The Ukrainian military was incredibly busy today, so I’m going to try to cover as much as I can without making this a gigantic update. If I miss something you wanted covered, it’s not personal, there’s just a lot going on.
Also, the Russian military was busy too; running from the Ukrainian military…
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
First of all, today I want to congratulate two of our cities, beautiful, strong cities, on their day – Lyman and Dnipro.
Lyman in Donetsk region is still waiting for our flag, and this is inevitable – Ukraine always returns. We demonstrate it well. The entire Donetsk region will be liberated, will be safe and happy again, as it should be in Ukraine, as it should be everywhere on our land.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine and all those who defend our state, the Special Operations Forces, our intelligence, special services, the National Guard, the police will restore peace in every corner of our state, where Russia has brought only grief and suffering.
There will be peace. Peace goes together with the Ukrainian flag, together with our defenders.
Dear residents of Dnipro! Your city has done so much for Ukrainian defense both since 2014 and since February 24 that the history of our victory is also the history of Dnipro, it is undoubtedly well deserved.
The health and lives of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers were saved in Dnipro. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians received shelter and help in Dnipro during the war years. The front has always felt and still feels the support of the people of Dnipro. I thank you all for this! And I wish you all, as well as all Ukrainians, one thing – the fastest possible victory.
I held a meeting of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Headquarters today. Reports on the situation on the front lines from the commanders of operative areas were presented. The necessary decisions were made.
We discussed support of our military. We listened to the report of Defense Minister Reznikov on the results of the meeting at Ramstein Air Base. Thanks to our partners for their support!
The movement of our soldiers in different directions of the front continues. As of now, as part of active actions since the beginning of September, about 2,000 kilometers of our territory have already been liberated.
These days, the Russian army is showing its best – showing its back. And, in the end, it is a good choice for them to run away. There is and will be no place for the occupiers in Ukraine. However, I emphasize once again: if any of the Russian troops or security forces men are afraid to return to Russia now, we guarantee that everyone who is detained by our soldiers will be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
I spoke today with French President Macron. I briefed him on our activity at the front, about further prospects. We discussed Russian provocations at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and the need for immediate demilitarization of the plant and the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from there. I also talked with Mr. President about increasing defense support of our country, about increasing pressure on Russia, in particular about sanctions pressure, about visa restrictions for citizens of the Russian Federation.
The arrangements reached during yesterday’s agreements with Head of the Polish government Morawiecki were developed at a meeting devoted to the issues of support for our Polish brothers during this autumn and winter, our energy cooperation with Poland, as I promised him.
I instructed to speed up the reconstruction of the power transmission line from the Khmelnytsky NPP to the Polish city of Rzeszów – the first Savior City. Thank you, Rzeszów. Let me remind that this special title was awarded to Rzeszów back in the spring for extremely important assistance to Ukraine. We must complete this reconstruction by December 8 and provide Poland with the necessary amount of electricity.
Of course, all this is possible only if Ukraine maintains normal control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. We are working on the international solutions required for this.
I also instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to work out the possibility of an urgent supply of 100,000 tonnes of thermal coal to Poland right now. We currently have sufficient volumes for ourselves and can help our brothers prepare for this winter.
Today, I welcomed the delegation of UK parliamentarians who arrived in Kyiv. Their negotiations with Head of the Office Andriy Yermak took place – they were very substantive. Among the most important things are security guarantees for Ukraine, our interaction with the UK, as well as the possibilities of our coordination in such regions as, for example, Latin America. We must continue expanding our anti-war coalition.
Today, I had a very interesting and useful meeting with Timothy Snyder, a well-known historian, Professor at Yale University and a great friend of Ukraine. Mr. Snyder did a lot to make our country, our people, and our history known and understood in the world. His books are well known to Ukrainian and international readers. And soon there will be another book, he is preparing it now.
I was pleased to share some memories of both February 24 and the events of the previous time. We discussed the nature of Russian aggression, propaganda, and the evil that the occupiers are doing. They will definitely be responsible for everything they have done on Ukrainian land.
Today, I’m thankful to the soldiers of the 15th Slavic Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine, who distinguished themselves in the Kharkiv direction. Well done!
I’m thankful to the troops of the 214th separate rifle battalion for securing the situation in Balakliya, who, together with units of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Special Operations Forces, special forces of the National Guard and the police, returned full control to the city.
I’m thankful to all our defenders, who during these weeks made the approach of the main thing we need – our victory – even more tangible!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here’s the British MOD’s assessment for today. They did not post an updated map.
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessment regarding the battle for Kharkiv:
KHARKIV / 2015 UTC 10 SEPT/ The rapid collapse of the front east of Kharkiv is the single worst defeat suffered by Russia since World War II. Reports indicate that the city of Izium has been entirely liberated, as has the transportation hub of Kupiansk. pic.twitter.com/9MDuBHzzv0
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) September 10, 2022
And his most recent assessment regarding the battle for Kherson:
KHERSON/ 1630 UTC 10 SEP/ With the recent success of the Kharkiv offensive, the world’s attention had shifted from Kherson. UKR troops are reported to have made advances N and S of the M-14 HWY axis. UKR reports 35 close air support sorties in the Kherson AO. pic.twitter.com/1HLAHHgYRU
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) September 10, 2022
Kupyansk, this morning pic.twitter.com/lbXF5atz1w
— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) September 10, 2022
The town of Balakliya, Kharkiv region, is liberated by Ukrainian troops!
The Commander of Ukrainian Land Forces, Hero of Ukraine, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi is leading the Ukrainian offensive in this sector.
The Ukrainian flag has been raised in the town centre. pic.twitter.com/zQ8ngDitZw
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 10, 2022
It is not only regrouping but also a “distraction.”
“A three day operation was carried out to to curtail and redeploy the Izyum-Balakliya troops to DPR… a number of distractions were carried out with the designation of the real actions of the troops.”
— Mary Ilyushina (@maryilyushina) September 10, 2022
The Russian Grey Zone channel claims that Lyman was lost without a fight and he alleges that Russian military units simply took off from Balakliya, leaving behind Rosgvardia SOBR and OMON. https://t.co/Tq01WBgcQC pic.twitter.com/rHPFRpYh5M
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) September 10, 2022
I’ve been monitoring the reliable translators of the Russian military and military supporting Telegram channels. What I’m seeing is the birth of a stab in the back myth among the most hardcore of the supporters. That Putin, the siloviki, the senior military leadership have all betrayed the Russian soldier in the field and, thereby, the Russian people. If this takes root and then spreads it could actually become a problem for Putin. Especially because it would come from farther on the authoritarian right than he and his supporters are. Something else for us to monitor.
Maria Drutska, a defense professional in Ukraine, provides us with an excellent summary of how we got to the events of the past several days:
Mid-July to late August, Ukraine systematically targeted russian supply lines around Kherson, Kharkiv, Crimea, Donbas & other areas. The 80km HIMARS range, and other undisclosed arms allowed clinical strikes. The AFU warned of an imminent Kherson counter offensive
— Maria Drutska 🇺🇦 (@maria_drutska) September 9, 2022
2/n The russians, seeing the strikes & warnings, started reinforcing Kherson with up to 30,000 soldiers. The Ukrainians continued to attack logistics, and exit routes, making it almost impossible for russia to resupply their forward soldiers.
3/n End of Aug / beginning of Sep, Ukraine announced it was going on the counter offensive for Kherson, but that they would not share any info. Pro russia journalists and politicians immediately used this to say that the counter-offensive on day 1-2-3 was failing / had failed
4/n Around the 3rd/4th of Sep, rumours started appearing that Ukraine had made enormous gains around Kharkiv, even though this had never been a stated aim for the operation. However, opsec did not allow for concrete details. Progress was starting to become visible in Kherson area
5/n On the 5th of Sep, it became obvious to all that Ukraine’s counter-offensive was moving rapidly in multiple directions, and they had taken Balakliia by complete surprise – rumours started appearing that it too had fallen, and the russians could not reinforce there
6/n On 6th Sep, images of Balakliia started appearing with Ukrainian flags, and the general staff announced that more than a dozen settlements had been freed. At the same time, rumours started appearing that Kherson offensive was on, but AFU was moving even faster than expected
7/n 6th cont: OSINT & commentators started talking about a small town called Kupiansk, which was the key to russian supply lines for Izyum, a city they’ve occupied for months. russians started to realise the level of crap they were in, and became desperate to reinforce
8/n By the 7th, Balakliia was confirmed to be around Ukraine, huge advances in and around Kherson, & it was clear the russians were unable to reinforce in any way. Stories of 1000+ POWs, 600+ KIAs started coming out. Meanwhile, AFU opened up 2 axes to take Kupiyansk
9/n By the 8th, reports of further progress had appeared on all fronts, and the AFU was rumoured to have taken Kupiyansk, though not confirmed. russians lost another 650+ KIA, and serious panic started to spread. Videos surfaced of russians reinforcing, but those were fake.
10/n Today, it is certain that Kupiansk has been taken, but the scope of the counter-offensive is bigger than anyone could have imagined. Intense fighting around Izyum, Lyman confirmed, and reports of huge numbers of PoWs coming out. At the same time, AFU advances to Kherson
11/n Meanwhile, there have been explosions in Melitopol, Mariupol, Berdyansk, Crimea, and a whole bunch of other cities, by partisans and the AFU. russians are unable to reinforce in any area, their weapons are not working, and numerous videos are emerging of their surrenders
12/n The real scope of this counter-offensive is unclear, but it’s starting to look like a turning point in this war. Remember, what you or I can see on the internet is behind a day at least. And from what I’m hearing the situation is far worse for the russians than what we see.
I made a mistake about Kupiyansk because of my language (I thought it is certain to be taken = it will imminently be taken), but it seems that since then it has been taken.
14/n Izyum has been liberated on the 10th of Sep, after a surprise operation by the AFU in the dead of night. russians were surrounded, cut off from all communication and supplies, and after taking heavy defeats, tried to run, and then surrendered.
Speaking of interesting things to monitor going forward, this definitely is one of them:
I can neither confirm nor deny that certain regions trained and armed volunteer battalions but didn't send them to war. They make zero PR, so local pro-war community is surprised, interpreting this silence as a PR failure. These regions are Russian btw, not ethnic republics https://t.co/3XzJuM6E9B
— Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) September 9, 2022
I have no information about the military buildup in the ethnic republics though. That's understandable: they're constantly lowkey suspected in separatism, so are being watched closely by Kremlin. Most probably no "ethnic" region will have anything like its own army anytime soon
— Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) September 9, 2022
Hosi Yurt is an interesting place. The monumental arc on the right is the entrance
See this red ligt? It's always red, 24/7 and in both directions. Hundreds of cars pass there daily – on a red light. I think it would be a good start for a discussion on Chechnya, some next time pic.twitter.com/Coj7yWBfNy
— Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) September 9, 2022
Galeev’s teaser, for lack of a better term, is especially interesting in light of this:
Centre of Moscow right now. Closed off. pic.twitter.com/BjmnMB7grH
— Alan Moore (@DangerKidsBooks) September 10, 2022
There’s RUMINT that Putin is preparing to order a general mobilization. And the sealing of of the center of Moscow is related to that. I doubt it. First, we haven’t seen any information come out that would indicate that anything is being done to prepare for a general mobilization. Secondly, I think it is more likely this was done preemptively to try to prevent mass protests as the news from Kharkiv and Kherson filters back into Russia despite Putin’s best efforts to completely control the Russian information space.
Frankly, ordering a general mobilization isn’t going to help Putin remove his tuchas from the the crack he’s wedged it in. A crack of his own making. Unless Putin has a fully equipped and properly trained army stashed somewhere that no one knows about, it’s only a matter of time. The question is what does he do at that point? Does he cause a meltdown at ZNPP? Does he use lower yield nukes and just wipes out Ukraine and every Ukrainian he can because he can’t have it? Does he decide that a world without Russia as a great power isn’t worth surviving and he fires all his nukes?
This is what I’ve worried about since February.
May you live in interesting times is neither supposed to be an aspirational statement or a mission statement!
No matter where your careers have taken or will take you, it will hopefully never be where you are shot in the ass and then captured by the people that shot you in the ass:
📷Recon element of 25th Airborne Brigade captured Lt. Col. Artem Helemendyk from 18th Motorized Rifle Division near Izium, #Kharkiv Oblast. #UkraineRussiaWar pic.twitter.com/hR9YDR9v8b
— MilitaryLand.net (@Militarylandnet) September 10, 2022
I knew that would eventually come in handy…
There’s a lot of speculative posting and posting of RUMINT right now. For instance, I’ve seen reporting that the Urkainian military is in Donetsk attacking the Russian positions at the airport. A lot of noise being put out right now without a lot of confirmatory signal.
So let’s leave things here for the evening.
Your daily Patron!
If I get a percentage of all unofficial merch with my image on it 😂 https://t.co/9TY3uIxRGG
— Patron (@PatronDsns) September 10, 2022
And a new video from Patron’s official TikTok:
The caption is:
I’ve mentioned her before but I follow a Ukrainian photographer on Instagram. Her coverage of this war via her Instagram stories has been remarkable. The footage today has been incredible. She has saved all of her stories in highlights. She goes by tribal.cat and if you can go and see her stories.
I am with the gut in the first photo. This is too gripping. If written as a script for a movie, might well be turned down as unbelievable, yet someday there will be a movie and it will be wonderful to see.
ETA guy not gut
Maybe blocking off the streets is related to this thing that supposedly happened on 9/1?
VVP must be furious that his glorious 3-day Special Military Operation is going so poorly.
(via BritinLithuania who was the earliest account I’ve seen with the clip of (what is apparently supposed to be) the Moskva being returned to Red Square.)
If Ukraine can muster such a successful resistance to Russia, surely we can do the same to the MAGAts and fascists here…
So any chance this will bring down Putin? If so, is that another data point supporting everything Trump touches dies?
I’m with Adam, my big fear is that Putin will decide to take out the world, if he can’t rule it.
If Russia even makes noises about nukes, wipe Putin out.
Gin & Tonic
I posted a version of this downstairs, but some early predictions are not aging well:
Is there any clarification for the block closings in Moscow are related to it being Moscow Day and there were celebrations planned?
A friend of my family was shot in the ass on Omaha Beach. Also hit on a heel which left him limping the rest of his life. Trying to hide in too small a hole. He said he was one of the first people evacuated so he had a very short war.
@Ksmiami: Are you suggesting a first strike by the US? If not, then what?
@Gin & Tonic:
Another one that aged poorly.
Recognizing every video on Twitter has about a 99% chance of being fake, I want to believe this reaction is real.
I’m also wondering if there’s a chance he could be overthrown. He may want to die rather than lose, but do those close to him feel the same?
@Gin & Tonic:
I know this much, in the opening phases of the invasion Gen. McCaffrey was on MSNBC every day for a week telling us that this would be over in a week, that Russia was far too powerful and Ukraine would topple shortly.
It wasn’t too long after that we never saw him again.
Additionally, this thread on the implications of this conflict for China is interesting.
Lol, that’s definitely shopped, that’s footage from a soccer match.
Gin & Tonic
@dr. luba: Yeah, Lukin is in a league of his own.
Gin & Tonic
@Another Scott: It is, of course, fake.
@Omnes Omnibus: I wanted to snark along the lines of “I’ll do my best but can’t promise anything,” but I’m not sure there’s any suitably entertaining (let alone substantive) response to look for from someone barking gritty one-liners like a general in a war movie.
@dr. luba: Wouldn’t that be something?
I’ve seen some comments suggesting they continue on to take Sochi. On the way there they could grab VVP’s little country house and turn it into a museum of Ukrainian history and culture.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@Another Scott: It’s a real reaction, just not to the animated maps.
@Another Scott: I don’t know what their reserves of fuel and ammo are, but I would hope that they don’t overreach. They done brilliantly so far, and I think the fact that they are fight for their homes will keep them grounded.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
It’s just amazing watching this all happen, watching a country like russia that thinks it’s the biggest and best and most powerful nation getting their asses handed to them so publicly. While I know some people have been dismayed at some of the ways social media has been part of this war, I think it’s terrific that the entire world is able to witness russia’s pathetic collapse.
Also, Adam – Unless Putin has a fully equipped and properly trained army stashed somewhere that no one knows about – cracked me UP.
The Kyiv Independent has an interview with the president of Latvia, and when asked why his country has been so staunch and active in their support for Ukraine, said:
Yet more of the russian FAFO.
Thank you as always, Adam. Hope you are well.
Hey, at least Putin still has his giant new Ferris Wheel to play with.
Oh wait, according to news reports that broke too. That’s karma adding insult to injury.
Gin & Tonic
@Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think they have any desire to take territory in Russia.
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛: There’s a reason why Poland and the Baltic Republics have been pretty staunchly supportive of Ukraine. ‘Been there, done that’, basically.
@Omnes Omnibus: Given the Russian collapse, the Ukrainians are probably going to follow Patton’s advice to run until the tanks are out of fuel. Although Patton’s quote was much more colorful…
There were several breakouts in WWII of similar scale, so if the Ukrainian logistics are at least as good as the Soviet or German logistics of the time, I don’t see why they can’t reach the Russian border in Belgorod oblast.
@zhena gogolia: I wasn’t really thinking of that as much as pushing too far too fast into more Ru occupied Ukraine.
“Now Youse Can’t Leave”
Anyone else flashing on that scene from “A Bronx Tale”?
@Frankensteinbeck: That’s right, Putin and his cronies have betrayed the Russian people. I wonder whether this will be enough to get rid of Putin (and probably replace him with someone even worse)?
@Omnes Omnibus: Oh, I thought you were responding to the suggestion about taking Sochi.
@Kristine: Putin strikes me as someone who does not want to die for him “beliefs”. I suspect that he’ll find a way to escape with at least some of his money. Maybe to North Korea?
@Omnes Omnibus: red line communication warning that any nuclear weapon threat will result in Russia reduced to ash.. Putin may not care but most Russians don’t want to die.
I don’t have any experience with military conflicts except studying history, but in any crisis situation, once you find yourself falling behind, you not only have to make up the ground that you lost, but you need to double that to get ahead.
Now, if you just took your eye off the ball, that’s one thing, but that tends to not happen in big protracted situations. If you were giving it your all and you fall behind, you’re done – your all wasn’t enough and you can’t do better than that.
Ukraine had the benefit of improving over time from training on western weapons which we could increase supply of. Russia is in the opposite spot. The started at their high point in terms of training and equipment. North Korea isn’t about to flood the zone with superior weapons for them.
Is there something here I’m missing?
That prompted it.
I think it’s safe to say that Putin has ruined the market for Russian military advisors
Russia doesn’t have the leadership, field commanders, equipment, and resources to field a multi-million body Army.
Yes. It requires no sympathy for the Russian army or population to recognize that Putin and his cronies fucked them over out of greed and ego – and would do it again in a heartbeat.
@counterfactual: I don’t think we will see that, other than maybe another hit on a Belgorod depot if needed.
I’ll sign up for this party platform. Also, THey’ve got Kherson and Crimea to deal with. the advance of the past several days have been phenomenal. So has their patient preparation.
They’ve earned every tear of joy, every grandma hug they’re getting up north, every big headline. Bu t they are not done with hard parts.
So threat of a first strike. Good god.
One of the best scenes ever.
@Omnes Omnibus: No first strike- just that any use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine will result in serious blow back. Sorry- if Putin launches a nuke in Ukraine, there’s no way to accommodate or downplay it. He’s a cornered rat, but at his most desperate and dangerous.
Remember, too, we’ve been hearing for some time now that the Russians would be running out of materiel or soldiers or both “in the next few months.” If that’s happening on top of Ukraine’s lightning advance, the Russians are in a big, bad world of hurt.
@Kelly: My granddad only told his funny stories of WWI, but once he showed us the scar where a bullet creased his back because he wasn’t low enough.
Is that what ‘general mobilization’ means in this usage? I’ve been wondering why the USSR could drown their enemies in millions of corpses, while Putin’s army is a speck in comparison. Whatever the answer, he can’t fix it in the short or even medium term. Are these millions of men going to march to Ukraine? On foot? Wielding sticks and eating dirt?
Meanwhile on the home front:
Out of the west Texas town of El Paso: https://twitter.com/elpasomatters/status/1568787437186617344
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@Ksmiami: If you mean that russia using nukes would also cause destruction in russia itself, sure, I suppose pointing that out to the dummies who don’t already realize it would be helpful.
If you mean WE threaten to “reduce russia to ash” if they threaten the use of nukes, no. This isn’t Minority Report. We can’t take action based on what they might do, especially considering it’s not always possible to tell when putin is bloviating and when he’s serious.
@Ksmiami: That is different from what you previously said.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@JaySinWA: Damn you, now I’m gonna have that song in my head for days.
@dmsilev: I’m sure the contract went to some crony of Putin’s, and after most of the money was stolen the Ferris wheel ended up made out of papier-mâché and a half-dozen 1920s Meccano sets picked up at a UK Oxfam.
Two thoughts: Imagine if SFB TFG were still in charge. Shudder…
And what is the possibility that russia will sabotage that nuclear plant?
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Oh? that means the Russian aid defense as collapsed.
@Frankensteinbeck: I’ve been wondering why the USSR could drown their enemies in millions of corpses
In part because the USSR had Ukraine and Byelorussia in addition to Russia forces.
@Ksmiami: Don’t wait for us soft-hearted hand-wringers – I suggest you take action yourself. Maybe picket the White House in a sandwich board reading FIRST STRIKE NOW on the front and DO IT COWARDS on the back. They’re sure to be inspired by your fearless resolve. I wouldn’t suggest open-carrying though; they might get the wrong idea. You know how it is these days.
edit: Oh, sorry, hadn’t refreshed to see you changed your mind. Oh well, hopefully better resolve another day.
Maybe Putin wants to keep the old Russian military tradition of sending badly trained, badly armed, badly supplied, badly led raw troops into battle to get slaughtered?
@Omnes Omnibus: This is spot on. But given the general competence that they’ve shown, I’m not that worried about enthusiasm causing the Ukrainians to outrun their logistical trains.
fI am at sea about where they plan to end this phase though. I’m sure they have a plan, but damned if I can see it. When they stop running and dig in, the Russians will get a chance to regroup and get back in the fight with whatever they have left. Presumably the Ukrainians don’t want to be hanging over a salient providing a 40-mile long artillery target range.
Man, these guys are full of surprises. I can’t wait for the next episode.
@Ken: Got nothing about Ferris wheels, but this might well be the current Kremlin merry-go-round: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qysWprQrfiU
@Omnes Omnibus: I’m clarifying – but I’m sure Russia is – at this moment- being reminded that the use of nukes in Ukraine and any subsequent nuclear fall out will result in a proportionate NATO response.
Ukrainians have a unique edge. They can re-supply munitions and POL, the two heaviest things to lug around, directly from their enemy . They can also put usable trophy equipment directly into their own service. In both cases because it is the the same equipment needing the same stuff.
ETA: speaking of trophy weapons
Or turn it into a museum of corruption, like they did with Yanukovich’s presidential palace!
In regards to Adam’s worry about if Putin will loose the nukes if he’s really, really losing, this is to me worrying (NYT):
“And while the Kremlin still maintains that the invasion is merely a ‘special military operation,’ several [hawkish pro-Russia war] bloggers insisted on Saturday that Russia was, in fact, fighting a full-fledged war — not just against Ukraine, but against a united West that is backing Kyiv.”
I’m sure that there’s already been plenty of official Russian state messaging about Western imperialist support of Ukraine. But if the broader pro-war themes pound away on the idea that this is already a full-on war with the West, then the idea of strategic hits (very special operations?) on Western bases or capitol cities seems like a non-zero risk.
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛: You and me both.
It has been made clear to Putin and the Russian military, even in the last few months, that Russians cannot count on a rational-to-them “escalation ladder”. US doctrine is that there is a high probability that escalation will rapidly get out of control.
The Russian military are the ones that would carry out an nuclear attack order, or refuse. Putin himself cannot directly launch nuclear weapons.
More to the point, the Russians have many other obvious potential steps to escalation, before they even consider chem/bio/nuclear weapons. Those paths would be dumb, especially since Ukrainian air defenses continue to improve and Ukrainian long-range capabilities may/will improve. Russians have form for doing dumb/irrational things, yeah, but there is always the hope that the military leadership will stay (or become) rational.
But yes, it is very worrying. The Russian state propagandists who regularly threaten nuclear war (even Lavrov and/or Peskov have made threats) are fucking psychopaths who should be locked up at the very least.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Ironically, according to World War Two channel on You Tube, this week in 1943 it was the Soviet Army running amok threw the German army like this over the very same ground.
@dmsilev: Another reason was Russia threatening the Baltics and Poland, saying they’re next.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
I assume it’s the US-supplied HARMs
Any Russian turning on a AA radar knows that they might die in several seconds.
@counterfactual: I’m not a military history buff. I read a comment over at LG&M, that the speed of UA forces in this breakout compares favorably with that of Russian forces during Operation Bagration. I know nothing about that, but …. interesting, as is that apparently there was a German operation in the same general area against the Soviets, that could have been the prototype for this one.
A firm rumor:
I’ve read a number of comments about RU effective use of drone-jamming. And Michael Kofman mentioned it on Alperovitch’s podcast this AM, too. I wondered: couldn’t they program a drone that would perform its normal activities, but when it lost contact with its controller, after N minutes it would home in on whatever the strongest signal was (that wasn’t decipherable) and execute a suicide swan-dive into it? Then you could ensure that friendlies weren’t targeted, by use of public-key crypto, and of course the bad guys wouldn’t have that.
Just musing ….
The reports I was seeing earlier claimed that the trucks blocking off the center of Moscow were because they wanted to prevent protests from people reacting poorly to Putin opening the Ferris wheel and the anniversary celebration at the same time as the news of retreats and surrenders was coming in. I don’t know how well-founded that reporting was, but there weren’t any protests in any case.
Ty Adam for putting this together👍
One thing I took notice of, is that Putin is hosting Vostok 2022(a large multinational military exercise held every four years in Russia’s Far East) with over 50,000 personnel during this catastrophe. Imagine the typical Russian soldier’s morale, when a training drill is better supplied than people at actual war.
@Frankensteinbeck: Those millions of Soviet troops during WW2 marched to war against Germany wearing US boots and uniforms, riding on US trucks, and eating US grown food. Lend Lease turned the tide
Plus the situation is reversed. The USSR was defending against an existential war of extermination from NAZI Germany. Now it is the Russians who are engaged in a war of choice and the Ukrainians who are defending against an existential war of extermination.
NSFW GRAPHIC PHOTOS:
Adam L Silverman
@Gin & Tonic: I am very curious as to how bad you have to be at your job to be fired at the RAND Corporation.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
So happy for Ukraine right now. Hopefully the end of this awful war is coming soon and peace is right around the corner.
I’m frankly amazed at how quickly Russian forces in Ukraine have disintegrated. I can’t imagine Xi is especially happy about this turn of events. Russia was supposed to be their bulwark against Europe and they’ve proven to be a paper tiger
Adam L Silverman
@dr. luba: That is not, in fact, a leaked image of the plans.
@HumboldtBlue: Thank you for the TW. I’m not going to look for two reasons:
@Adam L Silverman: I thought being bad at your job was a requirement to work at Rand corp.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
For the better, for a change
In line with my general view that things only get worse just before they get better, I am thinking, based on twitter reports from Russia that this reverse mIght stir the more right wing reactionary true believers in Russia into making lots of domestic trouble for Putin, even to staging an attempted putsch. That would be good for Ukraine of course, but if an even more reactionary Russian state emerges, not so good. Except to say that the more reactionary, the more deluded and into magical thinking an entity becomes, so perhaps we may hope for internal strife and possible civil war there before long?
@Bill Arnold: thank you. Yes, Putin’s leadership cadre is insane and crazy is the hardest to deal with
@Chetan Murthy: Operation Bagration was the Soviet invasion of German occupied Belarus in 1944 about the same time as the Normandy invasion in the west if I recall. It was a spectacular success. Took the Germans entirely by surprise. The Soviets feinted to the south and then invaded from the north through Belarus with basically a million man army that they had hid from the Germans. That’s the very abbreviated cliff notes summary.
Got very little coverage in the west because it happened around the same time as D-Day.
Such a development was very likely if there were any major Russian military setbacks.
I wonder how much internal Russian political communication is encrypted (in ways that are not easily/reliably breakable; civilian cryptography (aka crypto, youngsters) is much better than it was a few decades ago) ; if it’s a lot, then this could take root and spread even with determined police-state efforts to squish such talk.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I was always under the impression that RAND Corp was a respected organization?
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): You are to young to remember the Pentagon Papers.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I don’t think there’s ever been a civil war in a nuclear armed state before. I’d prefer there to not be one in my lifetime. I would rather Russia just turn inwards and become an isolationist state, if a true democratic transition is impossible
Adam L Silverman
@Gin & Tonic: Read the first tweet in the thread, this is snark, not news.
no, I think you have it right. Russia is going to go from bad to worse from this point on. worse soldiers, worse logistics, worse weapons, worse commanders, worse morale, worse rations, less fuel, fewer rail lines. Pretty much everything Russian from here out is worse.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): It was and (presumably most still) is. E.g. Dara Massicot, who’s done excellent analytical work on the RU-UA war, is at Rand. Which is what makes this Charap idiot all the more perplexing.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): I don’t think RU has a chance of turning inward: its national myth is based on imperialism and manifest destiny, kind of like ours. Only, we stopped being an explicit empire and became a hegemon, and (in some parts (like a curate’s egg)) a benevolent one. RU ….. well, I don’t know of any examples of them ever being a benevolent force in a country. And of course, their national pride has taken a massive hit from the loss of parts of their Empire in 1991. They’re going to continue to try to take those parts back. Until Russia itself falls apart, from exhaustion.
@JaySinWA: I am also wondering if something like regulatory capture is involved, with both US intelligence agencies and outside analysts like RAND over-estimating the effectiveness of the Russian military because that’s what the Pentagon and the politicians wanted to hear.
@dr. luba: Logistics!!! Logistics!!!
No way the Ukraine logistics train could support that end run to the east.
Would be nice to get some GOP November ballot candidates on the record about their position about the Ukraine war.
And DougJ nails it again.
@Ken: It may be history repeating itself, or it may be just conventional wisdom, but I repeat myself.
We had this weapons gap thing we were told by Kennedy, but supposedly the IC knew it was bull OTOH the strength of the USSR was always assumed until it collapsed. That was largely regulatory capture to support the military industrial complex IMHO.
Yes. This. I expect that not many normies are really following the Russian war against Ukraine, but getting repugs on record about their attitude and posture towards Russian aggression wold be good tactics, especially if it manages to peel off a small percent of independent ‘hawks’ ala Cheney types.
The US Dems need to run a big popular front mobilisation against republicans now, and into 2024.
Joy in FL
@moops: Every time I see your nym, I laugh out loud. That is one of the funniest episodes for me; I love that you took that word for your nym.
@JaySinWA: The weapons gap was real in terms of numbers. The Warsaw Pact had much larger armies, more tanks, more artillery, etc. But it wasn’t real in terms of technology obviously.
Don’t spies mostly intercept the other country’s information? So we would be hearing what Putin hears, not facts on the ground? And what Putin heard was that his army was an elite juggernaut that would be greeted as liberators after the cowardly Ukrainians ran away from their first taste of cold steel.
Even when you know there are flaws in the system, that leads to a lot of erring on the side of a worst case scenario.
@Joy in FL: I was never a Seinfeld fan, and proud to know I didn’t support Bannon’s rise in retrospect, but then again I can’t pass up the chance to say The Moor you know…
I am surprised nobody has made this Monty Python connection yet.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I looked on RAND’s FAQ, and found this:
@Kent: My feeble memory was that the weapons gap was specifically about nukes and totally false.
Having listened to Ukrainian for a few months now, and especially listening to Zelensky speak it, one thing I loooove is the cadence of the language, and the way several speakers I’ve heard do this thing where you emphasize the strong cadence with a final repeating word, make a kind of brutal poem out of it.
A great example is in like the first video we ever saw of him 1st or 2nd day of the invasion where he was with the other ministers and just went through them all and said “Ukrainian president is HERE, minister of education is HERE, minister of defense is HERE… I watch that video and it’s just oddly poetic, it’s so simple but it really sounds like something. The way the sylables in Ukrainian (or Russian) break up into distinct harsh syllables and really bang out a beat and then each line ends with the stressed repetition word. Really effective. I’ve heard Ukrainians do it like 5 times now, I think it’s kind of a language thing.
@JaySinWA: Kennedy campaigned on the “missile gap.” The Eisenhower administration knew that was crap, but to prove it they’d have to reveal that the US already had some very good satellite surveillance in 1960. Ironically, Eisenhower campaigned on the “bomber gap,” which the Truman Administration knew was crap, but to prove it they’d have to reveal US spy planes and signals intelligence methods.
@Adam L Silverman: It is, however, an intriguing suggestion. Grant & Sherman would approve.
@Frankensteinbeck: Typically intelligence agencies recruit lots of low-level informants, too. Indeed, those are easier and cheaper to recruit, easier to keep safe, b/c the high-level ones are so carefully surveiled by their country’s own counterintelligence. Or at least, that’s what I’d think.
I think one thing that surprised analysts was how RU seemed to incapable of executing combined-arms maneuvers, even though (the analysts said) RU was quite able to do so in WWII. They were extrapolating from the last time RU was used in major warfare, forgetting about the First Chechen War (and even to some extend the Second) where RU really got their ass handed to them. They just assumed RU knew how to do this shit.
Something else: I remember somebody pointing out that in the West, nobody has a Ukrainian studies department. They (*we*) think of Ukraine as a part of Russia. So we assumed that Ukraine would be just like Russia was — a corrupt nation. That Ukraine was making strides to become like its Western neighbors …. wasn’t on their radar screen. That Ukraine had learned in the eight years since 2014 a sense of nationhood, was also not on the radar screen.
Is this good news for John McCain?
In the 1950s it was the Bomber Gap:
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I’m mystified by this response from Laura Rozen in response to DougJ’s/NYTPitchbot’s tweet
That name is familiar and I vaguely remember her having good takes on things
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: It pretty much had as of a few days ago. Not sure if that’s the AGM-88s doing, or HIMAR + US intelligence, or just slugging it out, but the milbloggers have been showing the TB2s working pretty much unharassed over Russian positions for about a week or two.
Also, our troops decided to regroup
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@HumboldtBlue: that’s hilarious!
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
More from the thread:
In the earlier thread, I posted a speculation on something more subtle and divisive that Putin could do. Based on one or two of the responses, I think that perhaps I did not state what I intented very clearly.
Assuming a new military equilibrium is established with the Russians still hanging on to control of the Black Sea coast South of Kherson, and of Crimea, and of Luhansk and part of Donetsk oblasts, going into the winter months (and parts of this assumption could be falsified by tomorrow, of course, but please indulge me)…
Putin could choose “peace”: “unilateral” territorial “concessions” in which, for example, the Black Sea coast is evacuated by Russian troops, as is all of Kharkhiv oblast and the northern part of Donets Oblast, but Luhansk and the sothern part of Donets oblasts comprising the Azov coast — including Mariupol — and Crimea, are to be retained by Russia. What could be more reasonable?
OK, I don’t think it would be reasonable, which is why I put those terms in scare quotes in the previous paragraph. But I do believe that this would be a very insidious offer. And to those of you who offered puzzlement in the previous thread about who would take such an offer seriously, or would behave as if it were made in good faith, or would consider it as the basis for a serious round of peace negotiations, consider this:
Putinist third column political forces — Salvini, in Italy, Le Pen, in France, etc. — would have a field day calling for such peace terms to be honored, and calling their supporters into the streets, at a time of serious economic stress in Europe. We can imagine what the Trump nutjobs would do on Fox, of course, when such were rejected by the administration. Orban and Erdogan would be colossal proctological afflictions. And this is without even counting the genuine pacifists, who believe reflexively in peace as a value, especially in other people’s wars, and who especially dislike wars supported by the West because they are intrinsically “capitalist/colonialist/racist/whathaveyou”. There are millions of such people, and I bet you’ve all met quite a few. I know I have.
Such an offer would also bring all the goddamned chin-stroking Realist political strategists bolting out of their armchairs in their book-lined fireplace-warmed studies to stuff opinion pages with I-Told-You-So pieces about how the war was all really about being reasonable, and if everyone hadn’t gotten so emotional about the poor brave Ukrainians instead of just calculating mutual interests we could have gotten here right away at lower cost. But now we have a perfectly valid offer on the table, so let’s dicker like foreign-policy grown-ups.
What I’m getting at is that such an offer could actually be dangerous, and we should be prepared for it if it comes. We should prepare by inuring everyone we know now to the idea that no matter what, the only arbiter of what constitutes a valid peace settlement is the Ukrainian government. This really needs to be raised to the level of a first-principles policy statement that is repeated by all important NATO governments regularly, before any peace offer is tendered. And we need practice articulating why the Ukrainian government’s views — and not Russia’s — are dispositive: because Russia’s aggression now demonstrably threatens not only Russia’s neighbors, but the entire continent, and Russia cannot continue to reap rewards for aggression. Russia’s proposals still reward itself territorially for its aggression, while penalizing its victim. And where are Russia’s reparations to Ukraine in this settlement?
Not stated, but implicit in all this, is that we would be mad to let Putin up now that we have him down. Putinism is the sworn enemy of the Western rules-based order. We didn’t start this fight. But we sure as hell ought to finish it, by putting that son of a bitch’s creation in the ground, however long that may take.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Small world, but she used to write for Mother Jones, and I worked there the same time she did. She struck me as smart but someone I wouldn’t be surprised to find out was a conspiracy theorist or something.
@JaySinWA: I’m sure you are right. Before my time. My earliest political memories are Watergate when I was about 9-10.
@counterfactual: Yes, thanks, the missile gap, I was a wee lad when Kennedy was running, so mostly heard about it after the fact. Still BS but still nukes were the center of it given the climate of the times. I do remember the Cuban missile crisis vividly. A real thing, exacerbated by the previous exaggerations.
@Carlo Graziani: I don’t see how this happens. Think it thru: Putin declares that on Monday morning at 8am, his forces will cease fighting, and will withdraw, yes? Until that point, the UA General Staff would be *mad* to let up, right? But why would they let up after? Why not keep bombing the fuck out of Putin’s troops? And if they do, will Putin’s generals not respond? Will they be able to keep their troops from responding? B/c that’s what it would take, right? They’d have to be able to pull off a retreat (a weaponless retreat) under HIMARS, artillery, drone, UA air force, and ATGM fire. Why would UA let up on a single fire mission?
The idea of a unilateral cease fire seems barmy, frankly.
A turn off phrase I liked from one of the Twitter accounts reporting the progress of today’s advance: “going from being the second strongest army in the world to the second strongest army in Ukraine…”
@Carlo Graziani: Not going to happen. Russia is never going to concede an inch of Ukrainian territory in advance of some overall peace settlement. You don’t negotiate with yourself. Any territorial settlement that brings the conflict to a close will be negotiated by both sides, not imposed by Russia. And Western Europe will have pretty much zero to do with it. The only player that really matters other than Ukraine is the US I suspect. And whatever surrender monkeys might exist in France and Germany will be counter balanced by Central Europe states like Poland where they have no illusions about Russia.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): She is being snarky.
Probably should have written “NO!” rather than NO.
@Percysowner: I don’t see that moment ever coming. You’re supposing a moment where Putin knows for certain he cannot hold power and yet still has the power to issue a nuclear mass suicide command that everyone obeys.
@Carlo Graziani: And then there’s the question of payback for Mariupol, right? It’s clear many tens of thousands, maybe over a hundred thousand, Ukrainians were murdered there. The Ukrainians aren’t going to forget, and they’re going to make Putin pay. Now, maybe you’re arguing that the West will at that point leave Ukraine to flap in the wind. But at least the US and CEE countries have been clear that that won’t happen. And at this point, the citizenry of most of the West agrees with this. Maybe there’ll be Putinfelcher governments in a few places (like HU) that will defect, but I think most will stay the course.
Because if UA keeps fighting, Putin will be unable to execute his unilateral cease-fire.
I understand, watch this grandma and her Ukr soldier grandson reunite.
Re: Putin & nukes.
Putin can’t survive without Russia but Russia can absolutely survive without Putin. By the time he’s out of rope to climb, he won’t be able to payoff or threaten the security apparatus he expects to go down in flames with him.
A line right-wing milbloggers are already using there is “The president alone owns the consequences of these failures.” Don’t think even his close supporters will die for a failure.
@Carlo Graziani: I don’t know. The chin-stroking realists look pretty fucking stupid right now because they were the ones who said on day one of this invasion that it was over, and the US was stupid to even entertain the idea of Ukraine holding on. I think we can pretty directly tell them to STFU now.
I think the opportunity for Russia to make such an offer and have backers of it outside of Russia is now gone. Everyone was shocked when the invasion fell apart in a matter of a few days. But everyone thought Russia could at least just park their fat ass in Ukraine and be impossible to push out, but even that idea is now busted.
I don’t think anyone in the west believes this is unwillinable by Ukraine, including taking back Crimea, provide the west keeps giving them support. So the only reason to cut a deal is because Ukraine doesn’t want to keep fighting.
@JaySinWA: The weapons gap was always one of those true on one level, but BS in the big picture. Basically, there were (are) three types of nukes, ground (silo), air (bombers), and sea (submarines).
The US hawks could always point to a “gap” in one of the three. The reason was that the gaps never mentioned submarines, which was the corner of the nuclear triad that the US had chosen to be its primary focus.
So, yes, the USST may have had more land based missiles, but that didn’t matter. The US had an overwhelming superiority in submarine launched ICBMs and those were the ones most likely to survive a first strike and be able to retaliate.
@Ksmiami: It is too easy to see this as a game with winners and losers. Nuclear war has only losers. Obviously we want to incentivise not going there. But not every way of doing that is justifiable.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
That’s what I thought, but wasn’t super sure
@Chetan Murthy: The point is not to get a peace settlement. The point is not to actually withdraw unilaterally. The point would be to make the statesmanlike offer. And to keep repeating the offer. And then hope to see cracks develop in the EU and in NATO.
Keep in mind, in the hypothesis, we’ve gone back to sitzkrieg. There’s no more military drama, just shelling, inflation, heating problems in Northern Europe. Putin offers an “honorable” end to the war. No fires are actually ceased.
If that happened, I think we would have a political emergency on our hands. I’m saying that it would be wise to prepare for the contingency.
@Carlo Graziani: Let’s approach this from the POV of hard-head American realism and hegemony. Our military leaders will tell our political leaders that it would be *madness*, *sheer barking madness* to not take up this oppty to destroy Russia as a geopolitical force, esp. since we literally have no fingerprints on the weapon. Literally. It’s wielded by the most morally-unimpeachable actors around, people fighting to save their own country, their own land. A better proxy couldn’t be found. These advisors will tell our politicians that American hegemony will be served by continuing to support UA, and that this is the best way to restore American worldwide power to where it was before 9/11.
And they’ll be right. Heck, do remember that briefing from yesterday with the DoD procurement officials, talking about all the foreign orders for US-made military equipment? Every one of this is a strengthening of US hegemony. Every. One.
So again, just on the most crass basis of American hegemony maintenance, we’d be barking mad to not support UA to the last square centimeter of Ukrainian land.
Started with the “bomber Gap”, carried on with the “missile Gap”, both false.
But it wasn’t Rand, it was “B Teams” in the White House, like Iraq.
@Carlo Graziani: Do you think the Ukrainian people are going to write off the three million kidnapped citizens that RU took away to their Far East? C’mon, man. And do you think that we’re not going to find massive evidence of war crimes in the liberated parts of Kharkiv oblast? Did you see that testimony of the journalist who was in Kherson from 24 Feb, and recently escaped? He was taking part in the partisan resistance, and it finally got too hot for him. He said something like:
“You think Bucha was bad; it will be as nothing compared to what we will find in Kherson, I assure you”
All those war crimes are going to start coming out, in a real drumbeat, in the next weeks.
@Chetan Murthy: Yep. I mean, we dump nearly a trillion dollars a year into a military complex that has been principally designed for the purpose of destroying Russian hardware. Not exclusively, but primarily.
And yeah, if we can get Ukraine to do that for us – shit, hand them everything we have. That’s why we have it.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Oh my god, that Monty Python meme with the Black Knight as Russia sent my sides into orbit!
“Tis just a flesh wound.”
@Chetan Murthy: We’re not having the same argument. I must be having trouble writing clearly today.
Of course I agree that we have an obligation to put Putinism down. I just wrote as much.
I’m saying that Putin doesn’t have to make any good-faith offers, or order withdrawals from a single scrap of Russian-controlled land. He just has to announce a peace offer amounting to some territorial compromise, to set the cat among the pigeons in the West.
@Martin: And for the most part, we’re [ETA: NOT] giving UA “the good stuff”. We’re emptying out our stocks of the old stuff — every defense contractor in the country is *slavering* just thinking about the contracts (again, recall yesterday’s DoD briefing) and their new yachts and mistresses’ apartments!
Who knew we’d run out of Stingers! What a great chance to develop new antitank weapons! Goldmine!
Shorter: There’s a massive deep-pocketed constituency for continuing support for UA: all the defense contractors. The best war is a victorious war fought by your proxies, after all.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Yep “Brutus is an honorable man” especially according to Brutus. It’s complicated. Rand was and is respected to do what it is paid to do, and it may do it well. Kind of Like McKinsey & Co but with better “brightest and the best” analysts. I don’t respect any of its public facing analysts.
@Carlo Graziani: Uh, no. That will result in … what are they called again? Oh yes, “negotiations”. At which subjects like “what about our 3m citizens?” will come up. Which will scupper any chance of a deal. Sure, you can argue that Putin will then cry foul. But the answer will always be: “what peace? Withdraw your orcs to the 1991 line, asshole.”
A negotiated peace settlement with putin is impossible, because putin’s word is literally garbage. russia had already guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. If putin agreed to peace (for example) in return for Crimea and part of the Donbas, he would regroup, try to fix the ru military’s obvious deficiencies, and attack again as soon as he thought he safely could. Ukraine would be insane to put any trust whatsoever in anything putin agreed to.
We must, absolutely must, keep TFG out of the White House in 2024. He would sell out the Ukrainians in a heartbeat.
From the point of view of the US Pentagon and military industrial complex this war is a wet dream. They get to test out every new system in real war conditions, try out every idea they have ever had through their Ukrainian proxies, all while getting someone else to grind Russia’s military capacity down into the dust. Why would they want it to end? I’m sure they have a lot more drones, handheld missile systems, communication systems, radars, etc. that they want to test out before this is over.
You don’t think Ukraine is crawling with US defense contractors collecting data on every piece of equipment? Of course it is.
This is a WAY better war than Afghanistan for that sort of thing because the Russians are a much better foil for US weapons and tactics than the Taliban ever were
Plus, all those older weapons that the US is shipping in mass to Ukraine? They all get backfilled by new orders so lots and lots of profit. Every billion dollar tranche of older weapons we send to Ukraine represents a 3 billion order to replace it all with new stuff (military inflation!)
@Chetan Murthy: I wonder what the new planning will look like given that Russia can no longer be argued to be a US peer. I mean, there will still be the sales role to Europe, but China seems like much more of a job for the Navy.
@Marc: Pakistan hasn’t exactly been a bastion of stability itself.
@JaySinWA: Mostly it wasn’t about the nukes themselves, but delivery systems for them. At one point in the 1950s DoD was scared spitless that the Soviets had/were building humongous fleets of H-bombers with intercontinental range. As it happened the “bomber gap” was one of the great deceptions of the Cold War:
Then there was the “missile gap” that featured prominently in the 1960 presidential election. Published estimates of the number of operational Soviet ICBMs with H-bomb warheads ranged as high as several hundred – when in fact it was 4.
@Marc: The Arab-Israeli conflict is also a form of civil war.
Yeah, think about it: first we were told that Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost were the bomb, gonna fuck RU up big time. Now we learn that RU EW is rendering drones ineffective. This is a great time to learn why and how, and try to devise solutions that UA can test out in realtime. Like Kent I’m not bloody-minded, but our defense contractors don’t suffer from that weakness: they can see a great oppty for some field-testing that involves no American casualties, hence no domestic blowback.
And this war is *cheap* for America: what, $20B/yr? That’s peanuts for the kind of field-testing we’re getting. And all including taking down one of our only two major geopolitical adversaries (while scaring the shit out of the other).
What’s not to like? (from the POV of a greedy defense contractor)?
@Martin: Russia basically has the population and GDP of Mexico. They haven’t been a US peer for a LONG time. China is what keeps all the American planners up at night.
@Chetan Murthy: Of course the Ukrainians would do no such thing, and please don’t suggest that I think such things in this forum. It’s still a sensitive issue.
I’ve triggered something without meaning to, and the argument that I’m making ought to be capable of being read with less passion. It’s simply this: there are, in fact, exploitable popular political divisions in NATO and in the West, having to do with attitudes towards the war. In the event (not given) of a temporary winter stalemate, a gambit available to Putin is to attempt to force such fissures open, thereby weakening NATO, the EU, and support for Ukraine, by announcing a “peace plan” without actually having any intention of following through.
My contention is not that this would be a disaster and we should give up if he does this. However, I believe that we would have a very serious political problem to deal with, and that it would be better if some kind of advance ground work were done to prepare for the contingency.
I’m sure it *is* being done, and that it’s front-of-mind for the CEE nations (and the US).
I’m not reacting passionately against *you*, Carlo. Rather, I’m pointing out that at this point, with all the war crimes already committed, and all those about-to-be-discovered (b/c RU’s soldiers are orcs), it will be difficult to convince UA to stop short of their borders, and accept the kidnapping of their citizens. I think Zelenskiyy would be impeached, be met with a wave of popular outrage, if he were to suggest any sort of appeasement (which is what this would be seen as, as I’m sure you’d agree).
Also, sure, I agree with you that there will be defectors among the West. Look HU: they’re trying to do that right now, but other EU nations are working-around them. And even while HU is defecting, the other Visegrad countries are as rabid as can be: do you really think they’re gonna stop, just b/c Putin says “ok, ok, I’ll stop [for now]”. C’mon, man.
You’re spinning fantasies.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Do you think Russia’s military efforts disintegrating in UKR has affected China’s military and FP, in any way? I remember reading they were relying on Russia as a partner to counter NATO in Europe
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): It has probably given them pause with respect to Taiwan. But China has always focused on economic expansionism, not military. The last military adventure they had was their ill fated invasion of Vietnam in the early 1970s. They don’t do military invasions of their neighbors. They do economic invasions. And much more successfully frankly.
This disaster of a war for Russia will probably embolden Chinese economic expansion all across the southern Asian republics that straddle the long Russia-China border.
@Chetan Murthy: At this point it is certainly true that the Ukrainian General Staff appears to have located the proverbial genie-bearing oil lamp, and have at least one wish remaining.
In the ordinary world of human offensives bound by military logic, however, what is supposed to happen next is that they get to the end of their logistical tether, and, being sensible people, adjust their lines and other dispositions to maximize their own defensive and logistical convenience, consistently with maximizing the awkwardness of the Russian position. None of this has anything to do with Zelenskyy’s will to prosecute the offensive. It has to do with the fact that the Ukrainians have been racing towards Russian lines of communication, control, and supply, shortening them, while lengthening their own. They have to stop, even the Genie is bound to tell them so eventually (union rules), and when they do, the Russians will regroup closer to their own bases.
It’s unlikely to be over. There’s probably going to be a 2023 campaign.
If I’m wrong, I like my crow braised, in a white wine sauce, with garlic, shallots, toasted pine nuts, anchovies. The sauce should be reduced at high heat after removing the sections of crow, and a splash of balsamic vinegar added off heat at the end, before pouring it over the bird in the platter. Serve warm with a nice Valpolicella.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
You’re probably correct on that. Though, I think in a few decades they and the rest of much of the world, are going to be facing a demographic crisis where there’s too many elderly people and too few younger working age people.
Peter Zeihan has speculated that we’ve burned through the cheap Chinese labor we’ve been accustomed to over the last 40 years and that was a big reason for why inflation was low
By the way, what do you guys think of Peter Zeihan’s predictions about the future of the world
A description for his book, The End of the World is Just the Beginning
@Carlo Graziani: OK, now we’re in much greater agreement: sure, the war is going to continue into 2023. But why would we expect that UA would stop with fire missions into RU rear areas, blowing up transport, logistics, command & control ? I’d expect that they continue that at an unrelenting pace, making life hell for RU. And since we’re giving UA weapons that outrange RU’s guns, UA will be able to do it without as much loss of life.
I mean, that’s not what I call a sitzkrieg. Look at the Kherson direction: is that a sitzkrieg? Or is it a killing zone, with RU penned-in and no way to get out, just getting slaughtered day-by-day?
Man, I am loving this entire thread!
Keep typing, all of you!
@Carlo Graziani: You’re also correct that UA will stop their breakout, and hopefully before they meet a strong RU counterattack. B/c they’ll see that they need to not outrun their logistics tail. Sure, I agree with you on that too.
But again, I don’t see why that changes the character of the conflict, which is “RU shells UA civilians; UA shells RU transport/logistics/command&control”.
@HumboldtBlue: I have *contemplated* moving some of my retirement portfolio into defense contractors. The last and only time in my lifetime that we were on the right side of a war, was Bosnia. The last time before that in my mother’s life was Korea, and the time before that was when she was a newborn: WWII. And here we are, the Arsenal of Democracy again. A great time to invest in defense stocks, perhaps.
I haven’t done it yet: just thinking about it.
Boy howdy if this is true …..
@Frankensteinbeck: In WWII the average family had lots of children, and more in Stalin’s growing USSR. Now, in Russia a family mmay have 1 or 2 children, and their population has been in decline for years. There was a big drop in the birth rate after the USSR collapse and that is military-age men now. And Putin does not want to send thew sons of the elite, St Petersburg or Moscow Russians (white) to the meatgrinder, that is for provincials (not White). The pool of pure cannon fodder is way way smaller. (Speaking as a rando expert!)
There is no need to always race straight ahead. Turn to the side, behind the current front line, and start peeling the RU fortified positions away.
@Philbert: I remember reading that Stalin’s armies would drive columns of steppe-dweller conscripts before their tanks, to set off any mines: their lives were cheaper than the tanks, after all. But today, many of those steppe-dwellers’ descendants live in independent ‘Stans. And then there’s Ukraine and Belarus, both of which contributed significantly to his armies.
All that’s gone now. And then, yeah, as you say, RU’s been declining in population for decades.
From a military perspective, no.
From a Russian perspective, not really.
From a Vlad perspective, you are absolutely missing something. Vlad does not like to lose. He has an entire country that is his. And he’s being made the fool. He will detest that with everything he’s got. Now what he can and does do about it is likely a dilemma for all sides. His military has been routed so his what to do next is limited. He’s put himself between a very large rock and a very hard place and he had zero expectation of being there and he’s the only one that can decide what to do next. I can’t imagine it will be pretty, nothing he does is pretty. My take is unless someone around him stops him, in whatever way that takes, I don’t think it looks positive. My hope is that his thought isn’t that if he can’t have it, no one else can either. But I think that’s a lot to hope for. My expectation is that someone will decide that keeping him in charge will be worse that taking him out. I just don’t have any idea if there is anyone with the balls to do that.
@Philbert: Over at dKos, Kos had an article with a quote from a woman from Donbas (I posted this previously):
They’re runnin’ out of cannon-fodder, and perhaps the residents of the metropole (Moscow/St Pete) won’t take so kindly to their boys being sent to die.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Martin: This is kind of a big deal because they’ve been also saying modern air defenses were making jet fighters obsolete.
Bruce K in ATH-GR
@Chetan Murthy: One of those unfortunate situations where great benefit to the military-industrial complex overlaps with doing the right thing.
@Bruce K in ATH-GR: Heh, “unfortunate”. I know what you mean: I also have detested the MIIC for many, many years. It does feel great to be on the side of right, on the side of unmixed freedom and humanity, after so many years of dark struggle where it seemed pretty clear we were just another evildoer in the mix, no decency anywhere to be found. And I mean mostly the Middle East, b/c I was too young to remember much about Vietnam.
I can imagine the speech Zelenskiyy gives when Biden finally visits a victorious and peaceful Kyiv, where he salutes the Arsenal of Democracy — and how good it will feel that America did its part.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I’d be curious to know what the pro-Russian separatists in Donesk and Luhansk think of their Russian benefactors now and if they’ve soured on them
@Chetan Murthy: The Russian army west of the Dnipro is lost forever. A writeoff. The only ones going home are going to have to be good swimmers.
The Russians now have some very difficult choices to make. In this war they have made a lot of dumb choices, and one sensible choice. The sensible choice was to stop pretending they could emulate Zhukov’s STAVKA, stop trying multi-theatre invasion, stop trying pincers on salients, and just go to the one thing they are demonstrably competent at: concentrating one big thrust and amorally smashing everything before them, mainly by artillery. It’s ugly, brutal, immoral warfare, but undeniably it got better results than anything else that they tried. So by that standard — “it worked” — it was a “good” decision, probably the only one they made in the war.
Now their army has just been trimmed by a fearsome factor. They really, really need another “good” decision, and that, inevitably means cutting some losses, refocusing some efforts, and deciding on a new, descoped set of war objectives that they can afford. This is exactly what they did last April, when they gave up on Kyiv, Kharkhiv, and Odesa. So they are capable of it, when a military crisis hits. All that’s required is shooting a few generals.
I started to write some speculations about what they could try to hold, but it’s a mugs’ game. They can try their hand at “not a totally stupid field marshal” for another round. My point is, they’ve rallied once before in this war. Let’s wait a week (or at least a few days) to assume that they can’t do so again, this time by drawing up some scratch position to stall out the war for a few months.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
His argument is explicitly based on a large, universal shrinkage of international trade, and I would say there is a snowball’s chance in Hell of that.
I heard a rumor here today that Putin is doing his own general-ing. I’m pretty sure that whatever he decides is wrong, it won’t be his plans.
One factor that is affecting how this unfolds is the death of Queen Elizabeth. First, this week, the news of her death ate up huge amounts of news coverage that let the Ukrainian offense run its plan without much commentary. This was probably a net positive for the Ukrainians.
The other is that her funeral next weekend will be a massive gathering of world leaders. Presidents and Prime Ministers will be there without the huge army of support staff and briefing books that would accompany a summit. Yes, solemn occasion, but there will be chances for encounters and conversations which could be deeply consequential.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): You know who Igor Girkin/Strelkov is right? The guy who was the leader of the “little green men” back in 2014 in Donbas? Ex-FSB ? He’s written that he thinks RU’s fucked in UA. Very plainly, too. He’s far to the right of Putin, in the sense that he wants total mobilization, wants to kill everybody and let God sort ’em out, etc.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Back in the ’80s there was a radio skit on NPR were Reagan and Gorbachev get sent 100 years to the future to see how all it turns out and Gorbachev is mocking Reagan because the US is still having the same issues with race and Reagan replies he is watching this special on the Third Sino-German border war. That might become true lol
Emma from Miami
@Another Scott: It’s, I think, a reaction video to Arya Stark killing the Night King.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: One presumes China might want Vladivostok back. I read that one of the Stans (Kazakhstan?) is actively courting China these days. B/c, yanno, Russia’s no longer a reliable partner.
@Chetan Murthy: Operation Bagration was a Red Army offensive (iirc, and wiki seems to agree), not a Nazi one. The other name for it is “the destruction of Army Group Center”, because it tore the center out of the Wehrmacht line and left chunks of the German army in the Baltic area trapped against the coast. It’s appropriate to bring up here because it also depended on careful “maskirovka” and the sudden appearance of fresh, well equipped troops using combined arms to break open a thin line and strike deep into the rear. Familiar…
Putin’s re-invasion of Ukraine is turning into the greatest geopolitical & military blunder since Hitlers invasion of the USSR (or declaration war against the US)… Prior to the invasion, Russia was punching well above its weight, whose actions & position needed to be taken into account. Now, all it has are the nukes.
In the meantime, Chinese social media has turned against Russia become much more respectful of Ukraine. I think the reservoir of such sentiments were always there, but now they have far greater room to express them. Success tend to engender respect. Early this morning on Jinri Toutiao (“Headlines Today”, Chinese news aggregator), blog posts in the military new channel became decisively derisive of Russia. Then for a few hours all Ukraine related commentaries (whichever side they leaned) were cleansed from the Military channel, & the commentaries moved to the International News channel. Later in the morning, commentaries were restored in the Military channel, & they were decisive pro-Ukrainian. All of this happened w/ the tolerance or guidance of the censors. Not sure how much one can conclude from the shifting trends, but it was interesting to observe in real time.
The Sino-Russian partnership is both stronger & weaker than often portrayed in the US. There is no prospect of the US or the EU prying them apart, despite historical wariness toward each other, as long as both feel aggrieved & their interest neglected in the current international order, & (more importantly) perceive themselves to be targets of US led containment. However, this partnership is entirely based on an alignment of calculated interests & perceived mutual utility to each other, not an alignment of authoritarian values (as sometime portrayed by those in the US eager for a new globe spanning Cold War). Those interests & perceptions can change quickly. It is notable that, for all off the rhetorically Russian-leaning neutrality that Beijing had adopted, China has consistently refused to take any action that would incur direct material cost to support Russia. Russian performance in the invasion to date has to be changing the calculations & perceptions in Beijing.
@Pappenheimer: Sorry, that is what I meant. I was referencing two operations: one by the Soviets (Bagration, the name of a famous RU general from the Napoleonic Wars, IIRC) and one by the Nazis against Russia (whose name I’ve forgotten).
@YY_Sima Qian: A while back, I got pretty angry at you for suggesting that the agreement to let grain ships pass in the Black Sea might work. I thought you were apologizing for the Russians, and surely they would act as they had in the past and sabotage the agreement. I was wrong and you were right. I’m sorry about my reaction.
@Chetan Murthy: No hard feelings.
@Chetan Murthy: or, what Kent said. This thread is very long…
Hkedi [Kang T. Q.]
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Maybe as shortened NO! Really?
perhaps, I don’t know her..
As long as Russian has its WMD arsenal, no one (including China) is marching into Russia to grab any territory. Its nuclear arsenal may well be in as poor a state as the conventional forces (though I would not bet on it), no one is going to try to test that proposition.
@YY_Sima Qian: That’s fascinating, in the usual inscrutable fashion of the CPC decisionmaking processes. Would you say it amounts to signaling of some sort? And, if so, is the signal recipient in Russia, in the West, both, or neither?
I mean, in a sense, this kind of policy change is a subtle admission of past error, wouldn’t you say? It comes at a small but real political cost. What’s the intended benefit?
Mike in NC
Glory to Ukraine! In 2003 I was in a NATO exercise in Scotland where there was a company of Ukrainian marines, participating as part of the “Partnership for Peace” program. Some tough SOBs.
@Carlo Graziani: The signal is to the domestic audience, & perhaps as mundane as the observed reality cannot be sugar coated anymore, & the CCP regime does not intend to expend any political capital or credibility to put lipsticks on the pig that is the Russian disaster in Ukraine. The remaining pro-Russian voices on Chinese social media come off as dead-enders detached from reality.
I don’ expect Xi (or Modi) to speak different words to Putin during the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan or the G20 Summit in Indonesia, we have to analyze the actions. IMO, should the battlefield trends continue to go against Russia, it is conceivable that China/India/Turkey could come in to play the peace maker (each for its own motivations), perhaps to restore the pre-reinvasion status quo. For China, I think it would be to try to give Putin an off ramp to preserve his regime, or at least to forestall the establishment of a pro-western regime (which BTW may not be democratic or liberal) in Moscow.
@Chetan Murthy: I think the second operation you’re trying to remember is Barbarossa.
@Kent: Militarily they were treated as a peer because they still have a metric ton of nukes. Functional nukes, we’re not sure, but not something we’re interested in testing.
@Medicine Man: Could be (I went and searched the LG&M threads where the map might have appeared, to no avail) but as I remember it was an operation in about the same area as the current UA breakout, and as I remember, Barbarossa was across a much larger front. But again, I’m no military history buff. The reason I remember it, is that some other commenter remarked that it didn’t make him feel so good, knowing that the UA operation resembled a German operation from WWII. To which another wag quipped that he shouldn’t inquire too carefully into how America built its rockets *grin*.
@Chetan Murthy: Are you thinking of “Citadel” and the Kursk salient?
@Chetan Murthy: Oh, I think that’s the third battle of Kharkov, or the Donets Campaign to the Germans. Von Manstein’s counter attack in the same area.
@Adam L Silverman: No, it is Ukrainian humor. I assumed that was obvious.
OT This anecdote goes back many years. My sister got a job at Ohio State in the 1980s. One of her fellow professors was Ukrainian from Cleveland, second or third or fourth generation in Cleveland. She and her husband belonged to a Ukrainian church and everyone they socialized with was Ukrainian and belonged to the same church. Her parents and she and her children only learned English when they started public school in kindergarden or first grade.
Years later when eastern Europe opened up they went back to visit Ukraine, and everyone in Ukraine was fascinated by their odd Ukrainian, untouched by the Soviet influence to the language.
@Chetan Murthy: Wise decision on your part. I took a brief look and had to look away…I am normally pretty good at seeing stuff like this…but these photos left me shaken…So I suggest that you do stay away (I wish I had)….Best Wishes, to You.
@Marc: South Africa was never in a Civil War. Civil wars tend to be larger in scope and more organised than what was happening in South Africa 1990-1994.
After the unbanning of the ANC and the start of the negotiations the violence did reach its peak but it was a very political and jockying for positional violence.
Nothing like what has been seen in Syria or Iraq.
Among other things, they were retweeting a bunch of horrible crap from Stephen Fucking Miller, the architect of the child separations policy under TFG.
I have yet to understand why Miller has not been charged with a few thousand counts of child abuse.
The seeds of the Ukrainian success on the Kharkhiv front might have been sown in June, during the battle of Severodonetsk. Ukrainian forces conducted a successful withdrawal from that city, but only after wrecking the Russian formations trying to capture it. Some of those formations were first rate, and those that were not ruined had their temper taken out, so to speak. I believe that was the last “sucessful” offensive operation by Russia, a “Pyrrhic victory.”
And this is somewhat of a nit pick: when people talk of a “peace agreement,” I think they really mean a durable ceasefire. I could see an agreement for a lasting ceasefire being reached sometimes in the next six months. But Ukraine and Russia might not sign an actual peace treaty for years.
@Chetan Murthy: I think your scepticism about the grain agreement was well founded. I am somewhat surprised it has lasted, considering how much it helps Ukraine and how easily Russia could disrupt it.
The UN and Turkiye’s President Erdogan brokered the agreement. I think Erdogan is the more influential in this matter. He has leverage over Russia, partly because he has accomodated that aggressor by giving safe haven to Russia capital and providing a backdoor for Russian exports and imports. President Zelenskyy knows this but still commends Turkey for its support of his own country, which may be evidence of his belief that Turkiye’s role in the Black Sea region is critical. The U.S. has also refrained from public criticism of its NATO partner’s double game.
Why should Erdogan care about ensuring the safe passage of Ukrainian grain? One reason is that he wants to enhance Turkiye’s clout as a regional power that must be reckoned with. The other is that Ernidogan has a real concern for humanitarian relief and human rights, at least so long as it’s not Turkiye impeding the relief or violating the human rights.
Beautifully put. There are things one should not enjoy too much, perhaps not enjoy at all, at the risk of becoming a person you do not want to be.
This applies both to Doritos and to the suffering of one’s enemies.
Gin & Tonic
@Adam L Silverman: I know that, and posted it here in that vein.
I think he has a rat run all worked out. This is someone who likes luxury, and whilst he’s profligate enough with other people’s lives, his survival instincts are too strong. First whiff that he’s in danger, he will skeddadle.
He’s had lots of time to amass a secret stash that nobody will find or knows about. He will have his escape route all planned. He may or may not take Kabaeva with him, who knows.
exactly what I’m theorising, to anyone who cares to listen. Granted what I say isn’t particularly important in the scheme of things.
Assuming a Russian unit makes it to Belgorod from Izium, is that unit reconstituable? If so, how long would it take?
@JessIsAStar: I wonder what country Putin might skedaddle to. Putin has the money to pay for refuge, but he’ll be somewhat of a hot potato. And some of the regimes that might welcome him are not themselves not that stable.
@Tony G: North Korea would probably be a safe place for Putin, and they could certainly use his money. Putin might have a hard time accessing any assets he can’t carry with him, though.
Gin & Tonic
Over-long and probably dead thread, but in light of some of the comments on RAND and similar, this Twitter thread is an interesting read: https://twitter.com/euan_macdonald/status/1568852942404440065?s=46&t=yac3OpNiQ_tCKX__O1BUzA
@Chetan Murthy: Is there much agitprop out there about how “Russia” is really a bunch of different peoples who would be better off having their own countries? Wikipedia tells me that “the Russian Federation is divided into 85 federal subjects, 21[a] of which are republics…”
Maybe some of these republics are tired of Moscow taking and them giving?
J R in WV
And most tragically, TFG, SFB would sell our Ukraine for peanuts and golden trinkets. Plated toilets for his Bedlam Golf estate in NJ… and a soccer ball that tells Putin his every move…
and am I the only person who has noticed how easy the typo is from Gold <-> Golf ?? One key diff, both suited for TFG discussions.
@sab: A college sweetheart was the granddaughter of “white” Russians. Her parents were both born in the emigré community in China, and the family fled to San Francisco, which already had an established Russian community, after 1949. The family spoke Russian at home; V herself spoke flawless idiomatic English.
Fast forward thirty years to a dinner party at which V chatted up another guest*, her approximate contemporary, born in Leningrad, at that point a US resident for about five years. The latter, afterward, exclaimed at the elegance and “purity” of V’s Russian.
*This one is still a friend—V passed fifteen years ago—but she’s vehemently on the “wrong” side of the Ukraine issue. We are at pains to avoid the topic when we see her.
@Chief Oshkosh: I don’t know that it’s “agitprop”: over at Window on Eurasia, Paul Goble has been republishing articles from all over the RF and ex-SU for years and years, and a lot of it is about this very subject. Not just restive regions, but regions restive against each other. And everywhere: the Caucasus east of Moscow in European Russia near the EU borders, far west — everywhere.
I’ve been reading his work for years, and one gets the strong conclusion that Russia is the prison of nations (as they used to say of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).
@Chetan Murthy: Unquestionably true,
Good prediction. That’s where they are now according to this map.
From the WaPo, on the value of taking Izyum:
So Russia maintains “assessed control” of Luhansk and eastern Donetsk oblasts for now, but their ability to sustain their grinding offensive has been taken away. Any troops there are now effectively lightly-armed bystanders, until Russia unfucks their logistics to supply them from somewhere other than (I presume) Belgorod.
@Rand Careaga: I am the American born daughter of Ukrainian WWII DPs (displaced persons). When I first traveled to Ukraine in the late Soviet period, I was complimented on the purity of my language.
Since Ukrainians have begun to reverse centuries of Russification and reclaim their language, I get different responses. After I get asked where I am from; when I tell them I am American, they ask when I emigrated. In my thirty plus years of traveling there, I have apparetntly picked up modern Ukrainian words and phrases….
Per CNN, UKRMOD has announced that the town of Svatove — a major rooad hub in northern Luhansk oblast — has been evacuated by the Russians. Svatove is 60 km due SE from Kupyansk on a good-looking road. But it’s also 75 km N from Severodonetsk.
The Russians ran away from a major road hub rather than reinforcing it from a nearby (presumed) strongpoint, before the Ukrainians could even show up. They’ve lost control.
And if what control they have is really being exercised from Moscow, rather than by an overall theatre commander nearby, they don’t have much hope of reestablishing any kind of order, or even understanding their situation, before the Ukrainians hit their logistics limit.
Another interesting observation: Izyum is to the Russian armies in the Donbas somewhat analogous to what the Dnipro bridges were to the Russian armies in the Kherson-Mykolaiv-Zaporizhzhia triangle — a key chokepoint whose loss makes that army suddenly very vulnerable. It takes a train of trucks visible from space to supply the artillery shells and rockets that the’ve been accustomed to firing off every day. That train just seized up. So it’s not crazy to imagine a third offensive: the Ukrainian forces that have been holding them back by a months-long series of fighting retreats, now get up and charge at them, chasing them back to — and through — Severodonetsk.
OT, but using my phone the site is back to crazy-draining battery power.
Well shit. The Russians escalated on one of the non-WMD escalation paths. They are desperate and embarrassed and lashing out.
Russia hits power stations after Ukraine counteroffensive (KARL RITTER and HANNA ARHIROVA, 2022/09/11)
One wonders about whether Ukrainians will be tempted to break some Russian civilian infrastructure. Would not be hard to break things with what look like, and effectively are, fat-finger accidents, maintenance failures(, bad luck), etc.
Foe example, here’s a (5-year old) map of natural gas pipelines in Russia:
(via this article, 2017)
Russia attacked Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure, so Russian infrastructure is now a far target for Ukrainian retaliation, if they chose to do so. Or if anti-government elements in Russia chose to do so, etc. Shit.