachas , having mined the approaches to them. However, artillery fire did not allow us to gain a foothold, and the territory actually remained in a gray zone: apparently, until now.


The operational crisis of the Armed Forces of Ukraine - Part 1.

The successes of our troops strengthen faith in a common victory, however, it is necessary to soberly assess the three factors that make up the operational situation at the front:
- our forces and means - the enemy’s forces and means;
— their ratio;
— operational environment.

The situation in which the enemy is now holding the line can be called an operational crisis. For 4 months, the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine pulled up reserves in Avdeevka and Chasov Yar, weakening other sectors of the front ( in particular, Kupyansky and Zaporozhye ). Having failed to ensure a critical superiority of forces, against the backdrop of the increased media importance of Avdiivka, the enemy has lost the operational initiative and is now forced to retreat to reserve defense lines. They are not fully operational. The transfer of Ukrainian Armed Forces reserves is carried out under the increasing frequency of our aviation and high-precision attacks on key railway junctions ( for example, Pokrovsk and Konstantinovka ). Many units require withdrawal for reorganization, which is currently impossible. Therefore, they are staffed by mobilized citizens with low motivation and combat training.

By developing an offensive initiative west of Avdeevka , our units deprived the enemy of the opportunity to gain a foothold here according to the Bakhmut scenario in the summer of 2023, when, attacking near Kleshcheevka and Berkhovka, the Ukrainian Armed Forces created a source of tension, forcing us to hold large forces. Today, the Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have the opportunity to fully regroup, so they are withdrawing troops in key operational directions: Zaporozhye ( Orekhovsky ) and Slavyansko-Kramatorsk ( taking into account our positions in the Avdeevsky and Bakhmut initial areas ).

The new commander-in-chief Syrsky is confused as to where exactly to concentrate forces. In the conditions of simultaneous movement of our formations along the entire front line: in the Zaporozhye, Donetsk, Lugansk ( Svatovo-Kremennaya line ) and Kupyansk operational directions, the concentration of forces and means in a specific area will inevitably create conditions for a breakthrough of the defense.

The advance of the Russian Armed Forces in the Maryinsk-Ugledar operational-tactical direction and in the Novomikhailovka area creates conditions for pushing out the enemy west of the Maryinka-Ugledar highway and in the direction of Kurakhovo, which in the foreseeable future will become a key node in the defense of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in this area. The situation is developing in a similar way in the Konstantinovsky direction , where our troops are having success near Chasov Yar, currently advancing towards Ivanovskoye, the largest defensive line in front of the Chasov-Yarsky fortified area.

Steady pressure is recorded in the area of ​​Yampolovka and Ternov, Serebryansky forest, as well as on the left bank of the Seversky Donets, where there is an attack on Belogorovka with the aim of reaching Seversk. To the south of Seversk, positional battles continue in the Razdolovka-Veseloye zone. Our units are moving along the railway line, although the tactical conditions of the terrain are not conducive to a rapid advance here. The situation is more complicated in the Kupyansk direction , however, despite the difficulties of advancement and elevation changes, we manage to hold back large enemy forces on both banks of Oskol.

The likely scenario for the development of the situation is that within a month the Armed Forces of Ukraine will continue the gradual withdrawal of troops to new lines at a distance of 15 to 20 km, while simultaneously trying to engage us in battles in areas where terrain conditions and defensive fortifications will allow us to hold positions: Chasov Yar - Konstantinovka, southern advances to Seversk ( Rayaleksandrovsky fortified area ), lines Marinka - Kurakhovo - Ugledar ( Donetsk direction ), Rabotino - Orekhov ( Zaporozhye ). At the moment of withdrawal from a particular area, the enemy will transfer his forces from area to area in order to inflict maximum damage on our advancing group. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are not considering any other option - for example, to counterattack, because the concentration of troops to hold one of the positions will take on the configuration of a ledge according to the Avdeevsky scenario with a real prospect of falling into the cauldron.
To be continued ⏩

Google Translator


France Wants To Fight Russia In Ukraine

The little French rascal is leaning over his skis a bit:

Sending Western troops to Ukraine “cannot be ruled out," French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday after hosting a conference in Paris where European leaders discussed the prospect.
There was “no agreement this evening to officially send troops onto the ground but we cannot exclude anything,” he told reporters.
“We will do anything we can to prevent Russia from winning this war,” Macron said. “And I say this with determination, but also with a collective humility that we need to have, in the light of the last two years."

After two years of following a losing U.S. strategy against Russia one would expect a little more humility than that.

None of Macron's colleagues agreed with him:

Germany, Britain and other European countries said on Tuesday they had no plans to send ground troops to Ukraine, after France hinted at the possibility, and the Kremlin warned that any such move would inevitably lead to conflict between Russia and Nato.

French President Emmanuel Macron had said on Monday that Western allies should exclude no options in seeking to avert a Russian victory in Ukraine, though he stressed there was no consensus at this stage.

“Nothing should be excluded. We will do everything that we must so that Russia does not win,” Macron told reporters at a hastily convened gathering of European leaders in Paris to mull how to bolster support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
However, Germany, Britain, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic distanced themselves on Tuesday from any suggestion they might commit ground troops to the Ukraine war, now in its third year.

“ … There will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there by European countries or Nato states,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on the sidelines of an event.

The Russian government declared that any positioning of western troops in Ukraine would inevitably lead to a larger war:

A direct military conflict between NATO and Russia will be inevitable if Western troops are sent to Ukraine, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"In that case, it’s not going to be about probability, but inevitability - that's how we assess it," he said, when asked how the Kremlin assesses the probability of a direct conflict between NATO and Russia in the event that Western troops are sent to Ukraine.

Peskov also said NATO countries "should also assess" the consequences of such actions and be aware of them. They should "ask themselves whether this corresponds to their interests, and most importantly, to the interests of the citizens of their countries," Peskov said.

The U.S. will not allow for a NATO escalation against Russia. It is already distancing itself from the Ukraine war.

The Europeans are just, like always, late to recognize that they are going to be left to hold the tar baby.

Macron may just be peeved a bit. A month ago a Russian air strike killed a number of foreign 'mercenaries' in Ukraine:

Russia said on Wednesday its forces had carried out a precision strike a day earlier on a building housing "foreign fighters" in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv.
The defence ministry said the fighters were mostly French mercenaries and the building was destroyed, with more than 60 people killed. It did not provide evidence, and Reuters could not verify the claims.

France has denied that it had sent 'mercenaries' to Ukraine:

France has denied Russia’s claim that there were French mercenaries in Ukraine after Russia’s Ministry of Defence said its troops had killed “foreign fighters” earlier this week.
“France has no mercenaries, neither in Ukraine nor elsewhere, unlike certain others,” it added.

However, seven month back France admitted that at least some 320 French fighters had gone to Ukraine.

There is also this curious phenomenon of high tech weapon specialists leaving their services to shortly thereafter turn up as humanitarian workers for this or that 'civil' agency in Ukraine:

France says Russia will have to answer for the deaths of two French nationals killed in a drone attack in the Kherson region of Ukraine as they performed humanitarian duties.
Kherson regional Governor Oleksandr Prokudin wrote in a post on Telegram that the two French nationals were killed, and three other foreigners injured in the attack in Beryslav, a town just outside the southern city of Kherson, on February 1.

Prokudin did not say which humanitarian group the casualties worked for.

"Russian barbarity has targeted civilians in Ukraine," French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

"Russia will have to answer for its crimes," he added.[/i]

Just days later Stephane Sejourne said:

France's foreign minister on Tuesday sought to clarify comments made by President Emmanuel Macron that Paris could send troops to Ukraine for specific needs, but not to fight in the war against Russia.
"We must consider new actions to support Ukraine. These must respond to very specific needs, I am thinking in particular of mine clearance, cyberdefence, the production of weapons on site, on Ukrainian territory," Stephane Sejourne told lawmakers.

"Some of its actions could require a presence on Ukrainian territory, without crossing the threshold of fighting. Nothing should be ruled out. This was and still is the position today of the president of the Republic."

Any presence of French troops in Ukraine, for whatever reason, is of course a direct French participation in the war against Russia. It will naturally be responded to by the appropriate means.

Posted by b on February 27, 2024 at 16:29 UTC | Permalink ... .html#more

"The little French rascal is leaning over his skis a bit", That was good for a chuckle. Well, he doesn't have anywhere in africa to send his troops anymore...


Zelensky seeks Saudi support for peace deal with Russia

Saudi's crown prince has been one of the few world leaders to also meet with the Russian president since the start of the Ukraine war

News Desk

FEB 27, 2024

(Photo Credit: Saudi Press Agency)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in Saudi Arabia on 27 February for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MbS) regarding a possible peace deal with Russia.

"I had a meaningful and candid conversation with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman," Zelensky said via social media. "We discussed the Peace Formula's points and the progress that can be made in implementing them. Saudi Arabia's leadership can assist in finding equitable solutions."

Zelensky's peace plan was laid out in the 2022 G20 Summit in Indonesia. The plan involves reaching agreements regarding nuclear safety, food, and energy security, with the final step being signing a peace accord.

Zelensky has visited several nations seeking to rally global leaders in support of Ukraine's proposed peace deal.

In Riyadh, Zelensky said the two parties spoke about their "efforts and dialogue with partners in preparation for the upcoming Global Peace Summit in Switzerland. We discussed the summit's substance and the steps that can be taken to restore true security to Ukraine, Europe, and the global community of nations."

For its part, the Kingdom's official press agency wrote that the two heads of state reviewed Saudi–Ukrainian relations and discussed developments in the Russia–Ukraine war, emphasizing Riyadh's support for international efforts to bring it to an end.

"The Kingdom's leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results. We will also discuss promising areas of economic cooperation and Saudi Arabia's involvement in Ukraine's reconstruction."

MbS has been one of a short list of world leaders to have met with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the beginning of the Ukraine war two years ago.

In 2023, Putin flew to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as part of a snap Gulf tour in which he discussed deepening trade and energy ties and continued cooperation within the OPEC+ bloc of nations.

"We share many interests and many files that we are working on together for the benefit of Russia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, [West Asia], and the world as well," MbS told the Saudi Press Agency.

Earlier in 2023, Putin and MbS also discussed stabilizing prices for crude oil as Saudi Arabia has been slowly moving away from Washington's influence and boosting relationships with other nations. ... ith-russia


The Russian Armed Forces liberated Petrovskoye
February 28, 13:48


The Russian Ministry of Defense officially announced the liberation of the village of Petrovskoye (formerly Stepovoe). In fact, the enemy left there earlier, but according to tradition, the RF Ministry of Defense does not report the liberation of the city/village until full control is established.

Petrovskoye itself was almost completely destroyed after several months of fighting. In accordance with the decree of the head of the DPR Pushilin, the Ukrainian name Stepovoye is canceled and the name that the village had as of May 2014 is returned. So we get rid of Stepovoy in posts about the Avdeevskoe direction and write - Petrovskoe.

Fighting is now taking place on the outskirts of Berdychi, in Orlovka and Tonenkoye. The Russian Armed Forces are now engaged in breaking through the “advantageous defense line of Syrsky.”

10 years of "Polite people"
February 28, 2:53

10 years ago, a post was published in LiveJournal about “Polite People”, from which the famous meme “Polite People” started, which accompanied the super-effective operation of the Russian Armed Forces to eliminate the group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Navy in Crimea. The meme was born by chance and initially came from a report in the Ukrainian media, but it took off successfully and subsequently gained worldwide popularity without my participation.

How long ago it was and at the same time as if quite recently. 10 years flew by unnoticed. The emotions of that day when it became clear that Russia was coming are indescribable. Those who were in Sevastopol and Crimea at that time and who actively followed this (and even more so participated) remember them well.

Google Translator


The Ukrainian Intelligence Committee Is Preparing For The Worst-Case Scenario


FEB 28, 2024

What’s regarded as the worst-case scenario from the perspective of the ruling Ukrainian elite and their Western masters is the best-case scenario for the rest of the world. In the event that Zelensky is deposed and peace talks immediately resume right as Russia breaks through the Line of Contact, then NATO might not feel as pressured by its security dilemma with Russia to conventionally intervene in Ukraine, thus reducing the risk of World War III by miscalculation.

The Ukrainian Intelligence Committee warned in a Telegram post about the worst-case scenario that could happen by June whereby a Russian breakthrough across the Line of Contact (LOC) merges with protests over conscription and Zelensky’s illegitimacy to deal a deathblow to the state. They predictably claimed that those protests, along with claims of growing fatigue inside Western and Ukrainian societies plus civil-military tensions in Kiev, are just “Russian disinformation” even though they all veritably exist.

“Zelensky Is Desperate To Preemptively Discredit Potentially Forthcoming Protests Against Him” and that’s why he claimed in late November that Russia is conspiring to orchestrate a so-called “Maidan 3” against him, which is what the Intelligence Committee explicitly referred to in their post. Their warning also came as Ukrainian media reported that Zelensky plans to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on holding elections during martial law in order to retain legitimacy after his term expires on 20 May.

The preceding hyperlinked report from Turkish media also mentions how “opposition party leaders Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko proposed forming a coalition government to avoid a crisis of legitimacy” but were rebuked by National Security Council chief Danilov. What’s so interesting about this proposal is that it was first tabled by an expert from the powerful Atlantic Council think tank in an article that they published in Politico in mid-December in order to serve that exact same purpose.

This reminder and the subsequent proposal by those two opposition party leaders debunks the notion that questions about Zelensky’s legitimacy are solely the result of “Russian disinformation” just like a top European think tank’s latest poll from January debunks the same about fatigue over this conflict. The European Council on Foreign Relations, which can’t credibly be described as “pro-Russian”, found that only 10% of Europeans think that Ukraine will defeat Russia.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Congressional deadlock over more Ukraine aid proves that such sentiments are shared in the halls of power, and those who hold these views understandably don’t want to continue throwing hard-earn taxpayer funds into a doomed-to-fail proxy war. Western leaders as a whole, however, are clearly panicking over the latest military-strategic dynamics that followed the failure of Kiev’s counteroffensive last summer and Russia’s recent victory in Avdeevka.

That’s why many of them debated whether to conventionally intervene in Ukraine during Monday’s meeting in Paris that was attended by over 20 European leaders. French President Macron said that this can’t be ruled out despite there being no consensus on the issue, which his Polish counterpart confirmed was the most heated part of their discussions that day. This prompted strong denials from all other Western leaders who claimed that they’ll never authorize this, but their words can’t be taken seriously.

After all, the worst-case scenario that the Ukrainian Intelligence Committee warned about and is actively trying to discredit as supposedly being driven solely by “Russian disinformation” could push them to conventionally intervene in order to avert the state’s collapse and an Afghan-like disaster in Europe. NATO is unlikely to sit idly on the sidelines if Russia steamrolls through the ruins after breaking through the LOC by sometime this summer, hence why a conventional intervention truly can’t be ruled out.

It would be very unpopular in the West as proven by the previously mentioned think tank’s latest poll and the ongoing Congressional deadlock over Ukraine aid, but that doesn’t mean that the elite won’t do it since they don’t take public opinion into consideration when formulating foreign and military policy. Even so, the large-scale protests that could follow in Europe are something that the elite want to avoid, but they might still risk them in order for their geopolitical project in Ukraine not to be totally for naught.

Average folks outside of Ukraine can’t shape the course of events, but those in that country could play an historical role if they revolted with the support of friendly elements in the military-intelligence services like those that surround former Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny. They’d be putting their lives on the line since the SBU abuses, jails, and kills dissidents, but enough of them are evidently ready to do so as suggested by the Ukrainian Intelligence Committee’s frantic efforts to discredit them.

It’s too early to predict whether they’ll revolt, let alone at the scale and for the duration that’s required to depose Zelensky with a view towards immediately resuming peace talks since the CIA-backed SBU could scuttle their plans by arresting their leaders (especially those in the military-intelligence services). If they do and this coincides with Russia breakthrough through the LOC, however, then it could swiftly bring an end to this proxy war provided that there are friendly elites willing to risk their lives as well.

Considering the global significance of this conflict, what’s regarded as the worst-case scenario from the perspective of the ruling Ukrainian elite and their Western masters is therefore the best-case scenario for the rest of the world. In the event that Zelensky is deposed and peace talks immediately resume right as Russia breaks through the LOC, then NATO might not feel as pressured by its security dilemma with Russia to conventionally intervene in Ukraine, thus reducing the risk of World War III by miscalculation. ... -committee


FEBRUARY 27, 2024


By Stephen Bryen, Asia Times, 2/25/24

Stephen Bryen served as staff director of the Near East Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

Jens Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian Prime Minister and now Secretary General of NATO should be fired now, before it is too late. He announced he is giving Ukraine “permission” to use its soon to be delivered F-16s to launch attacks inside Russia.

This is equivalent to a NATO declaration of war. It is an irrational and dangerous move that needs to be quashed as soon as possible.

Not only is Stoltenberg an uber hawk, but he totally misunderstands NATO’s purpose. If he is allowed to stay in office, he will lead NATO into a European war that might well include nuclear weapons. Above all, Stoltenberg doesn’t grasp that NATO is a defensive, not an offensive, alliance.

NATO has been drifting in the wrong direction for years. It has got involved in wars outside of NATO’s defensive domain, based on a rude sort of politics that gratifies the US and Europe’s otherwise inert and short sighted leaders. These wars, that now include Ukraine, are draining NATO’s defenses and weakening the core responsibility of the alliance, which is to protect the territory of its members.

There are no provisions in the NATO Treaty authorizing offensive, outside-the-boundary operations.

Now the Russians are saying that many of the so-called “mercenaries” in Ukraine are, in fact, highly trained NATO soldiers. They wear Ukrainian uniforms with national patches identifying them. They are “necessary” to operate the high tech weapons NATO has sent to Ukraine. When the Russians recently took over Avdiivka they found bodies of these mercenaries, some American and some Poles.

Earlier, they killed at least 60 French mercenaries in a hotel in Kharkiv.

The French denounced the attack saying it was disinformation. But the French also called in the Russian ambassador to complain about French deaths in Ukraine.

The Ukraine war is being rapidly turned into a NATO war, not only through the supply of intelligence, troop training and armaments, but the supply of experienced technicians. It is simply impossible for Ukraine to operate air defense systems such as Patriot and NASAMs, rocket launching systems like HIMARS, or support British and French Storm Shadow cruise missiles, without considerable outside assistance.

Most of the deaths of NATO personnel are covered up. When they are reported at all, they generally say that the “volunteer” was providing medical assistance.

Now the Russians are starting to believe that the F-16s delivered to Ukraine (probably operational by early summer) will be operated by NATO pilots.

The Russians make this claim based on their own past performance. Russia dressed their pilots up in Chinese outfits to fly Mig-15s in the Korean war. In the war of attrition in 1970 between Egypt and Israel, Russian pilots flew missions, sometimes openly (as only Russians could fly the Mig-25) and sometimes pretending they were Egyptian pilots.

It is extremely dangerous to use NATO pilots in Ukraine. But now Stoltenberg has “given permission” to Ukraine to fly its F-16s over Russian territory. The war has already been expanded with NATO-made drones, cruise missiles and rockets attacking targets in Russia. Adding the F-16 is a qualitative expansion because F-16s can attack Russian cities.

Russia won’t content itself trying to shoot down F-16s flown in the name of Ukraine. They will, certainly, attack Ukrainian air fields (in fact they already are doing so). But will it stop there? Probably not: Russia will interpret the F-16s flying over its territory as a declaration of war against Russia, in fact Russia already is saying so.

The F-16 is an excellent aircraft, but the planes Ukraine is getting are around 20 years old and are not really front line. That’s why the countries supplying them have moved on. While they can be upgraded with newer weapons, better fire control computers, and maybe even better radars, they are not survivable against Russian air defenses and top of the line Russian aircraft such as the Su-35. Flying them over Russia is, therefore, only a provocation likely to result in a wider war spreading to Europe.

NATO has been playing chicken with Russia for some time, especially by supplying long range systems to Ukraine’s army. There is hardly any military justification, since harassing Russia only can lead to escalation and mostly does not strengthen Ukraine’s army, which is increasingly short of manpower and ammunition.

Zelensky probably hopes that he will be saved by a NATO intervention. But from Russia’s perspective, NATO has already intervened and things can only get worse.

It is not clear who, if anyone, told Stoltenberg to make such a reckless statement about the use of the F-16. What is clear is that the “permission” should be withdrawn and Stoltenberg fired. ... -too-late/

This guy is right about Stoltenberg but wrong about the nature of NATO.


Progressives in Europe call for ceasefire in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine crossed two years, progressives are calling for a ceasefire and for negotiations to end the conflict

February 27, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch

Anti-war activists and progressives hold a demonstration at Brussels, Belgium. Photo: PTB

February 24, 2024, marked two years since the Russian Armed Forces crossed the borders of Ukraine, escalating the eight-year-long conflict into a full-fledged war. The war continues to rage in Ukraine despite thousands of deaths and immeasurable loss of property and livelihood, while also inflicting a severe energy crisis across Europe which has affected the working class of these countries.

As billions of dollars in aid, arms, and military personnel continue to flow from the West to aid Ukraine’s war efforts, an end to the prolonged conflict is not in sight. The chance for escalation of the war into region-wide conflict in the entire EU-Russian border is also high.

At this juncture, leftist and progressive sections in Europe reiterated their demand for an immediate ceasefire and resumption of dialogues toward lasting peace.

On Saturday, several activists from peace groups with the banner “Europe for Peace and Solidarity” demonstrated in Brussels against the militarization and for a ceasefire to open the way to negotiations for sustainable peace. Marc Botenga MEP and Nabil Boukili MP from the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) have also joined the demonstration.

Progressives and pro-Palestinian protesters hold a solidarity rally in Milan. Photo: FGC

Leftist groups in Italy including the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), Communist Youth Front (FGC), and Potere al Popolo, joined massive demonstrations in Italian cities like Milan and Rome, on Saturday, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The participants in the demonstrations also called to immediately end the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, on the second anniversary of the beginning of the war, the German communist publication Unsere Zeit (UZ) criticized the bourgeois media for spewing Russophobic propaganda. It noted that they did not speak a word about the fact that the military phase of the conflict began back in 2014 with the Ukrainian army’s attack on the Donbas, whose population was resisting the coup d’état of nationalist and fascist forces in Ukraine supported by NATO, the US, and the EU.

The publication also alleged that the war was prepared for decades with NATO’s eastward expansion and military encirclement of Russia, and said Germany had supported the anti-Russian, Euromaidan coup in Ukraine from the beginning. ... two-years/

Peace is coming sooner than many think and Russian arms will dictate it.
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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 29, 2024 1:15 pm

Ammunition, unity and reproaches
POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 02/29/2024


With the aim of seeking quick solutions to military supply problems, especially with regard to ammunition, leaders of the countries of the European Union met at a summit convened by Emmanuel Macron that also had two other apparently no less important objectives. : show the unity of the bloc in the face of a time of difficulty for kyiv and establish itself as the main supporter of Ukraine in the EU. To meet the first objective, Brussels is faced with a double problem that is summarized in the need to increase financing and find the necessary material on the market to send to war.

The existence of financing difficulties, especially if the EU and member countries have to compensate for the lack of US military assistance for much longer, is highlighted by the new attempt to use Russian assets confiscated in the first package of sanctions in February 2022. “It is time to start a conversation about using the windfall profits from frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military material for Ukraine,” said Ursula von der Leyen yesterday, who has been looking for a way to definitively requisition private assets for some time. but also Russian publics taking refuge in the war, but maintaining the fiction of not being belligerent. Von der Leyen hid behind symbolism and security to mask that the European Union cannot commit immense amounts of financing to Ukraine forever while demanding its partners return to austerity. “There could be no stronger symbol or greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live,” he stated, again linking the guarantee of continuation of the war with a security that the bloc has always wanted to build against. the largest and most populous European continental power.

The second problem, that of supply, has been confirmed over recent weeks and months, when the EU has understood the seriousness of the situation on the front and has tried to accelerate deliveries of ammunition that it is not capable of producing. Dependent on the American industrial complex and NATO in that security architecture that it tries to preserve, the high-intensity war currently being experienced in Ukraine has revealed the shortcomings of the European armies and the inability of its industry to sustain a conflict like the actual. The most graphic example of the situation is the information published this week by Der Spiegel , which recounts the search for artillery ammunition, not exactly the most sophisticated or difficult to produce element of the war (although not as high-profile as heavy equipment, also most striking when projecting military power in peacetime). The media alleges that German authorities are conducting “discreet negotiations” to acquire artillery shells from India. It is no secret that EU countries have been turning to markets outside the bloc for some time in search of military material. Turkey and the Republic of Korea, the most repeated examples, are now joined by India, although one of the sources cited in the article states that Germany is “trying to buy ammunition all over the world.” The bloc, which in February 2022 believed that its sanctions would paralyze Russian industrial production, has been surpassed by Moscow, whose resilience has been notably higher than desired by Brussels. And despite constantly insisting that the Russian Federation has had to turn to the People's Republic of Korea for ammunition, the 27 EU countries still cannot match the production capacity and reserves of the Russian Federation. The Paris summit also failed to resolve the ammunition supply issue, which this year has seen the EU fail to fulfill its promise to supply Ukraine with one million rounds of ammunition.

But perhaps the most resounding fiasco of the Paris meeting is the attempt to close ranks and show unity and strength of the bloc in support of its kyiv proxy. Macron's words, which introduced into the political and media debate removing the taboo on sending troops from EU or NATO countries to Ukraine, have not only revealed the existing differences in the bloc, but have also made public the tug of war currently existing between Germany and France over assistance to Ukraine.

The French president's words only found enthusiasm in countries like Lithuania, whose president stated that his government "openly" discusses the possibility, or Latvia, which would "consider participating" in sending troops if it ever occurred. In the opposite position, Macron encountered opposition from Germany, Ukraine's main military supplier in the European Union, which is using that position to blame France for what it considers reduced aid. The episode has not only served for Vice Chancellor Habeck, a member of the Greens, one of the most radically pro-Ukrainian parties since 2014, to present himself as a moderate option, but has also started a counterproductive exchange of accusations between allies who are trying to demonstrate a unit that, as can be seen, has its limits. Habeck, who insisted that “there is no possibility” of sending troops to Ukraine, wanted to throw a dart at the French executive. “I like that France is thinking about how to increase its support for Ukraine, but if I can give them some advice, they should deliver more weapons,” he said in a not-so-subtle reference to the usual German reproach that accuses the Elysée of not doing enough to collaborate with the Ukrainian war effort.

The comment has upset France, which was quick to respond in a similar tone. “In a thinly veiled attack on Berlin on Monday night, Macron claimed that some allies were still saying never to tanks, fighter jets and long-range missiles for Ukraine and had only offered sleeping bags and helmets amid the invasion ago. two years,” he wrote yesterday the Financial Times wrote yesterday , quoting some words from the French president who, in his arguments, resembled the speech of the radical – and banderista – Andriy Melnjik, then Ukrainian ambassador to Germany. The fight between Paris and Berlin to be the most belligerent power continues. For the moment, Germany remains the first donor, but with France boasting of having promised long-range missiles that Berlin denies, at least for the moment. “There cannot be German soldiers at any time and in any place linked to the targets that these systems can reach,” Scholz said in relation to the Taurus missiles. The chancellor is still resisting pressure to deliver German missiles to Ukraine, which would undoubtedly be used to attack targets in Russia.

Unlike Berlin, whose chancellor believes that sending Taurus could cause Germany to be considered a “participant in the war,” France does not consider that the official presence of troops would exceed “the threshold of belligerence.” In reality, the French position can be supported by reality. “A NATO official stated that there are no plans by the Alliance to send combat troops on the ground,” explained the Financial Times , which reported the words of that source, alleging that “everyone knows that there are Western special forces in Ukraine, It is something that is simply not officially admitted.” This is what the logic of proxy war demands.

At a bit more length, but without details or data that should be considered surprising, The Washington Post added that “documents leaked last year confirmed that some NATO countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and France, have deployed small contingents of special forces and military advisors in Ukraine in unspecified tasks probably related to logistical support and training. The US CIA has financed and partially equipped a growing network of spy bases around Ukraine to assist Kiev in its effort to track Russian troop movements and attack Russia's most prized military assets.

The presence of certain contingents of troops and intelligence from Western countries in Ukraine was known and should not be surprising. Nor should it mean that the countries that have responded to Macron's proposal with less ambiguity already have a military presence on the ground. Even so, the fact that countries like Germany or even Poland specifically mentioned the rejection of the introduction of “ground troops” indicates that it was not only Russia that interpreted the French president's words as the intention to put the sending of troops on the table. of combat. It is not only Russia that sees the beginning of the debate on Western troops as another step towards total war. ... reproches/

Google Translator


From Cassad's Telegram account:



Kherson direction: PR foray of the Ukrainian MTR on the Tendrovskaya Spit,
the situation towards the end of February 28, 2024

🔻In the Kherson direction, on the wave of static clashes and mutual strikes in Krynki , something out of the ordinary happened: today the so-called MTR units. The Ukrainians tried to land on the Tendrovskaya Spit on five boats .

▪️The movement of watercraft was noticed to the west of the lighthouse, and the SOF detachments were fired upon from machine guns, mortars and anti-tank systems. As a result, three boats were damaged and sank, one washed ashore, and another turned around and went back.

▪️In a boat found near the shore, four liquidated special forces soldiers and one wounded man were found, who were captured and interrogated, establishing that they belonged to the landing groups of the 73rd maritime center of the Special Forces.

▪️In anticipation of the attack, three Bayraktar drones were operating in the area of ​​Odessa , Yuzhny and Ochakovo , and at the time of the attack , two UAVs from the Voznesensk and Dolgintsevo airfields were patrolling over the Black Sea , guiding the DRG.

❗️Considering the enemy’s intensification in this particular area, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, apparently, decided to implement last year’s plan for a landing on the left bank of the Dnieper, covering several areas, to a limited extent.

This is also indicated by the fact that there is currently a massive recruitment into marine brigades, as well as the transfer of soldiers from the military defense to the marines. They are trained along the Ingulets River to cross water barriers. In addition, formations of the 255th battalion of the 123rd SRW regiment arrived from Chernigov to strengthen the forward lines.

🔻And the intensity of artillery fire from the Ukrainian Armed Forces has increased in recent days. Just today air defense units intercepted HIMARS MLRS shells in the vicinity of Chaplinka . Guidance was provided by a Tekever AR2 drone from the Kulbakino airfield , which flew west of Kherson and aimed the MLRS at the air defense position area, but to no avail.


Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of the special military operation (as of February 28, 2024) | The main thing:

- The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Donetsk direction per day amounted to up to 230 military personnel, 2 tanks, 2 infantry fighting vehicles;

- Almost 100 Ukrainian drones and 3 HIMARS projectiles were shot down per day by Russian air defense systems;

- The Russian Armed Forces improved the tactical direction in the Kupyansk direction, the enemy lost up to 145 military personnel per day;

- The Armed Forces of Ukraine lost up to 115 military personnel, a Rapier anti-tank gun and an ammunition depot in the South Donetsk direction in one day;

- The Russian Armed Forces occupied more advantageous lines and positions in the Avdeevka direction, repelled 11 counterattacks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the enemy lost up to 165 military personnel;

- The Russian military repelled three counterattacks by Ukrainian Armed Forces assault groups and improved the situation along the front line in the Donetsk direction;

- The Russian Armed Forces destroyed the illumination and surveillance radar of the Ukrainian S-300 air defense system.

▫️In the South Donetsk direction, units of the Vostok group of forces, in cooperation with aviation, inflicted fire damage on the personnel and equipment of the 128th Terrestrial Defense Brigade in the areas of the settlements of Urozhaynoye and Staromayorskoye of the Donetsk People's Republic.

Enemy losses amounted to up to 115 military personnel, a tank , three vehicles, a Gvozdika self-propelled artillery mount , a Rapier anti-tank gun and an ammunition depot .

▫️In the Kherson direction , as a result of active actions, Russian units took up more advantageous positions, inflicted fire on accumulations of manpower and equipment of the 128th mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the 121st terrorist defense brigade in the areas of the settlements of Primorskoye, Novopokrovka, Zaporozhye region, and Dudchany, Kherson region.

In the area of ​​​​the village of Rabotino, Zaporozhye region, a counterattack of the assault group of the 117th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was repelled .

Enemy losses amounted to up to 40 military personnel and two vehicles.

In addition, during the counter-battery fight, a French-made Caesar self-propelled artillery mount, three D-20 guns , an Akatsiya self -propelled gun and a D-30 howitzer were hit .

▫️Operational-tactical aviation , unmanned aerial vehicles , missile forces and artillery of military groups destroyed the illumination and surveillance radar of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system , an ammunition depot , a storage facility for fuel and lubricants of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a warehouse for storing and manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles, and also damaged manpower and military equipment in 131 areas.

▫️Air defense systems destroyed 99 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the areas of the settlements of Zhovtnevoye in the Kharkov region, Arapovka, Troitskoye, Novonikolskoye in the Lugansk People's Republic, Yelenovka, Shevchenko in the Donetsk People's Republic, and also shot down three rockets from the HIMARS multiple launch rocket system .

📊In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed: 575 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,622 unmanned aerial vehicles, 474 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,266 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,226 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,203 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 19,179 units of special military vehicles.


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Did the West Intentionally Incite Putin to War?
February 27, 2024

 Over the last year the US and NATO countries have made no effort to convince Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy to begin talks with Putin, despite: the death of more than half a million Ukrainians; the destruction of much of Ukraine's economy, finances, physical infrastructure, human capital, civil society; and the West's inability to sustain financial and military support even as Ukraine loses the war when said support was at its height. The West's war strategy now seems to be to prolong a 'long war' in the hope either that the war begins to affect Russia and Putin's standing there or that Putin's health wanes and his system destabilizes. All this and much more written below raises suspicions the West intentionally, maybe even 'subconsciously' – the actions of small political victories won in order to 'confront Putin' by competing elements within it, especially inside Washington – drew Russia into the NATO-Russia Ukrainian War. Aside from the background cause and main driver of this decision – NATO expansion – and more immediate precipitants of Putin’s decision in mid- to late February 2022, what efforts, of any, did the West undertake perhaps intentionally to drive this decision?

If we look at the course of events in reverse chronological order it seems to me even more glaringly so that the West sought this war and indeed drew Russia into it intentionally with the strategy of using the war to weaken Russia's economic and political stability. The strategic goal is the reinforcement of US hegemony and power maximalization by achieving two long-standing, interrelated sub-goals: (1) NATO expansion and (2) the removal from power of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Let's reverse engineer the course of events.

Moving back to the beginning of Russia's 'special military operation' (SMO), normal diplomatic practice should have prompted the West to consider and then pursue the possibility that Putin was engaging in coercive diplomacy in the last months prior to and first moths after intiating the SMO into Ukraine ( ... diplomacy/ ; ... -2-war-and -iron-curtain-descended/ ; and ... inian-war/ ). On the second day of the SMO a Russian delegation arrived in Gomel, Belarus to host a Ukrainian delegation for negotiations but the latter never arrived. Once the Ukrainians engaged in the Gomel process in March 2022 — which soon relocated to Istanbul, Turkey under the aegis of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the West was initially cold to the Russo-Ukrainian negotiations, ignoring them. As they neared success in late March, NATO countries began pouring weapons into Ukraine, and US President Joe Biden traveled to Poland, calling for Putin's removal from power ( anxiety-europe-ukraine-war-rcna21783). The West then directly blocked talks on a draft Russo-Ukrainian treaty based on a preliminary agreement and initialed by both sides in early April 2022 ( ... 73766.html ; see also https://x. com/i_katchanovski/status/1750362694949966291?s=51&t=n5DkcqsvQXNd3DfCRCwexQ ).

After rejecting Moscow's December 2021 treaty proposals (see below) and during the runup to the war in January 2022, the West's political leaders and various intelligence agencies were repeatedly warned of a Russian invasion while offering no diplomatic solution. There was a nearly daily drum beat of warnings of Putin's invasion being imminent, yet the West undertook no diplomatic outreach to Moscow, nor did it encourage Kiev to do so. It is as if the West was hoping to provoke Kiev into taking some action to spark Putin's invasion. Indeed, Zelenskiy was repeatedly scoffed at the prospect of a Russian invasion but at the same time declared that Kiev was preparing to withdraw form the Budapest Memorandum, an agreement that secured Ukraine's release of Soviet nuclear weapons based on its territory and Kiev's commitment not to develop nuclear weapons. It was around this time, mid- to late February, that Putin decided to give the order to initiate the SMO ( ... sequences/ ).

In December 2021 Russia proposed to the West talks on the failed Minsk process for Ukraine as well as on a framework draft treaty for a new European security architecture. In December 2021 Russia proposed to the West talks on the failed Minsk process for Ukraine as well as on a framework draft treaty for a new European security architecture. On December21st, Putin told an expanded meeting of his Defense Ministry's Board that it was “extremely alarming that elements of the US global defense system are being deployed near Russia…If this infrastructure continues to move forward, and if US and NATO military systems are deployed in Ukraine, their flight time to Moscow will be only 7- 10 minutes, or even five minutes for hypersonic systems” ( ). The Russian security proposals included a commitment by Russia and the US not to deploy ground-based missiles which were banned under the now-defunct Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty “outside their national territories, as well as in areas of their national territories from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other Party.” The West gave Putin's proposals scant, if any attention and then rejected them out of hand. This came on the background of war scares sounded in Western capitols rank by governments and media alike six months earlier in April when Russia was reported to have begun building up forces along its border with Ukraine. Given this concern, why not take up Putin's proposals more seriously or at least pretend to be doing so? The logical reaction to the April scare would be to step up diplomacy. Instead, Putin's proposals were virtually ignored; they were accepted for review and quickly rejected. And this was done precisely because Moscow's proposals required an end to NATO expansion. In late 2022 then Ukrainian presidential advisor and unofficial spokesman Oleksiy Arestovich asserted that in December 2021 Kiev had been stealthily moving to the conflict zone, 'forward positioning' some 40-60,000 troops ( ). Did this come from Western advice, and did Russian intelligence catch these deployments? Was connected to Zelenskiy's provocative statement to Ukrainian intelligence services a month before Putin's SMO began: “We have learned to deter and counter external aggression quite effectively.” I am convinced that the time has come to move to offensive actions to defend our national interests”? ( ... agro-72517 ).

On the eve of the war the West, in particular Washington, was issuing repeated warnings that Putin was planning to invade Ukraine, but the warnings were so hysterical and accompanied a deafening silence in US diplomacy, suggesting the goal was to provoke the reater green Zelenskiy into a misstep that Russia might use to justify an invasion ... ss-ukraine / . Indeed, soon Zelenskiy cooperated, perhaos falling for the trap, by announcing Kiev was going to abandon the Budapest memorandum which is the basis for Ukraine's non-nuclear status. Then throw into this combustible mix the exponential increase in firing across the contact line taken by Ukrainian forces first and Zelenskiy's threat to pursue nuclear capability.

Moreover, we now know that from 2015-2022 Kiev and its Western partners were feigning the Minsk negotiating process intended to resolve the internal driver of the war: the separatism of the breakaway Donbass regions of the Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) and Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) protected by Moscow after Kiev declared a de facto war on them in April 2014 without negotiation. Moreover, a series of Western and Ukrainian leaders, including former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have acknowledged that the entire Minsk 1 and 2 process was but a stalling tactic to buy time to build up the Ukrainian army in preparation for military operations to return Crimea and the re-subjugate the breakaway republics to the Ukrainian fold. For example, the processes chief Ukrainian negotiator Poroshenko himself acknowledged in a June interview to Radio Free Europe's Ukrainian language service and the German Deutsche Welle that the Minsk accords were intended to “delay the war” and “create powerful armed forces”: “Our goal was to, first, stop the threat, or at least to delay the war – to secure eight years to restore economic growth and create powerful armed forces” ( ... -was-used- to-buy-time-ukraines-poroshenko). This deception is an especially robust indicator that the West's goal was war with Russia rather than peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Throughout the period from 2014-2022, the US and NATO did nothing to forward the Minsk process, which was the only real exit path from the road leading to a NATO-Russia Ukrainian War. Volodomyr Zelenskiy's 2019 election to the presidency, despite campaign promises to pursue peace, led to an intensification of NATO-Ukrainian integration. In September 2020, Zelenskiy approved Ukraine's new National Security Strategy, which provided for further development of the distinctive partnership with NATO towards the goal of NATO membership. Thus, the US and NATO began integrating the Ukrainian military into NATO operatively (interoperability) while supplying it with massive levels of weapons and training unprecedented for a NATO non-member. NATO calls 'interoperability' “the heart of the alliance” ( ... dLocale=en). In June 2020, Ukraine joined NATO's Enhanced Opportunities Partner program to provide it with “enhanced access to interoperability programs and exercises, and more sharing of information, including lessons learned.” Ukraine joined the more than five countries enjoying such status, four of which are near Russia: one of the 'Five Eyes, country, Australia, as well as Georgia, Sweden, Finland, and – in support of US operations supporting Israel and across the Middle East – Jordan ( ... ignificant %20contributions%20to%20NATO-led%20operations%20and%20missions .).

In 2019, an amendment to Ukraine's Constitution entered into force stipulating membership in NATO as a strategic foreign and security policy objective, overturning the neutrality policy of the pre-Maidan regime Yanukovych government. This followed a June 2017 Ukrainian legislation reinstating NATO membership as a Ukrainian foreign and security policy goal. At the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, NATO included in the alliance's Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) “to support Ukraine's ability to provide for its own security and to implement broad-ranging reforms based on NATO standards, Euro-Atlantic principles and best practices. ” Under CAP, NATO “helped Ukraine transform its security and defense sector for many years, providing strategic-level advice via the NATO Representation to Ukraine and practical support through a range of capacity-building programs and initiatives. Through these programs and tailored advice, NATO has significantly strengthened the capacity and resilience of Ukraine's security and defense sector, as well as its ability to counter hybrid threats. NATO and Allies have also provided extensive support to capability development, including through training and education and the provision of equipment.” Along with CAP, several Trust Funds were set up in 2014 “to support capability development and sustainable capacity-building in key areas,” focusing on reorganizing and modernizing Ukraine's command, control, communications and computer or C4 capabilities; medical rehabilitation for servicemen and veterans; and professions development of civilians in the defense and security sectors ( ). This was the first time in NATO history that such a program was extended to and such a level of integration with a country already at war. And again, NATO and its leading member-state, the US, did nothing to forward the Minsk process in order, as several NATO member states' leaders acknowledge now, to buy time to arm Ukraine for a war to take back Crimea and the breakaway regions by force.

Beyond training, development, and capacity-building in 'soft' areas such as communications and logistics, non-lethal hardware was supplied before the current war by the US and other NATO countries at not insubstantial levels. As one US official noted regarding the US's supplies alone, before Presidential Drawdown Authority - authority to draw from Defense Department stocks to provide directly to Ukraine - led to as much as $100 million in military equipment being sent to Ukraine annually ( /articles/2023/2/24/tectonic-change-marks-one-year-anniversary-of-war-in-ukraine).


So, the question arises just how much the US and NATO tried to draw, provoke, incite Russia into war in Ukraine or at least made Kiev so robustly prepared for war that it made war inevitable – the late stage of the proverbial self-fulfilling prophecy about perceived (in this case, sans NATO expansion, misperceived) threats. Long before the Maidan putch, the US and NATO were on course for war in Ukraine by expanding NATO as some warned at the time. Continuing NATO expansion particularly to Ukraine would spark a NATO-Russia war. Throughout post-Cold war history and particularly in the 2004-2014 period, the US and NATO increased support for Ukraine's military and integrated it into NATO operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. A 'high point' in this process was the 2008 NATO summit that promised that Ukraine and Georgia would become NATO members in the future. From 2010 to 2014, as NATO's website notes, “Ukraine pursued a non-alignment policy, which it terminated in response to Russia's aggression” ( The NATO statement naturally leaves out the Maidan revolt that overthrew the government conducting the neutrality policy that preceded 'Russia's aggression” and was nurtured by Western money and networks in Ukraine. In Western analyses, Western actions have no effect on Russian calculations about its own security. Meanwhile, the US and NATO took no steps to counter the rising influence of ultranationalism, neofascism, and anti-Russian feeling in Ukraine beginning with the Orange Revolution. In this period the West tirelessly cultivated pro-NATO networks in Ukraine in order to amass pro-NATO, pro-EU sentiment and promote regime change or 'color revolution' in Ukraine on the Maidan 'revolution' in 2013-2014, but I and others have already made that point and exhaustively so [see Gordon M. Hahn, Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West and the 'New Cold War' (Jefferson, NC: McFarland Books, 2018); ... descended/ ; ... an-crisis/ ; ... ing-paper/ ; and ... d=title%5D ].

A final side note. All this has led to NATO and the US being combatants in a war against Russia, which threatens us with world war and nuclear conflagration. You doubt NATO is a combatant? Here is how a NATO official describes NATO involvement in organizing deep communications and targeting (!) for Ukraine down to the front unit level: “(T)he way targeting has been achieved within Ukraine and the way that data has been provided down to almost the lowest tactical unit there for them to be able to call joint fires in is extraordinary. … I think that the tempo that's been achieved to give those capabilities to do a sort of trial in the field, where the risk appetite is very high. I think many allies look at enviously how quickly that can be done in comparison to more traditional processes” ( ... ility-gaps ).

I detain you no further. ... in-to-war/


SITREP 2/27/24: Desperate Globalists Float Boots on Ground to Save Ukraine



The advances are coming surprisingly fast, such that Ukrainian commentators are falling over themselves to explain what’s going on. Infamous Ukrainian journalist Yuri Butusov gives his take, which is one of the threads that ties perfectly together with the last report. Recall the updates I’ve pushed about the corruption and embezzlement which has stilted Ukraine’s ability to build second echelon lines on almost every front. He addresses this directly:

The Russian Army continues to move forward, since no serious defense line of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been constructed west of Avdievka - Butusov

“There are no words. The gap: here in Kiev the Supreme Commander-in-Chief says one thing, but at the front something completely different is happening. I want to say: beyond Avdeevka no field lines of fortifications have been built to this day. I saw our soldiers in holes in the middle of a field being attacked by Russian drones,” said Ukrainian military propagandist Butusov. No conclusions are drawn from previous failures.


To make matters worse, an ex-Colonel of the SBU continues another one of our ongoing threads from my previous report about Russia’s death by a thousand cuts tactic and how it may soon result in Ukraine’s collapse. Read what he says about the many-vectored attack—specifically about the rapidfire rotation of units that’s not giving Ukraine a chance to reinforce the constantly shifting axes of attack:

Ex-Colonel of the SBU predicts a new collapse of the front:

The Russian army is attacking on several sectors of the front, probing for the weak points of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said retired SBU Colonel Oleg Starikov.

“The front is standing. What did the enemy start doing? He began to concentrate his groups in six directions - Kupyansk, Seversk, Liman, Bakhmut, Ugledar, Avdeevka and Orekhovskoye, Tokmak direction. And these groups have grown from tactical to operational. Operational - this is the army level of 50-70 thousand. They are pursuing a “swing” strategy - they will hit there, move away, hit there, don’t approach. Some of our commentators are starting to say that “meat assaults, we killed everyone, there is no one, and they keep climbing and climbing.” Please don't listen - this is more related to panic. This is an underestimation of the enemy, it will come back to bite us, by the way, it’s already coming out ,” said the colonel.

He noted that the Russians are constantly rotating, training fresh forces, while the Ukrainian units are divided into those who know how to fight, but are mortally tired, and untrained newcomers. Both are potential sources of large losses.

“As a result, they will continue to press. Wait until we encounter certain problems in the tactical theater of military operations, which turn into operational-tactical ones. Then, operationally, the front collapsed. This is not me saying, but the military history of the First World War,” the Ukrainian expert worries.

The above only further confirms that everything we’ve been writing here about Russia’s strategy has been accurate, which further gives me confidence about much of the other projections for the future.

The dwindling conditions were again highlighted by a new Telegraph article that continues to paint a ghastly picture:

Image ... -avdiivka/

Ukrainian Armed Forces cannot fight in the Avdiivka direction due to a lack of ammunition, soldiers complained to The Telegraph. “We have lost our fighting spirit. We simply do not have the means to fight. If this continues for a few more years, it will be a disaster: either we will run out of people, or everyone will simply leave the country,” one of them said.

He added that now the Ukrainian Armed Forces are forced to leave advantageous positions and decide “which village to give to the Russians next.” Earlier, the Financial Times wrote that the EU is unlikely to be able to send the promised 1 million shells to Ukraine.

It’s gotten to the point the CIA director was again dispatched to Kiev to stop things from unraveling:

CIA Director William Burns secretly visited Ukraine last Thursday, February 22 - New York Times According to the newspaper, this is Burns' tenth visit to Ukraine in two years. The purpose of the visit is to “calm down Ukrainian leaders” who fear that American intelligence services, due to the blocking of US aid, will become less active in helping Kyiv “fight Russia”

And outlooks continue to get bleaker:

Western intelligence agencies report that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will exhaust their ammunition reserves by June, taking into account what Ukraine will receive in the coming weeks. Spiegel writes about secret negotiations between Germany and India on the purchase of shells through intermediaries. New Delhi has more than 100 thousand free shells. Negotiations are being held in secret (no longer), so that the partnership with Russia does not fall apart.
In Germany, they note that they have a shortage of shells, but a lot of money. 155-mm shells are also being sought in Arab countries. By the end of March, Germany will transfer 170 thousand shells to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

What’s interesting is we’ve seen the repeated projections for two months or so being the time period when things could unravel. This happens to roughly coincide with when Zelensky’s presidential mandate runs out, and questions of his legitimacy will begin rising.

But now that things are looking so bleak, there is panic behind the scenes as factions are already forming to begin using this question of legitimacy as a springboard:

The vacuum of legitimacy is the main problem for Ukraine in the future, which will become clear on the weakening of international relations with our strange.

Zelensky’s political opponents are increasingly raising the topic of completing the president’s five-year cadence, writes The head.

In particular, the ex-speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, People’s deputy Dmitry Razumkov said that the powers of the current president of our country, Vladimir Zelensky, end in the spring of 2024, after which his powers are transferred to the speaker of the parliament.

"The Constitution clearly states what should happen: there is a chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, he acts as president before a new president is elected and he assumes his rights," — explained the nardep.

According to Razumkov, elections in Ukraine can be held after the end of the military conflict: "Everything is standard, everything is democratic. I understand that neither Zelensky nor his office likes this, but the law is the law". Also, the ex-speaker of Rada added that he would like the situation in Ukraine to change and there were more "adequate people in the offices where decisions are made".

The fact that Zelensky’s legitimacy after May 21 — was also called into question by ex-nardep, Doctor of Law Valery Karpuntsov.

"The norm of the Constitution states that there is no ban on the election of the president during a state of emergency or martial law. And if we look at the parliament, then such a ban is in the Constitution. Moreover, the Constitution clearly indicates how the president’s powers are transferred to another person in case of some situations that are not standard (rejection, death, voluntary retirement or for health reasons). In this case, the powers in a “circumcised” form are transferred to the chairman of the parliament", — said Karpuntsov.

"If the president decides to transfer powers, not to resign voluntarily, then in this case nothing passes on to the chairman of the Rada. And we have a clean criminal situation when the authorities are usurped and this is already qualified under the criminal code",— he added.

It is not surprising that against the background of such statements in the political circles of Ukraine, rumors have begun about preparations for the appointment of the head of the Office of President Andrei Ermak as the country's prime minister. As the rumor fabula says, Zelensky has matured the plan to put the most reliable person and key member of his team (i.e., Ermak) on the post of prime minister, to exclude the possibility of using the position of the head of government to undermine the power of the president through the topic of "illegitimacy".

The situation for the Office of the President is aggravated by the fact that in Ukraine Zelensky’s dissatisfaction with political elites and ordinary citizens is growing. The president cannot forgive corruption, failures at the front, and now inhuman, anti-people mobilization. At the same time, Zelensky himself and he himself dismissed the rating by resigning the head of the Armed Forces of Zaluzhny, popular in the country and in the West, appointing in his place a virtually obedient puppet of Syrsky (and this case, political opponents of Z can also successfully "download" in the spring of 2024).


And in light of this—what is the natural thing for them to do? Why, blame Russia of course! This is where things are headed:

“Maidan-3”: Russia is preparing a special operation to question Zelensky’s legitimacy after May 20, when his term ends

▪️The propaganda statement is published by the Intelligence Committee under the President of Ukraine. The campaign will reach its climax allegedly in March-May 2024, they plan to spread panic, quarrel Kyiv with its allies, disrupt arms deliveries and mobilization.

▪️According to the plan, in the first half of June the situation in Ukraine will be able to be shaken and then, taking advantage of this, Kyiv will be inflicted a military defeat in the east, this is the key idea of their operation, Zelensky’s propagandists claim.

▪️ “It is worth noting that the theme of Zelensky’s “illegitimacy” after May 20 is now being pumped most actively by supporters of ex-President Poroshenko; based on the logic of the Intelligence Committee’s statement, they are “Russian agents,” write the Kyiv media.

▪️Ironically, Poroshenko himself, when he was president, also listed his critics as “agents of the Kremlin,” and his political strategists in 2016 even announced the “Shatun” plan allegedly developed in Moscow to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.


One more update in this regard:

The Office of the Ukrainian President has prepared the text of an appeal to the Constitutional Court (CC) of Ukraine regarding the legitimacy of Vladimir Zelensky’s tenure as head of state after the expiration of his powers on May 20, the local publication “Mirror of the Week” reports, citing sources in the Zelensky administration.

It is noted that they want to pose several questions to the judges. In particular, despite the fact that according to the constitution, voting cannot be organized during martial law, the office plans to clarify whether the basic law allows for presidential elections to be held under these conditions.

The second question concerns the legitimacy of the powers of the president after the expiration of his five-year term in office. The publication writes that, according to the plan of the leadership of the presidential office, deputies from the pro-presidential Servant of the People party will make an appeal to the Constitutional Court. But the appeal has not yet been transmitted to parliamentarians.

As you can see, a mad scramble is taking place to secure Zelensky’s spot after May 20th, with the ground already being seeded about how any question of Zelensky’s legitimacy is the work of Russian security services—a natural and predictable step to dissuade and perhaps eventually jail opponents who will dare challenge him when the date comes.

So finally—we get to the culmination of all this. Things are looking bleaker than ever, with Ukraine seemingly headed for potential collapse sometime in the next three or so months. The frontline situation is set to potentially turn catastrophic in that period, as critical ammo is being projected to deplete right at the time that Zelensky’s legal mandate to rule comes to an end. One can clearly see how this can become a recipe for another coup or collapse via infighting.

(Much more at link, check it out.) ... globalists


CIA Set up 12 Secret Facilities in Ukraine Along Russian Border Over Eight Year Period – NYT Report
FEBRUARY 27, 2024

The seal of Central Intelligence Agency in seen in the lobby the headquarters building in Langley, Va., or Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Photo: Sputnik/File photo.

American intelligence agencies reportedly collaborated closely with their Ukrainian counterparts, providing training to operatives conducting missions in Russia, Europe, Cuba, and other areas with an active Russian presence.

The Central Intelligence Agency created a dozen secret spy bases in Ukraine near the border with Russia over the past eight years, with the Eastern European country becoming one of Washington’s most important tools for intel operations against Moscow. That’s according to a New York Times expose published Sunday citing former and current officials from Ukraine, the US and Europe.

The intelligence “partnership” “took root a decade ago,” and “has transformed Ukraine, whose intelligence agencies were long seen as thoroughly compromised by Russia, into one of Washington’s most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin today,” the publication indicated.

The 12 secret locations constituted “forward operating bases” from which networks of agents gathering intel inside Russia were run. The CIA is said to have overseen a training program known as ‘Operation Goldfish’ to train Ukrainian intel agents to assume fake identities and work to steal secrets in Russia, and to operate as “trained sleeper agents” to wage guerilla war against the Russian military.

American intelligence agents reportedly worked closely with Ukrainian personnel, including the chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Kyrylo Budanov, before his appointment to his current post. In addition, the CIA trained Ukrainian spies to operate in Russia, Europe, Cuba and other places where Russians are present.

According to the report, even after the withdrawal of most American government personnel from Ukraine in February 2022, US intelligence officers remained active in western Ukraine, passing on intelligence information, including where Russia planned to strike and what weapons systems would be used

“Without them, there would have been no way for us to resist the Russians, or to beat them,” the NYT cited Ivan Bakanov, former head of Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency, the SBU, as saying.

The NYT said that since 2016, Ukrainians occasionally violated the terms of cooperation which Washington set out for them, “organizing assassinations and other deadly operations” which America supposedly disapproved of. The US threatened to withdraw support, but never did, according to the newspaper.

The CIA and other US intel agencies’ cooperation with and efforts to take control of their Ukrainian counterparts began almost immediately after the 2014 Euromaidan coup d’etat, with the post-coup government’s new spy chief, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, calling the Ukrainian CIA station chief and the local head of MI6, inviting them to tour the SBU Ukrainian spy headquarters and asking for assistance in rebuilding it “from the ground up.”

Then-US CIA director John Brennan touched down in Kiev shortly after, telling Nalyvaichenko that US assistance would be forthcoming if Ukraine “could provide intelligence of value to the Americans” and purged the SBU of any suspected Russian spies within its ranks. ... yt-report/


CovertAction Bulletin – Ukraine and the Growing Anti-War Movement: Lessons after 2 Years
By Rachel Hu and Chris Garaffa - February 28, 2024 0


CLICK HERE to listen on podcast platforms worldwide
Support this broadcast: become a patreon!

February 24 marked the second anniversary of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. With tens of thousands dead and more wounded on both sides and no end in sight to the conflict, it’s important to remember that the history of this conflict did not begin on February 24, 2022, nor on February 22, 2014, when the Russian military took control of the Crimean Peninsula.

We discuss this and other lessons of the last two years, including why there cannot be “unity” between the left and fascist forces who pretend to be part of the anti-war movement, and the spread of anti-imperialist sentiment across the U.S. as Israel continues to commit genocide in Gaza.

We’re joined by Walter Smolarek, producer with The Socialist Program. ... r-2-years/
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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:06 pm

Missiles, soldiers, intelligence and reproaches
POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 01/03/2024


In what seems like a repeat of what happened a little over a year ago, when Germany was pressured by its allies, all kinds of think-tanks and a large part of the Western press to approve the shipment of Leopard tanks, Olaf Scholz is suffering this week some harassment by their European counterparts as a result of the recent controversy caused by the words of Emmanuel Macron. After Monday's summit in Paris, in which EU countries aimed to show unity and commit to increasing assistance to Kiev, the French president, without any agreement, referred to the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine . The comment, uttered casually, can be understood as a way of putting on the table what would mean a significant escalation in the conflict between Russia and the West, but also as an empty threat from someone who has already sent so many weapons that it is difficult to find headlines with those who break the current information cycle.

Given the ambiguity of the United States and the United Kingdom, the rejection of a large part of the European Union countries and the enthusiasm of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the issue has become part of the political and media conversation at a time when which Western discourse focuses on exaggerating the difficulties that Ukraine is suffering on the front. “Ukraine sees the risk of a Russian invasion through its defenses this summer,” Bloomberg headlined yesterday , following the line initiated by Josep Borrell, who demanded immediacy in the shipment of weapons and ammunition given the danger that the war could “be resolved.” in three months". The reality of the front helps the implementation of that discourse. Russia's advances in Donbass - and to a lesser extent in Zaporozhie, around Rabotino - occur in a phase in which it is necessary to temporarily replace US weapons and financing. The strength of the Russian offensive, for the moment only local, can be gauged when its troops reach Ukraine's second line of defense. It will then become clear whether the current Ukrainian withdrawals are a response to the collapse of the Donetsk front or whether it is a relatively organized withdrawal. In any case, each town, no matter how small, is now mentioned in Western war reports as a sign of the danger that is coming.

Increased production and speed of deliveries are currently the two most repeated ideas in European discourse, in which there is no room for any opening to diplomacy and future dangers are exaggerated to justify the increase in military spending. Yesterday, with a large majority (451 in favor, 46 against and 49 abstentions), the European Parliament approved the umpteenth resolution to proclaim assistance to Ukraine as long as it is necessary . The text insisted that each EU and NATO country must spend at least 0.25% of its GDP annually on military assistance to Ukraine. Aware that the European Union is not capable of sustaining war on its own, Parliament appealed not only to NATO in general, but to its undisputed leader in particular. “The United States Congress must approve its delayed military assistance package for Ukraine without delay,” he demands. And in a week in which for the first time the presence of Western troops in Ukraine has been put on the table - whether it is the first step to begin to demand it or whether it is a verbal threat without further ado -, the resolution also states that “there should be no “no self-imposed restrictions on European Union military assistance to Ukraine.” The document does not specify whether it refers to the sending of troops, the spending ceiling or the reluctance of some countries to send certain types of weapons. Taking into account the slowness with which the European political machinery moves, it is likely that the intention is not to support Macron's words, although the coincidence in time adds ambiguity to the comment.

Faced in a power struggle to show themselves as Kiev's most important European ally, Paris and Berlin continue to argue through the media precisely about those restrictions that the European Parliament, in which the space for diplomacy seems non-existent, demands to be eliminated. The quick reaction of the German Government after Macron's words trying to lift the taboo on sending troops has made it clear why the French head of state's comment bothered Olaf Scholz so much. And with each passing day, the differences of opinion at the continental level are revealed and some more detail is given about the reality of the war.

In just a few hours after Macron's statements, Scholz reacted by linking any presence of German troops on the ground to the status of belligerence. The German chancellor was also quick when he was forced to deny his own Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, who in a parliamentary intervention stated that “we are at war with Russia.” Although Germany is the main European military donor, Scholz has drawn the red line on direct participation. And it is precisely there where he has clashed with a slightly different definition of what it means to be a belligerent country and where external support for a country at war is confused with participation in the war conflict.

Scholz not only insisted that there can be no German soldiers in Ukraine, but he did so using a perfectly clear example. The German chancellor insisted that no German soldier should be able to be linked to the targets hit by a missile. With this, the German leader linked the two topics of the week: the issue of troops and the pressure for the approval of the shipment of Taurus missiles. Last week, at the initiative of the opposition, the Bundestag appealed for the shipment of these missiles, for which kyiv has been begging for months. And after Monday's meeting in Paris and in the midst of the controversy over the comment about the troops, Macron, not without some clumsiness, responded to the German reproach for the lack of French military assistance by recalling that Paris is willing to send missiles to Ukraine. long-range. The French comment opened the possibility for Scholz to make known what sending Western missiles into the war really entails. Unlike in the case of battle tanks, for which the training of tankers in Western countries has been sufficient, the sending of long-range missiles, as the German Chancellor has implied, the presence of soldiers from that country handling those missiles and assisting in the task of reaching selected targets.

“Olaf Scholz stated on Monday that he would not deliver the Taurus, Berlin's equivalent of the Storm Shadow, as it required the presence of soldiers assisting on the ground, citing the British and French approach with their own systems. Mr. Scholz has argued that following the British example would make Germany a participant in the war .” Without much subtlety, the German Chancellor's defense has been to imply the presence of British and French soldiers and to suggest that both have crossed a certain line of belligerence that the German Government, for the moment, is not willing to cross. As The Telegraph has reported these days , the United Kingdom has wanted to deny, although without actually doing so, its direct participation in the war. “The United Kingdom, together with other allies, is supplying a range of equipment to Ukraine to help it counter Russia's illegal and unprovoked aggression,” said the Ministry of Defense, which, without any conviction and with little credibility, added that “Ukraine's use of the Storm Shadow and the processes of achieving the objectives are the responsibility of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.” None of the statements deny the presence of British soldiers to help handle the weapons.

The reaction of the German opposition is also significant. Norbert Rottgen, CDU deputy, has reproached Scholz for “the statements regarding the alleged French and British participation in the use of long-range missiles in Ukraine”, which he has described as “irresponsible”. Along the same lines, but with even more clarity, Tobias Ellwood, former president of the Parliamentary Defense Committee, wanted to show his anger against the words of the German chancellor. "This is a blatant abuse of intelligence deliberately designed to distract from Germany's reluctance to arm Ukraine with its missile systems." As The Telegraph recalls , the long-awaited Taurus could reach, for example, the bridge that connects Crimea with continental Russia, the goal most desired by people like Kirilo Budanov. The reluctance to be linked to such an attack remains more important for the German chancellor than maintaining the semblance of unity with his partners and allies. Although defending against his pressure involves directly linking French and British soldiers in missile attacks on the Russian rear. ... reproches/

Google Translator


From Cassad's Telegram account:

📝 Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of the special military operation (as of February 29, 2024) | The main thing:

- The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost up to 495 military personnel, 7 tanks, 2 infantry fighting vehicles and 4 armored vehicles per day in the Avdiivka direction;

— The RF Armed Forces occupied more advantageous lines and positions in the Avdeevsky direction;

— The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost up to 105 people per day in the South Donetsk direction;

— The Russian Armed Forces improved the tactical situation in the Kupyansk direction within 24 hours, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost up to 50 military personnel and a tank;

— The Russian Armed Forces hit the command post of the operational-tactical group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine "Kupyansk", the command posts of two Ukrainian brigades;

— Russian air defense shot down 9 HIMARS shells, 2 JDAM guided bombs and 93 UAVs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces during the day;

— The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Donetsk direction per day amounted to up to 600 military personnel, 2 tanks, 2 armored personnel carriers, including M113.

▫️In the Kherson direction, Russian units took up more advantageous positions and inflicted fire on accumulations of manpower and equipment of the 118th mechanized , 128th mountain assault brigade and 35th marine brigade in the areas of the settlements of Rabotino, Stepovoye, Malye Shcherbaki in the Zaporozhye region and Tokarevka, Kherson region.

The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces amounted to up to 50 military personnel, five vehicles and the Bukovel-AD electronic warfare station .

▫️Units of the Russian group of forces in the Kherson direction destroyed the Ukrainian sabotage group of the 73rd naval center of special operations forces of the Ukrainian Navy, which attempted to land on high-speed motor boats in the Tendrovskaya Spit area.

As a result of the fleeting battle, four boats with a landing party were destroyed and sank , the fifth turned around and departed at high speed in the opposite direction.

The enemy's losses amounted to up to 25 Ukrainian military personnel. One soldier was captured.

▫️Operational-tactical aviation , unmanned aerial vehicles , missile forces and artillery of military groups hit: the command post of the operational-tactical group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces "Kupyansk", two command posts: the 72nd mechanized and 59th motorized infantry brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the S-300PS anti-aircraft missile system , three ammunition depots, as well as manpower and military equipment in 126 regions.

▫️Air defense systems shot down nine HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems and two JDAM guided bombs .

In addition, 93 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed in the areas of the settlements of Lisichansk, Golikovo of the Lugansk People's Republic, Kurdyumivka, Pervomaiskoe, Krinichnaya of the Donetsk People's Republic and Mikhailovka of the Zaporozhye region.

▫️In total , since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed : 575 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,715 unmanned aerial vehicles, 475 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,286 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,227 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,223 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 19211 units of special military vehicles.

Google Translator




by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with

The collapse of the Ukrainian army following the battle of Avdeyevka, and its disorganized retreat, have accelerated Russian military thinking of how far westward the NATO allies will decide that the Ukrainian statelet can be defended against the expected Russian advance – and how fast new NATO defences can be created without the protection of ground-to-air missile batteries like Patriot, long-range artillery like the M777, and mobile armour like the Abrams, Bradley, and Caesar: all of them have already been defeated in the east.

In short, there is no longer a NATO-command line of fortification east of the Polish border which deters the Russian General Staff. Also, no bunker for the Zelensky government and its NATO advisors to feel secure.

Cutting and pasting from the Russian military bloggers and the Moscow analytical media, as a handful of US podcasters and substackers are doing as often as their subscribers require, is the Comfy-Armchair method for getting at the truth. Reading the Russian sources directly, with the understanding that they are reporting what their military and intelligence sources are saying off the record, is still armchair generalship, but less comfy, more credible.

Offence is now the order of the day up and down the contact line. The daily bulletin from the Ministry of Defense in Moscow calls this “improving the tactical situation” and “taking more advantageous positions”. In the past three days, Monday through Wednesday, the Defense Ministry also reported the daily casualty rate of the Ukrainian forces at 1,175, 1,065, and 695, respectively; three M777 howitzer hits; and the first Abrams tank to be destroyed. Because this source is blocked in several of the NATO states, the Russian military bloggers, which reproduce the bulletins along with videoclips and maps, may be more accessible; also more swiftly than the US-based podcasters and substackers can keep up.

Moscow sources confirm the obvious: the operational objective is to apply more and more pressure at more and more points along the line, in as many sectors or salients (“directions” is the Russian term) as possible simultaneously. At the same time, air attack, plus missiles and drones, are striking all rear Ukrainian and NATO airfield, road, and rail nodes, ammunition storages, vehicle parks, drone manufactories, fuel dumps, and other supply infrastructure, so as make reinforcement and redeployment more difficult and perilous.

What cannot be seen are the Russian concentrations of forces aimed in the north, centre and south of the battlefield. Instead, there is what one source calls “an educated guess is that when the main blow comes, it will be North, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov, Poltava, or Centre, Dniepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, or both simultaneously.” For timing, the source adds, “after the Russian election.”

That is now less than three weeks away, on March 17. President Vladimir Putin will then reform his new government within four to six weeks for announcement by early May. Ministerial appointments sensitive to the General Staff’s planning are the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is expected to remain in place; and the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who may retire.

Following the call of French President Emmanuel Macron for the “possibility” of French ground force deployment to the Ukraine battlefield, and the subsequent clarification by French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu, the Russian assessment has been derisory. “As for Emmanuel Macron’s statements about the possibility of sending NATO troops to Ukraine,” replied Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova, “I would like to remind you that just a month ago, the French Foreign Minister denied Paris’s involvement in recruiting mercenaries for the Kiev regime, and called direct evidence ‘crude Russian propaganda.’ There is a strong impression that the French President is, in principle, not aware of what his subordinates say, or what he says himself. And now I want to remind Macron of the history of France. That is different. In April 1945, Berlin was defended by the French SS division known as Charlemagne, and a number of others. They also directly defended the Fuhrerbunker — Hitler’s bunker. They were among the last to be awarded the Nazi Order of the Knight’s Cross in the Third Reich. The French SS men from Charlemagne became the last defenders of the Reichstag and the Reich Chancellery. Emmanuel, have you decided to organize the Charlemagne II division to defend Zelensky’s bunker?”

The view in Moscow is that there is now as much indecision, vacillation, and chaos between the Elysée and the Hexagon Balard in Paris as there is in Washington between the White House and the Pentagon, over what last stand NATO can make in the Ukraine, and where to position it — east of Kiev, or east of Lvov and the Polish border region.

The Moscow source again: “the NATO fortress and bunker plan for the Ukraine is proving a failure, and the Ukrainians are falling back on the old Wehrmacht tactic of ad hoc battlegroups with increasing percentages of unit leftovers and low-quality conscripts acting as fire brigades to plug holes in the lines so as to delay the Russian advances. But what is the bunker fallback plan along what lines – is the plan to wait until the Americans, French, Germans or Poles show up? This is the stuff of Nazi dreams. It’s too late.”

A western military source comments: “I’m not so sure, as some of the Russian milbloggers are, that the broad front approach [Russian General Valery] Gerasimov is taking heralds a new approach to modern warfare – or operational art, if you like. The push at different points, conserving men and materiel in favour of firepower is being done as much, or more out of political considerations, which include those of a domestic character (Putin’s public support, domestic stability); and also the military objective since Day One of the Special Military Operation — to draw in and destroy as many and as much of the US-NATO manpower and equipment in the Ukraine as possible.”

“The Russian ‘retreat’ conducted in Fall of 2022 was part of the plan and struck me as being inspired by the Mongol tactic of attacking, making a big show of running away, only to turn to pursue and then destroy the enemy. The Ukrainians and their NATO handlers fell for it hook, line and sinker. Now they don’t have the forces needed to maintain their fortress strategy, let alone conduct much in the way of counter-attacks. It was in this fashion that Gerasimov gained the upper hand in the two-front war – the one on the Ukrainian battlefield and the one on the Russian home front.”

“Deep battle is still the Russian doctrine. Its form and components may change, but the concept remains the same. The art is in figuring out where and when the holes drilled in the other side’s military, economic, and political structures will line up, and present the path to be exploited by Gerasimov. We can bet he’s known for quite some time.”

Two translations follow of current Russian military analyses. The first is by Boris Rozhin, whose Colonel Cassad Telegram platform is one of the leading military blogs in Moscow. The second is by Yevgeny Krutikov who publishes long pieces in Vzglyad, the semi-official security analysis medium in Moscow, and short pieces in his Telegram account, Mudraya Ptitsa (“Wise Bird”).

The translation is verbatim and unedited. Maps and illustrations have been added.

Source: -- posted on February 27, 2024 – 20:25. Part II has not been published yet.

February 27, 2024
The operational crisis of the Armed Forces of the Ukraine – Part 1
By Boris Rozhin (“Colonel Cassad”)

The successes of our troops strengthen faith in a collective victory. However, it is necessary to soberly assess the three factors that make up the operational situation at the front:

— our forces and materiel – the forces and materiel of the enemy;

— the ratio between them;

— the operational environment.

The situation in which the enemy is now on the defensive can be called an operational crisis. For four months, the Armed Forces of the Ukraine [VSU is the Russian acronym] command concentrated their reserves in Avdeyevka and Chas Yar, weakening other sectors of the front (in particular, Kupyansk and Zaporozhye). Having failed to ensure a crucial preponderance of forces, against the background of an increase in the media importance of Avdeyevka, the enemy lost the operational initiative and is now forced to withdraw to reserve linesof defence. But they are not fully operational.

The transfer of reserves of the VSU is carried out under the increasing attacks of our aviation and high-precision attacks on key railway nodes (for example, Pokrovsk and Konstantinovka). Many VSU units need to be withdrawn for reformation, which is currently impossible. Therefore, they are equipped at the expense of mobilized citizens with low motivation and combat training.


Source: Rybar. Click on original to enlarge view: -- February 29 00:42.

By developing an offensive initiative west of Avdeyevka, our units have deprived the enemy of the opportunity to gain a foothold there. According to the Bakhmut scenario in the summer of 2023, when attacking near Kleshcheyevka and Berkhovka, the VSU created a hotbed of tension, forcing us to hold large forces in position. Today, the Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have the opportunity to fully regroup, so they are withdrawing troops in key operational areas: Zaporozhye (Orekhov) and Slavyansk-Kramatorsk (taking into account our positions in the Avdeyevka and Bakhmut initial areas).

The new [VSU] commander-in-chief, [General Alexander] Syrsky, is confused about exactly where to concentrate his forces. In conditions of simultaneous movement of our formations along the entire front line: in the Zaporozhye, Donetsk, Lugansk (the Svatovo-Kremennaya line) and Kupyansk operational directions, the concentration of forces and materiel in a particular area will inevitably create conditions for a breakthrough of the Ukrainian defence.

The advance of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the Maryinsk-Ugledar operational and tactical direction and in the area of Novomikhailovka creates conditions for squeezing the enemy west of the Marinka-Ugledar highway and in the direction of Kurakhovo, which in the foreseeable future will become a key node in the VSU defence in this area. The situation is developing in a similar way in the Konstantinovsky direction, where our troops are having success at Chas Yar, advancing at the moment with coverage to Ivanovskoye, the largest defensive line in front of the Chas–Yar fortress area.


Source: Rybar. Click on the original to enlarge view:

Steady pressure is recorded in the area of Yampolovka and Ternov, the Serebryansky forest, as well as on the left bank of the Seversky Donets, where an offensive is underway against Belogorovka in order to reach Seversk. Positional battles continue south of Seversk in the Razdolovka–Veseloe strip. Our units are moving along the railway line, although the tactical conditions of the terrain are not conducive to a rapid offensive there. The situation is more complicated in the Kupyansk direction. However, despite the difficulties of advancing and the altitude differences, we are managing to contain large enemy forces on both banks of the Oskol.

A likely scenario for the development of the situation is that during the coming month the VSU will continue the gradual withdrawal of troops to new lines along a rear echelon from 15 to 20 kilometres back, while simultaneously trying to engage us in battles in areas where terrain conditions and defensive fortifications will allow us to hold positions: these are Chas Yar–Konstantinovka, the southern approaches to Seversk (Rayaleksandrovsky fortress area), the Marinka– Kurakhovo–Ugledar line (Donetsk direction), and Rabodino–Orekhov (Zaporozhye).

At the moment of withdrawal from a particular area, the enemy will transfer his forces from site to site in order to inflict maximum damage to our advancing group. The VSU does not consider any other option, for example, to counterattack, since the concentration of troops required for that risks taking the shape of the Avdeyevka scenario, with the real prospect of falling into a котёл [trap].

Left, Boris Rozhin; right, Yevgeny Krutikov.


February 28, 2024
How Russian troops are shifting Ukrainian defenses after
By Yevgeny Krutikov

The advance of Russian troops to the West after the liberation of Avdeyevka has not been stopped at all. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have not been able to gain a foothold on any defensive line for many days, and moreover, this applies not only to the Avdeyevka direction. What is happening on the line of contact in the special operation zone and what will be the target of the Russian army in the coming weeks?

After the liberation of Avdeyevka the units of the Russian Armed Forces maintained a high rate of advance in this section of the line of contact. The enemy hastily tried to create new lines of defence to the west of the city along the Stepovoye–Berdych-Orlovka–Lastochkino–Tonenkoe–Severnoye line. But by Tuesday, February 27, Russian assault units had occupied the first line (Stepovoye, Lastochkino, Severnoye) and began operations to occupy the second line.

In some instances the enemy simply abandoned their positions, unable to withstand the blows of bombs and assault actions. The open spaces (fields, forests, and gullies) west of Avdeyevka came under the control of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation almost without a fight.

There is an explanation for this. First of all, the organization of defence on new frontlines is extremely costly and time–consuming; it requires a huge amount of equipment and specialists, and most importantly, time. It is precisely this time which the Russian troops are seizing to consolidate their positions, denying them to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and constantly putting pressure on them, primarily with long-range weapons.

The VSU, as it now turns out, were not prepared at all for the rapid abandonment of Avdeyevka. In addition, it seems that the enemy cannot withstand a direct clash with Russian troops outside of positions they have fortified in advance. The VSU can cling to long-term fortified areas which have been prepared for a long time, but with the constant pace of the Russian offensive, they are forced to withdraw even from these positions.

Behind the new line of defence of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which has developed in the Avdeyevka area at the moment (provisionally around Orlovka), an empty space has opened up in which there are no natural obstacles capable of supporting new defensive fortifications. There is nothing like this up to the next major settlements of the Donbass, primarily Krasnoarmeysk (Pokrovsky). The enemy has not strengthened the small villages there in any way, thinking it wouldn’t be necessary.


Source: Rybar. Click on original to enlarge view:

The only limitation on the Russian forces for moving forward in this direction may be the old positions of the VSU on the flanks. For example, Kurakhovo is planned to be another “fortress”, which by the very fact of its existence creates a flank threat to the advance of the Avdeyevka grouping of the Russian forces.

The situation in another section of the contact line, west of Artemovsk, is indicative in this regard. The enemy’s positions in front of Chasov Yar in the villages of Krasnoe (Ivanovskoye) and Bogdanovka have looked to be very strong. But the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation began to move there not head-on, but from the north, pushing through and bypassing the fortified areas of the VSU. As a result, by Tuesday, the assault groups had advanced almost to the centre of the village. At the same time, several heights were occupied, opening the way further to the west.

This manoeuvre is clearly visible on satellite images of the area where the lines of the enemy’s trenches south of Krasnoe are visible. Apparently, the VSU was afraid of the movement of Russian fighters from this direction, from Kleshcheyevka. The ruins of Kleshcheyevka themselves are practically surrounded at the moment, but this direction has become secondary to movement on Chasov Yar.

The first districts of Chasov Yar – east of the canal, where the VSU units are located – are now being constantly shelled by Russian artillery and bombs [ФАБ], which make it impossible for the enemy to manoeuvre their reserves and rotate.

The enemy transferred most of the reserves available at the beginning of February to Kupyansk. In Kiev this stabilization of the front near Kupyansk is considered a great achievement. The Kiev command is motivated to hang stubbornly on to the zone around Kupyansk by the realization that if they lose this node, that would lead to the redeployment of parts of the Russian forces all the way up to Kharkov.

But the most important thing that the intelligence and leadership of the VSU are currently doing is trying to determine where the new main blow of the Russian offensive will occur after Avdeyevka. The fact is that the Russian armed forces are now maintaining an operational pace along the entire line of contact. There is no section of the front line where successful assault operations would not be noted. This “multiple bites” [множества укусов] strategy currently being undertaken by the Russian forces has led to the disorganization of enemy behaviour and the dispersion of its resources.

For example, the first assault detachments of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on Tuesday night already entered the settlement of Terny in the Limansky direction and gained a foothold in it. The movement to Terny had not halted even for a day over several weeks, remaining in the shadow of the larger-scale events in the Avdeyevka direction and around Rabocino. But all of a sudden now it has turned out that in this area, units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have entered completely new positions, threatening to move further west to the Estuary and looming over the enemy’s Seversk grouping.

In Kiev, there is a well-founded fear that these new landmark breakthroughs by Russian units may generally lead to the collapse of Ukrainian defence and the transition of military operations to the more western regions of Ukraine.

Moreover, almost the entire line of contact, except for the Chasov Yar area, is now so fragmented that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have the opportunity to enter the operational space in several directions at once. Even the western press is now actively writing that the Russian forces are capable of providing assault operations simultaneously in two or three areas. No one knows which one of them will end up being the main one.

It is possible that there will be no “main” direction of impact, at least in the classical understanding of this concept. The new military reality also offered by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is a novel tactic: the movement of small assault groups with powerful support from artillery and heavy aerial bombs. Thus, the occupation of enemy strongholds is ensured, and only then are large open spaces cleared with the help of tanks.

In other words, relatively large settlements, turned into strongholds by the enemy, become something like a general direction, a vector of movement. For example, Pokrovskoye (Krasnoarmeysk) is located 40 kilometres west of Avdeyevka. This is clearly the next target for Russian troops. But the movement towards this goal need not be direct, but may be guided by the requirement to bypass and destroy the enemy’s defence lines.

At Chasov Yar, movement that was not in a straight line turned out to be effective for the Russian forces, bypassing from the flanks the enemy’s fortified areas south of Krasny. Operations to hold down the enemy are conducted in Kupyansk in a straight line, while unexpected assault actions on the outskirts of this section of the front (the same Terny) lead to new threats of the encirclement of the defending units of the VSU.

Perhaps in the coming days we will see the next offensive operations of the Russian forces according to a linear scheme: the encirclement of Kurakhovo through the occupation of Krasnogorovka, access to the heights south of Chasov Yar, movement to Seversk, access to the supply lines of Ugledar, forcing the channel in Terny, breaking the enemy’s defences west of Avdeyevka, and much more.

None of these areas will be the “chief” or “main” one, but each of them will create the preconditions for the further liberation of the Donbass.

[*] The lead picture is reproduced by Boris Rozhin to illustrate his battlefield report of February 28, at 19:17, indicating the disorganized retreat of Ukrainian forces west and south along the Berdych-Orlovka-Tonenkoe line in the central sector. “Today, the enemy has actually lost this line. Orlovka is in the process of coming under the control of Russian troops. In the next 24 hours, we should expect the appearance of videos with flags in Orlovka. Berdych is next. An advantageous and prepared line of defence did not last long. The enemy will retreat to the west with subsequent attempts to use natural water barriers and terrain to compensate for the lack of prepared engineering structures.” ... more-89482


CIA Spills the Beans About Deep Involvement in Ukraine: Part of Ploy to Undercut Republican Congressional Opposition to War
By John Kiriakou - February 28, 2024 0

A home, flying Ukrainian and American flags, close to the Russian border. [Source:]

Makes a Point of Slipping in Disinformation About Russia to Further Propaganda Campaign

The New York Times on February 25 published an explosive story of what purports to be the history of the CIA in Ukraine from the Maidan coup of 2014 to the present. The story, “The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin,” written by Adam Entous and Michael Schwirtz, is one of initial distrust, but a mutual fear and hatred of Russia that progresses to a relationship so close that Ukraine is now one of the CIA’s closest intelligence partners in the world.

At the same time, the Times’s publication of the piece, which relied on more than 200 interviews in Ukraine, the U.S., and “several other European countries,” raises several questions: Why did the CIA not object to the article’s publication, especially coming in one of the Agency’s preferred outlets? When the CIA approaches a newspaper to complain about the classified information it contains, the piece is almost always killed or severely edited. Newspaper publishers are patriots, after all. Right? Was the article published because the CIA wanted the news out there? Perhaps more importantly, was the point of the article to influence the congressional budget deliberations on aid to Ukraine? After all, was the article really just meant to brag about how great the CIA is? Or was it to warn congressional appropriators, “Look how much we’ve accomplished to confront the Russian bear. You wouldn’t really let it all go to waste, would you?”

Adam Entous [Source:]

Michael Schwirtz [Source:]

The Times’s article has all the hallmarks of a deep, inside look at a sensitive—possibly classified—subject. It goes in depth into one of the Intelligence Community’s Holy of Holies, an intelligence liaison relationship. But in the end, it really is not. It does not tell us anything that every American has not already assumed. Maybe we had not had it spelled out in print before, but we all believed that the CIA was helping Ukraine fight the Russians.

We had already seen reporting that the CIA had “boots on the ground” in Ukraine and that the U.S. government was training Ukrainian special forces and Ukrainian pilots, and was running a shadow war with the Ukrainian intelligence services that involved targeted assassinations, so there is nothing new there.

The article does go a little further in detail from past reports although, again, without providing anything that might endanger sources and methods. For example, we have learned that:

There is a CIA listening post in the forest along the Russian border, one of 12 “secret” bases the U.S. maintains there. One or more of these posts helped to allegedly prove Russia’s involvement in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, although a lot of publicly available evidence suggests that Russia could not have been behind this. The CIA appears to have coyly slipped in disinformation about the Malaysia Airlines flight in this article to remind the Times’s readership about how evil the Russians supposedly are.
Ukrainian intelligence officials helped the Americans “go after” the Russian operatives “who meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” I have a news flash for The New York Times: The Mueller report found that there was no meaningful Russian meddling in the 2016 election. And what does “go after” mean?

Valeriy Kondratiuk, the CIA’s man. [Source:]

The close ties between Ukrainian intelligence officials and the CIA following the February 2014 Maidan coup were apparent in that the incoming CIA station chief to Kyiv, after a long day of meetings at Langley in the winter of 2015, took General Valeriy Kondratiuk, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, to a Washington Capitals hockey game where they sat in a luxury box and loudly booed Alex Ovechkin, the team’s star player from Russia.
Beginning in 2016, the CIA trained an “elite Ukrainian commando force known as Unit 2245, which captured Russian drones and communications gear so that CIA technicians could reverse-engineer them and crack Moscow’s encryption systems.”[1] This is exactly what the CIA is supposed to do. Honestly, if the CIA had not been doing this, I would have suggested a class action lawsuit for the American people to get their tax money back.
Ukraine has turned into an intelligence-gathering hub that has intercepted more Russian communications than the CIA station in Kyiv could initially handle. Again, I would expect nothing less. After all, that is where the war is. So of course communications will be intercepted there. As to the CIA station being overwhelmed, the Times never tells us if that is because the station was a one-man operation at the time or whether it had thousands of employees and was still overwhelmed. It is all about scale.
CIA-trained commandos participated in clandestine sabotage missions into Crimea and assassination and terrorist acts, like detonation of a car bomb in the vehicle of Donetsk People’s Republic commander Arsen Pavlov (aka Motorola) in 2016. The commandos handed out commemorative patches to those involved in Pavlov’s murder, one stitched with the British term for an elevator. The article accepts the CIA’s claim that it opposed the commission of these violent acts and was infuriated by assassinations.

William Burns [Source:]

CIA Director William Burns made a secret visit to Kyiv recently, his 10th to the region since the Russian invasion in February 2022; CIA officers deployed to Ukrainian military bases reviewed lists of potential Russian targets that the Ukrainians were preparing to strike, comparing the information that the Ukrainians had with U.S. intelligence; and the CIA helped to thwart an assassination plot against Zelensky. In the latter case, the CIA could be making this up to try to make itself look good.

Elite Ukrainian commandos trained by the CIA to carry out often deadly clandestine operations. [Source:]

Lest you think that the CIA and the U.S. government were on the offense in Ukraine, the article makes clear that “Mr. Putin and his advisers misread a critical dynamic. The CIA didn’t push its way into Ukraine. U.S. officials were often reluctant to fully engage, fearing that Ukrainian officials could not be trusted, and worrying about provoking the Kremlin.”
It is at this point in the article that the Times reveals what I believe to be the buried lead: “Now these intelligence networks are more important than ever, as Russia is on the offensive and Ukraine is more dependent on sabotage and long-range missile strikes that require spies far behind enemy lines. And they are increasingly at risk: “If Republicans in Congress end military funding to Kyiv, the CIA may have to scale back.” (Emphasis added.)

The authors go on to write that “the question that some Ukrainian intelligence officers are now asking their American counterparts—as Republicans in the House weigh whether to cut off billions of dollars in aid—is whether the C.I.A. will abandon them. ‘It happened in Afghanistan before and now it’s going to happen in Ukraine,’ a senior Ukrainian officer said.”

These comments make clear that the CIA leaked the story to the Times as part of a political scheme to try to sustain military aid to Ukraine and boost congressional funding for the CIA.

The article seeks to convey the impression that the CIA is needed now more than ever to prevent Ukraine from becoming another Afghanistan—or Vietnam, where the Ford administration was also accused of abandoning a U.S. ally, and allowing, in that case, the communists to take over.

Jeremy Kuzmarov assisted with this article.
1.The Ukrainian commandos were trained under Operation Goldfish on how to convincingly assume fake personas and steal secrets in Russia and other countries that are adept at rooting out spies and on recruiting sources, and building clandestine and partisan networks. General Kyrylo Budanov, who had deep ties to the CIA, was a rising star in Unit 2245, according to the Times. The Agency had trained him and also taken the extraordinary step of sending him for rehabilitation to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland after he was shot in the right arm during fighting in the Donbas. Disguised in Russian uniforms, then-Lt. Col. Budanov led his commandos across a narrow gulf in inflatable speedboats, landing at night in Crimea where they were ambushed by Russian forces. ↑ ... on-to-war/


More WION: What does Kiev’s need for $3 billion per month of foreign assistance tell us?

This morning WION, India’s premier English language global broadcaster invited me to a far-reaching discussion that began with the latest news from Ukraine, where the Finance Minister had just announced the country’s need for $3 billion per month of assistance from its foreign backers.

As I explain in this interview, the money is not in any country’s pipeline at present given the blockage in the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation authorizing assistance to Kiev sufficient to cover Ukraine’s budgetary needs and the vast shortfall in the funds voted a week ago by the European Union. In this situation, the Zelensky regime is the ‘walking dead’ awaiting a proper death certificate.

Our chat went on to explore the background to President Macron’s proposal of European ‘boots on the ground’ in Ukraine, a proposal that positioned France as a ‘sore thumb’ in the NATO alliance, to quote my interviewer. Why the Germans, Brits, Poles have suddenly become ‘gun shy’ of Russia and are finally paying due attention to Moscow’s ‘red lines’ is the culminating point in the interview.

See ... e-tell-us/

Brief interview with Press TV, Iran on Macron’s proposal to send European troops to Ukraine

International developments foreboding an escalation of localized wars into regional conflagrations (Israel-Hamas) and regional conflagrations into world wars (Russia and NATO over Ukraine) have been coming at a fast pace in recent days. Accordingly, I and my peers among political analysts find ourselves in considerable demand. I say that in a matter of fact way, not as a point of pride, for I would much prefer if there were less for us all to worry about.

Be that as it may, I was invited by Press TV yesterday evening to say a few words about Emmanuel Macron’s rather foolish proposal that Europeans send in ground forces to support Kiev in its war with Russia. Macron was immediately cold shouldered by his European colleagues, who, it would seem, are finally acknowledging that Russia is a very powerful neighbor possessing weapons against which there is no defense.


Transcript below by a reader

Interviewer 0:00
Now in other news, Russia warning the West against sending troops to Ukraine, saying that such a move would not be in the interests of Western states. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the fact that a possibility of sending some NATO contingents is being discussed is a pretty important new element. He warned that conflict between Russia and US-led NATO would be inevitable if European members of NATO send ground troops to Ukraine. The comments came after French President Emmanuel Macron said that the option of European nations sending troops to Ukraine is on the table. Now those remarks have been dismissed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

From Brussels, let’s bring in Gilbert Daktorow, independent international affairs analyst. Good to have you with us, Gilbert. So is President Macron serious? Of course, Germany thinks otherwise. So are the Europeans adamant to send in troops to Ukraine really to fight on the ground? And in that case, what do you expect to happen next?

Doctorow: 1:01
I think President Macron is serious … about being an important person on the European level. Unfortunately, others don’t share that opinion. He’s a shallow personality, and what he has just said was instantly rejected by most of his colleagues. And that begins with the Poles and with the Brits, both of which had been among the most aggressive countries in pushing European assistance to Ukraine. They found Mr. Macron’s proposal a step too far. And why it’s a step too far, I hope we can discuss.

And Gilbert, Macron was also talking about– a few months ago, he was talking about– he had this idea of forming a European kind of NATO military alliance. So in all, given the circumstances and what’s been going on in the Russia-Ukraine war, how does the future unfold?

Doctorow 2:03
Well, Macron has been busy brainstorming and putting out various proposals to Europe. First, a few months ago, he was proposing an olive branch to the Russians, against the wishes of all of his colleagues. And now he’s proposing that they go to war with Russia, against the wishes of all of his colleagues. The only commonality here in this flip-flop is Mr Macron’s interest in bringing attention to himself and getting the newspaper reporters to give him the microphone.

The reality is what Mr. Scholz said last week, that he was against the delivery of long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine. And he reiterated that. And today’s statement by Scholz– that the idea of sending ground troops would not fly, would not be accepted by Germany or others– that is, that comes down to one fact: that the European leaders, many of them key leaders, have understood that Russia’s threats to deliver attacks on NATO countries that it believes are co-belligerents– and sending troops to Ukraine would make them co-belligerents– that these threats by Russia are not a bluff, but they are backed up by military equipment, by missiles, which Europe cannot defend itself against.

Interviewer: 3:40
Okay, I appreciate that. Gilbert Doktorow, independent international affairs analyst in Brussels. ... o-ukraine/


It’s been two years already, and there’s still a lot of work to do
February 29, 14:16


Rogozin about SVO.

It’s been two years already, and there’s no end to the work.

1. If we are consistent (and we are obliged to be according to the Constitution), then in accordance with the results of referendums on the entry into the Russian Federation of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, the DPR and LPR within their administrative borders, all these territories of Russia must be freed from the presence of other troops except for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. This means that all Donbass territories under the control of the Kyiv army must be cleared and the central cities of New Russia must be liberated. Zaporozhye and Kherson. We simply must do this.

2. Taking into account military threats to the Black Sea Fleet and Russian shipping in the Black Sea, the Odessa and Nikolaev regions should also be liberated. And this is an obvious fact, also dictated by the need to reach the borders with the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic, the absolute majority of whose population has repeatedly voted in referendums to join Russia. At the same time, one should take into account the significant difficulties when moving troops along the Black Sea coast - there are a series of impassable estuaries. Also, let's not forget about the need to cross the Dnieper. Therefore, it is preferable for troops to move to Odessa and Nikolaev not from the east, but from the north, which, I am sure, is being considered by the General Staff in the course of developing the operation and the sequence of its implementation.

3. Demilitarization as a goal set 2 years ago by V.V. Putin involves depriving the remaining bastard territory of the enemy, if not of legal personality (which would be correct from a strategic point of view to ensure peace in Russia from the western direction), then at least of rights on its own full-fledged army (except for police forces), the military-industrial complex and the presence of foreign military force. The integration of this territory called “Ukraine” into hostile NATO and the EU (I hope now my opponents have finally understood why I considered the European Union even more dangerous for us than NATO?) is categorically unacceptable. Even its neutral status should not suit us. Just a buffer to push alien and hostile military potential as far as possible from our western borders.

4. Denazification in the territories liberated by us and included in the Russian Federation should mean Russification and the widespread nullification of the criminal policy of Ukrainization of these Russian lands. And on the former Ukrainian territory, which is under a foreign flag for us, this term should be understood as 1) the liquidation of war criminals who organized the bloody putsch and coup d'état of 2014 in Kyiv, and then unleashed a massacre in the Donbass; 2) legislative ban on Nazi and fascist organizations. At the same time, we must understand that during the conduct of hostilities against the Russian Army, the Kyiv leadership, through massive anti-Russian propaganda, managed to significantly reduce the base of our social support in the territory that is not yet under our control. This will require Russia's painstaking work in the future to gradually restore its influence among the civilian population of the enemy country. There is no doubt that we will cope with this, but there is also no doubt that correcting our past mistakes will require serious efforts, investments, time and, most importantly, patience.

5. The supply by NATO countries to our enemy of long-range missile weapons capable of hitting our targets deep in the historical territory, the sharply increased military threats to our cities and strategic transport and energy infrastructure dictate the need to create a demilitarized buffer zone in the northern part of the front. Neutralizing these threats will likely require some escalation of military action on our part, primarily the use of high-power weapons on target that we have not yet used and the use of them against targets that we have so far refrained from destroying.

(c) Rogozin

Got to Crimea
February 29, 18:49


The only survivor of an unsuccessful photo shoot on the Tendrovskaya Spit.
The rest were killed or drowned, except for the passengers of one boat, which escaped before reaching the shore.

Disembarkation completed
March 1, 10:20


The landing has been completed.
Taking into account the announced loss figures from 20 to 25 killed (+1 captured), the events of February 28 on the Tendrovskaya Spit became the largest one-time losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Special Operations Forces since 2014. The desire for PR with flags has had unexpected consequences. Some of the corpses will most likely not be found and will go to feed the fish.
Regarding the corpses and prisoners that fell into the hands of our specialists, the enemy will certainly offer an exchange in the coming months.

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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Fri Mar 01, 2024 9:01 pm

Bundeswehr officers discuss how they will blow up the Crimean Bridge
March 1, 14:19


Bundeswehr officers discuss how they will blow up the Crimean Bridge

Transcript of a conversation between high-ranking Bundeswehr officers dated 02/19/2024 On February 19, 2024, the following conversation took place between the head of the operations and exercises department of the Bundeswehr Air Force command, Graefe, the Bundeswehr BBC inspector Gerhartz and the employees of the air operations center of the Bundeswehr Space Command, Fenske and Frostedte.

Gerhartz: Hello everyone! Graefe, are you in Singapore now?

Graefe: Yes.

Gerhartz: Okay. We need to verify the information. As you have already heard, Defense Minister Pistorius intends to carefully consider the issue of supplying Taurus missiles to Ukraine. We have a meeting planned with him. Everything needs to be discussed so that we can start working on this issue. So far I do not see that the start date of these deliveries has been indicated. It was not like the chancellor told him: “I want to get information now, and tomorrow morning we will make a decision.” I haven't heard anything like this. On the contrary, Pistorius evaluates this entire ongoing discussion. Nobody knows why the Federal Chancellor is blocking these supplies. Of course, the most incredible rumors appear. Let me give you an example: yesterday a journalist who is very close to the chancellor called me. She heard somewhere in Munich that the Taurus missiles would not work. I asked who told her this. She replied that someone in military uniform told her this. Of course, this is a low-level source of information, but the journalist latched onto these words and wants to make a big deal out of it with the headline: “Now we know the reason why the Chancellor refuses to send Taurus missiles - they won’t work.” This is all stupidity. Such topics are available only to a limited circle of people. However, we see what kind of nonsense is spreading in the meantime, they are talking complete nonsense. I want to agree on this issue with you so that we do not move in the wrong direction. First of all, I now have questions for Frostedt and Fenske. Has anyone talked to you about this topic? Did Freuding contact you?

Frostedte: No. I only communicated with Graefe.

Fenske: The same thing, I only communicated with Graefe.

Gerhartz: Perhaps he will contact you again. I will probably have to participate in hearings in the budget commission, because problems have arisen related to rising prices for the conversion of infrastructure for the F-35 in Büchel. I have already conveyed my recommendations through Frank so that we have slides to visualize the material. We showed him a test presentation where Taurus missiles were installed on a Tornado carrier or on another carrier required by the assignment. However, I have a hard time imagining this. It is necessary to remember that this is a half-hour meeting, so you should not prepare a presentation of 30 slides. There should be a short report. It is necessary to show what a rocket can do, how it can be used. It is necessary to take into account, if we make a political decision to transfer missiles as aid to Ukraine, what consequences this may lead to.I will be grateful to you if you tell me not only what problems we have, but how we can solve them. For example, if we talk about delivery methods... I know how the British do it. They always transport them in Ridgback armored vehicles. They have several people on site. The French don't do that. They supply Q7 with Scalp missiles to Ukraine. Storm Shadow and Scalp have similar technical specifications for their installation. How will we solve this problem? Will we be putting MBDA missiles with Ridgback in their hands? Will one of our people be assigned to MBDA? Graefe, report to us what our position is on this issue. Messrs. Fenske and Frohstedte, report how you see the situation.

Graefe: I will start with the most sensitive issues, with the existing criticism regarding supplies. Discussions take place almost everywhere. There are several most important aspects here. Firstly, these are delivery times. If the Chancellor now decides that we should supply missiles, they will be transferred from the Bundeswehr. Okay, but they won't be ready for use until eight months. Secondly, we cannot shorten the time. Because if we do this, then an erroneous use may occur, a rocket may fall on a kindergarten, and again there will be civilian casualties. These aspects must be taken into account. It should be noted during the negotiations that we cannot do anything without the manufacturer. They can equip, rearm, and deliver the first missiles. We can catch up with production a little, but we shouldn’t wait until 20 pieces accumulate; we can transfer five at a time. The delivery time of these missiles directly depends on the industry. Who will pay for this? Another question is what weapon systems will these missiles be mounted on? How should interaction between the company and Ukraine be maintained? Or do we have some kind of integration?

Gerhartz: I think not. Because the manufacturer TSG said that they can solve this problem within six months, no matter whether it is a Sukhoi or an F-16.

Graefe: If the Federal Chancellor decides to go for it, then there must be an understanding that it will take six months just to produce the fastenings. Thirdly, theoretically we may be affected by the issue of training. I have already said that we are collaborating with a rocket manufacturer. They train in the maintenance of these systems, and we train in tactical use. It takes three to four months. This part of the training can take place in Germany. When the first missiles are delivered, we need to make quick decisions regarding mountings and training. We may have to turn to the British on these issues and take advantage of their know-how. We can transmit to them databases, satellite images, planning stations. Apart from the supplies of the missiles themselves, which we have, everything else can be supplied by industry or the IABG.

Gerhartz: We need to imagine that they can use aircraft with Taurus missile mounts and Storm Shadow mounts. The British were there and equipped the planes. The systems are not that different and can be used for the Taurus as well. I can speak about the experience of using the Patriot complex. At first, our experts also calculated long deadlines, but they managed to cope in a matter of weeks. They managed to put everything into operation so quickly and in such quantity that our employees said: “Wow. We didn’t expect this.” We are now fighting a war that uses much more modern technology than our good old Luftwaffe. This all suggests that when we are planning deadlines, we should not overestimate them. And now, Messrs. Fenske and Frostedte, I would like to hear your opinion regarding possible supplies to Ukraine.

Fenske: I would like to touch on the issue of training. We have already studied this issue, and if we are dealing with personnel who already have the appropriate training and will undergo training in parallel, it will first take about three weeks to learn the technique and only then proceed directly to training in the Air Force, which will last about four weeks So it's much less than 12 weeks. Of course, all this is provided that the staff has the appropriate qualifications; training can be carried out without resorting to the services of translators, and a couple more points. We have already spoken with Mrs. Friedberger. If we are talking about combat use, then de facto we will be advised to provide support to at least the first group. Planning is difficult, it took about a year to train our staff and we are now trying to reduce that time to ten weeks and at the same time hope that they will be able to race off-road in a Formula 1 car. A possible option is to provide scheduled technical support; theoretically, this can be done from Büchel, subject to the creation of a secure connection with Ukraine. If this were available, then further planning could be carried out. This is the main scenario at a minimum - to provide full support from the manufacturer, support through a user support service that will solve problems with the software. In principle, everything is the same as it happens here in Germany.

Gerhartz: Wait a minute. I understand what you are talking about.Politicians may be concerned about the direct, closed connection between Büchel and Ukraine, which could become direct participation in the Ukrainian conflict. But in this case, we can say that the exchange of information will take place through MBDA, and we will send one or two of our specialists to Schrobenhausen. Of course, this is a trick, but from a political point of view it may look different. If information is exchanged through the manufacturer, then this is not associated with us.

Fenske: The question will arise where the information goes. If we are talking about target information, which ideally includes satellite images with maximum accuracy of up to three meters, then we must first process them in Büchel. I think that regardless of this, it is possible to somehow organize the exchange of information between Büchel and Schrobenhausen, or we can work out the possibility of transferring information to Poland, doing it where you can get there by car. This issue needs to be looked at more closely; options will certainly appear. If we are supported, then in the worst case scenario we can even travel by car, which will reduce response time. Of course, we will not be able to respond within an hour, since we will need to give our consent. In the best case scenario, only six hours after receiving the information will the aircraft be able to carry out the order. To hit certain targets, an accuracy of more than three meters is sufficient, but if it is necessary to clarify the target, you need to work with satellite images that allow it to be modeled. And then the response time can be up to 12 hours. It all depends on the goal. I have not studied this issue in detail, but I believe that this option is also possible. All we need to say is that we need to think about how to organize the transfer of information.

Gerhartz: Do you think it is possible to hope that Ukraine will be able to do everything on its own? After all, it is known that there are many people there in civilian clothes who speak with an American accent. So it is quite possible that they will soon be able to use it themselves? After all, they have all the satellite images.

Fenske: Yes. They get them from us . I would also like to briefly touch on air defense issues. We must think carefully about having equipment in Kyiv to receive information from the IABG and NDK. We have to provide this to them, so I have to fly there on February 21, we need to plan everything optimally, and not like it was with Storm Shadow, when they planned control points. We need to think about how to fly around or fly below the radar field of view. If everything is prepared, the training will be more effective. And then we can again return to the question of the number of missiles. If you give 50 pieces, they will be used up very quickly.

Gerhartz:That's right, it will not change the course of hostilities. So we don't want to transfer them all. And not all at the same time. Perhaps 50 in the first tranche, then perhaps there will be another tranche of 50 missiles. This is completely understandable, but all this is big politics. I guess there's actually something behind it. I learned from my French and British colleagues that in fact the situation with these Storm Shadow and Scalp rifles is the same as with the Winchester rifles - they may ask: “Why should we supply the next batch of missiles, since we have already they did it, let Germany do it now.” Maybe Mr. Frostedte wants to say something on this topic?

Frostedte: Let me add a little pragmatism. I want to share my thoughts on the characteristics of Storm Shadow. We are talking about air defense, flight time, flight altitude and so on, I came to the conclusion that there are two interesting targets - the bridge to the east and the ammunition depots that are higher up. The bridge in the east is difficult to reach, it is a fairly small target, but the Taurus can do it, and ammunition depots can also hit. If we take all this into account and compare it with how much Storm Shadow and HIMARS were used, then I have a question: “Is our goal a bridge or military warehouses?” Is this achievable with the current shortcomings that RED and y Patriot have? And I came to the conclusion that the limiting factor is that they usually only have 24 charges...

Gerhartz: That's understandable.

Frostedte: It makes sense to join Ukraine to the TPP. It will take a week. I think it makes sense to think about task scheduling and centralized planning. Planning tasks in our connection takes two weeks, but if there is an interest in this, then it can be done faster. If we look at the bridge, then I think that Taurus is not enough and we need to have an idea of ​​​​how it can work, and for this we need data from satellites. I don’t know if we will be able to prepare Ukrainians for such a task in a short time, and we are talking about a month. What would a Taurus attack on the bridge look like? From an operational perspective, I cannot estimate how quickly the Ukrainians will be able to learn to plan such actions and how quickly integration will occur. But since we are talking about a bridge and military bases, I understand that they want to get them as soon as possible.

Fenske: I would like to say one more thing about the destruction of the bridge. We intensively studied this issue and, unfortunately, came to the conclusion that the bridge, due to its size, is similar to a runway. Therefore, it may not require 10 or even 20 missiles.

Gerhartz: There is an opinion that Taurus will succeed if it uses the French Dassault Rafale fighter.

Fenske: All they can do is make a hole and damage the bridge.

And before we make important statements, we must ourselves...

Frohstedte: I'm not promoting the bridge idea, I pragmatically want to understand what they want. And what we should teach them, so it turns out that when planning these operations we will need to indicate the main points on the images. They will have goals, but here it should be taken into account that when working on small goals, you need to plan more carefully, and not analyze pictures on the computer. In the case of confirmed goals, everything is simpler and planning will take less time.

Gerhartz : We all know that they want to destroy the bridge, what this ultimately means, how they protect it - not only because it has important military-strategic, but also political significance. Although they now have a ground corridor. There are certain concerns if we have direct communication with the Ukrainian armed forces. Therefore, the question arises: can we use such a trick and second our people to MBDA? Thus, direct communication with Ukraine will only be through MBDA, this is much better than if such a connection exists with our Air Force.

Graefe: Gerhartz, it doesn't matter. We need to make sure that from the very beginning there is no language that makes us a party to the conflict. Of course, I am exaggerating a little, but if we now tell the minister that we will schedule meetings and travel by car from Poland so that no one notices, this is already participation, we will not do this. If we are talking about a manufacturer, then first of all we should ask MBDA if they can do this. It does not matter whether our people then do this in Büchel or in Schrobenhausen - it is still participation. And I think that this should not be done. At the very beginning we identified this as a core element of the red line, so we will be involved in training. Let's say that we will prepare a road map. It is necessary to divide the learning process into parts. The long trek will last for four months; we will train them thoroughly, including working on the bridge option. Short - will be designed for two weeks so that they can use the missiles as early as possible. If they are already trained, then we will ask whether the British are ready to deal with them at this stage. I believe that such actions will be correct - just imagine if the press finds out that our people are in Schrobenhausen or that we are driving cars somewhere in Poland! I consider this option unacceptable.

Gerhartz: If such a political decision is made, we must say that the Ukrainians must come to us. We first need to know if such a policy decision is not directly involved in task planning, in which case the training will take a little longer, they will be able to perform more complex tasks, which is quite possible they already have some experience and use high-tech equipment.If it is possible to avoid direct participation, we cannot participate in task planning, do it in Büchel and then forward it to them - for Germany this is a “red line”. You can train them for two months, during which they will not learn everything, but they will be able to do something. We just have to make sure that they are able to process all the information and work with all the parameters.

Graefe: Seppel said that it is possible to make a long and a short road map. The point is to get results in a short time. And if at the first stage the task is to hit ammunition depots, and not such complex objects as bridges, then in this case you can proceed with a shortened program and quickly get results. As for the information from the IABG, I do not consider this problem critical, since they are not tied to a specific place, they themselves must conduct reconnaissance. It is clear that efficiency depends on this. This is exactly what we talked about, that it is worth taking this into account when transferring missiles. It hasn't been decided yet. But that's the way it is.

Gerhartz: And that would be the highlight. There are ammunition depots for which short training cannot be carried out due to very active air defense. This will need to be seriously addressed. I think that our people will find an option. We just need to be allowed to try first, so that we can give better political advice. We need to be better prepared so we don't fail because the KSA may have no idea where the air defense systems actually are. The Ukrainians have such information, we have data from radars. But if we are talking about precise planning, then we must know where the radars are installed and where the fixed installations are, how to bypass them. This will allow you to develop a more accurate plan. We have a super tool, and if we have precise coordinates, we will be able to use it accurately. But there is no basis to say that we cannot do this. There is a certain scale where the “red line” lies politically, there is a “long” and a “short” path, there are differences in terms of using the full potential, which over time Ukrainians will be able to better use, since they will have practice, they will do this all the time. I don't think I should personally attend the meeting. It is important to me that we present a sober assessment and do not add fuel to the fire, as others do by supplying Storm Shadow and Scalp.

Graefe: I want to say, the longer they take to make a decision, the longer it will take us to implement all this. NWe need to divide everything into stages. First, start with the simple ones, and then move on to the complex ones. Or can we turn to the British, can they provide us with support at the initial stage and take on planning issues? We can force what lies within our area of ​​responsibility. The development of mounts for missiles is not one of our tasks; Ukraine must resolve this issue independently with manufacturers.

Gerhartz: We wouldn't want to get into trouble right now because of the budget commission. This may make it impossible to start construction work at the Büchel airbase in 2024. Every day now counts in the program.

Google Translator


How Does the Russia-Ukraine Conflict End?
FEBRUARY 28, 2024

Russian servicemen take part in a mines' planting and clearing training at a training centre of an engineer and sapper battalion named after Soviet commander Dmitry Karbyshev amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine at the unknown location, Russia. Photo: Sputnik/Evgeny Biyatov.

By Fyodor Lukyanov – Feb 26, 2024

Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine is now two years old. The statement that everything will be decided on the battlefield has become axiomatic, but the assessment of the results has changed. A year and a half ago, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, spoke with optimism. But now he communicates with fear.

Let us risk assuming that a very important moment is at hand, not only in the military sense, but above all in the political sense.

From the outset, the motivation for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has combined two issues, different in nature but linked by the circumstances of recent history. Firstly, the principles of international security as they emerged after the end of the Cold War and, secondly, the Ukrainian issue as part of national identity. The foundation for this two-pronged approach is laid out in Vladimir Putin’s article ‘On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians’, published six months before the outbreak of hostilities. In it, the Russian president linked concerns about the country’s military and political security to the destruction of this unity. Based on a detailed excursion into history, the head of state argued that attempts to form a separate Ukrainian identity were always linked to the desire of external actors to weaken Russia and create an outpost of forces hostile to it in a strategically key area.

Great power conflicts with global implications often arise over specific contentious issues. In this case, the issues are not only intertwined, but also extremely emotional – for Ukraine and at least part of the rest of Europe, but especially for Russia. This makes them difficult to manage and, above all, difficult to prioritize: which of the two tasks is to be prioritized? Ideally, of course, both at once. But is that feasible? Making a choice or achieving a ‘package solution’ is a question Moscow may have to face in the near future.

Territorial Enlargement vs. NATO Enlargement
The issue of ‘downgrading’ NATO and building other security relationships on this basis served as a prelude to the beginning of the operation – the relevant requirements were contained in a memorandum of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in December 2021. As far as we know today, the same was discussed at the negotiations in Belarus and Turkey in the spring of 2022. Neutral status for Ukraine (i.e., the Western bloc agreeing not to expand further) and the limitation of its military potential were apparently intended as a starting point for further, broader agreements. Putin said the same thing in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson: the war could have ended in Istanbul if outsiders hadn’t prevented the parties from reaching an agreement at that time. This shows once again that the original goal was formulated in terms of the European situation as a whole, not territorial gains.

However, the situation has changed over the past two years, and it is the second motivational component that has come to the fore. In two appeals by Vladimir Putin in February 2022, shortly before the start of hostilities, emphasis was placed on the historical injustice and incongruity of dividing one nation into citizens of two different states, and on the artificiality of the borders drawn. Since the original plan of the campaign (a sharp and rapid change in the military-strategic status of Ukraine) was not realized and it took on a protracted character, the question of territorial control and the crossing of the front line became the main issue. And the accession of new territories to the Russian Federation in the autumn of 2022 ruled out the possibility of compromises that could have been discussed in the spring of that year (a return to the positions occupied before the outbreak of full-scale hostilities). The constant refrain is that any talks from now on will have to take into account the realities ‘on the ground’, and since these are constantly changing, the outcome is not predetermined.

The costs incurred – primarily in human terms, but also in material – have sharply raised the bar for a hypothetical agreement.

From the Kremlin’s point of view, Ukraine’s inability to fight without continuous huge supplies from abroad only confirms the thesis expressed in Putin’s article about the externally inspired nature of the Ukrainian national project.

Thus, the two components – European security and Ukrainian territorial composition/identity – are ultimately linked.

In other words, Russia’s relations with Ukraine and Russia’s relations with the US/NATO are one and the same problem.

Freezing instead of recognition

Any changed configuration of Ukraine will not be legally recognized by Kiev or its Western sponsors. This means that, at best, we can only talk about a freeze, a suspension of hostilities – a kind of Eastern European version of the Korean ‘38th parallel’. But this almost guarantees that the conflict will resume with even greater ferocity at the first logistical opportunity.

Recognition of the changed geopolitical realities is theoretically possible only in the case of an obvious and undeniable military outcome. In this case, the contours of the borders would be different, not only from the original frontiers, but also from those of today. Legally enshrining these changes would mean the de facto emergence of a different security system in Europe. At present, no one seems to be ready for this; on the contrary, the prevailing opinion is that any concession to Moscow will be a ‘bonus’ that will fuel its supposedly aggressive ambitions. It will also feed an argument that Europe’s security can only be guaranteed by a rapid increase in the defense capabilities of NATO and, in particular, its European members. However, the situation with the latter is not great – their potential has been significantly weakened by support for Kiev, and creating a new paradigm will take time, money and political will, all three of which are in short supply.

And this is where – probably quite soon – the road will fork.

The West German scenario
Speculation about some kind of peace talks has been going on for a long time, eliciting mixed reactions –‘’ from hope for an end to the bloodshed to suspicion of a willingness to ‘make a deal’. The subject of the talks is unclear: both the declared and, as far as can be judged, the confidential positions of the parties are incompatible – both insist on the surrender of the enemy. However, as the stalemate on the battlefield drags on and the political problems facing Ukraine’s donors increase, a shift towards concrete proposals is possible.

From 2014 until the spring of 2022 (Istanbul talks), Ukraine’s neutrality remained the central issue. Moscow insisted on it, and ten years ago the old diplomatic patriarchs Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who were still alive, spoke in favor of such a solution. In 2022, Kissinger came to the conclusion that Ukraine’s neutral status was no longer relevant and that it should be admitted to NATO, sacrificing part of its territory. For this, the Ukrainians added him to the Myrotvorets (‘Peacemaker’) database of enemies, and reaction in the West was generally negative.

Now the advice of the last great internationalist of the twentieth century is beginning to look like a basic plan. The return of territories to Kiev’s control is no longer considered likely by American strategists. Accordingly, the idea is that the real victory of the anti-Russian coalition will be the preservation of Ukrainian statehood and its consolidation within the Euro-Atlantic bloc. In other words, to prevent Moscow from realising its first (and initially the most important) priority at the expense of a (actually already inevitable) concession on the second.

This perspective was recently described very clearly in Financial Times by Ivan Krastev. “What is non-negotiable is not so much Ukraine’s territorial integrity as its democratic and pro-Western orientation.” And he adds: “For those who favour a negotiated end to the war to start advocating that NATO admit Ukraine as soon as possible is the only effective response to Moscow’s desire for territorial changes. Only a Ukraine that is part of NATO can survive the permanent or temporary loss of control over some of its territory.” The author draws an analogy with West Germany during the Cold War.

The analogy is illustrative because it implies another part of the West German scenario – reunification at the first opportunity. Recognition of East Germany’s legitimacy didn’t prevent this (in the Russian-Ukrainian case, however, legal recognition of the transfer of territories under Moscow’s control is still extremely difficult to imagine). Be that as it may, if the current momentum continues, we can expect such a proposal to be made. And Russia will have to respond.

A Russian serviceman of the 55th motorised rifle brigade of the Central Military District patrols an area amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine in the town of Avdiivka near Donetsk, Donetsk People's Republic, Russia. Photo: Sputnik/Stanislav Krasilnikov.
A Russian serviceman of the 55th motorised rifle brigade of the Central Military District patrols an area amid Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in the town of Avdiivka near Donetsk, Donetsk People’s Republic, Russia. Photo: Sputnik/Stanislav Krasilnikov.
A simultaneous game session
Moscow’s reaction seems obvious – this option fulfills neither the first nor the second task and is therefore unacceptable. But special circumstances should be taken into account. First of all, the West isn’t even considering the possibility of a new ‘Yalta-Potsdam’, which seems to us to be a necessary outcome of the battle. What is happening is instead perceived as a struggle to prevent a revision of the results of the Cold War. The reliance on NATO as a pillar of security – at least European security – is one of the main things. The fears and uncertainties associated with the possible return of the NATO-phobic Donald Trump to the White House only strengthen the desire of the bloc to consolidate its position.

Backtracking on Ukraine will now be seen around the world as a sign of US decline, which Washington cannot afford. And this is not just a matter of prestige or a principled unwillingness to make concessions to Moscow, which already lost the Cold War. The international situation is radically different from the end of the Second World War or the beginning of the Cold War. To use a well-worn metaphor, on the ‘grand chessboard’ the US must play a ‘simultaneous game’ with a growing number of opponents. Each is playing its own game, but carefully observing the situation on the other boards, drawing conclusions and learning lessons. All the more so as the Grandmaster himself has declared one of the battles to be decisive. It cannot be lost without consequences for the others.

In practice, this means that Russia may be offered a ‘draw’ in one form or another. (Krastev: “If you really plan to occupy Ukrainian land, you need to accept that Ukraine will be a NATO member.”) In the West, this will be hailed as a historic victory. The Russian authorities will also have the opportunity to present this result as an achievement, but it is unlikely that everyone will be satisfied with the price-quality ratio. The residue will remain.

The logic of the Western supporters of such an idea: a stalemate will arise in the security sphere, but it will be stable. Ukraine’s membership in the North Atlantic bloc will force Russia to be much more cautious, as Moscow will realize that military consequences will move to a qualitatively different level. At the same time, Kiev’s participation in the alliance will itself become a deterrent – the allies will not allow Russia to be provoked. (The latter argument was made to the Soviet leadership when it was persuaded to agree to NATO membership for a united Germany.)

However, given the attitude towards the alliance that has developed over the last thirty years and the fatal lack of trust, Russia will inevitably perceive Ukraine’s accession to NATO as the preparation of a springboard for a new conflict. Moreover, such a state of affairs will become a virtual replay of the Cold War (with a divided Ukraine like a divided Germany), but only on borders that are many times worse for Russia.

What sort of territorial gains would make Moscow agree to such a deal? In theory, Russia could accept it if the south-east of Ukraine, with Odessa (Putin has called these areas historically Russian) and Kharkov, were brought under Russian control. But firstly, such a prospect does not seem realistic at the moment, and secondly, it does not solve the dilemma described above. Finally, the continuation of what is already a rather protracted campaign requires the formulation of an increasingly convincing narrative.

To the boiling point
There is no compromise in sight: the NATO issue is a matter of principle for both sides. Russia hopes to force the US and its friends to recognize the need for a political retreat on this issue. Washington and its allies regard this as categorically unacceptable. The conditions for escalation are there. Russia intends to convert its current advantage into further territorial gains at any cost, demonstrating that the enemy is running out of resources for confrontation. But the hiccup in American aid to Kiev, if resolved, will lead not only to quantitative but also to qualitative results – to the unfreezing of funds and the start of the delivery of more powerful long-range weapons to inflict maximum damage on Russia.

The heat of the confrontation is already such that a further rise in temperature will bring it to a full boiling point, i.e. close to a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.

And Moscow’s military successes, far from being sobering, may have the opposite effect of raising the stakes.

In considering this pattern, it is important to bear in mind domestic circumstances, which today may be more important than any geopolitical calculations. The deepening divisions in the US in an election year, the fragmentation of Western Europe, and the increasingly unclear socio-political situation in Ukraine. Russia looks the most stable in this respect, but crisis situations cannot be ruled out. Again, there could be outbreaks of confrontation outside the direct Ukraine context – in Eurasia, in Asia as a whole, or in the unfolding of tensions in the Middle East. All of these could become significant inputs.

The third year of the campaign promises to be decisive in every way. And there is no reason to expect a resolution in the foreseeable future, given the complexity of the conflict and the size of the prize at stake.

(RT) ... flict-end/

How can it be decisive and there be no resolution?


Is The Bundeswehr Going Behind Scholz’s Back To Send Taurus Missiles To Ukraine?


MAR 1, 2024

Provided that Scholz was speaking sincerely in expressing the reasons why he’s opposed to sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, then this suggests that he doesn’t have any idea about what his armed forces are doing behind his back, which risks dragging Germany deeper into this conflict.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan claimed in a Telegram post on Friday that she’d heard a leaked recording from senior Bundeswehr officers discussing how to bomb Russia’s Crimean Bridge in a way that would enable German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to maintain plausible deniability. This follows his inadvertent revelation that France and the UK have clandestinely deployed troops to Ukraine to assist with “target control” while explaining why his country won’t send long-range Taurus missiles there.

Although she didn’t share the recording with her followers, it’s possible that either she, RT, or some other source might do so in the future. In the meantime, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to her post urging German media to prove their independence by asking Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock about this claim. In the absence of evidence, one can only speculate on its veracity, but this development is still sufficient for wondering whether the Bundeswehr is going rogue.

Provided that Scholz was speaking sincerely in expressing the reasons why he’s opposed to sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, then this suggests that he doesn’t have any idea about what his armed forces are doing behind his back, which risks dragging Germany deeper into this conflict. Their country is currently resuming its long-lost superpower trajectory with full American support after comprehensively subordinating Poland in order to contain Russia in Europe while the US “Pivots (back) to Asia”.

This newfound role might have emboldened some elite members of the Bundeswehr into thinking that they can further expand Germany’s influence in Ukraine by competing with France and the UK there through the clandestine dispatch of troops and Taurus missiles without him knowing. Upon doing so and then successfully striking the Crimean Bridge, this could be blamed on those two in order to deflect from Berlin’s responsibility, after which Scholz would be forced to accept this fait accompli.

The pressure that could then be placed on those two might create space for Germany to expand its influence in Ukraine at their expense as the G7 competes with one another over who’ll get the biggest piece of its economic pie in the run-up to that group’s reported plans to appoint a special envoy there. Germany is already Ukraine’s second-largest military supplier, but its arms industry might fear losing out on post-conflict contracts to France and the UK if it continues to withhold these missiles and troops.

Neither of Germany’s historical rivals wants to see it become a superpower, but the only way to decelerate this trajectory is to chip away at its influence in Ukraine through their own “military diplomacy” there, which takes the form of their unofficial deployment of troops. While the “military Schengen” that’s formed between the Netherlands, Germany, and Poland will likely lead to Berlin soon expanding its influence into the Baltics, those two could influence the Balkans as a counterweight.

The “Moldova Highway” through NATO’s increasingly pivotal Greek ports, Bulgaria, and Romania alongside the “Black Sea Corridor” that was informally created with British support after the end of the grain deal could combine to keep a check on Germany’s post-conflict influence across the continent. That’s not to argue that it would be adequate enough to derail that country’s resumed superpower trajectory, but just that it could enable France and the UK to carve out their own “spheres of influence”.

The abovementioned scenario is contingent on them continuing to provide military support to Ukraine that Germany has thus far been unwilling to give, namely long-range missiles and associated troop deployments for “target control”, without which these corridors lose their importance. Although both could utilize the German-led “military Schengen” to these ends, Berlin would of course prioritize the export of its own equipment across this route, hence the need for them to have alternatives just in case.

Circling back to Simonyan’s claim after informing readers of the strategic backdrop, it might very well be that a nebulous faction within the Bundeswehr wants to unilaterally act behind Scholz’s back in order to offset this latent challenge to Germany’s envisaged control of Europe. Their plans were just foiled though since the alleged recording means that their country can no longer retain “plausible deniability” in the event that Taurus missiles and troops are secretly deployed to Ukraine to attack Russia’s Crimean Bridge.

Scholz can now either break up this subversive group or go with the flow if he’s powerless to do so, the first of which is the most responsible option but would cede influence in Ukraine to France and the UK, while the second would further embroil Germany in this conflict in order to retain its influence. The possibility also exists that this faction calls off its plans without being broken up after they were just exposed. At any rate, next week will provide more clarity, both into Scholz’s power and Germany’s role. ... nd-scholzs

Scholz’s Slip Of The Tongue Spilled The Beans On Ukraine’s Worst-Kept Secret


MAR 1, 2024

The worst-kept secret of this proxy war is that it’s already a hot NATO-Russian war but an undeclared and limited one where both sides still abide by informal “rules of engagement”.

German Chancellor Scholz’s innuendo that France and the UK have clandestinely deployed troops to Ukraine to assist with “target control” against Russian forces prompted a harsh reaction from the British, but his slip of the tongue simply spilled the beans on this proxy war’s worst-kept secret. No honest observer believed the prior denials about Western troops in that country since their Ukrainian counterparts couldn’t realistically be trained to operate such modern-day arms in such a short time.

His inadvertent revelation, which was shared to explain why Germany won’t send long-range Taurus missiles to that country since it doesn’t want to follow the others’ lead by clandestinely deploying troops there, came shortly after French President Macron’s relatedly scandalous claim. He said that NATO countries debated whether to conventionally intervene in Ukraine when many of their leaders met in Paris on Monday though no consensus had been reached on this ultra-sensitive question.

Although practically every one of his peers denied that anything of the sort was discussed, the Financial Times then quoted an unnamed senior European defense official who bluntly confirmed that “Everyone knows there are western special forces in Ukraine — they’ve just not acknowledged it officially.” Such claims were hitherto dismissed as “Russian conspiracy theories” but now they predictably turned out to be statements of “conspiracy fact” to the surprise of only the most dishonest and naive observers.

The Ukrainian Conflict has always been a NATO proxy war on Russia that was waged by hybrid means through that former Soviet Republic, with this latest development removing any “plausible deniability” about that after the words that just came from the mouth of the EU’s de facto leader. This prompts a re-evaluation of the way in which the unprecedented NATO-Russian security dilemma there has been managed up until this point.

President Putin famously said the following on 24 February 2022 about those who’d like to interfere with the special operation: “No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history. No matter how the events unfold, we are ready. All the necessary decisions in this regard have been taken. I hope that my words will be heard.”

In hindsight, his warning as aimed at deterring a conventional NATO intervention in Ukraine of the sort that Macron now said is being debated (albeit in a completely different military-strategic context), and it therefore succeeded in that respect. Wisely not wanting to risk World War III by miscalculation, the West instead clandestinely intervened via its intelligence services, special forces, and “mercenaries” (some of whom are presumably servicemen “on leave” while they “volunteer” there).

The Kremlin was aware of this the entire time but apparently concluded that it doesn’t constitute a crossing of its red line, though that doesn’t mean that it sat idly while this happened. Rather, some of its precision missile strikes against military targets and “mercenary” formations like France’s in late January were responses against those who didn’t heed President Putin’s warning not to interfere. In order to manage the security dilemma, Russia didn’t reveal that some of the deceased were Western troops.

News about their actual identities inevitably leaked to social media and particularly Russian military blogger channels but neither Moscow nor the West ever officially confirmed their veracity. Nevertheless, honest observers assumed that there was some credibility to them for the previously mentioned reason related to the difficult of training Ukrainians to operate such modern arms in such a short time. As for the “mercenaries”, these were meant to make up for the meat grinder and intimidate new conscripts.

The worst-kept secret of this proxy war is that it’s already a hot NATO-Russian war but an undeclared and limited one where both sides still abide by informal “rules of engagement”. Although British, French, and presumably also US and other Western troops – some of whom are deployed there as “mercenaries” – help Ukraine strike Russia, their target has refrained from retaliating inside of NATO. Both sides also tacitly agreed not to confirm Western troops’ presence in Ukraine till Scholz clumsily spilled the beans.

This suggests that NATO knows that Russia could feel pressured to resort to nuclear brinksmanship if the bloc boasted about what its troops are doing in Ukraine, but since they’ve thus far played it cool, Russia hasn’t signaled any intent to test Article 5. This in turn discredits claims that Russia harbors aggressive intentions against NATO since it won’t even publicly countenance the aforesaid scenario in self-defense despite NATO troops in Ukraine being responsible for killing its own troops and even its civilians too.

The unprecedented NATO-Russian security dilemma is therefore managed by NATO refraining from a large-scale conventional intervention, Russia not retaliating inside NATO after Western-facilitated Ukrainian attacks against its troops and civilians, and neither confirming the presence of Western troops there. These informal “rules of engagement” keep their undeclared hot war a limited one, though World War III can always break out accidentally, hence the need to freeze this conflict pronto in order to reduce that risk. ... ue-spilled
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Re: Footnotes from the Ukrainian "Crisis"; New High-Points in Cynicism Part V

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 02, 2024 12:51 pm

NATO, security and the territorial question: the 2022 negotiations
POSTED BY @NSANZO ⋅ 02/03/2024


While European countries disagree about the possibility of putting on the table the sending of contingents of Western troops - the blurred border between indirect participation and belligerent status -, they demand more money from their Western allies and look for ways to continue financing the continuation of the war, The Wall Street Journal has exclusively published the content of the most important document of the last two years, relating to the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in the spring of 2022. That was the last moment in which produced a political dialogue that aimed to stop the war and resolve the conflict between the two countries. Throughout those weeks, first in Belarus, then electronically and finally in Istanbul, the two negotiating delegations sought an agreement that ultimately did not come to fruition. From the principle of agreement that he announced - perhaps hastily and certainly naively - Vladimir Medinsky, the main Russian negotiator, quickly turned to reproaches, tweets that dismantled the announced terms and finally to silence. Months later, Ukrainska Pravda would refer to Boris Johnson's visit to Kiev on April 9 and his words, “we are just going to fight,” as the turning point that made the negotiation unfeasible. Since then, both from Russia and from pacifist sectors or those who advocate negotiation in search of a diplomatic resolution to the war, that intervention by the then British Prime Minister has been presented as decisive, a way to prevent Ukraine from continuing to negotiate.

More than a year and a half after the events, an extensive interview given by the leading Ukrainian negotiator, David Arajamia, leader of the parliamentary faction of Volodymyr Zelensky's party and a leading political figure in the president's entourage, also mentioned the role of Boris Johnson in the negotiation process. But compared to the simplistic analysis that has seen this reference as the confirmation that it was the West that frustrated the diplomatic effort of a Ukraine willing to reach an agreement with Russia just a month after the Russian invasion, Arajamia also mentioned other factors. The legislative difficulties of the terms that were being negotiated, the need for a meeting between the presidents, the distrust between the parties or the rejection that was expected from the population were also aspects that the Ukrainian negotiator referred to. Arajamia explained Johnson's intervention in this context by highlighting that the British premier 's offer implied the delivery of weapons necessary for the war.

According to The Wall Street Journal , which not only claims to have the document but also claims to know the chronology of the events, the talks continued despite the apparent breakup at the abrupt end of the Istanbul summit and the continuation of the war. The week after the announcement of the agreement in principle, Russia withdrew its troops from the northern territories. As Medinsky stated when announcing the result of the negotiations, Moscow had committed to “reduce” its military activities in those regions to allow Kiev “to make decisions.” Just a few minutes after those statements, a tweet from Mijailo Podolyak openly contradicted the terms proposed by the Russian negotiator and made it clear that the agreement was unviable. Johnson's intervention should never have been considered an order to continue the war. That option was on the table in the Ukrainian delegation itself, which over the following weeks continued to publicly demand heavy weapons from its partners. The continuation of the war and the search for the necessary material for it was always plan A. Boris Johnson's visit to make clear his vision that we are going to fight should not be considered an order but rather the confirmation that Ukraine was going to have the necessary weapons for a war effort that was already common at that time. The then British Prime Minister did not prevent peace, but with his arms supply message he confirmed that the West would make war possible.

The fact that the document referred to by The Wall Street Journal is dated after Johnson's visit indicates both that the possibility of negotiation was not completely broken by his presence and the Russian interest in seeking a negotiated solution and avoiding the continuation of a war that had already entered the trenches. By then, the Russian advance in the south had stopped at the Dnieper barrier or around Kherson and was fought hand-to-hand in the very tough battle of Mariupol. But even then, Russia remained interested in the negotiation.

“The document, dated April 15, 2022, outlines how negotiators on both sides intended to end the fighting by agreeing to make Ukraine a “permanently neutral state not participating in military blocs,” which would be prohibited from rebuilding its army. with Western support and that leaves Crimea under de facto Russian control,” the media writes to describe the general lines of a document that it does not publish in its entirety or in part.

The few details given by the article are consistent with the information that has been appearing over the last two years about the development of the negotiations. The basis of the proposal negotiated by Russia and Ukraine lay in three fundamental aspects: the issue of security, the territorial aspect and the defense of the Russian language. In the latter case, which according to The Wall Street Journal was not accepted by Ukraine, Russian demands were limited to making Zelensky comply with the electoral program with which he had come to power.

Regarding the military and security issue, the document refers to security guarantees from a series of countries including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and France. The data that has been released in these two years suggests that there were many more, including Turkey, who were guarantors of Ukraine's security, which would occur in exchange for its resignation from NATO. That was, according to David Arajamia, the most important point for Russia. As he explained in his November 2023 interview, Vladimir Putin maintained, until the end, the hope that Ukraine would accept the agreement. This has also been confirmed by people like Oleksiy Arestovich, at that time still an important member of the power circle in Ukraine, and Valeriy Chaly, a Ukrainian diplomat who was present at the negotiations. Both have insisted on the interest shown by the Russian Federation, and especially by its president, in reaching an agreement that would end the war.

The Wall Street Journal adds some details on the military question. To the renunciation of NATO and the prohibition of joining any military bloc were added limitations on the material that Ukraine could dispose of and the veto on foreign weapons in the country. Months earlier, Zelensky's words offering the United Kingdom the territory of Ukraine to install military bases had caused great concern in Moscow. Regarding the limitations on the possession of heavy equipment, what was published by the American media is consistent with Vladimir Putin's speech at the Russia-Africa Summit in 2023. It was then when the Russian president showed, although he did not publish, a document in the which detailed the quantities of armored cars or missiles that, according to the agreement, Ukraine could possess. At the time, Putin's words and the document were presented by the Western press as a Russian fabrication.

“The draft treaty with Ukraine included a ban on foreign weapons, “including missile weapons of any type, armed forces and formations.” Moscow wanted to limit Ukraine's armed forces to 85,000 soldiers, 342 tanks and 519 artillery pieces. Ukrainian negotiators wanted 250,000 soldiers, 800 tanks and 1,900 artillery pieces, according to the document. “Russia wanted the range of Ukrainian missiles to be limited to 40 kilometers (about 25 miles),” writes The Wall Street Journal , confirming Vladimir Putin’s statements.

Responding to Arajamia's statements, which implied that Russia's only interest was to achieve Ukraine's neutrality, Vladimir Medinsky recalled Russia's other red line. “Among the unconditional demands on our part was the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, and then the independence of the Donbass republics,” he stated then. In relation to the territorial issue, The Wall Street Journal confirms that, according to the terms of the document, Crimea would remain under Russian control and that Ukraine's security guarantees would not apply in that region, something that is also consistent with the information given by Medinsky in 2022 and by the Ukrainian proposals published by Meduza in March of that year. The 10-point text presented by Ukraine outlined the general lines of the agreement and postponed the remaining issues to a meeting between the two heads of state. The second point of that document stated that “these international security guarantees for Ukraine do not extend to Crimea, Sevastopol and certain areas of Donbass. The parties to the agreement should define the boundaries of these regions or agree that each party understands these boundaries differently.” The formula “certain areas of Donbass”, very similar to the terminology used by the Minsk agreements to define the territory under the control of the DPR and the LPR, indicates that Ukraine aspired to negotiate those borders, possibly in search of the status quo prior to 24 February 2022.

Analyzing the text, the article understands that “the document reflects deep Russian phobias that the West, led by the United States, was for years developing Ukraine as an anti-Russia to undermine, contain and try to take control of Russia. After Putin’s initial attempt to take control of kyiv and overthrow the government failed, the document appears to offer the next best option: a way to cut off Western support for kyiv.” The article forgets to mention this week's revelations published by The New York Times, which reveals the existence of at least a dozen secret CIA bases and describes the close collaboration between American, British and Ukrainian intelligence that began on February 24, 2014 that Western countries used, not only to reorganize the SBU and GUR at will, but also to obtain Russian military secrets.

Without irony, The Wall Street Jounral adds that “the resulting document appears to be loosely based on the 1990 treaty creating a united Germany, in which Soviet troops left East Germany on condition that the country renounce nuclear weapons.” and limit the size of his army.” The broken promises to Russia, which involved not only the limitation of the army but the non-expansion of NATO to the east, are not a factor in the reasoning of the article, which only sees the possibility of non-compliance by Russia.

Although Western intervention should not be considered the only or even the main cause of the breakdown of negotiations, it is evident that there was no interest then, nor is there now, interest in resolving the conflict if it involved the neutrality of Ukraine and the acceptance of losses. territories, especially Crimea. Hence, the Western sources cited by the article seek to twist the facts to present both the proposal and the Russian position by distorting reality.

“Western officials warn that, despite two years of costly fighting, Putin maintains his maximalist goals in Ukraine, which include engineering regime change in Kiev to ensure a state that does what the Kremlin says,” says The Wall Street. Journal . However, the terms of the Russian proposal are even more favorable to Ukraine in territorial terms than was speculated in 2022, when it was assumed that the Donbass borders that Russia demanded corresponded to the entire territory of the Donetsk regions. and Lugansk. The American media article leaves these borders up in the air as an issue still to be negotiated directly by Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky. The maximalism of Vladimir Putin, who according to Valeriy Chaly personally pressed for an agreement even if it was more favorable to kyiv than expected, was then limited to demanding neutrality and keeping under Russian control the territories whose populations had shown themselves against remaining in the Ukraine born of Maidan.

Although Russia then occupied a much larger area of ​​Ukrainian territory that it was willing to renounce immediately, according to the article, Moscow's objective was "to turn Ukraine into a permanently neutralized state, vulnerable to Russian aggression." The attempt to present an agreement that would have concluded the war and avoided much of the death and destruction that has occurred as an example of a Machiavellian act by Russia, which would already seek the next conflict, shows the interest in presenting the war as a struggle between pure innocence and absolute evil. But, above all, it demonstrates the Western disinterest in peace, subordinated to the geopolitical interests of Western countries and always at the expense of the civilian population that suffers, on both sides of the front line, the consequences of the conflict. ... s-de-2022/

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From Cassad's Telegram account:

Combined attack of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Crimea

In the afternoon, Ukrainian formations, after a long break, again attacked the Crimean peninsula . The raid can hardly be called large-scale, and it looks more like an attempt to interrupt the information feed in the wake of territorial losses near Avdievka . Two Su-24M bombers and two MiG-29

fighters took off from the Kanatovo airfield . Su-24Ms flew from Starokonstantinov in advance to carry out the attack. From the outskirts of Nikolaev, several ADM-160 MALD decoy missiles were first fired in the direction of Crimea. And then came the launch of four Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles from the Su-24M. The missiles were sent to the Belbek and Gvardeyskoye airfields . One of the targets was shot down near Chernomorskoye , another in the Kachi area . Two targets were intercepted on approach to Gvardeyskoye , and the third, after firing at it from an air defense missile system, fell on the airfield. It is curious that another air target flying towards Crimea strayed from its original course. According to Two Majors , instead of the peninsula, she flew in the direction of Turkey , and what happened to her after is unclear. And after that, two ballistic missiles were fired from the Tuzlov region in the Odessa region towards the Tendrovskaya Spit . Apparently, the Ukrainian Armed Forces wanted to hit the positions of the Russian Armed Forces, which repelled the inglorious attack of the Special Forces the other day. But since the S-200 , whose accuracy is extremely low, was most likely used for the attack, the missiles probably fell into the water. But, summing up the above, the Russian Aerospace Forces airfield again became the target of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This is the third object since the beginning of 2024 - before that there were Belbek and Saki . So the trend is quite obvious. Interestingly, the basing of the Su-24M at Kanatovo has become more frequent and longer than before. Apparently, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are not afraid of attacks on the airfield. This is despite the fact that as a result of a week-long attack, the control point at Kanatovo was hit. @rybar


Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the progress of the special military operation (for the period from February 24 to March 1, 2024) | The main thing:

- Within a week, the RF Armed Forces liberated Lastochkino, Severnoye, Petrovskoye in the Avdeevsky direction, and continued advancing in a western direction;

— Over the course of a week, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 23 group strikes with high-precision weapons and UAVs against Ukrainian military-industrial complex targets;

— Over the course of a week, the Russian Armed Forces improved the position along the front line in the southern Donetsk direction and repelled seven attacks by the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

— The Russian Armed Forces in the Kupyansk direction improved the situation along the front line within a week, repulsed 30 counterattacks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

— High-precision strikes hit Ukrainian enterprises producing drones, arsenals and deployment points of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and foreign mercenaries;

— The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost 23 tanks in the Avdiivka direction in a week, including US-made Abrams;

— Russian air defense shot down two MiG-29 fighters and a Su-25 attack aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force in a week;

— Within a week, Russian troops destroyed an enemy S-300 launcher and a Norwegian-made NASAMS air defense system;

— The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the South Donetsk direction in a week amounted to 890 military personnel, three tanks;

— The losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kherson direction in a week amounted to more than 290 military personnel, three tanks and 16 field artillery guns;

— The Armed Forces of Ukraine lost more than 2,835 military personnel, 7 tanks, 16 armored vehicles and 24 artillery pieces in the Donetsk direction in a week;

— Over the past week, Russian air defense systems shot down 2 Storm Shadow missiles, 4 JDAM bombs, 34 HIMARS shells, as well as 639 Ukrainian Armed Forces drones;

— The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost more than 755 people and 50 pieces of equipment in the Kupyansk direction in a week.

▫️In the South Donetsk direction, units of the Vostok group of troops improved the situation along the front line and repelled seven attacks by enemy assault groups in the areas of the settlements of Marfopol, Zaporozhye region, Novodonetskoye and Shevchenko, Donetsk People's Republic.

In addition, they defeated units of the 72nd mechanized and 58th motorized infantry brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the 108th, 121st, 127th, 128th Terrestrial Defense Brigades in the areas of the settlements of Vodyanoye, Ugledar, Urozhaynoye, Staromayorskoye, Rovnopol of the Donetsk People's Republic Republic and Lugovskoe Zaporozhye region.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces' losses amounted to up to 890 military personnel, three tanks, six armored combat vehicles, 28 vehicles and eight field artillery guns.

▫️In the Kherson direction, Russian troops took up more advantageous positions and repelled seven attacks by assault groups of the 117th, 118th mechanized brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the 15th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine in the area of ​​​​the village of Rabotino, Zaporozhye region.

They also inflicted complex fire damage on the personnel and equipment of the 28th, 65th, 118th mechanized, 44th airmobile, 128th mountain assault brigades, as well as the 35th marine brigade and the 121st military defense brigade in areas of the settlements Verbovoe, Primorskoe, Novopokrovka, Orekhov, Malaya Tokmachka, Nesteryanka in the Zaporozhye region, Ilyinka in the Dnepropetrovsk region, Tokarevka and Dudchany in the Kherson region.

▫️ Units of the Russian group of forces thwarted an attempt to land on high-speed motor boats the sabotage group of the 73rd naval center of special operations forces of the Ukrainian Navy in the Tendrovskaya Spit area.

As a result of the fleeting battle, four enemy boats were hit and sank . Up to 25 Ukrainian military personnel were killed , one was captured . The total enemy losses in the Kherson direction for the week amounted to more than 290 military personnel, three tanks, four armored combat vehicles, 34 vehicles and 16 field artillery guns.

▫️ Over the course of a week, operational-tactical aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles, missile forces and artillery of military groups destroyed the P-18 radar station , two radars and the launcher of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system , a combat vehicle of the Norwegian-made NASAMS anti-aircraft missile system , as well as five radio-electronic stations struggle "Bukovel-AD" .

▫️ During the week , air defense systems shot down two MiG-29 fighters , a Su-25 attack aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force, two Storm Shadow cruise missiles , four JDAM guided aerial bombs , 35 HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems , as well as 639 unmanned aerial vehicles .

▫️ From February 24 to March 1, 16 Ukrainian military personnel surrendered .

▫️In total , since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed : 575 aircraft, 267 helicopters, 13,862 unmanned aerial vehicles, 475 anti-aircraft missile systems, 15,304 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,227 combat vehicles of multiple launch rocket systems, 8,242 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 19,236 units of special military vehicles.

🔹 Russian Ministry of Defense


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Ukraine Weekly Update
1st March 2024

MAR 1, 2024

On the 25th February (a Sunday), 25 year old Aaron Bushnel, a US airman, set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington - shouting ‘I will no longer be complicit in genocide’ and, finally, before he collapsed, Free Palestine! Later, he died of his wounds. This reminded me that in the summer of 1963, Thích Quang Duc, a Buddhist Monk, burned himself in public, protesting against the government of South Vietnam’s persecution of Buddhists. This American airman died protesting against the genocide of Palestinians and deserves his place in history alongside Duc. At a personal level, this, for me, is the most important event of the week because it provides hope that we human beings, who are capable of the most heinous of abominations, are also capable of this. Condolences to his kin.

In Ukraine, the Russians are progressing quickly in a number of Directions after the fall of Avdeevka and the Ukrainians are finding it difficult to erect effective fortifications to stop their advances. Some commentators believe a turning point has been reached on the battlefronts that is causing panic among Ukrainians and Westerners. There are fears of a collapse.

Meanwhile, the slaughter in the Middle East has now infected Rafah as well as Gaza and a ceasefire appears to be no closer. The Humiliating Houthis continue to thrive as the West continues to huff and puff. Finally, the second anniversary of the SMO was commemorated in Kiev and in Moscow as we enter the third year of the war. It is so sad that the conflict has lasted this long and that so many have died unnecessarily.

The SMO - Two Years On - 24th February 2022

Let’s hope it will end soon

Kiev Pilgrimages


Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo attend a wreath-lying ceremony in Kyiv.
The Prime Ministers of Canada, Italy, and Belgium have arrived in Kiev along with Ursula von der Leyen and Britain’s own blonde bombshell Boris. They will be showing the Ukrainians that they are still behind them after two years - or, more correctly, they will be giving the appearance that they are still behind them.


Interviewed on her arrival in Kiev, Giorgia Meloni of Italy blamed Russia for Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th 2023. If the SMO had not happened, she reasoned, the world would not have become ‘disrupted’ and the Hamas plan to attack the Israelis would have stayed on the drawing board. Of course, our dear Giorgia has missed some very important links out of the causal chain there - such as NATO expansion, the arming and Nazification of Ukraine, the CIA backed Maidan Coup, the breakaway Republics, the shelling of civilians in the Donbass, the broken Minsk agreements and so on. Of course, she also misses the obvious: Hamas would have needed many years to plan and build for something like this, and they were motivated by Israeli murder and oppression, not the Russian SMO. She really needs to do some reading. But maybe she does know all of this but is simply playing a political game which seeks to blame all the world’s ills on Russia. Medvedev, in trolling mood, suggested that her irrationality could be a consequence of a fascist gene, according to Slavyangrad.

Boris Returns (to the Scene of the Crime)


Yes, he’s back in Kiev at the scene of the crime that condemned thousands of Ukrainians to death. The ‘crime’ of holding a party during lockdown does not compare to this. I just wonder what these two people have to say to each other. I can’t help feeling that Z owes Boris a punch in the face but Z knows that he must play his role in the game. He’s a bloody actor after all.

Z in Lvov

RADA MP, Alexey Goncharenko has announced that he is ready to send his army to fight alongside the US in Iran, North Korea or China. Hey, Alexey, have you had a good look at your army recently? The Chinese were none too pleased with such bellicosity.

New Offensive Coming - Zelensky

Taken from his big TV show - I think.

Zelensky is going with the only narrative available to him at the moment: i.e. Ukraine will win in the future. And so he announced that a new Ukrainian offensive is coming some time in 2025 that is linked with the new command structure he is putting in place - according to Tass. In a recent press conference, Zelensky’s claimed that only 31,000 Ukrainians had died in the conflict so far. He also estimated that 180,000 Russians had died but this is much fewer that the Ukrainian authorities have previously claimed - Oops!. Some will say that this is evidence of Z’s mental instability.

In response, Sergei Shoigu from the Russian MoD said that the Ukrainians have lost 440,000 killed and wounded - which is much more realistic.

The once great Z is still calling for help from way out on a limb but unfortunately for him, not many are listening. Z’s latest interview with Fox News attracted only 38,000 views whereas Putin attracted 90 millions views in just 12 hours when interviewed by Tucker Carlson.

Yermak - No Peace Until Russia Capitulates

Could you get inspired by that!

According to former film producer, Andriy Yermak, now of Zelensky’s office, Russia has no right to participate in a ‘peace formula’ until it capitulates. What can I say? This ain’t a film Andriy.

But Ukraine Can’t Win - According to Some

We’re Stuffed, Basically, Azov Chief

I’ve thought about it deeply - and - ‘we’re stuffed, basically’

Bogdan Krotevich, leader of the Azov group, has said that the Ukrainians don’t have sufficient troops to defend Kharkov or Kiev. The Russians, on the other hand, can transfer troops from one direction to another with ease and strike at will while the Ukrainians, he admitted, don’t even have enough troops to rotate properly . A Ukrainian soldier, interviewed by German television channel NTV, confirmed this manpower shortage:

We have a big problem with people. We don't have enough people at all. The fighters have lost the enthusiasm that they had at the very beginning... Many are now exhausted.

We’re Stuffed, Basically, Stoltenberg

After telling everyone to fund Ukraine for Navalny’s sake, Jens Stoltenberg has admitted that NATO is in no shape to launch a war against Russia or China. He also said that Ukraine should be allowed to strike deep into Russia if it wishes. Some call this man dangerous, which he may be but you could hardly accuse him of consistency or coherence - he’s all over the place.

They’re Stuffed, Basically, German MP

German MP, Sarah Wagenknecht, commenting on aid to Ukraine she said::

In the end it will not help Ukraine. A permanent prolongation of the conflict cannot be considered help or defence. Do you seriously believe that if we supply more weapons the Ukrainians will be able to drive the Russians out of Crimea? Do you think Russia, a nuclear power, will allow that to happen?

They’re Stuffed, Basically - Europeans


A recent poll of Europeans suggests that only 10% believe that Ukraine can beat Russia while 41% believe that the EU should push Ukraine to a negotiated settlement. Europeans are waking up but it’s a shame it took them two years.

Perhaps voices such as these that are contributing to the Western Panic (see Macron below).

Syrsky Drunk

This extraordinary video link shows General Syrsky quite clearly drunk at a ‘recruiting centre’ in Lvov. This does not bode well for the future of the Ukrainian army - they are stuffed, basically.

We’re Leaving


People’s Deputy of Ukraine Oleksandra Ustinova was not optimistic for the future of Kharkov when making this brief but revealing statement. Apartments in Kharkov are selling at 50% discount - which lends support to her gloomy speculation. People are selling up and leaving the city. The chart below also supports this rather gloomy picture (from the Ukrainian point of view). You have all probably heard rumours that the Russians wish to create a ‘buffer zone’ in order to protect Ukrainian attacks on places such as Belgorod and Kursk. Cutting off the Kharkov and Sumy regions is one way of doing this (Map). It appears that apartments in Odessa are also being sold at discount prices - according to Pravda.

Bye, Bye Kharkov


There are signs that the Ukrainian administration is preparing to abandon Kharkov as the above funding map shows. Restoration funding for the Oblast has been reduced from 999 millions to 1 millions hryvnia and an evacuation order has been issued for the whole of Kharkov region while efforts are said to underway to remove archives and important industrial equipment.


Pro-Russian Demo, Belgrade


This weekend, Serbians gathered outside the statue of Russian Emperor Nicholas II in Belgrade to wish Russian ‘brothers’ victory in their Ukraine war. Demonstrators carried anti-NATO banners and Russian flags imprinted with the letter Z.

Lubas Blaha - We Must Challenge Russophobia


Deputy speaker of the Slovakian parliament, Lubas Blaha, had this to say about arms supplies to Ukraine:

Two years ago we shouted together in the squares: Slovakia wants peace. And today we say the same. Our PM Fico made it clear : we will not send weapons to Ukraine because war isn't the solution. It was the West that advanced to Russia's borders through NATO expansion into Ukraine and organised the Maidan. It was the West that watched as Ukrainian Nazi battalions killed people in Donbass or burned people in Odessa. It is not right that two Slavic nations are at war and American arms companies are making money from it.

He also reminded the world of the high price Russia paid to defeat fascism.


Ukrainian Terror Attacks (i.e. those attacks that target Civilians)
23rd/24th February Overnight

Drones were shot down overnight in Kursk, Bryansk and Tula and more than 20 were shot down over the DPR. Fortunately, damage was minimal and there were no reported casualties.

24th/25th February Overnight

The Voroshilovsky district of Donetsk was attacked with 155mm cluster munitions overnight killing one individual and wounding another. Petrovsky district also came under attack.

25th/26th February Overnight

Drones attacked Belgorod overnight and a number of people were injured by air strikes in Donetsk. The Two Majors gave this report:

In the Kursk region, in the village of Kulbaki… a gas pipe and power lines were damaged as a result of shelling. In Troitskoye, Korenevsky district, 3 households were damaged; in Nikolayevo-Daryino, Sudzhansky district, one household, a car and a combine were damaged. In the Belgorod region…two enemy UAVs were shot down... On the peaceful population of the DPR, the enemy fired about 100 rounds of ammunition, and three civilians were wounded.

26th/27th February Overnight

Only 7 shells were directed at the DPR on the 26th February which is s record low. Several villages were attacked by drones in Belgorod overnight killing 3 construction workers in a car and wounded 3 others. 6 MLRS rockets were shot down during the evening. Another Belgorod village came under mortar attack injuring two children. Kursk and Bryansk regions were also shelled and the latter was attacked by three ‘aircraft type’ drones which were shot down. Here is the full report from the Two Majors.

27th/28th Overnight

Villages in Bryansk were shelled overnight injuring 5 civilians. Aircraft type drones were shot down over Belgorod and villages in Kursk were shelled. 93 rounds were launched at the DPR but fortunately only one person was injured.

28th/29th Overnight

Tishanka in Belgorod region was attacked overnight with shells and drones.

29th Feb/1st March Overnight

Several ‘aircraft-type’ drones were shot down over Belgorod at night while one village came under shell fire. Kursk was also attacked by drones and shellfire and 100 shells were lobbed into the DPR wounding several civilians.

Russian Saboteurs
The Two Majors have recently started reporting on the work of Russian saboteurs operating in the border regions mainly. In places such as Sumy and Chernigov they are ambushing Ukrainian sabotage/terror groups. But they are also operating in Odessa.


Last week I reported some sabotage in western Ukraine at Lvov and on the 26th Feb someone on the MoA referenced a report claiming that saboteurs derailed a train near Odessa. A group calling itself ‘Partisans of Ukraine’ declared: ‘‘We are the Ukrainian people, we decide when and where to bring justice to Zelensky, his clique and the oligarchs who are robbing our country". I can find no confirmation of this as yet but a train was derailed in Odessa on the 24th December last year, according to this. ... update-cc1

(Much more at link, check it out.)


Lloyd Austin Doubts Protective Value Of NATO

Newsweek is lying with this headline:

NATO Will Be Drawn Into War With Russia if Ukraine Loses: Lloyd Austin

It wording leaves out the (faulty) reasoning Austin attempts to apply:

Speaking at a Republican-led House Armed Services Committee hearing to discuss his recent absence while hospitalized for complications from prostate cancer surgery, Austin predicted that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not "stop" if Moscow wins the war in Ukraine.
"We know that if Putin is successful here, he will not stop," Austin said. "He will continue to take more aggressive action in the region. And other leaders around the world, other autocrats, will look at this and they'll be encouraged by the fact that this happened and we failed to support a democracy."

There is however no evidence, as in zero, that Russia is interested in taking even the whole of Ukraine or, moreover, anything beyond that.

Austin's logic is also faulty with regards to a different aspect.

The original claim was and is that Ukraine should enter NATO because that would protect it from being attacked by Russia.

But if Russia would, as Austin claims, attack the Baltics, i.e.beyond Ukraine, it would attack NATO member states. That claim thus puts the whole theory of a protective value of a NATO membership into question.

Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal has published parts of the draft peace deal that had been negotiated in spring 2022 between Ukraine and Russia:

Document From 2022 Reveals Putin’s Punishing Terms for Peace (also here)
Draft peace deal drawn up shortly after Russia’s invasion shows Ukraine was confronted with becoming a neutered state

The agreement was not punishing, but according to Ukrainian sources, very much in favor of Ukraine. It would have been kept as a wholesome sovereign state and could even become a member of the EU. The only restriction being to not join NATO and to have some limits on the size of its armed forces. Those conditions were much better than anything Ukraine will be able to achieve in any future negotiations.

The results of those will look much different:

The Kremlin said that the draft peace agreement from March-April 2022 is no longer relevant - Strana (machine translated)

Russian presidential press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the draft peace agreement of March-April 2022 is no longer relevant.
"The conditions have changed," Putin's spokesman told reporters.

He claims that the peace talks were stopped by Ukraine "at the command of London."

According to Peskov, the Kremlin would not like to publish the draft of that document.

Recall that today its individual provisions were published in The Wall Street Journal.

From this publication, it follows that Russia was ready to withdraw its troops from the territories captured after February 24, 2022.

That is, judging by Peskov's statement, the conditions for the withdrawal of troops are no longer relevant.

Earlier, David Arakhamia stated that Ukraine did not agree to sign that agreement , including because of the position of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Posted by b on March 1, 2024 at 16:53 UTC | Permalink ... .html#more


Avdeevka switchmen
March 2, 11:00


Syrsky decided to shift responsibility for the defeat in the battle for Avdeevka to the unnamed commanders of some brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces that took part in it. Based on the results of the debriefing, he promises to organize the removal of several brigade commanders from their posts.
In fact, we are talking about shifting political responsibility onto switchmen, since in the Armed Forces of Ukraine the opinion has become widespread that the defeat at Avdievka was a consequence of the appointment of Syrsky, but Zaluzhny...
And so, switchmen will be appointed, and the thesis that the reasons for the defeat will be were formed under Zaluzhny, and Syrsky is not to blame.

At the same time, the American press published materials that the construction of fortifications to the west of Avdiivka failed, which were unprepared for the situation when Ukrainian troops who fled from Avdiivka were forced to hold back the advance of the Russian Armed Forces in unprepared positions, while propaganda stated that “The troops retreated to advantageous prepared positions,” as Syrsky himself stated. This needs to be blamed on someone too.

Ukraine is now busy committing demographic suicide.
March 2, 2:06 am


The creator of PMC Blackwater Erik Prince on the war in Ukraine.

We need to close down shop with this war, because Ukraine is now busy committing demographic suicide. She is already chewing on the next generation of her living force, which will have nothing to replenish. Ukraine has a shortage of people, and the Western defense resource is a joke. In a normal war, the Russian bear cannot be taken down. Moreover, by the greedy hands of Ukrainians, who steal everything that is poorly nailed down. So let it be better to have an ugly world than such a beautiful war.
It is better to give the Russian bear Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk, in general, everything that the bear wants - just to quickly freeze the conflict, which is sucking the last juice out of the West, which is weakening before our eyes.

It’s funny, but in 2019, even under Trump, Prince made a similar proposal for Afghanistan, warning of an imminent disaster and proposing to hedge the risks associated with the US withdrawal by outsourcing the final stage of the war to PMCs.

Google Translator


NATO Troops Might Deploy to Ukraine? They’re Already There and Getting Killed

March 1, 2024

Macron’s notions about NATO ground troops going to Ukraine may be rebuffed for now in public. But the inexorable dynamic over the past decade indicates that the idea could well become a reality shortly.

French President Emmanuel Macron caused a furor this week by speculating that NATO troops may end up being deployed in Ukraine. Hold it. They have been for over a decade, that’s why the war in that country erupted two years ago.

It was comical – if not pathetic – to see the French leader speaking out of turn, trying to project a tough-guy image with his delusions of grandeur as if he was Napoleon or De Gaulle reincarnated.

Macron puffed out his boyish chest and declared Russia “must not win the war in Ukraine”; and he suggested that in order to prevent that assumed dreadful outcome Western soldiers would get their marching orders to enter the conflict. (Note the unbridled arrogance and how the logic of such false assertions is not even remotely explained or justified. It’s total diktat.)

Immediately, however, the American and European counterparts balked at Macron’s troop talk and hurried to deny their support for Macron’s willingness to deploy NATO battalions. Notably, even the usually hawkish British and Polish quickly quashed the French proposal.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was particularly anxious to repudiate Macron’s loose talk of troops. Herr Scholz said there would be no NATO or German soldiers going to Ukraine.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg – who normally gets excited by pledging unlimited military aid to Ukraine – also publicly rejected Macron’s notion about troops being packed off by the alliance to fight in Ukraine.

For its part, Russia warned that any deployment of NATO contingencies in Ukraine would mean the inevitability of the proxy war turning into a full-on wider war. In his State of the Nation address this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that the fate of such NATO contingencies would end up like that of the Third Reich and Napoleon. Putin also warned that the escalation of NATO’s direct involvement in combat would run the risk of inciting a nuclear conflagration.

On one hand, the furor sparked by Macron backfired on the French president. The backlash of rejections from NATO allies left him exposed and looking foolish. More of a little tinpot general than a tough guy.

On the other hand, however, while Macron might have looked isolated for now, his rash comments point to the troubling dynamic of escalation by NATO since the CIA-backed coup in Kiev in 2014.

NATO has been vigorously arming and training the NeoNazi regime that was installed in Kiev since 2014. Even Jens Stoltenberg and other NATO officials have openly admitted that background involvement.

In admitting the NATO presence in Ukraine over the past decade that also corroborates Russia’s reasoning of why it was compelled to launch its military intervention two years ago. Of course, the Western powers and their servile media never go as far as conceding that. They prefer to adopt a position of double-think and hypocrisy, claiming that Russia’s military action was “unprovoked aggression”.

Macron may have been shot down for now and made to look like a dangling clown. But as so often in the past, controversial NATO ideas are put forward and seemingly rejected out of hand, only to be adopted later. As Macron pointed out, Germany and other NATO nations were only two years ago reluctant to send military equipment beyond helmets and sleeping bags. Now these same entities have sent battlefield tanks and anti-aircraft missiles and are debating sending long-range weapons to strike deep into Russian territory.

US President Joe Biden once remarked on the unfeasibility of supplying fighter jets to Ukraine “because that would mean starting World War Three”. Well, Biden has ended up consenting to the supply of F-16s and his NATO side-kick Stoltenberg asserts that these warplanes could be used to hit deep Russian targets.

In other words, Macron’s notions about NATO ground troops going to Ukraine may be rebuffed for now in public. But the inexorable dynamic over the past decade indicates that the idea could well become a reality shortly.

NATO’s involvement in Ukraine is a strategic wedge to attack, weaken, and eventually vanquish Russia. What starts as a thin quantity inevitably grows into a bigger contingency.

NATO military personnel are already in Ukraine and have been since at least 2014 when they started training the NeoNazi brigades to terrorize the ethnic Russian populations in Crimea, Donbass, and Novorossiya.

Many of these soldiers are deployed unofficially as mercenaries or ostensibly as security details for NATO diplomats.

Numerous reports have attested to the presence of NATO troops in Ukraine in one form or another.

A Russian air strike near Kharkov in January killed at least 60 French military officers who were reportedly serving as private contractors. Other reports have cited as many as 50 American military killed in action serving in Ukraine.

It is estimated that up to 20,000 foreign personnel have joined the so-called “international legionnaires” fighting on the side of the Kiev regime against Russian forces. A fair assumption is that most of these soldiers of fortune are temporarily “decommissioned” NATO troops.

Germany’s Scholz let the cat out of the bag this week when he said he was opposed to sending long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine because that would mean the deployment of German troops to assist with operating the weapons. Scholz misspoke by inadvertently disclosing that the British and French had already dispatched special forces to assist with their missile systems, the Storm Shadow and Scalp, respectively.

The same can be said about the American-supplied HIMARS artillery and Patriot systems that have been used to hit civilian centers in Donetsk and other Russian cities. There is no way that Ukrainian soldiers are operating these sophisticated weapons without the assistance of US troops on the ground.

It is also known that American, British, and other NATO forces are providing surveillance and logistics to enable Ukrainian strikes in the Black Sea against Russian navy vessels and bases in Crimea.

As one unnamed European defense official reportedly remarked to the Financial Times this week in reaction to the uproar over Macron’s troop comments, “Everyone knows there are Western special forces in Ukraine — they’ve just not acknowledged it officially.”

Considering the offensive weapons plowed into Ukraine by NATO ($100-200 billion worth) to strike Russia as well as the thousands of soldiers deployed there from NATO nations, it is rather academic to speculate about the future deployment of ground forces. The fact is NATO is already at war with Russia.

We are actually talking about a relatively slight difference in degree. That’s what makes the situation so perilous and abysmal. Russia is correct to point out the imminent danger of this conflict escalating to a nuclear catastrophe for the entire planet. And yet, deplorably, when the Russian President warned of this danger again this week, the mindless Western regimes and media immediately accused Putin of “nuclear saber-rattling”.

The only constraint preventing planetary catastrophe is Russia’s formidable nuclear and hypersonic arsenal which the Western imperial cabal knows it cannot overcome. Indeed, the Western warmongers are the ones who are more vulnerable.

It is to the eternal shame of Western so-called leaders that they are pushing the world to the brink through their arrogance and disregard for any laws. Their problem, as Putin pointed out, is that these effete Western puppets have no humanity or personal experience of suffering and therefore no empathy. They are psychopaths and sociopaths, doomed by their failing political systems, and they are driven to start wars as a way to try to save their own puny, pathetic careers. ... ng-killed/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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