Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine has begun

This thread is for the discussion of the on-going Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This top page will be updated through out the day.

New discussion thread posts will open as and when current ones gets too unwieldy.

The top story at the time of this post (Feb 23, 2022 9:45pm CST) is that Russian airborne forces have landed at the Kyiv international airport.  1204am CST — This report is disinformation.

Soviet VDV exercise conducted in preparation for an ...

9:52pm CST “Ukraine’s Operational Command is reporting that cruise & ballistic missile strikes are targeting command & control assets in Kyiv”

9:55pm CST  Map of initial trikes on Ukraine by Russian armed forces:

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10:08pm CST – “There are reports that the entire Ukrainian Surface Navy has been neutralized in the Port of Odesa, this comes after reports of Amphibious Assaults on and near the coastal city.”

Map of Russian Advances as of 10:20an CST

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313 thoughts on “Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine has begun”

  1. Like I said in the Odessa Steps thread, OSINT twitter going crazy. None of this still makes any sense. I worry that things are going on below the surface that we’re not aware of yet…
    My suggestions for OSINT twitter feeds:
    https://twitter.com/auroraintel
    https://twitter.com/ELINTNews
    https://twitter.com/IntelCrab
    https://twitter.com/Osinttechnical
    And folks they link to.
    Beware, though, as I have no idea who these people really are. A lot of them are certainly IC cutouts. Don’t trust anything you see or read.

  2. ELINT News
    @ELINTNews
    ·
    6m
    #BREAKING: U.S. officials looking at a potential amphibious landing by Russian forces in Odessa, Ukraine- via
    @LucasFoxNews

  3. Kevin Day
    @KdStormChaseUSA
    · 52m
    Replying to @Don_Standeford
    It also appears that the US government is transporting high level gov officials, military commanders and the 1st family to safetey/bunkers or is preparing to. Below live airforce 2 and high priority transport to and fro DC both of them. This started just b4 the news of attack..

  4. Russia’s apparently actually doing it, and the president of the united states is…asleep? Do we have any idea?
    Which is more insane?

  5. ELINT News
    @ELINTNews
    #BREAKING: Landing operation by the forces of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Sea of ​​Azov and in Odessa – Reuters cites IFX

  6. Explain this one:
    https://twitter.com/AceJaceu/status/1496664008430084096
    Turkish Air Force A400M (TUAF601) has also landed in Boryspil International Airport, Kyiv, and will likely park on the military apron of the Airport where aircraft other (TUAF600) A400M aircraft is also parked.

    Turkish military planes land in Kiev, despite everyone else bugging out. And Russians attacking/taking over(?) the airport at the same time.
    Things sure are foggy at the moment…I don’t understand why there isn’t a lot more live video coming out, these are huge cities being attacked right now…

  7. Keith Douglas was one of the best writers and poets of the British Army in World War Two. He was killed in action on June 9, 1944. He was then 24 years old. Here is his last, unfinished poem, laid down just before he embarked for D-Day.

    Actors Waiting in the Wings of Europe

    “Actors waiting in the wings of Europe
    we already watch the lights on the stage
    and listen to the colossal overture begin.
    For us entering at the height of the din
    it will be hard to hear our thoughts, hard to gauge
    how much our conduct owes to fear or fury.

    Everyone, I suppose, will use these minutes
    to look back, to hear music and recall
    what we were doing and saying that year
    during our last few months as people, near
    the sucking mouth of the day that swallowed us all
    into the stomach of a war. Now we are in it

    and no more people, just little pieces of food
    swirling in an uncomfortable digestive journey,
    what we said and did then has a slightly
    fairytale quality. There is an excitement
    in seeing our ghosts wandering… “

  8. The Russians are bringing in all the toys:

    Bryce Wilson
    @brycewilsonAU
    · 7m
    Hypersonic missiles are being used to attack Kramatorsk. I’m safe. I’m not doing media requests right now.

  9. https://twitter.com/JMichaelWaller/status/1496709239812898821
    Sole source in Kyiv tells me that the two Turkish military Airbus planes at Boryspil airport are under Russian military control, parked at the presidential/VIP terminal, with safe passage to evacuate President Zelinsky and his entourage if they desire to leave.
    2) Might there have been advance coordination to evacuate the Ukrainian leadership? The Turkish planes arrived about 3 hours ago, which was shortly before the Russian attacks began.

    Note Turkey is a NATO member, of course…wheels within wheels…so much going on, we can’t see most of it, but there’s way more than a simple invasion here…

  10. “Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.”
    The buildup was the Pledge. The invasion is the Turn. But what is the Prestige? The world wonders…

  11. I may have said something about how not implementing Minsk was a bad idea. This is the dismantling of the Ukrainian capacity to cause trouble. The territories of the Donbass will be fully liberated and anything opposing that will be smoked.

    I have been posting this about the place as I know far too much about this:

    Minsk, was really to deal with the fact that the forces of the Donbass were about to break out, after pocketing and destroying a great deal of the Ukrainian forces opposing them. Who knows where that might have gone?

    After the agreement was signed the Ukrainian government made no effort at all to comply with it. In fact the remnants of the Nazis fighting in the Lugansk area, formed the Azov brigade who have continually attacked and harassed the people of the Donbass ever since. This group has extensive ties with the CIA and the kid Roman Protasevich who was taken from that plane, and arrested by the Belorussian forces was a member of the Azov brigade and is wanted for war crimes in Lugansk. The kid who led the protest and attempts to spin the Belorussian election.

    This group has killed many innocent people in the Donbass and it was getting worse. Russia is very tired of losing people to these Nazis. Russians hate Nazis more than anyone on earth, with some 25 million good reasons to do so. Putin has recognized the two states as independent states after no moves to implement Minsk since 2015. He has recognized their borders as well and sent troops to reclaim them and put a stop to the atrocities committed by the Azov brigade and others. It will be very interesting to watch, as its payback time and glee will be the Russian reaction to the Azov brigade’s destruction. But our Vlad is a very careful man, and I suspect he will allow the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass to leave, while hoping they do not. ;)

    Tidying up the battlefield before using it. ;)

  12. This is disinformation I fell for on Twitter:

    J Michael Waller
    @JMichaelWaller
    ·
    20m
    Sole source in Kyiv tells me that the two Turkish military Airbus planes at Boryspil airport are under Russian military control, parked at the presidential/VIP terminal, with safe passage to evacuate President Zelinsky and his entourage if they desire to leave.

  13. “This is disinformation I fell for on Twitter:”
    Disinformation how? Why were these Turkish planes the only inbound flights when everyone else was bugging out? Where did the Russians allegedly attacking the airport come from?

  14. Putin can attack, Putin can destroy the government of Ukraine and its armed forces. The question is, can he control the Ukrainian people?

    Not sure I’d like to bet on that. The last few years have really radicalized a lot of Ukrainians, and forced them to develop a sense of nationalism. I don’t think they’re going to go under the yoke quite as easily as he thinks, and I seriously doubt he’s got the forces to secure what he gains in terms of maintaining control of Ukraine.

    One thing is for damn sure… Nuclear anti-proliferation just died, tonight. Nobody would be invading Ukraine if it were still the fourth-largest nuclear power, which it was upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    No idea how all this is going to work out. I think that there’s a lot of disinformation out there, and the actual intents and events are totally opaque to us out here in unclassified land.

    Of course, I’d also strongly suggest that even those with access to the high side of classification are likely looking on at this and going “WTF?!?!?!”.

    Another certainty: Kamala Harris’s foreign policy “chops” just took a serious hit… LOL.

  15. >>Disinformation how?

    There were multiple air & missile strikes on the Kyiv airport after that tweet surfaced.

    The Russians wouldn’t be dropping Iskanders on an airport their VDV troops controlled.

  16. “Putin can attack, Putin can destroy the government of Ukraine and its armed forces. The question is, can he control the Ukrainian people?”

    That’s not the point. He wants the territories of the Donbass to be safe. He wants, and this may be the most important part, the disarming of Ukraine. He is just enforcing what he asked for. It does appear that will work. ;)

  17. Just as Penny was losing his hard-on for Justine Castreau along comes Vlad to give him another little blue pill.

  18. Pakistani leader in Moscow today.
    China’s already said it will ignore Russia sanctions.
    Good thing the grown ups are back in charge in DC.

    In other news, are we sure Ukraine actually has a military, and it wasn’t just a corrupt mirage?

    I still say that our view of what’s going on will be radically different in 24 and 48 hours, there are things to be unveiled yet…

  19. If we take things at face value, what Russia is doing is destroying the Ukrainian military, and especially its Command & Control, airports, supply depots. Mainly using missiles & bombs.

    This is exactly what the old non-Woke US military would have tried to do — first establish air superiority. Smart, especially when NATO countries are arming the Ukrainians with things like Stinger missiles.

    This could all have been avoided if the Ukranian kleptocrats had implemented the Minsk accords, or if NATO had said that the Ukraine would not be permitted to join.

  20. “This could all have been avoided if the Ukranian kleptocrats had implemented the Minsk accords, or if NATO had said that the Ukraine would not be permitted to join.”
    Nah. What is going on only makes sense if Putin thinks the West is completely weak and feckless and putting in all the chips makes more sense than playing for incremental gains. He’s right about the first part, the question is what else is going to happen next. I fear we conspiracy theorists are going to be proven right, and this is only step 1 in a move to reshape the world…fortune favors the bold…

  21. There was one low level dogfight seem north of Kyiv between a Ukrainian Mig-29 & a Russian Su-35 and no other videos are available.

    The Ukrainian SAM belts have downed a few aircraft here and there and appear active.

    It looks like Russian VDV helicopter forces are landed around Kyiv but have not been relived by Russian armored columns as of yet. Massive Russian air support and further lifts of ground troops are being applied to keep Ukrainian mechanized forces off their back until link up can be affected.

    From email —

    “The most concerning development is that the Russians have gained an airhead at the Hostomel Airport just North of Kyiv, the home of the Antonov factory. The flew evidently nap of the earth with Kamov HOKUM and Mil-17 HIP heloes and managed to get in through gaps in IADS coverage. Two HOKUMs were shot down. This repeats the plays in the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan.”

  22. Brian: “the question is what else is going to happen next.”

    If we take the Russians at their words — which the armchair warrior-women of the West seem reluctant to do — they aim to neutralize Ukraine’s military but not occupy the country.

    The big thing to watch for is Taiwan. China could take advantage of the situation to seize Taiwan; or, more likely, the leadership of Taiwan could observe the fecklessness & weakness of the West and cut a deal with China on reunification. Ukraine has little importance to the world, except as a conduit for essential energy to the EU. But Taiwan makes the high-end computer chips on which the entire world depends.

  23. The invasion and destruction of the Ukrainian military is essentially a moot point–There’s no question that Putin’s Russia can do it, is doing it, and will likely win.

    The real question is, what happens afterwards? Do the Ukrainians roll over for Russian dominance? Does Putin feel forced to subsidize them at the expense of Russians? How long will the Russians put up with Putin essentially bribing the Ukrainians to stay quiescent?

    This invasion, unless it is some kind of demented punitive expedition where they go in and wreck everything, then withdraw? It’s essentially insane–Putin will be forced to keep so many soldiers in Ukraine that it’s not even funny, or he’s going to be forced to subsidize Ukraine to a degree that will bankrupt the Russians. How long are they going to put up with that, in Russia?

    Like most of these idiots, I don’t think he’s at all realistic. With the state of Ukraine plus the destruction of war, conquest is going to cost more than it is worth. And, then what? What do you gain? The industry of Ukraine is useless, absent the workforce. Getting them back on the job and then keeping them happily at work? How much is that going to cost?

    As with all such wars, it is fundamentally irrational. As such, it will unwind in unpredictable ways, and there’s no telling what happens next. I find it disturbing that Putin is essentially threatening nuclear war in order to cover it from anyone’s intervention. Will he try for the Baltics, next? Finland?

    One thing is for sure… I’ll lay you long odds that Finland and Sweden are going to join NATO, shortly, and that there will be additional defense pacts made between the Baltics and the Scandinavians–If only because it makes way more sense to fight on the continent rather than in Finland or Sweden.

  24. I wouldn’t waste my time paying any attention to twitter. The same technology that produces millions of celebrity followers for so much per thousand can certainly produce dozens of fakes to spread chaos.

    We’ll have to see what account the Ukrainian is able to give. 130,000 isn’t a lot in a region that’s known for swallowing million man armies and spitting a few survivors back. The fact that some are from as far away as the Chinese border means that’s all Putin has, there won’t be anyone to take over if this bunch gets tired of trying to grow eyes on the back of their head. Since most won’t even be in the army next year, enthusiasm might be somewhat lacking and you wonder how recruiting will go.

    Ten years of hell in Afghanistan materially shortened the Soviet regime, I doubt Putin has resources to survive a year. He needs resistance to collapse quickly and stay that way. The die is cast, as they say, so those of us here, in the cheap seats, might as well sit back and await developments. Always remembering that Russian statesmanship and diplomacy has the same, hard won, reputation as Russian cars.

  25. I have to confess this surprised me. I figured Putin would get what he wants without having to fight. It may be a mistake to occupy more of Ukraine. He probably figures Germany has no option but to allow Nordstream Two to proceed.

    What is going on only makes sense if Putin thinks the West is completely weak and feckless and putting in all the chips makes more sense than playing for incremental gains. He’s right about the first part, the question is what else is going to happen next.

    I think this makes an invasion of Taiwan much more likely. China has a deal with Putin. He can have Ukraine and they get Taiwan. The Biden regime has shown useless except for talk. Remember Obama denied Ukraine lethal weapons. Trump provided them. Now, Obama is back in charge with all his second stringers running Biden.

  26. “The invasion and destruction of the Ukrainian military is essentially a moot point–There’s no question that Putin’s Russia can do it, is doing it, and will likely win.”

    This only works if the destroyed army cooperates by trying to fight a set piece battle to defend something. It was Lee that allowed Grant to grind his army to pieces against Richmond. Ukraine is a pretty good sized country and pretty flat. It’s not going to be easy to force a battle. Lots of scope for gorilla warfare, shades of The Great Patriotic War. If anyone in the Ukrainian Army has the sense God gave a goose, they’d know this.

  27. Everyone should remember that every war is a leap into a darkened room. The smoke has barely risen, and it won’t settle for a long time even if the combat is brief.

    Ergo, it’s too early to say much that can be verified, so WWCT? (What Would Clausewitz Think?)

    What is the objective of the war? Is this going to be the equivalent of 18th C cabinet war, the commitment of limited forces for limited goals such as acquiring a little more land or an important port?

    Or is it the first stage of the process by which wars spiral from limited to total and existential?

    And that’s just to start to scratch the surface on the Russian side, and to leave aside questions of will for now–my wife needs the computer soon.

    (I think Putin feels like he has limited time to do whatever it is he ultimately intends–he looked like a not-entirely-well old man in a hurry at that recital.)

  28. “This invasion, unless it is some kind of demented punitive expedition where they go in and wreck everything, then withdraw?

    That is what Russia has said it is doing — wrecking everything military; and then withdrawing (except for from the Donbas, of course). Why would we not believe them?

    The risk, of course, is that the West will intervene in some kind of way that forces the Russians to change plans.

    This was all unnecessary. If the Ukranian kleptocrats had simply implemented the 2014 Minsk Accords and moved to a federal structure, they could still be enjoying life (minus that 10% for the Bidens).

  29. Slow Joe supposed to speak at noon. Then 12:30. Now allegedly 1:30. Who knows when they’ll have him lucid enough to shuffle out, drool over a short statement, then shuffle off the stage.
    Thank goodness the grownups are back in charge!

    At the risk of being a broken record, I still don’t think this is about Ukraine at all. There’s way more going on.

  30. @ Gavin…

    You keep mouthing those words like they mean something. “If only they’d followed the Minsk accords…”, which were basically “Let us rape you and take your sovereign territory forever…”.

    Either the borders drawn when the Soviet Union collapsed were valid, and the US and everyone else agreed that they’d guarantee them if the Ukrainians gave up their nukes, or they’re not. It’s that damn simple–The fact that the Russians had done what the Germans did with their conquests, and moved in their own ethnicity to colonize them is immaterial.

    The more you write on this, the less respect I have for you and your positions. The US and the Russians guaranteed those borders when Ukraine denuclearized. Just because Putin doesn’t like that fact does not mean they get to redo the deal thirty-plus years later and rape Ukraine.

    It’s also pretty fscking rich to hear you denounce the Ukrainians as neo-Nazis and corrupt, when the Russians have their own damn problems with both issues. Do they get a bye on that, ‘cos you love you some stronk-man Putin?

    Either Ukraine has territorial sovereignty, as guaranteed to it when the Soviet Union collapsed, or it does not. The Ukrainian claim to their sovereignty goes back a long damn ways, and is backed up by the Soviet demand that they have their own vote in the UN–A fact that you conveniently forget.

    I am sick and tired of Putin apologists passive-aggressively suggesting that he’s a right to be doing what he is. Anything going on in Ukraine with regards to neo-Nazi movements and corruption has also been going on across Russia–So, should Putin be invading himself? Biggest criminal conspiracy in history (after the Democratic Party, of course…), the Russian government is on the move again, and you’re supporting it?

  31. Don’t believe anything the Russians or mass media say. It’s all Russian disinformation which the mass media doesn’t bother to identify. The only thing which can be trusted, provided they can be identified (very big if, and only Trent here has the judgment to tell which they are), are US and British blogs which use commercial satellite cameras to identify columns of vehicles. And there will be columns of vehicles because this is the spring thaw mud season in the Ukraine. Trucks can’t move off-road at this time.

    Those columns of vehicles will depict the forward edge of the Russian resupply zone. Within a day or so every Russian vehicle five or so kilometers forward of those columns will be out of fuel.

    IMO it will take the mass media at least a week, and probably several weeks, to realize this. Until then rely on those blogs to determine what is going on.

  32. I had to read all the way down to Tom Holsinger’s last comment to hear about supply chain. Ukraine is just smaller than Texas and has twice the inhabitants. If the Ukrainian army/partisans are smart, they will just let the Russians come forward and concentrate their javelins and other nasty stuff on the supply convoys. Then naturally, the torture and murder of the supply convoy drivers and other support personnel, with the accompanying media blast of this on whatever they can get it on. Eventually they can take the tanks down since they will run out of gas, just not in a frontal type war as others mentioned.

    At least, that’s what I would do.

  33. LOL. Armchair generals abound. I used to love playing the Russians in Panzer Blitz as, depending on the scenario, you had a small horde of T34s and if you could get them into the supply trucks, it was game over.

    Putin asked nicely, rather a lot, and shared his concerns with anyone who would listen. The west told him to pound sand. So he has taken his concerns into his own hands and is pounding the Ukrainian military. I am not really in the loop but what he will do is eliminate the Ukrainian military and consolidate the borders of Donbass. He has a long list of people and organizations he wants tried for war crimes and I suspect he will pursue that too.

  34. So the dementia patient said today regarding a question about sanctions, “We’ll see in a month”. LMAO, that’ll have Vlad on the run.
    This isn’t some tabletop RPG. I still don’t understand why people don’t look at this a bit more rationally. Given that he’s invading, is it really realistic to think he’s insane and/or stupid, since we all know, as does everyone in the entire Russian chain of command up to Putin himself, that there’s literally zero chance of success? So then working background, what possibly might be the plan? (And saying, “Oh I don’t know what’s going through his head” or “something something Russians are different something something” is just saying he’s crazy, so that’s not a valid answer.)

  35. Twitter is being inundated with Russian disinformation, some of which is being redistributed by Western media, so believe nothing until civilian satellite pictures are available for open source intelligence people on social media.

    These are accessible official Ukrainian channels that are on Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/StratcomCentreUA/
    https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua
    https://www.facebook.com/UkrainianLandForces
    https://www.facebook.com/CinCAFU

  36. The biggest developments since this kicked off are the Russian Army captured Chernobyl, the VDV airhead north of Kyiv, the Crimean thrust that seems to have captured the Kahkovka hydroplant/dam and that the death of the UAF & Ukrainian IADS has been greatly exaggerated.

    It looks like Russian air force H/F radio chatter coordinating cruise missile launches last night tipped off the UAF to do an “elephant walk” of all flight capable A/C.

    Additionally, as a general pattern, the Russians are being very cherry of committing their conscripts into close combat.

    The destroyed Russian vehicles outside Kharkiv were the usual “Donbas trash” of Chechens and DNR/LDR impresses with tank support stiffeners plus the Antonov airport attack is pure VDV, AKA Regime Security forces.

    The Crimea thrust is also VDV dominated and supported by Naval infantry, again, Regime Security units.

    The Russian Naval infantry being identified by a photo of a destroyed T-80BVM tank that ate a Javelin out there with the turret ejected. The T-80BVM is unique to Russian Naval infantry.

    If indeed the UAF avoided losing most of its fully operational air frames to “Shock & Awe. Putin has got a big problem.

    The UAF is playing at a “Fleet in being” from dispersed road strips biding its time.

  37. Someone explain this to me: Does this look like a 130k+ man invasion? Does this look like a “shock and awe” campaign, with either aerial or artillery forces? Explain to me like I’m stupid what the possible plan here is?
    (Note, I’m not a Putin apologist at all, have never tried to excuse Russia in this ever, I always said I thought it was 99% a bluff to get some relatively minor concessions and weaken Ukraine further and probe Western resolve, and 1% some Tom Clancy level anything-goes plan with a million more moving pieces.)

  38. “Fog of War Note:

    The https://www.facebook.com/StratcomCentreUA/ site first claimed and then retracted the claim that Russian VDV forces at the Hostomel Airport/Antonov factory. just North of Kyiv, had been over run by Ukrainian ground forces.

    It is now “Combat is on-going” at Hostomel.

    This sort of thing is normal and we will see it all the time in the coming weeks.

  39. “Either Ukraine has territorial sovereignty, as guaranteed to it when the Soviet Union collapsed, or it does not.”

    The Ukraine, just like every other country, is primarily people. When the people change, the borders change. Otherwise, almost everyone in Europe would still be in the Roman Empire.

    The Ukrainian kleptocrats had the choice to keep their borders after the collapse of the USSR. All they had to do was implement the Minsk 2014 agreements, which would have put in place a federal structure. The people in Eastern Ukraine who wanted self-government would have had it, and the Ukraine could have carried on. But that was then, and this is now.

    For all the good reasons you & others have noted, the expectation is that Russia will do exactly what it has said publicly it will do — destroy any perceived threat from the kleptocrats, and then withdraw from the Ukraine back to the new republics on the Donbas. And leave the Ukraine to get on with its own business.

    Meanwhile, in China …

  40. It looks like Putin may have decided to take the whole thing.

    Ukraine has been a satellite operation for the U.S. State Department for approximately 15 to 20 years. The U.S. has held control over Ukraine, and manipulated every political outcome inside Ukraine, for well over a decade. This reality is the source of Vladimir Putin’s angst toward the west for the same amount of time and it’s the same reason why the EU, specifically Germany, is tenuous in any collaborative response.

    The EU writ large (including NATO) are less interested in Ukraine because they know Ukraine is the U.S. playground in Europe. This truism explains why we see a conflict when it comes to responses and sanctions from the U.S. compared to the European NATO allies.

    The outcome is along the line of NATO countries telling us, Ukraine is our playground, the issues are our creation, therefore when it comes to responsive action – you do you and we will look out for ourselves, but we in the EU have to live with the reality of the outcome so our interests will likely diverge from yours depending on what Putin intends.

    It will be interesting to see if this is true, first, and whether the western area is to be a bargaining chip. Weakness, as Britain learned in 1938, invites aggression.

  41. I ain’t signed no treaties guaranteeing the Ukraine’s borders.

    The Nazi talk on both sides is 90% hot air; the Nazis are simply the universally agreed gold standard for Eeevil, and can be dragged into any conversation about Europe by any party for any purpose.

    Back in 2014 and thereabouts, I would get agitprop proving that the Ukrainians are all a bunch of unreconstructed Nazis, and a nearly equal number disproving the same thing. I took that as evidence that I was even-handed in my search for info.

    One of the remarkable things about Putin is that he is the first Russian leader in, well, nearly forever who isn’t an open and obvious anti-Semite. Clever.

    As for Kirk’s Either/Or, it’s clear that Ukraine’s borders only mean as much as the Ukrainians are willing to sacrifice for them. (Which is also true of the Russians, of course.)

    Anyway, its utopian to think that Draftdodging Joe and his sidekick Skank Ho! have any plan other than holding on to office and avoiding lamp-posts for as long as possible, and pretending that having the most expensive, well-trained, and heavily armed refugee reception and soup kitchen forces in the world is a deterrent to anyone.

  42. One of the more interesting aspects of the current crisis is the notable lack of barking from “The Anti-War Movement ™.”

    It’s enough to make you think that they only care about War when a Republican occupies the White House. That’s logical, but what defies logic is how vociferous they were when Trump thought to move a couple of platoons to avoid a war . . .

    Well, as Hitch would say, there are promising signs of polarization emerging.

  43. thanks for that summary trent, Russia is often addicted to these shock and awe strategies, it worked in hungary later czechoslovakia, (the General who raised a fuss with that letter, started his career in that last round, so did suvorov, the explainer about the spetznaz,) they thought they could zachista, cleanse the afghan high command, but they just ended up with a decade of death and destruction,) less than a decade later, they followed the similar path in Chechnya, they nabbed Dudayev, but that didn’t cauterize the wound, the war started back up in earnest in 1999, and it spread deep into the Russian countryside,

  44. Russian military thought is often a bit… Shall we say, incomplete?

    They developed, tested, and trained a form of rear-area strategy and operations during their Eastern Front operations, then franchised it across the various post-Colonial wars in Asia and Africa. Not being all that bright, we did not notice this, nor did we counter it in any effective way. Right up until 2004-5, our route clearance technique and technology consisted of a guy with a mine detector walking ahead of a sandbagged truck, just as in 1945.

    Funnily enough, when I queried an expert on Soviet warfare doctrine, he pointed out something I’d always missed: The Soviets had passed all that rear-area battle crap out like Girl Scout cookies across the Third World, including the Arabs. They then went into Afghanistan, and operated as though that wasn’t going to be a concern, only to have the various mujahedeen turn out to be expertly advised by people trained by the Soviets and East Germans in that style of war.

    Brilliant desant operation to take out Afghan government. Followed by a decade of bleeding to death in the hills by the same sort of warfare they’d taught people for decades, and they never, ever found a really effective counter to it. They also ignored the South African experiences with regards to mine-proof vehicles and purpose-built armored route-clearance gear…

    So, yeah… This may be a magnificent coup-de-main that we’re watching in Ukraine. It may also be the opening phases of a long, bleeding wound that never closes or heals.

    Most of the answer to that is going to depend on the Ukrainians. I think Vlad is going to find himself impaled on the Ukrainian sense of national identity and belief in themselves that he’s done more to foster than anyone.

    Never forget, in all of this: None of this would be happening, absent Putin’s desire to “get the gang back together”.

    Which, I again point out, puts the lie to the Soviet fiction that these countries were ever considered as independent entities by the Russians. When the Soviet Union voted in the UN, they voted seven times, once for each member of the Union. So, the sudden fiction they’ve come up with that Ukraine is an integral part of the Russian nation? Bullshit, pure and simple.

    But, being intellectuals, everyone important is going to ignore that, and hold to the entirely hypocritical and cognitively dissonant line that Ukraine was always Russian, just like Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and all the rest–So, they’re entirely entitled to enserf those nations and put them under the yoke.

  45. Only Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia itself were members of the UN from within the former USSR.

    Part of “Finlandization” (from which the Finns seem to have emerged healthy and strong) was that Finland was on probation and not admitted until 1955.

    The Baltic States’ incorporation into the USSR were never recognized by the big Western powers (not even by the Democrats!) and they were not admitted until 1991.

  46. “Never forget, in all of this: None of this would be happening, absent Putin’s desire to “get the gang back together”.”

    On that, Kirk, there is a high probability you are simply wrong. If Russia were trying to “get the gang back together”, the obvious place to begin would the mineral rich underpopulated land of the -stans.

    The more likely explanation is exactly what the Russians have been repeatedly saying — they see the eastward expansion of NATO as a threat. Analysts have suggested Russia was equally concerned when NATO earlier expanded into the Baltic states and Poland — but was then too weak to do anything about it. But that was then, and this is now.

    Occupation of the Ukraine makes no sense for Russia, and would create inevitable problems down the road. Neutralization of the Ukraine seems to be quite feasible for Russia, and might have beneficial effects by persuading the Baltic States to eschew weapon systems which Russia might see as threatening.

    As Brian suggests, there is probably more going on than meets the eye. China’s role may be more substantial than many people think. And future historians will excoriate the arrant stupidity of a generation of US politicians & bureaucrats who drove Russia into China’s arms, creating a dominant partnership on the Eurasian mainland — and possibly in the world. Dumb!

  47. much of the political class, is firmly wrapped in the Dragon’s tale, Soviet and now Russian military strategy, is remarkably savage, some examples referenced up, their colonies like Yemen Egypt Algeria followed the same rules, the last had the eradicators as the lead faction in the junta, and even that doesn’t solve the problem, because aqim is still around,

    some of the resisters in the western sector are crimean tatars chechens, who are allied to the Kyev government, for tactical reasons,

  48. My summary of the meaning of Trent’s reports:

    The Ukrainian integrated air defense system was knocked down on the first day as its radar-guided missile leg was taken out. It is now reliant on short-ranged infrared missiles (Stingers, etc.) and light flak. I thought it would take 4-5 days for this to happen.

    This means the @ 400 modern Russian combat aircraft will remain in the fight longer – at least three weeks rather than two, and possibly as long as four, though they will run out of precision-guided missiles after two weeks.

    More importantly the older Russian combat aircraft will get into the fight sooner. I expect this will become apparent for the tiny Russian airhead at a field in the Kiev area, and that the Russians will win that fight. The Russians are losing a lot of helicopters to Stingers and light flak there trying to reinforce the airhead. It remains to be seen if the Russians will run out of helicopters before significant reinforcements are brought in. My opinion is that they won’t, and the equivalent of a Russian airborne division will eventually land there. Whether it can survive until relieved by Russian ground forces is problematic.

    IMO Trent is dead on that the Russians are attacking on too many major axes for their truck park to support. At least their advance north from the Crimea should be abandoned. That one may have already advanced beyond its logistics support envelope.

    It is too early to tell for sure if my prediction of Ukrainian roads disintegrating into mud, and stopping the advance of Russian truck columns, will deny fuel to the vehicles ahead of them. We’ll see that within a week if the war buff commercial satellite image analysts perform as expected.

  49. ROTFLMFAO! Oh you are a funny lot. ;) You are sure to be better strategists and tacticians than the Russian military. ;)

    He is wrecking the Ukrainian military. That will take a little while and cost some casualties and equipment. He would also like to bring a bunch of people to trial for war crimes. That means he has to have enough control to do that.

    That is not at all simple, as he needs to be able to grab them. This is probably why he is taking the airports, as well as just denying them access. As well suppressing the large Nazi part of the Ukrainian population is not at all simple. Go read about Stepan Bandera before commenting on this bit.

    He believes he has to do this to cement Russian security, so it will take a while.

  50. If anyone in eastern Europe needs to brought to trial for war crimes, it is Vladimir Putin: “planning, initiating and waging of aggressive war” was one of the charges in the Nuremberg trials, and Putin apparently didn’t bother to declare war on Ukraine until a couple of hours after he started murdering Ukrainians.

    PenGun’s phrasing is particularly revealing. “He is wrecking the Ukrainian military” – what, just breaking their equipment, so they can’t use it? No, he’s killing their soldiers and plenty of civilians along the way. Why can’t P acknowledge that? Because he wants to dehumanize the victims of his favorite tyrant. “That will take a little while and cost some casualties and equipment” seems to refer only to the Russians, as if PenGun feels sorry for the aggressor’s dead but feels nothing for the murdered Ukrainians.

    I’ve always found PenGun obnoxiously stupid, but I think this is the first time he’s literally disgusted me by what he’s written here. The winking smiley face on his first comment (1:12am) was a particularly nasty touch.

  51. I’m sitting here, remembering a conversation I had with one of the guys who was on the post-Soviet collapse treaty observation teams. Some of the anecdotes he related were really funny, but in retrospect…? I’m not so sure. When I’d asked him about whether or not they’d “gotten them all”, there was a certain note of hysteria to his laughter about it.

    He described showing up at one Soviet base, expecting from the central records that they’d been given, that they’d find X number of storage facilities and Y number of weapons. They found X-2, and Y-2Z, Z being whatever number of weapons were supposed to be in each storage unit. The base commander and his KGB detachment leader both insisted that the weapons had never, ever existed–And, the maps that they had from whoever was managing things in Moscow showed where the facilities were supposed to be, but nothing had ever been built. Intimations were made that materials had been diverted, and that production numbers in the nuclear weapons industry were as suspect as anywhere else in the Soviet system–The weapons were never produced, never existed, and the inspection team should just accept that as a reality, because that’s what Moscow had done.

    He mentioned that the Soviet inspectors here in the US were highly suspicious and paranoid about our records and facilities–The lack of discrepancies made them worried.

    I mention that to point out that anyone who thinks that Ukraine might not have nukes is probably a lot more naive and trusting than I am. They might be radioactive bomb-shaped objects by now, but… I would not bet a lot of lives on that.

    Interesting guy to talk to. It was his observation that about 70% of the warheads he inspected were questionable, in terms of “will they work right”, and that Soviet weapons maintenance for the nukes was just as prone to malfeasance and fraud as the rest of their industrial efforts. Bomb technicians complained of not having the right parts or materials to do their jobs, things were out of lifespan, and all sorts of other issues. The Soviets were basically not the 10-foot tall giants we were told they were.

    So, don’t be real surprised if someone pops a nuke on Ukrainian territory in the near term, and it fizzles or does something else bizarre. None of the guys I knew who were involved in those observation teams were at all confident that we’d seen it all or much of anything else. Paranoia and secrecy were and are Soviet/Russian watchwords, and they were so dedicated to it that they often managed to fool themselves. At least one base they inspected had lost track of storage facilities that were still there, but that only the Moscow headquarters knew about. It was like “OK, you’ve got seven bunkers here…” “No, we only have six…” “Says here seven, located here, here, here, here, here, here, and here…” “Oh… We didn’t know about that one…”.

    Everyone I know who was involved in that over there just shook their heads and muttered, whenever anyone asked them any questions about the experience. The chemical weapons were even worse.

    Hopefully, someone sane maintains control of Chernobyl and takes that worry off the table. I’m still sort of surprised that they didn’t turn it into a leverage point.

  52. Now this is an interesting development, if true.

    Russia Used Beatings and Tricks to Forcibly Send Rookie Troops to Ukraine, Rights Group Says ‘UNDER DURESS’

    Mothers of soldiers all across the country say their sons were battered and duped into the war, a human rights organization has claimed.
    by Allison Quinn
    Updated Feb. 24, 2022 2:45PM ET

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/russia-used-beatings-and-tricks-to-forcibly-send-soldiers-to-ukraine-human-rights-group-says?ref=scroll

  53. devdochina, a rather brutal form of hazing has been typical as a precursor of operations like in Chechnya,

  54. Russian VDV airhead at the Hostomel Airport just North of Kyiv appears to have been destroyed.

    The Ukrainians used a (or several?) Tochka-U SRBM to break VDV resistance there.

    There are horrid implications for Western Military power projection in this.

    If true, the 82nd Airborne Division & 18th Corps are obsolete concept tactical unit far overdue to get its walking papers.

    You can’t paradrop anti-ballistic missile systems with a ready brigade.

    Nor can a 5th Generation fighter like the F-35 protect a Western paratrooper/VTOL delivered airhead from an Iskander-M.

    The new generation Chinese PLA, 350 km range, PCL191 multiple launch rocket system erases the distinction between SRBM’s & guided MLRS. This system is intended for erasing Taiwanese SAM sites, but their proliferation to Iran, Venezuela and elsewhere is guaranteed.

    The only way I can see to deal with this SRBM threat to current Western airborne & VTOL power projection is to deploy in large numbers something like the cancelled Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE) missile with Western fighters & drones for anti-SRBM work.

    There just don’t seem to be any other within 5-years alternatives.

    There is a link detailing NCADE below.

    https://missiledefenseadvocacy.org/defense-systems/network-centric-airborne-defense-element-ncade/

  55. Trent, that was Russian army standard operating procedure for forcing conscripts into the Donbas 2016-2019. The mothers of Russian conscripts, through various organizations such as the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia (CSMR) – link _

    https://rightlivelihood.org/the-change-makers/find-a-laureate/the-committee-of-soldiers-mothers-of-russia-csmr/

    forced the Russian government to stop doing that under the implied threat that they’d oppose any conscription if the government persisted in sending their sons beyond Russian borders.

    So here is Putin’s government doing just that again (including cremation of the conscripts’ bodies to conceal their deaths in combat as in the Donbas 2016 – 2019). IMO this will result in the collapse of the Russian army’s 450 year-old conscription system.

    Basically this invasion will fail if the Russians are forced to send ground combat units with conscripts into the Ukraine. You already told me about the “surrender” of one conscript platoon, and I replied then, and still insist, “No, they defected.” During World War One that’s what 500,000 – one million Slav conscripts of the Austro-Hungarian Army did during World War One. People remember such things in that part of the world.

    And I think the invasion will fail anyway for reasons previously described.

  56. The Russians don’t have nearly enough men, and they don’t even appear to be deploying most of them. This continues to make no sense. Live cams from Kiev look relatively calm, nothing at all like what we saw from “shock and awe” in Baghdad, etc.

  57. “Who, or more accurately, what is a Pengun?”

    I ran websites back in the day. My own rather primitive effort involved software advice and games. As I was a Linux user and wrote about, played and made mods for games, it kinda became PenGun from that. The Linux Penguin and a Gun.

    I’m just an old man living on Vancouver Island laughing at the crazy years, still playing video games, and listening to records.

    BTW I don’t think you have got anything right yet. ;)

  58. There shouldn’t be any surprise that Ukraine has some licks to get in.

    As far as SRBM’s are concerned, anybody that remembers Desert Storm shouldn’t be surprised that all ground forces are vulnerable if they’re in range. Our own ABM systems have not been tested against anything except those SCUD’s in the real world and then there were questions about just how effective they were. Even the Israelis don’t have experience knocking down capable ballistic missiles, Iranian doesn’t count.

    The Soviet and now Russian Army is notorious for brutality directed at conscripts as a matter of course. I believe that conscripts are inducted in either October or November, I’m sure by now, most are counting the days till they’ll be out. As I said, they might lack enthusiasm for dying in Ukraine.

    I doubt our own air defenses would last much longer absent American air superiority to protect them. Our own planes are very good at knocking them out once they’re located and turning one on is like putting up a flare. There are tactics, essentially shoot and scoot, that can mitigate that but only at the cost of greatly reducing effectiveness.

    I wonder if the Ukrainian military intelligence was stupid enough to be concentrated in one building in Kiev. If so, I suppose the jokes on them.

    If the Ukrainian Army is desperate to die for the Mother Land, I’m sure the Russians will oblige them. If they’re smart and patient, they’ll have lots of logistics tail and isolated detachments to harass. I don’t think Putin’s prestige will survive many casualties or a long occupation. Time will tell.

  59. Brian: “This continues to make no sense. Live cams from Kiev look relatively calm …”

    Part of the explanation may be that the Russians seem to be deliberately trying to avoid civilian casualties, focusing on destroying the Ukrainian military. Which would be a wise policy! We can’t trust any of the reporting, but the numbers of casualties being shown seem comparable to daily Covid deaths. (Not that we can believe those numbers either).

    One of the big unknowns is morale on both sides. The Ukrainians have forbidden any male up to the age of 60 from leaving the country. That may suggest there as not as many Ukrainians prepared to die for their country as their rulers might have assumed.

    Still waiting for the Taiwan shoe to drop. As MCS says, time will tell.

  60. “Part of the explanation may be that the Russians seem to be deliberately trying to avoid civilian casualties”
    US did the same in Baghdad, etc., but a live stream from there on day 2 of either invasion would have looked nothing like current shots of Kiev, which look like a perfectly normal city. Curiouser and curiouser…

  61. The Russian Mod report of the death of the Ukrainian high altitude SAM integrated air defense (IADS) is somewhere between wrong and bold faced lie based on events in the last quarter hour over Kyiv.

    OSINTtechnical
    @Osinttechnical
    Between various claims from fairly good sources in the last 15 minutes I have heard

    Ukrainian SAM shot down RU ballistic missile

    Ukrainian SAM shot down RU aircraft

    RU SAM shot down Ukrainian aircraft

    Ukrainian SAM shot down Ukrainian aircraft

  62. It would be more believable if a Russian missile had shot down a Russian aircraft, as the Russians are doing most of the shooting, and almost all of the aircraft flying in the area are Russian.

  63. Brian, the Russians have a lot less aircraft than we do, and the Ukraine is about the size of Texas. Military needs have a higher priority than terror. If they want terror, they’ll use chemical weapons. My take is that the Russians don’t think they need those, as well as the blowback (in more ways than one given that their MRL crews firing from Russia are mostly one-year conscripts).

  64. Once the shooting starts, things are in the hands of the gods. You can plan all you like, but the reality is that it will be down to Murphy’s Law and the troops engaged.

    I think that the odds are that Russia has gotten itself into something that it won’t be able to get out of as easily as it thinks, and that they’re actually hardening Ukrainian identity as we speak. Putin does not have as much of a lock on Russian public opinion as the Communists did, and it may well eventuate that the average Russian isn’t willing to die to “free Ukraine from the oligarchs” as he thinks.

    This has to remain a low-casualty operation, or he’s screwed. The Ukrainians basically just need to kill enough Russians to sway public opinion in Russia to win.

    The other issue is this: You tell a bunch of conscripts lies about why they’re fighting, and they’re sent into Ukraine where a bunch of grandmothers start giving them shit about being there…? What happens to morale and motivation? The era of ideological motivation is pretty much over, wherever the Communists held sway. Nobody really believes the bullshit, any more.

    Putin may actually be killing the legitimacy of his government. Did Ukraine invade Russia? Were there Ukrainian nationalists killing Russians on Russian territory?

    Morality in war has an effect, whether or not the usual idiot wants to admit it. The Russians are transparently doing the wrong things, even to themselves. Those demonstrations across Russia aren’t accidental or meaningless…

  65. There’s a reason Russia hasn’t invaded anything bigger than Georgia or Chechnya in decades, and why they got their butts kicked by the Chechens the first time.
    Thinking they were going to blitz through Ukraine was always delusional. So I could be wrong, and Putin’s insane, but I’m not ready to concede that yet…

  66. Beyond that we all have to guess just what Putin has in mind, Russian opinion is the wild card. I’m sure Putin has the opinion; “We don’t measure opinion, we make it.”. All very Soviet and KGBesque. This isn’t the Soviet Union that had hundreds of divisions poised against the West. About all they can manage is ten and only by scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Russian pilots have always suffered from lack of training, both because of cost and poor aircraft reliability. Pilots killed in training were very bad optics. I’m betting their SAM batteries are no better off. They have benefited from rotating people through Syria to get some experience in real combat. There, the enemy mostly can’t shoot back and it’s much more important to avoid shooting Israeli planes.

    The Ukrainians have had years to get ready and should know what to expect. As always, it’ll come down to how good their plans are and how well they execute them. There is certainly the chance to make this very costly for Russia, whatever the eventual outcome.

  67. I think Kirk’s last comment is correct and is why I posted my comment about supply chain above. All they need to do is let the heavies roll in and destroy and kill the supply convoys. They can’t be protected across an area the size of Texas and are easy/soft targets. All you need are a few guys with some guns. Better yet a javelin or whatever other explosive device.

    Are the Russians really going to get into a street battle in a big city? That’s suicide in my opinion and if they go the Grozny route and decide to flatten portions of big cities, a million videos will be out instantly about the carnage. And Russia has opened multiple fronts?

    This whole thing doesn’t seem very well planned or executed thus far, at least from my office here in Wisconsin. As better info comes out I may be proven wrong.

  68. Well, the news this morning seems to say (cutting through all the BS) that (1) Zelensky has realized that no-one in the West is going to do anything serious to help the Ukraine; (2) the Ukrainian military has totally failed to stop the forward progress of the Russian military; (3) he is prepared to talk directly with the Russians; (4) the Russians are willing to talk with him about the neutralization of the Ukraine.

    My guess is still that Russia will achieve its military objectives and withdraw to the boundaries (as they define them) of the Donbas. No occupation of Western Ukraine. Interesting wild card is that China may end up sponsoring the negotiations between Russia and the Ukraine. who knew that China was such an important trading partner for the Ukraine?

  69. Trent sent a twitter feed in an email stating that the Pentagon reports that only about 1/3 of the ground forces Putin assembled around the Ukraine have actually entered it. That 1/3 is roughly the number of regime protection forces. Here’s a link to the twitter feed by a Brian Everstine with his twitter statement:

    https://twitter.com/beverstine/status/1497234452128354307

    Brian Everstine
    @beverstine
    ·
    1h
    Pentagon assessment: Of the Russian combat power that was amassed in Ukraine, 1/3rd has entered the country.

  70. The Ukrainians have had years to get ready and should know what to expect. As always, it’ll come down to how good their plans are and how well they execute them. There is certainly the chance to make this very costly for Russia, whatever the eventual outcome.

    I wonder. The Ukraines spent billions on bribing US politicians of both parties. How is that paying off now ? Since Biden signed those prepared EOs on Jan 20, 2021, the US is back to importing oil. Do you know who is the largest source of oil we import? Russia.

  71. Still no barking from the “Antiwar” dogs. A quick couple of Googlings turns up some stories about some very brave people in Russia, and elsewhere some Ukrainians abroad (and a few Russians) are understandably expressing outrage.

    OTOH, nothing at all like “The World Marches For Peace” and other clownshows in all the self-important cities of the globe in 2003.

    Now what could explain that?

  72. Cousin Eddie: “Now what could explain that?”

    The lack of Western “Give Peace A Chance” chants does make one wonder about the old conventional wisdom that Russia was behind all those long-ago protests. But if it was not the Russians, who was it? And why are they not active now? Is it simply because the West has already pre-emptively declared they are not going to put any forces into the fight?

    The other dog that is not barking is that the Ukraine is front and center in the news — but there is still no media interest in the Biden crime family’s prior involvement with the Ukrainian kleptocrats.

    As Brian suggests, there may be something else going on that official media is not covering.

  73. Updates:
    The RF Armed Forces retained control over the bridge across the Dnieper near Kherson, repelling counterattack attempts by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The fighting in the area of ​​the Antonovsky bridge continues.
    New Kakhovka is also held. This morning Melitopol was taken and the advance began in the direction of Berdyansk.

    Kiev – Gostomel airfield is held by paratroopers. The APU was never able to knock them out. This morning, tank columns of the RF Armed Forces broke through to the nearest approaches to Kiev and are close to establishing a direct connection with the landing force. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing a counterattack, declaring that another landing will be thrown out in the Gostomel area today. The Pentagon says that Kiev will fall in the coming days. After 10 o’clock, shooting was heard in the city. Also, according to the statement of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the landing was thrown to the west of Zhytomyr. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are actively undermining the bridges on the outskirts, trying to slow down the advance of the RF Armed Forces,

    The Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a missile attack on the Millerovo airfield in the territory of the Russian Federation. Damage is reported at the airfield, but there are no aircraft casualties.

    LDNR – the positional nature of hostilities remains, with the attempts of the LDNR armies to advance to the borders of the territories occupied by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

  74. Russian were definitely part of the antiwar elements, see RT in the relevant period Dubai played a small bear, till they wised up with the Persian Lion as the bigger threat, Qatar took over the Salafi crown, from the Kingdom, see Al Jazeera, fielding forces from Pashtunland to West Africa,

  75. the reason for the first impeachment is much of that money went through privat bank which is owned by the head of burisma, and it collapsed less than a year after the extortion pitch by biden, its a pitch black comedy, with a layer of real crimson, Vindman let that happen,

  76. China’s probably watching the US reinforcements moving into Europe. Getting stuff over there quickly depends on an airbridge of heavy airlifters and tankers, which ties up a lot of our strategic airlift.

    If China moves on Taiwan, we’ll play merry hell shifting that airbridge from the Atlantic to the Pacific. PACOM may have to rely only on in-place forces until an airbridge can bring reinforcements. Yes, the Air Force can deploy uncommitted stateside forces such as bombers (a recent report notes that availability rates are way down now), but that deployment is contingent on tanker availability.

    Pushing support into Europe may cost our ability to respond in the Pacific.

  77. Excerpts from Jim Dunnigan’s Strategy Page today. Disclosure – I proofread for him, but all of these excerpts weren’t proofread by me because he rewrote the column after the Russians invaded.

    ” … As expected, not a lot of the nearly 200,000 Russian troops now near the Ukraine borders actually entered Ukraine. All, or most appeared to be volunteers, rather than the one-year conscripts that comprise half the strength of the armed forces. Few of the conscripts and even fewer of their parents are eager for the conscripts to be fighting neighbors.

    Russian airborne forces managed to take an airport ten kilometers outside Kyiv. Efforts to use that airport to bring in additional troops were disrupted by the Ukrainian use of Stinger portable anti-aircraft missiles as well as rifle and machine-gun fire at low flying aircraft. The airport was quickly attacked by a Ukrainian army rapid reaction force organized and trained for retaking key locations seized by Russian airborne forces. While the area around the airport was soon surrounded by regular reservists and armed volunteers, the Rapid Reaction unit retook the airport before the Russians could use larger transport aircraft to bring in more troops. Russia appears to have underestimated the preparations Ukraine have made since 2014 to deal with this kind of invasion. In addition to 150 local defense units (of at least battalion size) arrangements were made to quickly arm, train and deploy volunteers, which includes all physically able males aged 16 to 60. The regular army obtained more portable anti-aircraft weapons and trained special units to deal with any Russians that seized key objectives. All those armed Ukrainians were more of an obstacle that the Russians expected. The invaders are using about a dozen main roads from the border to objectives inside Ukraine. Within hours all those roads were under fire from the armed locals. Even convoys with numerous armed escorts were fired on and the Russians did not have enough troops to clear the roads of armed hostiles. Some convoys were halted by roadblocks and at least one Russian reconnaissance platoon was captured. While the Russians control most Ukrainian airspace and coastal waters, land areas remain under Ukrainian control.

    An amphibious assault on the major Black Sea port of Odessa failed and most ground advances appear to have stalled as well …

    The outcome of the invasion will be more obvious within a week. Much depends on the effectiveness of the local resistance to Russian forces and the roads they use. It is currently the “mud” season in Ukraine where most of the snow is gone and replaced by weeks of mud, which limits off-road travel by wheeled vehicles.”

  78. Two thoughts on the lack of anti-war demonstrations

    1) It’s always easier to be pro-war (or at least ambivalent) when you’re not a potential combatant

    2) Even without assuming funding there was a lot of ideological overlap between the commissars and their apologists in the West back in the day (see also the anti-war movement 2002-2007)

  79. A few comments on the seriousness of Brandon’s “sanctions.”

    Ezra Levant @ezralevant

    There are no sanctions on Russian oil or gas sales to the west. Because that would really be Russia putting sanctions on us. Energy accounts for about 30% of Russian GDP; about 60% of exports. And war has made prices go up. So Russia is getting richer from the war, not poorer.

    Biden chose Russian/OPEC conflict oil over North American ethical oil when he shut down the KeystoneXL pipeline from Canada — more than 800,000 barrels/day. (He also stabbed unionized construction/steel workers in the back.)

    Trudeau did the same by cancelling the Energy East pipeline that would have taken ethical oil from Alberta to Canada’s largest refinery, in New Brunswick (and then by export to Europe/Asia by tanker). Trudeau preferred to import OPEC/Russian conflict oil.

    I’ll believe something Psaki says when the importation of Russian oil stops.

  80. @Tom H. I realize I didn’t put this context in but my understanding of Cousin Eddie’s comment was that he was noting there aren’t demonstrations in the U.S and western Europe. I had also seen reports of anti-war demonstrations in Russia and didn’t intend them to reference in my comment.

  81. Brian: “At the risk of being a broken record, I still don’t think this is about Ukraine at all. There’s way more going on.”

    Trying to read the tea leaves on that — here’s a hypothesis:

    We know that China & Russia are together on this — evidence is their public statements about their unlimited friendship and Russia’s transfer of forces from east to west.

    Yet China has been strangely diffident about publicly supporting Russia’s military operation — evidence is China’s public statements calling for negotiations, and China’s banks ceasing (at least temporarily) to issue letters of credit for Russian oil cargoes.

    It also turns out that the Ukraine is a key element in China’s Belt & Road, and one of China’s main trading partners.

    So we can guess where this might be going, answering the question of what is in Russia’s operation for China.

    Ukranian forces may be going down fighting, but there is no doubt they are going down. And the Ukrainian kleptocrats now know they will get no serious help from the West. They also know they will need a lot of investment to repair things after the Russians withdraw back to the Donbas. The Ukrainians know they need to negotiate a surrender before the damage rises further, but they are wasting time arguing about the shape of the table — or rather, about whether to do that negotiation in Minsk or Warsaw.

    We are approaching an excellent time for President Xi to step forward and offer to mediate the negotiations, probably in Beijing, with China offering (a) to guarantee the security of the now-shrunken Ukraine, and (b) committing to invest some of their surplus dollars in rebuilding the Ukraine.

    Total diplomatic black eye for Biden, the US, and NATO — as China gets recognized as the world’s essential nation, as the great peacemaker, and gains the support of the EuroTrash countries. And the real objective — this would send a very strong signal to Taiwan that now is time to cut a deal on reunification with the Mainland.

  82. Gavin, there is lots of doubt about the Ukrainians losing. Among other things it is simply too early to tell, plus there are no easily discernible front lines, due both to insufficient force density and the current mud season. Right now only 3-4 Russian division-equivalents (roughly the size of the Israeli forces in Sinai in the 1967 Arab-Israel War) have even entered the Ukraine, which is about the size of Texas with twice Texas’ population.

    3-4 division equivalents is plain insufficient to even occupy the place unless the Ukrainian people themselves give up, and they haven’t.

    So wait a week.

  83. And Gavin, the 1967 population of Egypt was 32 million. The 2022 Ukraine population is 43 million. The Israeli force which conquered the unpopulated Sinai could not then have conquered all of Egypt anymore than the same-sized Russian force currently invading the Ukraine can conquer the Ukraine. So wait a week.

  84. Tom H: “3-4 division equivalents is plain insufficient to even occupy the place”

    Why do you assume that occupation is any part of Russia’s plan? Russia’s clear repeatedly stated objective is for the Ukraine (now minus the Donbas) to be a Finlandized buffer state between Russia and the increasingly aggressive NATO crowd. No Russian forces in that neutral Ukraine.

    Maybe Russia is lying. Maybe NATO is lying. Probably the media sources we have are lying. We know Biden would be lying if he had enough brain cells left. But it is reasonable to start off with what people say their objectives are.

  85. They want regime change, just like everyone else. ;) So they have no plans to take and occupy Ukraine. Just the capital and other useful places. They will either negotiate with whatever government takes over after Zelensky is gone, Lavrov said that Zelensky was lying, and he had already missed the opportunity for negotiations, or install one they like.

    They also have a long list of people they want to try for war crimes.

  86. “3-4 division equivalents is plain insufficient to even occupy the place”
    Exactly. Russia’s not doing anything like what they’d need to do, so again, what are they playing at?
    The longer it goes without something else dropping, the more inexplicable it gets. There’s a limit to how much China can bankroll, and Russia’s losing a lot already…

  87. Tom H: “So wait a week.”

    As you say, time will tell. A week is an interesting time frame — since if Russia was interested simply in bringing Ukranian society to its knees, it would take out the power stations & water plants and wait till the cities collapsed. That is what NATO did to Serbia when NATO invaded Serbia. Three days without water and we are dead.

    Yet Russia is apparently not doing that. They seem to be sticking to their announced goal of attacking military targets. Russia seems to be focusing on the kleptocratic regime, not on the Ukrainian population.

  88. Also, India and Pakistan and Brasil are among the countries all either staying “neutral” or else basically rejecting “our” side, so that’s another “victory” for The Big Guy and Team Grownup…

  89. Agree with Gavin on the point that this isn’t anywhere near total war. Every time I see a reporter live from a Ukrainian city, the lights are on and all seems to be working. If they wanted to, the Russians could just missile strike all of the distribution/power plants.

    So this is getting really weird, to me at least.

  90. Gavin, more forces are required to conquer a country than to occupy it afterwards. Half the Russian ground combat maneuver brigades are full of conscripts, who comprise approximately half the troops of their entire active army. The ten or so manuever brigades of regime protection forces presently invading the Ukraine are plain insufficient to conquer the place. They couldn’t in 2014-2015 and they certainly can’t now, given that the Ukrainian forces are bigger, better equipped and no longer led by traitors.

    The Russians need a bigger stick or much more effective weapons.

  91. It may be that part of this is to demonstrate to people like Tom for instance, that they can take what they need from Ukraine with a relatively small force.

    They have a good sized one waiting and watching so they can afford to try to do this with a minimum force. If it becomes obvious they conquered the country with four or five divisions, that would make some people rethink their positions. It would also demonstrate that the rest of Europe is at risk, should it come to that.

  92. The Ukrainians report they just nailed a fully loaded Russian Il-76.

    The UAF missile IADS is playing Serbian Col. Zoltan Danl’s 1999 “Operation Allied Force” style force preservation waiting game to nail high value targets like that Il-76. The UAF is denying Ukraine airspace to Russian transports and the Ukrainian territorials are stopping Russian Army truck columns behind the spearheads.

    I think the Russian Army column that cut through the Chernobyl exclusion zone, which got into Kyiv, is logistically cut off. The Ukrainians are filling in the space between the Exclusion zone and Kyiv behind them.  

    The manner in which the Russians moved, tried and repeatedly failed to capture ukrainian air bases for forward refueling underlines the hubris of this war plan.

    There are enough videos of Russians foraging for food and fuel in combat, with all five columns, to make me think that we should see mass Russian Army fuel shortages by Sunday.

    The Chernobyl-Kyiv column will likely be out of fuel tomorrow because the Russians went cross country in the Mud season (AKA they moved at triple road bound fuel consumption for a long distance) and Russia cannot get fuel in to this column by either air or ground.

  93. “more forces are required to conquer a country than to occupy it afterwards”
    Not how I remember Iraq. As I recall, the realistic estimates for counter-insurgency were more than 400,000. We eventually did it with less but spent a lot of time and a lot of blood. Don’t see that Putin has much of either to spare. Iraq had around 25,000,000 at the time, there might be nearly twice that many Ukrainians.

    There seems to be some question of how many Ukrainians are still in Ukraine. It’ll come down to how many Ukrainians don’t go along. 10% would outnumber the Russian forces 10:1.

  94. Ukrainians say it was an Su-27 that did in the Il-76.

    Командування Повітряних Сил ЗСУ / Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces
    m1162S0f6pugho10hr ·

    At half past night, February 26, the fighter Su-27 Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine successfully attacked the military transport aircraft IL-76 MD of Russian occupation troops and destroyed the enemy!!!

    Currently, heavy battles are ongoing in the city of Vasylkiv in Kyiv region, where invaders are trying to land paratroopers from the air!

    Glory to Ukrainian pilots!

  95. Enter Putin’s first try at a bigger gun:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10552743/Furious-Putin-prepares-use-father-bombs-brave-Ukrainians-hold-advance.html

    “The Russians need a bigger stick or much more effective weapons.”

    When that doesn’t work, and it won’t, his next bigger stick is chemical weapons. I expect we will see how far Putin will go, and also when his friends realize that, when he’s gone, they might end up on a rope after a war crimes trial.

  96. “The Russians need a bigger stick”
    Yeah no kidding, that’s what some of us have been saying.
    No one yet has come up with a convincing explanation of what Putin’s “plan” is, since what we’re seeing makes zero sense…

  97. Yeah, for what he’s apparently going for, which appears to be a total takeover of Ukraine, he’s got nowhere near enough troops.

    I suspect that there are going to be a lot of little bitty actions going on where Ukrainians take down small detachments of Russians, which ain’t going to play well at home with Russian mothers. That Snake Island deal, where the Russian Navy killed all the Ukrainians? That’s a pivot-point in all this, in terms of public opinion. Think “Wake Island”, in terms of pissing Ukrainians off, and forcing them into a national identity.

    Even if Putin wins the ground war, I think he’s going to lose what comes after. If I were an ethnic Russian living in Donbas, Lugansk, or the Crimea, I’d be packing my bags right now. This is not going to end well. The fact that the Ukrainians didn’t roll over and take it willingly as soon as Putin initiated things? That’s not auspicious for Russian chances of long-term success.

    I would lay you long odds that China is sitting there going “Hmmm… Siberia, or Taiwan…? Siberia, or Taiwan…?”. If Russia comes out of this significantly weakened, which it well might, then that makes China’s calculus pretty easy to work out: Stab Russia in the back, to the approving noises of the rest of the world.

    Of course, the odds are pretty good that Russia would go nuclear in there, somewhere… Oh, the excitement! The joy! Such a wonderful thing, that Joe Biden is our President! So terrific, his leadership which has brought us here!!!!

    Fsck me.

  98. We, Puerto Rico, take a back seat to nobody in political graft, corruption, incompetence and general sliminess of our political class.

    Sometimes the Grift is just too big to be handled locally. When that’s the case, who you gonna call?

    You need a Ukrainian.

    A Ukrainian like Natalie Jaresko. She just resigned as head of a federal govt agency created to run all of the govt Grift.

    She has an interesting background. Like the Vindemans, she was born in the us but maintained close ties with the old country. Lived there for about 20 years, became ukrain’s minister of finance for 2 years.

    Actual citizenship is unclear. Definitely an American by birth, became a Ukrainian citizen. Was supposed to renounce her us citizenship but may not have. Uncoated whether she is still a Ukrainian citizen.

    She may have nothing to do with the current megilla. In which case I apologize for being off topic.

    Otoh, it will not surprise me at all if she does pop up. In which case this comment will be on topic.

    She has a very interesting Wikipedia page.

  99. I would not term her a Ukrainian, but another FIB carpetbagger. FIB being what everyone around Illinois terms denizens of that den of corruption: Fscking Illinois Bastard.

    Lay ya long, long odds she’s Connected with Valerie Jarret and the Obama crew.

    I swear, if they rooted out the corruption in all of our governments, there would probably be about three politicians left, and they’d be people so dumb that they barely qualified as sentient.

    The depth of it all is breathtaking. Look at the career of Jamie Gorelick, who either the most venal creep in the history of our government, or the most unlucky bureaucrat ever.

  100. Oh my. “The Russians need a bigger stick”

    They have bigger sticks. They are carefully dismantling the military while killing as few civilians as they can.

    They can just wreak anything in their way, they are not using that stuff. The Sniper version of the advanced MRLS that the Americans largely copied is devastating. The Flambe version of that is ridiculous.

  101. Lots of head scratching in the replies to this as well:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/RealCynicalFox/status/1497352686580158464
    As we continue to watch almost unsupported amphibious & airborne landings of Russian troops in Ukraine today, it’s almost incredible that the Russian Armed Forces is continuing to ignore the principle of “Mass” it its operations. Sacrificing some of its best units in the process.

    Also found this to be interesting…
    https://mobile.twitter.com/PDChina/status/1497398511847067648
    The evacuation plan for Chinese nationals in #Ukraine has been activated. They will return home immediately as soon as the flight conditions can ensure their safety, according to the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine.

    Posted an hour ago. A paranoic might speculate something like that to be a signal from the ChiComs to Putin, that phase 2 is almost ready, and he’ll have a more free hand soon…but that’s just crazy talk, right?

  102. Some of these conscripts werent alive when putin started the second chechen war, 22 years ago, or were children when the georgia war was 13 years ago

  103. There’s a whole surreality to this invasion that I’m totally bemused by. It’s like they’re players in some pre-agreed upon kabuki dance that they didn’t bother to coordinate with the Ukrainians. I think they really expected Zelensky to skedaddle, and with him now acting the hero and not leaving?

    I wonder if the Russians didn’t eat their own dog food, and planned on fighting the Ukraine of their propaganda, never considering that the reality might be different? Maybe they truly believe that the Ukrainians want to be a part of Mother Russia, still, and that’s what they’ve predicated this all on?

    If so, there are going to be some very unpleasant surprises for everyone as this unwinds. Those 13 guys on Snake Island do not bode well for the future of the Russian attacks–Men who are that motivated are capable of doing one hell of a lot of damage. I suspect that there are going to be a lot of dead Russians in the future.

    As ever, the key thing in war is clarity of vision with regards to your enemies and yourself. I don’t think that Putin really has a good idea what he’s gotten himself into. If his forces get even slightly chewed up, and the Poles, for example, decide to intervene? Even in a limited manner? Putin really only has the nukes to back up his play, and that ain’t going to go down well, at all.

    We are truly living in an age with the most moronic “statesmen” and political leaders, ever. Especially here in the US.

  104. Furthermore weve seen what urban warfare looks like in sarajevo in chechnya other places, it does have a kabuki feel, (there have been heavy weapons employed in a few chechen engagements)

  105. And, during all of this, we’re continuing to purchase oil from Russia. In fact, they’re our largest foreign supplier. Personally, I’d be happy to forego the oil if it would help turn the screws on Putin, even if it means higher prices here. The Biden administration professes its concern for my wellbeing as the reason why it’s continuing purchases, but I can’t help but suspect it’s just another bending of the knee to green interests in the West (which have gotten substantial support and encouragement from the Russians over the years) since the other way to keep costs down would be going back to “Drill, Baby, Drill”. And we can’t have that, whatever the cost.

  106. I don’t know what China’s play is. Everything I see points toward some sort of major collapse that isn’t going to be hidden much longer. If Xi’s plans include some sort of military adventure, know that the generals in charge likely have floor joists in their homes sagging under the weight of illicit currency accumulated over their career. Since at least some of this was received in return for promotions of underlings, I question the quality of leadership.

    Taiwan or Siberia? Siberia is walking distance and conveniently seems bereft of Russian troops right now. It wouldn’t be a hard question for me. Wagging the dog might be just one more American thing they have appropriated.

  107. Since russia is developing czarist maybe they dont count on an ambush like port arthur, they seem to backing up putin,

    This is what fukuyama didnt understand when you run the clock before 1917

    Also where is the sultan in this, they were providing drones to ukraine not that long ago?

  108. “Ukraine” didn’t pay off anyone–That was an oligarch-to-oligarch deal entirely, a way to launder US foreign aid money.

    Just like BidenCo. doesn’t speak for me, none of the assholes who paid him and Hunter represent the Ukrainian people, most of whom just want to be left alone. Like you, I presume, and I.

    Ya know what would probably have BidenCo. spewing bricks from their fundaments, right about now? A phone call from Zelensky saying he was gonna release it all, open-source, to something like Wikileaks. What does he have to lose? I suspect that the Ukrainians know precisely where a lot of skeletons are buried, and could provide decent guides towards digging them up.

  109. Not much has been said about Belarus allowing use of their territory as a staging area for the invasion; when the dust settles, they should certainly pay a price as well. Perhaps NATO should announce they are fast-tracking consideration of including Belarus as a member.

  110. momnotmon: “Perhaps NATO should announce they are fast-tracking consideration of including Belarus as a member.”

    More likely that — once the dust eventually settles — NATO becomes an empty shell. No-one will trust that the US would really commit meaningful forces in Europe, and every member in Europe will either build up their own military (less likely) or cut a deal with Russia or China (more likely).

    The world is changing!

  111. Russia wouldn’t be doing anything without an understanding with China, the question is what their agreement entails…
    If I was Zelensky, I’d be pretty paranoid right now. Russia wants him out, and my guess is Biden and crew want him eliminated even worse…hope he has people he can trust, if there is any such thing in Ukraine…

  112. What Kirk noted, up-thread: “Those 13 guys on Snake Island do not bode well for the future of the Russian attacks–Men who are that motivated are capable of doing one hell of a lot of damage. I suspect that there are going to be a lot of dead Russians in the future.” Indeed, this might very well be the Ukraine’s Alamo – when they went all in. And the Ukranian engineer who blew up the bridge at the cost of his own life. When the Ukraine writes their history books, that’s how it will be painted.
    “Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate:
    To every man upon this earth, Death cometh soon or late.
    And how can man die better, Than facing fearful odds,
    For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.”
    It could be that Putin was counting on a swift advance and an even faster collapse. An uncharacteristic gamble, for him. He has always struck me as someone who wouldn’t gamble until the cards were 100% in his favor.
    My daughter has been looking at a lot of pictures of the conflict, and she has been struck rather by the contrast between the Russians and the Ukrainian soldiers, generally. There is a “look” to professional military; we can usually pick them out in a crowd. Kirk will know what I mean by this. The bearing, the way they walk, handle weapons – physically fit, well-nourished, short hair. The Ukrainians had that look. The Russian troops (although she might have been looking at pictures of the Donetsk separatists, IDK) looked … sloppy. Like homeless addicts. The Ukrainian trucks and other vehicles looked relatively new, well-maintained … but the Russian stuff looked like they were ready to be consigned to their version of the DRMO. Clapped-out, battered, badly-repaired.
    Of course, some of these pictures were taken post-combat, or of captured troops, and nothing and no one looks at their best at that point. But still.

  113. It could be that Putin was counting on a swift advance and an even faster collapse. An uncharacteristic gamble, for him. He has always struck me as someone who wouldn’t gamble until the cards were 100% in his favor.

    Several people at other sites, some of whom have experience/language skills with Russia have commented on Putin’s speech and his recent behavior. Maybe he has decided now is the time for him to strike. Maybe the Chinese egged him on. But his current behavior is described by some as unusual for him.

  114. I noted the same things, which I’m still puzzled by.

    I wonder if there’s something else going on inside Russia that’s precipitated this gamble by Putin, something that we don’t know about. Usually, when despots of his ilk go off a-adventuring in foreign climes, there’s something going on at home, and it’s a distraction.

    Alternatively, he could have been conned by the Chinese, and this was meant to get what little of the Russian Army that is capable tied down in Ukraine whilst the Chinese peel off their old possessions in Siberia. If you think about it, from the Chinese perspective, they’ve played Putin perfectly: He’s pissed off everyone in the West, and nobody would come to his aid if the Chinese did invade Siberia. Hell, I’ll lay you long odds that if the Chinese were to invade, everybody would be applauding and laughing their asses off at them doing it. Meanwhile, Putin is tied down in a long-term nasty occupation of Ukraine, and if he doesn’t pull that off…? What’s he got to show the people of Russia besides a legacy of having lost a good chunk of Siberia and all of Russia’s international sympathy?

    If you wonder about China’s long-term intent in the north, just have a look at their interest in the polar regions. Despite them not being anywhere near the Arctic Circle, they’ve insinuated themselves into the international negotiations covering the Arctic regions. If you’re wanting to know more, go have a look at the search results when you put in “China” “Arctic” and “Strategy”. They’re interested, that’s for damn sure–And, if that doesn’t make sense at the moment, what if they decide to take back Siberia and maybe a little more…?

    I still think Putin is going to go down in history as one of Russia’s most incompetent leaders. Would not surprise me a bit if the Chinese led his arrogant and paranoid ass right down the primrose path. I’d love to know what the PLA is doing, right now, in the border regions.

  115. Sgt Mom: “The Russian troops (although she might have been looking at pictures of the Donetsk separatists, IDK) looked … sloppy.”

    Just a simple question — How much “censorship” is Twitter doing on the photos which are allowed to be seen?

    It all comes back to the question Brian has posed — What is the real game here? Russia could easily tear a page out of the NATO handbook and use stand-off weapons to destroy government buildings in Kiev, water treatment plants, power plants, then stand back & wait … but they are not doing that. Despite the Twitter photos, the Russians are advancing while the Ukrainians are falling back — but the impression is that Russia is not going all out in the attack. It is like they are trying to minimize civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure. Why?

    Let’s also never forget that Biden* could stop the war today. All he would have to do is announce that the Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO. If we look at the history, it is pretty clear that the US drove Russia into a corner. We should not be surprised that someone in that situation eventually fights back.

  116. “…the US drove Russia into a corner.” Could you be more full of shit, or be more of an apologist for the Russians? I doubt it.

    Drove Russia into a corner? Oh, yeah… Like NATO has such a record for invading other countries and forcing them into their eeeeevulll orbit, destroying their economies, blackmailing them with energy sales, and all that.

    Frankly, the more you talk, the less respect I have for you. You sound like someone justifying Hitler’s advance into Czechoslovakia or the Anschluss of Austria. Ukraine, even with all the US “interference” was never going to be any kind of “threat” to Russia–That’s solely in the imagination of Putin and his cronies. And, of course, you. Even with the Ukrainians fully integrated into NATO, the only damn thing they were ever going to be was “competent and equipped well enough to fend off Russian advances…”. The US was not sponsoring them to invade Russia, and if anything, NATO membership usually implies a specific degree of military incompetence and fecklessness–Look at the Germans. From the standpoint of Russian security interests, having Ukraine in NATO and doing the German level of participation and support of the alliance would have been a net threat reduction that would have to be measured in exponents.

    You really need to shut the fsck up on this issue, before you convince everyone that you’re actually a Russian stooge–Because, that’s precisely what you sound like. Russia does not have a right to dictate squat to anyone outside its borders; its security interests do not give them the right to suborn ethnic Russians in other countries to conduct insurrections or invade them.

    Frankly, your blathering reminds me of that jackass principal I had in middle school who lectured the victims of bullying for fighting back, as if the deranged creeps he was defending had a God-given right to beat them up for their sick and perverse pleasure. Ukraine has been, per the Soviet state, an independent country since the foundation of the UN. Don’t like that? Talk to Stalin and the Communists. They’re the ones who did it, and who did more to nurture a sense of independence and separate national identity in Ukrainians than anyone else, including the so-called “Ukrainian nationalists”.

  117. “Like NATO has such a record for invading other countries and forcing them into their eeeeevulll orbit,”

    Does the name Serbia strike a chord? How about Libya? How about Afghanistan? NATO has indeed set a record for invading other countries.

    Kirk, just a piece of advice: if you don’t like what someone is saying, try responding with facts & civility. Change minds. Don’t try to bully your way into silencing other people who look at the facts and reach a different conclusion from you. Because that approach does not work.

  118. ” All he would have to do is announce that the Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO.”
    That would be all the assurance I’d need; for sure! As if Putin is dim enough to trust Biden or forget that he can’t make promises past 2024 if he even lasts that long.

    I don’t know why you are so wedded to this red herring. Next you’ll be saying that we could have avoided Pearl Harbor if we’d just let a few more loads of scrap through to Japan. Maybe Putin is stupid or crazy enough to pull this half assed invasion to stop something that wasn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future anyway, I’m not betting any money on it.

  119. Serbia was a mistake, twice, when we served al queda’s interests, as their aircover, Libya similar circumstances, the very people chris stevens aided ended up killing him, the Feb 17th Martyrs trained by the leader of Ansar Al Sharia, that was the point of Benghazi, which the Gang of eight, funded,

    the Chinese banks are telling putin, close it up, we need the table, cutting bank financing,

  120. Interesting, including the jocular interaction between Ukrainian civilians and the invading Russian soldiers.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10554929/Video-claims-Ukrainians-mocking-Russian-tank-stuck-without-fuel-road-Kyiv.html

    “Video claims to show Russian tanks stuck without fuel on road to Kyiv

    In the viral clip shared across social media, the Ukrainian driver rolls down his window before jokingly offering to tow the troops back to Russia, prompting roars of laughter from all involved.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk
    
    ‘Need a tow back to Russia?’ Ukrainians taunt soldiers after their tank runs out of fuel on its way to Kyiv

    Ukrainians mock Russian soldiers whose tank ‘broke down’ en route to Kyiv
    Footage begins with driver easing to a stop as Russians say they need diesel
    Ukrainian mockingly asks if they need a ‘tow back to Russia’, prompting laughter

    This is the moment a Ukrainian driver mockingly asks invaders if they need a ‘tow back to Russia’ after spotting their tank had broken down on a road en route to Kyiv.

    The clip, shared widely across social media, appears to show an encounter between a group of Ukrainians and Russians who are said to be stranded at the side of a road outside of the Ukrainian capital.

    The footage begins with the driver slowing down to a stop as he approaches the Russian tank, which has ‘broken down’ on the side of the road and waiting for diesel.

    The Ukrainian motorist rolls down his window before jokingly offering to tow the troops back to Russia, prompting roars of laughter from all involved.

    Hundreds of people, including Ukrainian former journalist Victor Kovalenko, took to Twitter to share a translation of the humorous exchange.

    Fighting has raged on in and around major Ukrainian cities for a third consecutive day, as Kyiv’s defence ministry has so far put Russia’s losses at around 2,800 troops, 80 tanks, 516 armoured vehicles, and 10 airplanes and seven helicopters.

    Intelligence experts have predicted Vladimir Putin’s £15bn-a-day war with Ukraine is no longer going to plan due to Kremlin ‘overconfidence’, poor tactical planning, and ‘shock’ at the fierce resistance put up by brave Ukrainians fighting for national survival.

    The viral clip appears to show an encounter between a Ukrainian motorist and Russian soldiers who are said to be stranded at the side of a road after their tank ‘broke down’ outside the capital.

    The Ukrainian motorist rolls down his window before jokingly offering to tow the troops back to Russia, prompting roars of laughter from all involved

    The Ukrainian motorist rolls down his window before jokingly offering to tow the troops back to Russia, prompting roars of laughter from all involved

    Hundreds of people, including Ukrainian former journalist Victor Kovalenko, took to Twitter (above) to share a translation of the humorous exchange

    Hundreds of people, including Ukrainian former journalist Victor Kovalenko, took to Twitter (above) to share a translation of the humorous exchange

    In the viral footage, the Russian troops are standing next to a tank which appears to have stopped on the side of the road.

    As the driver approaches, he rolls down his window to check if they have broken down as the Russian troops reply and say they are ‘waiting for diesel’.

    The quick-thinking motorist then mockingly asks: ‘Do you need a tow back to Russia?’, before there’s a loud outburst of laughter from the soldiers.

    The Ukranian continues and asks: ‘Where are you headed? Do you know?’, which the Russians apparently reply and say they do not.

    ‘You’re heading to Kyiv. No one knows where they are or where they’re going,’ the driver says, before adding: ‘So far our side is doing better, your guys surrender well.’

    Russian troops are now attempting to encircle Kyiv and are meeting stiff resistance. Top Russian targets likely include the Presidential Palace at the heart of the city, and one of the remaining airports after Antonov Airport’s runways were intentionally destroyed

    Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv, Ukraine on Saturday. Russian troops stormed toward Ukraine’s capital Saturday, and street fighting broke out

    Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv, Ukraine on Saturday. Russian troops stormed toward Ukraine’s capital Saturday, and street fighting broke out.

    The video marks the latest in a series of humiliating encounters for the Russian army as Ukraine continues its heroic stand against the invading force.

    The Kremlin is understood to have been surprised at the strength of Ukraine’s resistance, with Putin reportedly calling an urgent meeting with his inner circle to complain that the invasion was no longer going to plan.

    The Russian army has now been ordered to broaden its advance ‘from all directions’, after senior US defence officials claimed Russia is facing more resistance than Moscow anticipated in its invasion of Ukraine, including in its advance on Kyiv, and appears to have lost some of its momentum.

    Estonia’s former defence chief Riho Terras has now claimed that Putin’s war is not going to plan because Russia is fast running out of money and weapons, and will have to enter negotiations with Volodymyr Zelensky¿s government if Kyiv holds off the Russians for 10 days

    Estonia’s former defence chief Riho Terras has now claimed that Putin’s war is not going to plan because Russia is fast running out of money and weapons, and will have to enter negotiations with Volodymyr Zelensky’s government if Kyiv holds off the Russians for 10 days.

    Citing Ukrainian intelligence sources, Terras claimed that the war is costing Russia around £15billion-per-day, and that they have rockets for three to four days at most, which they are using sparingly.

    He claimed that Putin’s plan has relied on panicking the country, firing missiles at residential buildings ‘at random’ to ‘intimidate’ the Ukrainians, trigger mass army desertions, national surrender, and Zelensky’s flight from the country.

    Terras also alleged that Russian special operations have been near Kyiv since February 18, and had planned to swiftly seize the capital and install a puppet regime.

    ‘The Russians are in shock of the fierce resistance they have encountered. The Ukrainians must avoid panic! … Ukraine must stay strong and we must provide assistance!’, he wrote on Twitter.

  121. sometimes they are wrong, now the times and the post, you often can’t make heads or talils
    about what’s going on, (I think that’s deliberate)

  122. Yeah, that video simply reeks of professionalism… Not.

    Lemme see… I have a fuel gauge on my vehicle, and I still go out on the road after leaving my last position, knowing I likely don’t have enough fuel. Then, running out of gas, I park myself on the road without even attempting to find either cover or concealment, to wait for more fuel to be brought up… And, stand around like I’m on a coffee break, bullshitting with passing civilians from the country I just invaded? Yeah, this is a professional military. What do you want to bet that those guys driving by are taking notes for when they come back after dark, armed, and take that tank crew out? Hell, he could do it right now, if he wanted.

    (snort) Newly professionalized Russian Army, my ass. This illustrates the basic problem with Russia’s military–They have all the high-end stuff like missiles and drones, but down at the point where the nitty-gritty day-to-day crap has to be done? They’re fscked. No real NCO cadre to ensure that little details like fueling vehicles before movement are taken care of, or riding herd on the troops. If I’d caught my junior NCOs pulling something like that on even an exercise, I’d have crucified the lot of them as an encouragement to others. You don’t just stop a damn vehicle like that on a road that way, not even if the fueler is right behind you, and you know he’s coming over the hill. It’s an open invitation to having some outraged local cap your asses and take your tank, not to mention a good way to die under low-visibility conditions.

    Epic dumbassery while under arms and invading another country. Ukraine’s chances go up more, every time I see this sort of thing. They might actually succeed in bankrupting Russia, at this rate.

    Now, that’d be an interesting course of events: What happens if this invasion fails? Does Putin fall? Does he try to resort to nukes, and get deposed? Who calls in the loans for Russia?

    The more I see of this “invasion”, the more I have to wonder what the hell is really going on. Some of these clips look like footage from exercises I’ve been on, like Reforger. God help those inept conscripts when and if the locals decide to start killing them whenever they see them isolated like that, because that tank is a recipe for a captured vehicle and a dead crew…

  123. “It is like they are trying to minimize civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure. Why?”

    I’ll answer the question again. Its a Special Military Operation. Its not an invasion although it looks like one. Destroying the military and bringing a number of number of people to trial are the purpose of this operation. Making sure NATO cannot ever operate from the Ukraine is the overarching purpose.

  124. in the early part of the war, episode 1, I followed the interpreter blog, which off course has an axe to grind, who doesn’t but it chronicled the advances and retreats of the various facts, their best forces wagner are culled from the airborne and spetznaz units, the contraktiki and the conscripts, well you get what you pay the lowest wage for, or get out of jail free card,

    So Putin went for Broke, and that may not be a metaphor, this time,

  125. Between the guys at Spider Island and the Ukrainian Marine who chose to blow himself up with the bridge they needed to destroy in order to slow down the Russians, I’m thinking that Ukraine has a chance. You look at all the clips of half-ass Russian conscripts who surrendered, and you just have to wonder what the hell Putin was thinking, putting them up against people like Vitaly Shukin.

    All those little dribs and drabs of Russian vehicles and units, strung out all over hell and gone…? All I can say is, yikes. Come nightfall, there’re probably going to be a bunch of Ukrainian irregulars showing up and slitting some throats. Or, even offering that perennial Russian weakness, vodka. Get the isolated troops drunk, take their weapons, drive their tank off… Hey! Presto! You don’t even need to shoot them.

    Of course, you do need to feed them. So, maybe slitting throats is the simplest answer. I guarantee you that once attitudes towards the Russians harden, you won’t be seeing happy little clots of Russian soldiers around out-of-fuel vehicles–They’ll be huddled inside them, terrified, while the locals wander around with fun toys like Molotov cocktails.

    I wonder how much of the invasion of Finland during the Winter War looked like this. I’ll bet the answer is “A lot…”.

  126. One small point. The “tank” is an APC, armored personnel carrier. It’s of a piece with the other article that gets thermobaric bombs confused with artillery with flame throwers and then shows a picture of a multiple rocket launcher. I would take their “expert” analysis with a big grain of salt although the MI5 guy that was most worried about LGBQT was priceless.

  127. There are two clips… One shows a tank, the other an MTLB or derivative. I think the tank is either a T-80 or a modernized T-72 variant with reactive armor.

  128. During the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, a Russian tank crew sold their tank to a Czech junk dealer for all the vodka they could drink. When they were found afterwards, they claimed they had driven off with some vodka they had stolen, drank it all, and woke up on the ground with their tank missing.

  129. I wouldn’t place much value on anecdotal accounts, particularly of heroism or atrocities, as those are easy to fake. Odd ones such as the jocularity shown by the stranded Russian tank crew and passing Ukrainian civilians are okay and can show useful things, such as the tank crew’s lack of security and that Ukrainian civilian vehicles were moving around normally.

    What really counts is logistics. Movements and combat involving heavy mechanized forces require unbelievable amounts of fuel, which can only be carried by lots and lots of tanker trucks. Those are pretty much road-bound during the Ukrainian spring thaw, and have to proceed in convoys for security reasons.

    Columns of such trucks, and all the other ones carrying resupply of ammunition, parts, etc., are easily identified on commercial satellite imagery. There are civilian war buff blogs in America and Britain with guys who can afford, analyze and publish their interpretations of those images. I expect them to pop up within no more than a few days.

    Then we’ll see how far into the Ukraine the heads of those supply columns go, and that’s how we’ll be able to tell whether the Russians are winning or losing.

  130. “gets thermobaric bombs confused with artillery with flame throwers and then shows a picture of a multiple rocket launcher.”

    The Russian MLRS with the Thermobaric Rockets is insanely effective and very dangerous indeed. They really don’t need stuff like that in this Special Military Operation.

  131. Ukrainian civilians are now systematically burning abandoned Russian Army vehicles.

    This will multiply Russian Army permanent vehicle losses by double digit percent because any unguarded operational casualty will be burned.

    Ukraine General Staff is advising Ukraine civilians to give Russian troops the fuel they ask for adulterated with sugar.

  132. Related to the previous:

    No major Ukrainian city is in Russian army hands. Several have changed hands 4-to-5 times.

    There are reports that the Russian Army battle groups which bypassed Kharkov & Sumi towns in southern Ukraine are now running out of fuel while driving to Dnepr river.

    They are now stuck in middle of nowhere with Ukrainian territorials moving through the countryside off-road.

  133. To repeat myself, for the 100th time, there’s a reason Russia hasn’t taken on anyone above the level of Chechnya/Georgia in more than a generation…it’s because that’s all they’re capable of…they have the ability to do stuff like “advise” Syria, but to blitz Ukraine? Come on…that’s why I poo poo’d this invasion, because it had no chance of success. Longer it goes like this without another shoe dropping, the more it looks like maybe Putin has lost contact with reality due to covid isolation or who knows what…

  134. Somebody should tell the Ukrainian General Staff not to waste good sugar, it doesn’t dissolve in either gas or diesel. Not detectable down to PPM and any that does make it into a tank will be stopped by filters. About 20% gas will destroy a diesel engine, won’t be stopped by filters and can’t be removed. DEF, diesel exhaust fluid, works even better. Diesel in gas will screw up a gas engine and will also pass through filters and be impossible to remove short of re-refining.

  135. Although I should say, it’s only been a few days, and I doubt if Putin and Xi decided to execute a plan to take down the US and the West, they would have planned it to take 48-72 hours…this isn’t a movie, both those guys are from cultures that think in terms of centuries…

  136. Trent T: “Ukraine General Staff is advising Ukraine civilians to give Russian troops the fuel they ask for adulterated with sugar.”

    There’s a knock on the door of some Ukrainian dwelling. Open the door and there is a guy in a Russian uniform saying — Hi there! We are from Russia and we are invading your country, but we ran out of gas. Could you please give us some fuel so we can move on down the road and murder Ukrainians just like you?

    Sure. That happened. Come on guys, let’s engage brain!

  137. Brian: “Longer it goes like this without another shoe dropping, the more it looks like maybe Putin has lost contact with reality”

    In a world in which Biden* gets 80 Million votes, anything is possible! Maybe Putin is out of touch, and none of the people in his government & military (or in China’s government) are prepared to stand up and tell him that. Definitely possible.

    On the other hand, there are some reports that Putin ordered forces to hold back when Zelensky asked for negotiations — which would be a rational response. Then Zelensky shut off further contact, so it is back to war.

    So far, Covid has been killing more Ukrainians than the Russian invasion. Surprisingly low casualty figures. One possibility is that the Russians may be being careful in the hope that the Ukrainians would quickly revolt against their kleptocrats and sue for peace. If that does not happen, then there could be a move to Plan B, and with a vast jump in casualties. Western governments promising to deliver weapons to the Ukraine (how?) may be making things a whole lot worse. The great risk is that conflict spreads — and then all bets are off.

  138. MCS & Gavin,

    It is more complicated. I have a strong suspicion that the intended targets of this arethe Russians, to discourage them from taking fuel from Ukrainian civilians, and for propaganda in the West. PsyOps is like that.

    And that goes for logistics stories too. Distrust anecdotes about the Russians running out of fuel. Look for those involving objectively verifiable evidence, such as photos of stranded Russian tank columns, Russian vehicles lined up at Ukrainian civilian filling stations, commercial satellite photos of Russian truck columns, etc.

  139. Brian said:

    “Although I should say, it’s only been a few days, and I doubt if Putin and Xi decided to execute a plan to take down the US and the West, they would have planned it to take 48-72 hours…this isn’t a movie, both those guys are from cultures that think in terms of centuries…”

    I wouldn’t put too much credence in the idea that either Xi or Putin are really all that bright. Just like BidenCo. and Trudeau, they’re basically the scum that rose to the top of the sewage aerator that is our current set of world “leaders”.

    You can see how well Putin planned this, and how well he judged the Ukrainians. This was meant to be a 48-72 hour operation, tops, a true KGB/VDV style Desant just like they ran in Afghanistan. Thing is, that only works really well when you’re dealing with trusting allies who think you’re on their side, and who aren’t going to resist your forces.

    I think it’s fairly safe to call this a disaster. If Russia is cut off from SWIFT, what happens then? Their economy is going to tank, and they’re now fully engaged in a tar baby named Ukraine. As Ukrainian attitudes harden because of the deaths caused by Russian troops, all those relatively friendly interactions you’ve seen posted on the internet are going to turn decidedly ugly, and you’ll start to see the locals doing what they’ve no doubt got lots and lots of memories doing to the Germans and the Soviets both.

    One of the flaws with this sort of warfare that the Russians really ought to know about better is precisely what we’re going to be seeing here in the near future–Total loss of security behind those advancing columns. Just like Iraq, you only own the ground you’re standing on, and when the state you’ve invaded is still in existence and getting outside aid…? LOL. I gotta tell you, if it wasn’t for all the human suffering and pain that’s going to go on, I’d be giddy with laughter at the prospect of seeing these idiots learn the same lessons that we didn’t learn in Iraq. The ones taught to the Iraqis and allllll those other brushfire warriors of the last seventy years by the Soviets.

    Russia has shiite for route-clearance gear. They’ve got lousy discipline, piss-poor security habits, and are extremely vulnerable to all of the same idiocies I watched US troops fall prey to in Iraq. The funny thing is, there probably aren’t going to be any Jessica Lynch-esque moments, because the Russians aren’t quite as stupid as we are, and they’re unlikely to risk a unit like a corps-level missile repair unit being in the tail of their advancing ground elements. Also, few chicks in the Russian military combat formations…

    Either way, Russia is about to get schooled the way we were, in Iraq. Thing is, they’ve not got the depth in their military to deal with it, and their economy is about the size of Florida’s. They’ve screwed up immensely, and that’s going to play out as things wear on. They had about 48-72 hours to make this work, get control of Kyiv, and put a puppet government into place. Zelensky didn’t play the game like he was supposed to, and is actually demonstrating more statesman-like behavior than the putative statesmen around the world. Russia is, I suspect, screwed. Gonna be interesting seeing what happens.

    I could maybe see Putin losing his shit and going nuclear–Or, trying to. Be pretty damn funny (in a very macabre and sick way, mind you…) if they try nuking Kyiv and miss, or have the weapon fizzle. I suspect, however, that while Putin might issue the orders to do so, the guys who have to execute things would probably have a sudden wake-up call and decide not to obey. Maybe.

    It’s a fscking kabuki soap opera, at this point. I can’t even begin to tell what is “really going on”, but I’m leaning towards “Russia Screwed” rather than a demonstration that “Russia Stronk”…

  140. Kirk: So it is your expert assessment that Putin’s a moron? Seems a questionable one, but I guess time will tell…I still suspect there’s more to come, because I think it wiser to assume the guy who rose from nowhere to ruling the Kremlin for decades is probably not in fact a moron…

  141. Brian, based on the last forty fscking years, they’re all morons. Name a good decision that’s actually benefited the people of the country they’re supposed to be stewards of? Any of them. I’ll wait.

    Putin hasn’t done a damn thing for Russia’s long-term benefit. Look at the state of the nation’s crown jewels in industry. There aren’t any–The space industry is now a joke. They can’t even service their Navy, and managed to sink their lone floating drydock, and nearly sunk their one fake aircraft carrier with it.

    The state of Russian power is a Potemkin village, propped up by robber baron oligarchs who’ve profited strictly from resource extraction. They used to have world-class industry in some areas; where is that now? Oh, yeah, right–They screwed themselves by cutting off the actual aviation production facilities in Ukraine. Which is also why their space industry is sucking wind–As partners, Ukraine played a key role. After the Donbas, Lugansk, and Crimea? All that evaporated.

    Putin is another one of the long line of men who think they’re smarter than they are, and has led Russia down a path to disaster. Instead of provoking the Europeans the way he has, what he should have been doing was integrating into the European Community like a tick. They just voted to cut Russia off from SWIFT; how do you think that’s going to play out, across the Russian economy? That cutoff lasts a few months, and they’ll take decades to recover. And, the Chinese are waiting in the wings to snap up their former Siberian provinces, which I don’t doubt they’ll do after this Ukrainian thing blows up in Putin’s face, which is looking increasingly likely.

    I am not impressed by what I see in the videos. The Russians are demonstrating abysmal march discipline, poor convoy technique, and a total lack of attention paid to local security at halts. As soon as the Ukrainians get motivated, most of those assholes are going to die. Right now, the Ukrainians I’ve seen in those videos are mostly bemused by the whole thing, and castigating the Russians for being there. Once the Russians start killing their friends? Oi. Shoe will be on the other foot, and all those little clots of broken-down vehicles and troops are gonna die ugly. The Ukrainians are standing around videoing their captured Russian conscripts crying, right now, having them call home to mama. Putin uses thermobarics in the cities? Those kids are going to count themselves lucky if they’re only skinned alive or burned to death. Ukraine is not really pissed off, as of yet; let things go on a bit longer, with more civilian deaths and more use of Russian “ruthlessness”? That’s going to change.

    Russia could still win this, but from what I’ve seen so far…? They ain’t gonna. Ukraine=Giant Tar Baby, and Putin is Br’er Fox.

    I almost wonder if Xi put him up to it, TBH. It’s looking like a massively ill-judged “own goal”. I’m pretty sure all the yes-men told Putin that Zelensky was going to be on a plane five minutes after Russian troops crossed the border, and, hell… Maybe that’s what BidenCo. told him, too. Whole thing is insane, and I did not expect to see them actually do anything. This is probably going to expose Russia for the fraud that it is, and open them up to God alone knows what, in terms of repercussions. I’m not joking about China looking north, seeing weakness, and their old provinces… Xi ain’t stupid, and if it makes more sense to take back Siberia now? Taiwan can wait. Plus that, the spectacle of watching what happens when you tackle someone who doesn’t want to be Borged? Educational. Note that there are literally millions of Chinese already in Siberia, as well–In some regions, they outnumber the ethnic Russians and natives alike. Friend of mine was in Siberia a few years ago, and he described several fairly large towns where he thought he was in China, and never heard Russian spoken at all.

    Like I said, though… We are in the vale of uncertainty, and I’ve no real idea what’s going to happen. You make war, it’s more than the flip of a coin, it’s a gamble of everything you own or might own. I highly recommend against it, just like I don’t recommend a life of violent crime. Sure, you can prosper at it for awhile, but eventually, the odds will catch up to you, and there will be some guy who won’t back down and kills you dead, or the community will take you down. Better a life of hard work and patience–The warrior may die bravely, but he usually dies young. See Alexander the Great for example…

  142. Why a photo of stopped Russian tank column in the Ukraine is reasonable evidence of their being stopped due to a fuel shortage:

    They’re in the Ukraine. They’re stopped. I.e., they are a target absent some sort of security precautions. Normally a tank column stopped for some other reason in disputed enemy territory will disperse at least somewhat into a defensive formation. But if they’re out of fuel, they might not have dispersed because some fool in charge wouldn’t let them. This is common in 3rd world militaries.

    Given all the truly stupid Russian actions we’ve seen so far, tactical as well as strategic, it would not be unreasonable to assume that this tank column is out of fuel. And that a photo of it is evidence of this. Certainly it might be a photo of a stopped Russian tank column someplace outside the Ukraine. And photos can be faked. You pays your money and takes your choice.

  143. there is an echo of the georgian war, which involved half as many troops, they had a 7/1 advantage, the fire cameinitially from separatists in south ossetia, they hit the capital, Tblisi and two major cities, Tsinkivali, and Gori, Putin was able to extract concessions then, ironically the incoming Obama administration thought it was time for a ‘reset’ peregrushka, which would prefigure their surrender to Iran, and the later slaughter in Syria, part of the Arab Winter,

  144. I don’t know that I take the idea of Russians going door to door to borrow a little fuel seriously. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that farmers there, like farmers here, mostly have bulk fuel on their farms, then there are fuel stations scattered about like here as well. Both would be important if Russian logistics are as thin as they appear. Being able to effectively deny those fuel supplies to the enemy or better yet destroy some of their vehicles is a good idea. Sugar isn’t the way and water is too easy to avoid.

  145. Thing about Georgia was that it’s a tiny little country, basically the size of a medium-sized US state. Ukraine is more like a US region, say the size of the entire Pacific Northwest or the northern Midwest.

    The fact that the Russians are taking this long does not bode well for the entire effort, and if they keep doubling down on things, it will only get worse.

    The video I’ve seen from the operation shows Russian sloppiness and arrogance; they’re acting like they’re somewhere on an exercise. No observers out of the hatches, no local security, troops standing around laughing and joking. Look at the Ukrainians, by contrast–They’re all out on the ground with weapons out. Staged? Maybe; I suspect its an artifact of the training they got from the US and others. Some of the Ukrainians I met in the US Army were there to learn, and I wonder how many of them went home to teach others?

    Like I said… I have no idea what is “really going on”, or if some of the crap I see on the Internet is even real, but if it is accurate? Russia is in a hell of a lot of trouble. Those Desant operations failing to take the airports? The Russian paratroop aircraft getting shot down, without the VDV guys getting out? That ain’t what I’d term “signs of victory”. Bogged-down convoys, captured crying conscripts? Little Ukrainian grannies berating Russian soldiers, out in the open? The guys at Snake Island, and that Ukrainian Marine who deliberately blew himself up to deny them that bridge?

    It’s admittedly still sort of early days, but I think Putin has made a tremendous error in judgement, and I hope that the idiot doesn’t decide to double-down on the Schrecklichkeit in an effort to cow the Ukrainians. That’s only going to harden attitudes, and get a lot more people killed. Right now, the Ukrainians are treating those poor Russian conscript kids relatively gently; you see the Russians deploy thermobarics and kill thousands of civilians in those shelters? Jesus… I don’t even like to think about it, TBH. Y’all have likely not really dug into the nasty details of the Holodomor or WWII and the aftermath in the Ukraine. The locals are entirely capable of outdoing the Chechens or the Afghanis, when enraged.

    I think that what’s happened here is that we have a guy, Putin, who was brought up and trained in the KGB where everything was relatively small and very well-orchestrated, when they were doing operations. This has all the signs of a major dezinformatsiya-driven operation akin to the one that took down Amin in Afghanistan. Thing was, this didn’t go according to the finely-tuned plan. Zelensky was supposed to run, the rest of the Ukrainian government was meant to panic and run, and those Desant operations were meant to work, giving them airheads near Kyiv. Didn’t eventuate that way, and I think that this is another case of a dumbass like Hitler who kept going to the casino thinking he was on a winning streak, only to find out in the end that only the house wins. Putin maybe thinks he can do no wrong, and that this is just another Donbas or Crimea; now that it is proving that it ain’t…?

    One of the crucial things in war is that you have to fool your enemy, if you want to win an attack. What we are seeing here is a case where the attacker has fooled himself… Which ain’t going to end well, for anyone.

    Really hope that if Putin goes off the deep end and orders things like nukes, his own guys take him down. That sort of crazy in charge of even the likely very-much degraded Soviet arsenal is potentially something that could end a lot of things for the world. Not the least of which might be Russia…

  146. US media cite the Pentagon as saying today:

    “Ukrainians have taken Russia by surprise by dominating its air defense, a senior Pentagon official said Saturday. Ukraine’s air defense of its capital city of Kyiv remains viable as the fighting stretches into its third day despite Russia launching a total of 250 ballistic and cruise missiles as of Saturday, the official said.”

    The Ukrainian Chief of Air Staff LtGen Oleschuk gave a long brief. It was notable for the Ukrainian claims that they are still flying airstrikes especially using the Su-24M/MR FENCERs, doing battlefield interdiction using the Su-25M FROGFOOT, flying intercepts using Su-27 FLANKERs and MiG-29 FULCRUMs, and bagging cruise missiles, TBMs and aircraft using their S-300PT/PS/V1 SAMs.

    LtGen Oleschuk gave today’s Ukrainian AF kill tally as “three Su-30SM, 11 helicopters, two Su-25, two IL-76MD, a convoy of equipment and a fuel train”.

  147. ah yes tarik amin, the captain tupolev of the stavka (general staff) it yielded a decade of death and pain, one of the members of the zenith team, poteyev, was the one that gave up the chapman network, one might say a similar thing applied in chechnya, getting dudayev was the beginning of their problem

  148. USA’s biggest error in Iraq was leaving too much that was still functional, like equipment, units . . . It all came back to bite us. Putin watched that.

    Having invaded and enraged everyone, Putin can no longer risk a functional Ukraine military either working to become free or threatening next door. I’m thinking he’s now standing off a bit and incurring costs but doing much more damage to the Ukr military than he’s taking.

    And that’s a good plan. If they just keep it up, the Ukr military will be toothless soon, and Russia can go home and safely subsume Ukraine at its own pace.

    Killing civilians in an invasion is the worst way to enrage the world. Putin doesn’t need to kill civilians if the Ukr military is trashed.

  149. Like others, I’m surprised that Putin has been so reckless. Like a foolish drug-dealer, he has become high on his own supply.

    I have got the same impression as Kirk. It’s almost as if the Russians are expecting to be greeted like liberators . . . that has a familiar ring. And that part of the world produces some Olympic-quality atrocities when the parties get pissed off enough.

    There is definitely more going on than meets our eyes–unfortunately that’s trivially true, at all times. From what I can see, the (apparent, relative) bloodlessness and partial commitment indicate that Putin really expected a walkover. Or the incrementalism indicates the limits of their logistic capability, hard to tell. Both?

    Merridale’s “Ivan’s War” gives a good picture of the complexities of the Red Army–the class, region, ethnic, and other divides that dictated what could and could not be done, even in a supposedly all-powerful police state. The costly tie with Finland had an effect on the morale of the army, and the early defeats by the Germans had the same effects– desertion to the enemy or home, passive near-mutinies, even fraggings.

    Had Hitler not worked so hard to prove himself worse than Stalin, many in the Red Army that held and eventually drove back the Wehrmacht would have had no motivation whatever to fight. Having your country invaded and your people murdered tends to stimulate strong feelings.

    As far back as my Soviet Studies classes in the early ’70s, the Russian – Ukrainian relationship was considered the axis of Soviet ethnic reality. Despite the literally tortured history, Ukrainians were over-represented in the army enlisted ranks, in particular the long-service NCOs. Like Southerners in the US, and for some of the same reasons, one might argue.

    And of course, it took until the early 50s for the Reds to completely pacify the remoter areas of the Ukraine and neighboring areas. Partisan bands for all sides and none were endemic.

    The world offers few examples of secret policemen rising to the challenge of warlordism, much less statesmanship. Putin will prove no exception.

  150. Someone earlier suggested Xi put Putin up to this. The Conservative Treehouse has an article saying the US fed China a nugget that Ukraine was about to join NATO. Of course, China passed this on to Russia. Ukraine joining NATO is a red line for Putin. Perhaps, based on this, he decided to move.

    Stunning Discovery – Evidence Suggests U.S. Intel Baited Russia in December by Telling China Ukraine Was Coming Into NATO

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2022/02/26/stunning-discovery-evidence-suggests-u-s-intel-baited-russia-in-december-by-telling-china-ukraine-was-coming-into-nato/

  151. All the armchair generals are pretty funny. You really don’t know enough to comment intelligently.

    Remember when Bradley broke out of Normandy and everyone was WOW, we are great, and the Brits and Canadians so slow grinding away in their sectors. Yup grinding up the pride of the German armour mostly. Which is why Bradley could break out as he did.

    This early stuff is what the Russians are doing in Ukraine. It will inform their next set of moves, in response to whatever the Ukrainian military does next. It intends to destroy it, so drawing it onto you, is just one of many ways to break stuff and kill people to your purpose.

    Do not doubt, a Ukraine that is hostile, or occupied by hostiles, is an existential threat to Russia.

  152. Do not doubt, a Ukraine that is hostile is precisely what PenGun’s man Putin is accomplishing.

    WW II is probably the worst possible prism through which to view what’s happening, especially the WW II of masses of men, tanks, artillery, and CAS and NGS.

    As for “Remember when Bradley broke out of Normandy and everyone was WOW, we are great and the Brits and Canadians so slow . . . .” Yes, I can recall many foolish observations made about WWII by many people in my lifetime of studying it. Perhaps there is a point camouflaged in your verbiage.

  153. I contradicted myself, or at least muddied my own comments re WWII.

    That period is relevant in regard to the permanent factors of war; the ephemeral –weaponry, tactics, logistics– are all context bound and offer relatively little insight into today’s war.

    The moral/morale, politik/political, and other factors emphasized by the great Carl are decisive. Software and wetware, not hardware.

  154. I doubt there’s much point in trying to assess the relative losses from here. To a certain extent, it doesn’t matter. For Ukraine, it’s a matter of survival. Putin won’t have that sort of cover, every casualty and material loss will be laid to his account.

    If the Russian attack is turning into the debacle I hope it is, there’s the internet now and Russia has lagged far behind China in domestic control. There’s no Russian Great Firewall. Putin will not be able to keep all the screw ups secret. It took years for knowledge of the problems in Afghanistan to become widely known. Putin will be under extreme pressure to get this wound up.

    If he contemplates some sort of escalation, he’d better keep in mind that Ukraine is in a position to give back into Russia proper. There is a report of a successful attack on a Russian air base. A number of cities are in missile range and there are nowhere near enough Russian troops to control more than the smallest fraction of territory. This is the first time that Putin has gone after anyone that could put a craters in Russian cities. There’s always the chance that if things go bad for Ukraine, they might not decide to make it as expensive as possible anyway.

  155. So much misinformation out there. Hard to tell what’s going on. Looks like Russia isn’t advancing much, but the original “take Kiev in 48-72 hour” stuff was completely absurd, so who knows what their actual metrics have been…
    I’m no Putin apologist or defender, never have been, but I’m still for now sticking to my position that there’s got to be some sort of larger plan. On the current trajectory of what we can see, he’s not gonna make it to summer…

  156. Very ominous:

    https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/1497776719855591431?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

    Tweet

    “Marco Rubio@marcorubio#Russian military leaders should think very carefully before following the orders they recently received

    #Putin is 2 years shy of the life expectancy of a Russian male and you will spend the rest of your lives evading an International tribunal for committing his crimes”

    I saw this coming yesterday:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/67295.html#comment-1054541

    February 25, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    “Enter Putin’s first try at a bigger gun:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10552743/Furious-Putin-prepares-use-father-bombs-brave-Ukrainians-hold-advance.html

    “The Russians need a bigger stick or much more effective weapons.”

    When that doesn’t work, and it won’t, his next bigger stick is chemical weapons. I expect we will see how far Putin will go, and also when his friends realize that, when he’s gone, they might end up on a rope after a war crimes trial.”

  157. I don’t trust Rubio at all. He was on the Senate intelligence committee at the heart of Russiagate. It’s been clear this past week he’s the point man for IC twitter “leaks.”

  158. The good news is that the kleptocrats have finally stopped arguing about the shape of the table and agreed to talk about de-escalation in Belarus.

    The bad news is that the Bidens & Boris Johnsons of this world continue to pour gasoline on the fire.

    Scott Ritter — another of those in the General Smedly Butler tradition who have become disenchanted with the leadership of “our guys” — has an interesting perspective. Bottom line — if the West does not start to get realistic, the situation in the Ukraine is going to spiral into something with serious consequences for us all. Is getting the corrupt Ukraine into NATO really worth the risk?

    https://www.energyintel.com/0000017f-307c-d3e7-a17f-f1fdfee40000

    “Russia will not take this second tranche of sanctions laying down. Putin has made clear that Russia will respond in kind, using symmetrical (i.e., countersanctions) and asymmetrical (i.e., cyberattacks) actions designed to disrupt the economies of targeted nations and entities. Russia has made no secret that this is its intended course of action, but as with its “military-technical” solution for Ukraine, the West shrugged off the Russian threat. Russia, however, does not bluff.”

  159. I just saw this:

    Dr Peter Caddick-Adams #StandwithUkraine@militaryhistori·

    21m⚡️🇺🇦 The Ukrainian air forces have two air aces, each having destroyed over 5 Russian aircraft each.

    Declared UKR kills (unverified) so far: 46 aircraft of all types and 26 helicopters.

    Assessment: Clear evidence of Russia’s failure to destroy the UKR Air Forces

  160. Brian, it’s an anecdote too. Ignore anecdotes, press releases, etc. Real war burns through fuel, spares and stores at a phenomenal rate. Only the US and Israel can do so without observors having to pay attention to logistics to figure out what’s going on. Otherwise it’s pretty much a question of who runs out first.

    And this is the spring thaw mud season in the Ukraine, so just getting the stuff to the fighting is critical. But only for the Russians as the Ukrainians are fighting on their own turf, and are falling back on their bases of supply. This inherently gives the Ukrainians a great advantage. Identifying the details of advancing logistical systems in the morass of disinformation and irrelevant details takes long experience, which Trent and I have, but a lot more time than I want to spend doing so. So I fix on crucial objectively verifiable stuff like satellite images of Russian truck columns prepared by others, which haven’t yet appeared.

    Trent can do all this stuff but has to spend long hours every day parsing through Twitter feeds and whatnot to ferret out what is really going on, and he still gets it wrong a fair amount (and admits it when he does). I don’t want to go to that much work.

  161. This video clip seems to show that the Russians are jamming GPS reception in Ukraine, but has done s–t to slow down Ukrainian TB2 drones. The UAF is peeling back Russian Army armored columns air defenses.

    Ukraine Weapons Tracker
    @UAWeapons
    #Ukraine: Footage just released of a 9K37-series (Could be M1-2/M2/M3) Buk SAM TELAR being destroyed by a Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2, likely with a MAM-L munition.

    This occurred in Malina, #Zhitomyr and it can be seen there is serious destruction.

    This occurred in Malina, #Zhitomyr and it can be seen there is serious destruction.

    https://twitter.com/UAWeapons/status/1498003016082931712

  162. I expect that the US Javelin production line will be going 24/7 over the next few years to deal with the orders for them that are going to come in from the Ukraine war.

    If only because Israel won’t let it’s Spike missiles or other high tech weapons like drones be transferred to fight Russia.

    Turkish drones & American missiles will displace Israeli weapons in the Baltic, East European & Scandinavian arms market.

  163. The interesting escalation now is that apparently Belarus is allowing rockets to be fired from their territory, and that their forces are being used to invest Kyiv.

    Not a good look. Putin and his oligarchs are complaining about lost properties in the West, but they seem to think they can operate like criminals. Did Belarus even declare war? They’re supposedly a sovereign nation, so how the hell are they legally involved?

    This is getting uglier by the moment. Putin threatens nukes over SWIFT being shut down in Russia? Yeesh. Like that’s going to work.

    Long-term, the Russians are screwed. They’re going to turn themselves into international pariahs, and then what will they have gained?

    The thing to look for is the moment of maximum overextension, and then watch what happens. Either Putin gets “hospitalized” and someone else takes over, or the idiot presses the buttons. Alternatively, China could come in and make Siberia a “protectorate” after Russia slides into chaos.

    Were I Xi, I’d be putting everything against Taiwan on hold, and awaiting developments in Russia. Putin has committed nearly everything he has in the way of real usable force to the invasion of Ukraine, and it’s been almost a week. Kyiv still stands, Zelensky remains defiant, and what do they have to show for it? Ukrainian attitudes are hardening, and the Belarus piling-on isn’t going to help things in terms of international relations.

    Interesting times.

  164. This is getting uglier by the moment. Putin threatens nukes over SWIFT being shut down in Russia? Yeesh. Like that’s going to work.
    ===
    Popping a nuke in Ukraine would enormously complicate what would already be a disaster-in-the-making occupation assuming Russia gets that far. More likely it would be the equivalent of slamming the door as you bolt the house. Even one anywhere near NATO territory and it would be go-time for every asset NATO can muster to light up Russia like a Christmas tree. You’d think Putin would have noticed over the last eighty years that nukes are really limited to being a counterforce and conventional attack deterrent. It will hopefully have some utility in tamping down the chickenhawks like Kinzinger who seem to be itching to get NATO aka the US into the fight. My curveball theory is that the nuke warning is more directed at any of Putin’s puppets/allies in the ‘stans who might get ideas about switching sides.

  165. When the Stade France in Paris was attacked by terrorists during a national team soccer game in 2015 President Hollande fled. Hollande is the kind of European bureaucratic politician Putin sees every day. A coward.

    A man, a Frenchman of the kind that apparently went extinct in WW1 would have demanded a gun from his security detail, then counter-attacked.

    Zelensky Is a gem. Hollande, the bribable Germans (Schroeder eat. al.), and former communist Merkel are paste.

  166. Poland & Bulgaria have just offered their entire existing Mig-29 fleets to Ukraine as immediate foreign military aid.

    Woofers@NotWoofers·14m
    Poland operates about two dozen which soon will be replaced with F-35s. Slovakia operates about a dozen, believe they’re also being phased out for NATO jets. Bulgaria has 15 they’re phasing out for F-16s in two years. You have the potential to double Ukraine’s MiG-29 fleet.
    https://twitter.com/NotWoofers/status/1498032992509325313

  167. It gets better. Slovakia is adding its Mig-29 fleet as well.

    Michael Birnbaum
    @michaelbirnbaum
    ·
    53m
    European Union to supply fighter jets to Ukraine: Russian-made ones, from Bulgaria, Slovakia and Poland, a European diplomat tells me

    These NATO surplus Mig-29 will have NATO standard communications & navigation.

    Please note, Ukraine has enough pilots to fly these planes. They left the UAF to fly with Ukrainian airlines. All of which are grounded.

    It will take a week of high intensity simulator time in NATO nations to get them back to Mig-29 flight proficience.

  168. I’ve been thinking about the parallels and divergences between Putin’s gambit and everybody’s favorite bad guy. (Hitler is one of those figures whose ghost is greater than the man, but I digress.)

    The short drive from Germany to Prague by Guderian’s panzers was no brilliantly executed strike–but it revealed to flaws in the machine that German officers were still willing to be honest about, and which were addressed if not fixed.

    In Poland in 1939, about mid-month IIRC, the German 18th Infantry Division was thoroughly mangled by a Polish counterattack, and the wear and tear on the whole German force was enough to require peace over the winter.

    In 1940 the Dutch actually defeated and captured a lot of Geman para and air-landing troops, and while some operations were wildly successful (Eben Emael) others were pretty shambolic and Hitler was becoming disenchanted with the large-scale airborne assault concept even before the costly miracle at Crete.

    All these were from the best-trained and equipped and doctrinally most-advanced military in the world, after a half-decade of apparent peace and prosperity and diplomatic triumphs.

    Compare the two periods at your leisure.

  169. A high level EU official just stated the 55 NATO Surplus Mig-29’s were being delivered “within the hour” about three hours ago.

    People do not understand the implications of 55 “NATO surplus” Mig-29’s arriving in Ukraine immediately mean.

    The UAF cannot assimilate & use those Mig-29’s that quickly without pilots and ground crew to go with them.

    Unless this is NATO’s version of Chennault’s Flying Tigers.

    Pres. Zelensky already has a program for immediately inducting any foreign soldier who wishes to fight for Ukraine.

    You might have serving Polish, Slovakian and Bulgarian MiG drivers in the mix along with their ground crew.

    These MIG-29’s have link 16 to listen to NATO E-3D.

    Any Russian or Belarus aircraft over 50 meters altitude w/in 300 km of NATO borders is now a target.

    Assuming NATO pulls out the Link 16, it can set up an analogue radio relay in Ukraine for voice & data.

    Then you could seat a Ukrainian radar air intercept officer in the AWACS with a NATO instructor & drive intercepts from the E-3D

    The Russians have picked the wrong fight

  170. I think by 1939, Hitler was entrenched behind a well organized security apparatus so it’s hard to judge just how much a serious defeat would have endangered him. The fact that he survived until the end suggests; not much.

    At this point Putin should be even more secure. Yet I’m hearing questions of his continued health after a couple of days with the results ambiguous rather than disastrous, though that ambiguity itself is a sign that things don’t seem to be going well for the Russians.

    Hitler didn’t have to do everything in full view of the world. At worst, some sort of word might leak out days to weeks afterward. Now, everything we see on the internet, Russians can see as well. There are other stories that Russia might be finding out that they don’t have a monopoly on cyber warfare. They seem to consider totally disconnecting from the internet and trying to establish one limited to their borders a possible solution. They would join North Korea in that. I’m pretty sure that a lot of Russians would see that as a provocation and a further sign that the regime is tottering.

    Something to keep in mind with the news of possible NATO lend-lease is that Ukraine is small enough that basing the aircraft outside of Ukraine wouldn’t seriously limit them.

  171. Trent T: “It will take a week of high intensity simulator time in NATO nations to get them back to Mig-29 flight proficience.”

    Trent — stop & think about what you are saying there. You are saying that NATO countries should become active belligerents in the Ukrainian war, by training pilots to fight against Russia. From a simple military point of view (ignoring for a moment the politics) the appropriate action by Russia would be to drop a hypersonic missile on the flight simulator in the NATO country. Then the war would just have expanded out of the Ukraine into Western Europe. Before we know where we are, thermonuclear warheads would be criss-crossing the Atlantic.

    I for one hope that NATO countries are smart enough to see the risks of escalation, and pull back from that kind of aggressive insanity. Otherwise, a lot of armchair warriors are going to find they are no longer spectators; instead they will be participants in a much wider, much worse war. Is getting the corrupt Ukraine into NATO really worth dying for?

  172. Gavin, you assume you have all the facts. The #1 thing about this war is that no one does. Assuming that the Euros are complete cowards, this might not be contrary to that. As an example, they might know Putin’s supporters are about to pull the plug on him. I have zero evidence of this, but consider that we now have reason to suspect that the Russians simply lack the trucks, particularly specialized fuel trucks, to resupply a ten division (30 brigades/90 battalion combat teams aka BTTs) force in medium intensity combat. Even without the mud.

    A better approach would be to think, “That’s interesting. I wonder what it means.”

  173. “You might have serving Polish, Slovakian and Bulgarian MiG drivers in the mix along with their ground crew.”
    I don’t know who this guy is:
    https://twitter.com/sotiridi/status/1498080359195586567
    #Breaking: Just in – I have a source from a message that said that the #EU fighter jets will host actual European pilots, AND that they will and go fight together with #Ukraine, under the “international territorial defense legion force”, missiles will be provided through #Poland.

    This is crazy, and should be stopped immediately and publicly, lest this thing get completely out of control.

  174. I take the idea that Putin is in serious jeopardy with a grain of salt. He’s had a lot of time to eliminate anyone in a position to threaten him. He’s very much a do unto others before they even think to do unto me sort of guy and not bashful at all about fallout. Using something like novichok is a sort of insane provocation (that the West shrugged off) when a simple knife between the ribs would have been infinitely simpler and, as it turned out, more certain.

    I’m betting the rot is as bad or worse for the Chinese, the real question is whether Xi realizes it.

  175. Let’s think about the path that escalation might take — because the casual assumption that NATO countries can safely stand outside and toss weapons to the Ukrainian forces is undoubtedly wrong. Here is a reasonable scenario:

    Since NATO is beating its chest, Russia drops a hypersonic missile on NATO HQ in Brussels. Maybe a dummy warhead at that speed would be enough to eliminate the HQ, or maybe it would have to be a small nuclear bomb.

    Belgium has no real military of its own. Nor does it have nuclear weapons. Belgium would then appeal to NATO members for support. What would Biden* do — knowing that the Rubicon has been crossed, and that the wrong response would ensure the thermonuclear annihilation of the DC Swamp?

  176. No need to waste an imaginary hypersonic missile when a plain old ballistic missile will do.

    Remember we’re dealing with a country that can’t fix it’s single aircraft carrier because they sank the only drydock that would hold it and crashed a crane into the flight deck for good measure. They can’t afford to fix the drydock either. The aircraft carrier that never put to sea unless accompanied by an oceangoing tug and was last seen transiting the English Chanel trailing a plume of smoke visible from land.

    There may still be time to apply for a Russian visa and working air connections that would land you within the impregnable Russian missile defense that also doesn’t exist.

  177. Take a deep breath, a strike on NATO HQ is not going to go unanswered. So it follows we go up the escalation tree. Putin is not a fool. He made a bet on Ukraine and that might not be all he thought it would be, but he is smart enough to make the best of it without risking nuclear war. He can play a longer game and he has locational advantage in that theater. And he is focused while the West loses focus quickly (sanctions cut both ways and they need his oil and gas).

    If he is unbalanced enough to make a direct strike at the NATO HQ or any such strike at the West, then all rational calculations are void and we are probably all screwed. Would a coup take him down before he could act? Doubtful.

    Death6

  178. MCS: “Remember we’re dealing with a country that can’t fix it’s single aircraft carrier …”

    Come on! Think! Suppose you were a financially prudent nation with a balanced budget and a trade surplus — not a foolish country which prints money and runs up debts which will never be repaid. So you cannot write a blank check for your military. Then what do you choose to spend your limited funds on?

    Do you spend those funds on aircraft carriers — which many analysts say are going the way of the battleship? China claims to have missiles which can take out aircraft carriers. Maybe China is lying, but everyone can see SpacEx drop a booster onto a tiny ship rolling in the ocean, so we can guess that it is now possible for a single missile to eliminate a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier.

    Or do you spend those funds on building hypersonic missiles?

    The most dangerous mistake in conflict is to underestimate the opposition. Like it or not, in reality there is a significant potential for the situation in the Ukraine to lead to widespread nuclear war. Bringing the corrupt Ukraine into NATO is just not worth it!

  179. Gavin just needs to apply for Russian citizenship. He can use the stalwart work he’s doing here as part of his CV.

    Cousin Eddie kinda has the edge of the real issue here, with regards to the difference between Nazi Germany and modern Russia: The Germans were a true “learning organization”, while the Russians…? Not so much. Germany honed its modern military chops during the various “minor” pre-WWII campaigns like the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Anschluss with Austria. If you think those weren’t “learning events”, then you shouldn’t comment on military affairs. Those were live-fire events without shooting, and the German military learned a lot, right alongside Hitler and the rest of the German infrastructure. Poland in ’39 would have looked a lot different, and been a hell of a lot less successful without those two campaigns having taught things to the Germans. The pause on the Western front due to Allied leaders being pussys? Same thing; the Germans learned in Poland, applied those lessons, and that’s a key reason that France 1940 happened.

    Russians don’t learn; they’ve a seventy-year legacy of Soviet dezinformatsiya preventing that. They can’t even tell themselves the truth. The logistics stuff outlined by some posters is important, and one thing you’ll note from a lot of open-source stuff before this lit off is that the Russians were not buying the key logistics enablers they would need to pull something like this off.

    You look at those videos coming out of Ukraine, and what do you not see? This is important; there are no bridging assets, no convoys of ammunition resupply, and there aren’t enough forces available to do Soviet-style logistics, which really didn’t exist–You used follow-on forces instead, after your leading wave was “expended” in the fighting.

    Putin is trying to make Western-style war with a Soviet-style military that has a Florida-sized economy backing it up, and none of the mass a Soviet-style war requires.

    The Russians have been lying to the world for so long that they no longer know the difference between reality and the lie. They have been building a Potemkin-village military that looks really impressive in small-scale bullying actions like Georgia, but which cannot play at the varsity level. They blew money like water designing new tanks they can’t afford to purchase, and never really upgraded the key enablers for those tanks like logistics units and the supporting equipment. It’s like a lot of other military forces in the world–You wonder why the Europeans can’t do things without the US? Simple; they don’t buy the logistics tools they’d need. No aerial refueling, for example. No Roll-on/Roll-off dedicated ships. In a lot of the NATO militaries, they haven’t even purchased the munitions they’d need in wartime.

    Putin basically has an M&M army. Hard candy shell of wannabe hardasse like the Wagner Group that got itself whacked by an American SF team to the tune of hundreds of vehicles and God alone knows how many troops in Syria when they “made a move” on US forces and allies. Not really all that competent, basically just bully-boys for the oligarchs and KGB remnants. Under the hard shell? Basically, a whole lot of nothing, in terms of the things Putin would need to do what he’s trying to pull off in Ukraine.

    Oh, and nukes. That’s about it. End of the day, here? He’s either going to have to “unleash hell”, or watch the forces he and the poor bastards in Belarus he’s coercing to go into Ukraine get nickle-and-dimed to death by Ukrainians who’re likely to start getting really ugly with those poor bastards.

    I don’t see a “best case” here. Putin has bitten off way more than he can chew, and I think the key reason is, he believed his own disinformatsiya about how badass Russian forces were.

    The key thing to using disinformation and deception in war? Don’t deceive yourself. The Russians have been building a Potemkin-army, and that shows ever so much in Ukraine.

  180. I believe these two things simultaneously:
    1. Russia is probably incapable of defeating Ukraine and definitely incapable of occupying Ukraine.
    2. Everything you see online now is part of a massive coordinated campaign by Western IC in support of Ukraine.
    (Oh yeah, I should also say that I believe that Russia is 100% in the wrong here, and don’t think that 2 means anything otherwise.)

  181. Latest from Gavin? LOL… Dude, take off the red filters. Your fantasy Russia-Stronk shit is just laughable.

    Reality? Putin is an idiot, and his military forces are farcical. If he does go nuclear, I’ll lay long odds with anyone that there will be a bunch of fizzles with the warheads, the missiles won’t launch or will even blow up in the silos, and the bombs they drop with aviation will be the only things likely to work. I’ll predict that after all that is over with, should Putin be so stupid, there will be epic amounts of bribery, lies, and “well, we didn’t have the right materials, but…”. Their strategic forces aren’t any better than the line troops with the tanks. These are people who couldn’t account for literally hundreds of warheads at the end of the Cold War, and whose accounting methods were deliberately vague because “security”. Which they mostly used to cover up little peccadilloes like diverting concrete and all the rest. The Russians may have fixed some of the corruption, but I doubt it was really enough to fix everything or really make a dent in the underlying culture. They still have issues with dedovschina out in the line units–You think they fixed corruption in the Strategic Rocket Forces officer corps? LOL…

    Your apologia for this tin-pot wannabe Stalin are laughable. The reality here is that Putin isn’t Stalin, he’s Bozo the Clown with nukes and a tissue-paper military that can’t even get out of its own way. Watch the news over the next few weeks–Ukraine will still be there, and Russia? Maybe not so much. Russia is a third-world economy with delusions of grandeur, the size of Florida. All Putin is accomplishing here is embarrassing himself.

    Hell, at the rate things are going, Trudeau may be in office longer. Failure in Russia is not traditionally rewarded.

  182. As another point in all this… Russia today demonstrates the issues with all of our leadership, around the world. What actually qualifies any of these assholes to be in charge?

    Zelensky is a former comic actor. Think about that, for just a second: Who has demonstrated better leadership in all this? Zelensky…? Or, any of the other jokes-in-office we have, who’re all “credentialed smart people” with all the right entries on their CV’s? Ya think Trudeau would have stayed in place, if Canada was in the situation Ukraine is? Or, would he have been on the first thing smoking, along with his slut mother?

    We’ve managed to elevate people that have no business being there to high office around the world. Has Putin done a goddamn thing to address the real problems in Russia, like standards of living and the demographic decline? Their industry once had some serious crown jewels, like their space program. Where is that, today? In ruins. In ten years, Russia is going to have to hire Elon Musk if they want to launch a satellite, and that’s just tragic.

    What has Xi done for China? What has BidenCo. done for the US?

    None of these “leaders” are worth the powder to blow them up with. They’re disasters for the human race.

    We need to grow up, and get beyond the traditional politics. These assholes need to be held accountable for their performance, across all levels of government. The US isn’t any better than Russia, in a lot of these regards–Do go look up what happened to the assclowns in the EPA that killed a river back a few years ago. Consequence-free, and they even rewarded themselves and handed out promotions.

    Why do we allow this? In the end, it’s our own damn faults for investing authority and power in the clearly unfit.

  183. I am certainly no expert on war or Ukraine but I wonder what the truth is.

    Essentially, Macgregor is saying that Russia does not want to engage a civilian population and is making every effort to avoid civilian conflict in those population centers. In part this is because Putin knows the Western approach is a propaganda war that would be fueled by what it would look like if population carnage took place. However, if Ukraine President Zelenskyy does not acquiesce to terms, Putin could easily crush those centers with artillery and rockets.

    I don’t think the fat lady has sung yet.

  184. They’ve already started, in Kharkiv. Which, as you might not know, is an ethnic Russian-majority part of Ukraine, near the border.

    Stop and think about that, for a minute: They’re being forced to use schrecklichkeit on a Russian city.

    Contemplate the cognitive dissonance, here: Putin is going into Ukraine because of Ukrainian “abuse” of Russian ethnics. It now appears that those people are so uncooperative and unhappy with their “liberators” that they need to be bombed into submission with cluster munitions.

    Oh, yeah… This is a masterwork of international power politics, this is.

    D’ya start to see why I’m contemptuous of idiots like Gavin that are posting here going “Yay, Putin, super-genius…” and saying “Russia Stronk”?

    And, Gavin…? You are posting things that indicate clinical idiocy. You’ve bought into the dezinformatsiya, and are positioning yourself as though you were sitting in the middle of the circus-funhouse-of-mirrors that is the Kremlin. Putin has no idea of what his military really is capable of, or what its limitations are. You can see that clearly in everything that’s going on. The only path to victory in Ukraine was a quick, clean decapitation of the Ukrainian government and immediate return to peaceful conditions. That ain’t happening. If anything, this is going to strip Russian forces of all their candy-coating, and leave nothing behind but soft inner shell of chocolate, perfectly fit for Chinese delectation. Putin is an utter fool.

    And, of course, the Russians are foolish, feckless idiots as a nation, allowing the likes of Putin and his cronies to cosplay as “strongman leaders”. They’re destroying Russia, as we watch.

    Christ on a crutch, the Turks are sending the same drones that were used against Armenia to Ukraine. Try that on for size, Vlad and Vlad-fellators–Turkey is intervening in Central Europe, again. They’re likely going to wind up with a strong relationship with post-war Ukraine, and how’s that going to go down in terms of strategic implication over the long haul?

    Anyone that says that Russia is demonstrating strength here is delusional. At this point, Russia is that lunatic drunk down the street who’s been beating his wife and kids for years, and is now standing out in the street with a gun to her head, threatening to kill her for having had the balls to try and leave him. Thing is, in that scenario? The gun is a seventy year old revolver, unmaintained, and loaded with one round of new ammo, while the other five chambers are loaded with a mix of blanks, black powder rounds from the original issue for the gun, and empty chambers that the asshole has been claiming are filled with fresh, new ammo.

    This is not going to end well for Russia. In terms of history, this is like Croesus of Lydia, who asked the Oracle at Delphi whether he should go to war with Persia. The Oracle’s reply? “If Croesus goes to war, he will destroy a great empire.”.

    Anyone remember Lydia, these days?

    Putin would have gotten a similar response, I fear. And, lost in the hall of funhouse mirrors that is Russia, he made a similarly erroneous strategic decision. Russia will suffer because of it, and because of their love of the “Russia Stronk” strongman leadership style.

    How many millions of Russians died because of Stalin’s “genius”, again? He supported a tyrant to conquer Europe, and was shocked when that tyrant turned on him? Smaaaaart. And, funnily enough, the idiot Russians revere him to this day as a “great leader”. Morons, the lot of them…

  185. There are a good many Russian and Belarusian cities in range as well and it doesn’t look like the Russians are in any shape to do much to stop the Ukrainians from giving as good as they get. “Crushing” those centers would be a very long term project since it doesn’t look like Ukraine is going to fold up at the first landing shell. We spent the better part of 2-1/2 years doing a pretty good job of crushing Germany without extinguishing resistance.

    Putin could get away with a lot in Chechnya, a small region far from foreign borders but even that consumed the better part of two years. Putin might have as much as a week.

  186. Someone explain this to me:
    https://twitter.com/JavierBlas/status/1498354014282555397
    BREAKING: And wow!!! After BP, the deluge. Shell announces it’s exiting all its joint-ventures with Gazprom, including its 27.5% stake in the Sakhalin-2 LNG facility. Shell carries those JV at $3 billion valuation on its books, and it’s warning of impartments

    So Western companies are going to dump their shares in Russian energy companies? So they can be bought up by Chinese companies for pennies on the dollar and tighten Russia/China relations? What’s the sense of that, especially when Europe is still totally dependent on Russia to keep the lights on?

  187. Brian, the key thing is, the Chinese can’t provide what the Western companies can, because they buy the same stuff from them that the Russians do–Expertise and know-how, plus technology. The thing to remember here is that these people aren’t actually real economies. The Chinese are getting there, but let’s remember: Up until a few years ago, they weren’t even capable of making the parts for ballpoint pens.

  188. You honestly think Chinese companies can’t hire any Western experts they need? Come on, man.
    I’m sitting here today pretty incensed that there are American politicians right now tweeting that Russian vodka should be banned from bars, AND are wining and dining Chinese businesses.
    You can buy some nice pikes, and rope, made in China, I bet…

  189. Bit of humor, here…

    https://twitter.com/joshuapotash/status/1498332884121399307?s=21

    I think the guy who posted it is misunderstanding what he is linking to, but the general idea is utterly fscking hilarious, and given the Russian propensity for leaving military equipment strewn across their own countryside? Entirely believable. There’s also video of a Ukrainian farmer driving off with his tractor hooked to what looks like an APC, while someone in uniform is running behind him waving their fist at him, with captioning indicating that this is a “Grand Theft APC” scenario.

    Imma gonna go out on a limb, here, folks: When your military is enough of a joke that your opponents are posting things like this as humor? You’ve got problems. Big ones, and you’re not fixing them with posturing and nukes. Why? ‘Cos those scary nukes are manned by the same sort of troops running those convoys, working for the same set of corrupt assclown officers.

    There are more “shocks” and “surprises” in store, is all I’m gonna predict. And, I feel pretty damn safe in doing so.

    Longer this goes on, the more I think that someone is gonna have to intervene in Russia. At this point, they’re looking a lot less “sane” than North Korea, and when you’ve got the residual nuclear forces they have access to? That ain’t good.

  190. The fact that they have to hire those Westerners is the telling point, Brian. China is only a notch or two above Russia, in terms of self-delusion about being a superpower. And, facing a lot of the same troubles.

    The United States doesn’t build entire vacant cities that never get occupied because they were built to too shoddy a standard, and have no real business case in the first place. That’s a civilization-ending amount of resource mis-allocation and delusion–Potlach on a wannabe superpower scale. And, with the demographic implosion currently going on in China? LOL…

    I give them twenty-thirty years at the most. Under the best circumstances and with the best luck. Worst? They’ll be a collection of warring states the way they were back when, and before 2030. You can’t keep that shit up–The Potemkin starts to eat through everything.

  191. Brian, what is going on is that everyone is realizing that Russia is literally a loose cannon, and cannot be allowed to keep rolling around on deck and smashing everything.

    This is a nation that’s elevated thugs and thieves to high office. Much like our own, but ours are a lot more circumspect and don’t go around openly invading and killing people.

    That Kharkiv bombardment is telling; the majority of the people living there are ethnic Russians. Their fellow ethnic Russians just dumped cluster munitions on them. Putin’s justifications for this war are based on “defending ethnic Russians abused by Ukraine”, and he’s the one using cluster munitions on civilian targets housing those people.

    The entire situation is insane, just like I pointed out earlier. At some point, Europe and the rest of the world is going to have to step up to the plate and deal with it.

    And, BTW… Russia is not that ten-foot tall superman everyone thinks it is. With AWACS from NATO flying just along the NATO borders? Russia is screwed, when it comes to delivering air support.

  192. And, make no mistake about it: Something has to be done about Russia. You can’t allow this kind of behavior from a nuclear power, or the whole house of cards that is the international order collapses. I’ve been making precisely this point for years about it the way we’ve let these things happen, but nobody listens, ‘cos they don’t want to examine the freakin’ implications or they don’t understand the risks.

    If the US, UK, and France are not contemplating a decapitation strike to remove Russia’s nukes right now, they’re feckless incompetents. I don’t like that any better than you, but as a military professional, I have to recognize the realities. You’re in the room filled with gas fumes, and one nutter that keeps playing with his lighter…? You have to take that lighter away before he kills everyone.

  193. Good grief, it’s been a few days, and no one honestly thinks more than a few hundred people have been killed, and senior world political figures are talking openly about taking courses of action that could, or rather WILL, lead quite easily to nuclear war. Heck, if we honestly think they’re “literally a loose cannon, and cannot be allowed to keep rolling around on deck and smashing everything”, they’d be acting a lot more cautiously, and trying to reach out to someone who could depose him. Not trying to stir things up even more.
    This is freaking lunacy. Completely and totally bonkers.

  194. “You can’t allow this kind of behavior from a nuclear power, or the whole house of cards that is the international order collapses.”
    I grew up on military bases in the 80s. Rah rah, Ronald Reagan, Lee Greenwood, etc.
    And you cannot be freaking serious. It’s almost enough to turn me into a Chomskyite.
    Not saying Russia=America, no way, no how, but your statement is like the video from the other day of Condi Rice nodding sagely when being told that one country invading another is a clear war crime. I mean, come on, how do you think that looks to anyone who doesn’t have their brains melted?
    All this while China, another nuclear power, just shut down the world through some indeterminate combination of evil and incompetence, and we all just pretend it didn’t happen, and I’m supposed to countenance invading Russia? Are you high?

  195. Lemme see… Should you accept what Russia is doing in Ukraine as “proper behavior”?

    Up to you. I don’t think that’s workable, even in the most cold-blooded Realpolitik terms. He’s invaded a sovereign state on his borders, is killing civilians, and threatening nuclear weapons use. That’s way beyond the pale, and you have to look at that and consider what’s next. Nobody was threatening Russia, before this–The accusations about what Ukraine was doing to ethnic Russians were insane from the beginnings, along with everything else Putin said. Then, he threatens nukes? LOL… Yeah, that’s sane, that’s reasonable, and yeah, that doesn’t hold implications for the future, either.

    You deal with this now, or it’s going to deal with you, in the near- and medium-term future. We got here because of stupidity in our own government, and we’re reaping what we sowed. Having involved ourselves in the former Soviet sphere, and then left Russia the way it was? Stupid. But, having done that, guess what? The long-term effect of not acting in support of things like Ukraine is actually worse, now that we’re where we are. Which is, I will point out, a situation where Russia has invaded a sovereign nation that has done nothing to provoke that, and is busily engaged in killing its citizens, including the ones that they were using to justify the invasion.

    Putin is that nutball down the street that you’ve complained about for years, done nothing to deal with, and now that the cops are coming to finally intervene, you’re complaining because it’s “insane and irrational”. Well, guess what? That’s what happens when idiots start wars they can’t predict and can’t stop. Which would be entirely on Putin’s court.

  196. Oh, and as a side note? When your foreign policy positions are on the same page with Bernie Sanders and little miss Donkey-Chompers? You’re almost certainly wrong.

    I really don’t get this–Whatever was done in Ukraine over the Obama maladministration, that still doesn’t justify doing what Russia has done. Russia feels “threatened”? So what? Everyone living in Russia’s shadow feels threatened, too, or they wouldn’t have abandoned ship so readily when the Soviet Union finally collapsed. Remember the whole “penitentiary of nations” thing? Unlike the other empires, when they shut down operations, they didn’t go back and try to take things over again that often, and when they tried things like the UK and France did in Egypt, the US didn’t look the other way and say “Yeah, OK, go ahead…”.

    I think the things that the US has done in Central Europe were ill-advised and provocative. That doesn’t mean they were necessarily wrong, however. And, no matter what, we’re still at a point today where Russia is invading, killing people, breaking things, and threatening nuclear war. Over… What? Ukraine joining a senescent military alliance that Russia keeps provoking out of collapse? Trust me on this one: End of the day, NATO comes out of this looking more and more necessary, and Russia more and more stupid and foolish. No things like Ukraine happening? No threat from Russia for twenty-thirty years? No more NATO; it would collapse out of irrelevancy. With this BS? Who the hell knows? But, I’ll bet you money that Sweden and Finland are NATO members by the end of the year, if not earlier.

    Stupid is as stupid does, and when stupid has nukes? You have to do something about it, no matter what happened before.

  197. I didn’t think Putin was this delusional. A lot of other things, but not delusional.

    So I was too optimistic about the possibilities of dealing with him and wrong in some predictions and interpretations.

    That said, the situation now–by Putin’s own volition–is just as Kirk describes. One thing I’ll say in the defense of the Soviets who survived Stalin and Hitler and Stalin is that they generally took war seriously.

    They had their own lived experiences, which reinforced Clausewitz’s teaching (oh hail yes they studied Clausewitz) that war is the worst (OK second worst) thing imaginable and should only be undertaken for serious reasons of state if the state wants to live long and prosper.

    But unfortunately the skills that took Boomer Putin, a life-long apparatchik of The Organs, into supreme power are not the skills of the warlord. Stalin needed Zhukov and the others, and for all their faults the Red Army leadership and soldiers worked out effective ways of making war against the Nazi genocidalist invaders.

    The guy has slit his own throat already, it just remains to be seen how long he takes to bleed out.

  198. Gerasimov and shoigu (the former would be played by someone like tom richardson) the latter hates ukrainians with a passion were a touch surprised, makarov his predecessor at the stavka would be more on board, since hes a blunt instrument

  199. @Cousin Eddie,

    Yep. And, the remaining question of just how many other innocent people are going to die due to this BS.

    I don’t care a whit about the “international political structure”. Ukrainians don’t want to be under Russia? Fine; that’s their right. Their country, their choice–And, if they’re willing to fight for it, I think we should all be helping. I’d stop at sending troops, but this is a Japan-in-China during the 1930s sort of situation. FDR sent aid and Clair Chennault for that, and I really can’t criticize him for it. Although, I do acknowledge that it was “provocative” to try to help a victim of Japans bout of Imperial insanity…

    Couple of other points that just dawned on me: Does anyone else note the utter lack of war preparations on the part of the Ukrainians? No demolished bridges, no minefields, no blocked roads, no checkpoints put into place.

    Two things about that leap to mind: One, how fscking bad are the Russians that under those conditions, they’re still having problems?

    Two, it’s a huge provocation for the follow-on Ukrainian response to this, because they’re going to look around and say “Ya know… We were just sitting here, not even prepared for war, and these assholes came in the way they did…”. Average Ukrainian is going to remember this, and remember what happened due to their unpreparedness, which is going to feed into a lot more concern about defense measures, which is going to make it even harder if Russia comes back around to try this, again.

    Which I suspect it won’t, because this inept performance almost ensures that the Russians aren’t going to exist as a nation the way they do today in a very short period.

    Y’all really do not grasp the sheer idiocy on display here, on both sides. But, and this is a huge but, the Ukrainians are demonstrating that they’re basically in the right; Russia is a threat, and they don’t want to be a part of Russia.

    Follow-on from that? No idea, but I’ll be surprised if Russia is still a thing in 2030, with Vlad or one of his successor cronies in control. Hell, I’ll be somewhat less than surprised if they’re gone by 2023, at the rate this “Battle for Kyiv” is progressing…

  200. Russia is invading Ukraine because the prospect of further NATO expansion is regarded as an existential threat by the Russian regime. Noting that now NATO appears to be working itself up to demanding regime change in Russia, I’d say the Russian regime is and was correct.

    If Ukraine could join you-know today, why not Kazakhstan tomorrow? And then Tartarstan, Karelia- and then why couldn’t Russian Siberia simply vote to join China?

  201. @Miguel,

    Oh, you just reminded me of Shoigu… He’s another Milley-esque moron trying to plaster over the cracks of an actually decaying military. Did the same stupid shit with an expensive reversion to WWII-pattern dress uniforms, as well.

    Classic delusional staff officer, with a totally back-asswards set of priorities. I’d have spent that money putting better field gear on the troops and doing training, but he blew it on fancy new (actually old) uniforms, trying to recapture past glory.

    And, like Milley, he’s gonna preside over a massive, embarrassing defeat for his military.

  202. “Should you accept what Russia is doing in Ukraine as “proper behavior”?”
    So not wanting to go to war directly with Russia means thinking that what they’re doing is totally ok.
    Are you 12? Do you honestly think that’s a coherent argument?

  203. But unfortunately the skills that took Boomer Putin, a life-long apparatchik of The Organs, into supreme power are not the skills of the warlord.

    I agree and also believe that the REMFs running the US military are as bad.

  204. Also-Putin, Putin, Putin. All this reminds me rather too much of the build up for the Iraq invasion, when it was Saddam, Saddam, Saddam.

    How did that turn out?

    I’d say rather poorly at least for the people who thought it was going to be easy.

    So once Putin is strung up by his ankles from a Moscow gas station, who takes over?

    Why should I assume that particular individual will be better for the US?

    Or are we committed to breaking up Russia? Occupying the country? Repeating the Iraq experience? Do we get to spend trillions rebuilding Russia? Or just leave it to chaos?

    I haven’t seen any mainstream figure ask these sort of questions. Instead, it’s rah rah war war.

    Nothing could go wrong, I’m sure.

  205. thats a trickier question, among the siloviki, men of power, ivanov who was their antidrug coordinator was considered the likely beneficiary of a dedazo, yes the notion that ‘tick tick boom’ wittes is now calling for regime change, is at once, ridiculous and dangerous,

  206. @Xennady,

    And, why the hell shouldn’t they? You seem to think that Russia is a good thing, along with Gavin. I don’t. Russia is a fscking cancer.

    Were you paying attention to all the dissidents and journalists who’ve mysteriously died over the course of Putin’s bloody reign? Did you miss him using radioactive substances in London restaurants to kill critics? Chemical agents elsewhere in the UK? Doctors being defenestrated because they said things about the COVID response that he didn’t like?

    WTF is wrong with you people? What does Putin and his Russian cadre of thugs have to do, before you’re willing to say “That’s wrong.”?

    I haven’t seen NATO doing the things Russia has, other than what most of you do-goodniks urged them to, which was intervene in an ongoing genocide. Said hypocrisy really makes me wonder–“Oh, something must be done about Bosnia…”, followed ten years later by “Oh, yeah, clearly NATO was provocative with that…”.

    Do any of you read your own bullshit? Seriously, now–I remember things, and I’d almost guarantee you that I could go onto the Wayback Machine and find things posted by people who sound an awful lot like you and Gavin, wringing your hands over things like Rwanda. This is what happens, folks: You want nice things, but you don’t want you or anyone else to get their hands dirty.

    And, seriously… You guys think Russia would be doing anything different today, if NATO had just said “Yeah, ya know what? Don’t need this BS, anymore… Let’s shut down.”.

    If you do, you’re seriously deluded. Russia was an expansionist state under the Tsars, and it’ll likely be one right up until Moscow is a deep black hole in the ground, radiating softly in the night. It’s what they do; it’s the nature of their state and the love affair with authoritarianism that Russians have been demonstrating since… Oh, I dunno, the earliest days of the nation?

    Incompetence at war, sloth, laziness, authoritarianism, and utter feckless disregard for consequence–Those are all Russian national characteristics. Stalin made Hitler, for whatever reason and motivation. Without him, or the resources Stalin’s Soviet Union provided, Hitler couldn’t have done what he did to France and the rest of Europe. Super-genius move, that–Then, when Hitler turned on him and helped him kill 20 million Russians and other Soviet prisoner ethnicities, what did they do? Oh, more cock-slobbering worship of the moron who got them there, and blaming everyone else for the horror they themselves unleashed on the world.

    Fsck Russia. Russia and China are both totalitarian-worshipping mentally ill nations whose deletion from the world stage would only be a net benefit to the rest of us who want to go on living our lives in peace.

  207. you put it that way, Putin is a piker on that scale, the ruler of rwanda, now, almost 30 years later, is said to have directed the shootdown of the president as a guerilla leader then, and was at the forefront, of encouraging the genocide, for the year in which much of the blood price was exacted, the bloodletting in the Congo, dwarfs Rwanda by a scale of 3, some of these figures, who call themselves Christians by denominations, have been arrested and tried,

  208. I haven’t seen the thread of the link below discussed. It reminds me of the remark in the Bible about a king counting the cost before going to war. It appears that once again the people will suffer much more than their leaders. Notwithstanding the cbs source, I think this is at least a partial answer to the concerned expressed by many regarding wanting trustworthy information about what’s going on.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-ukraine-ruble-sanctions/

  209. I’ll repeat what I said in the other thread- all that was necessary to prevent this war was to make it known that Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO.

    Since the idiots in control of the US government didn’t do that, I can only conclude they wanted it to happen.

    Meanwhile, I bet if you asked the American public before whether or not they wanted to sign on their sacred honor to defend Ukraine you’d have gotten confusion and indifference .

    Maybe it’s different now, I don’t know. Also maybe perhaps the amazing flood of propaganda noted by Brian is what Ukrainian oligarchs were paying for all along.

    We’ll see how everything looks in a week or two.

  210. Brian, you’re pretty much demonstrating that you can’t comprehend a thing about this situation, or what I’m writing about it. And, like most of your ilk, you’re blaming me for pointing out the facts.

    Firstly, I emphatically don’t “want to go to war with Russia”. I don’t want to go to war with anyone, anywhere, over anything. It’s a fundamentally stupid way to solve problems, and a waste of human life and resources we’re going to badly need for the future. War is bad, ‘mmkay?

    But, (and I’m going to use a pejorative here, because you deserve it) dumbass, that’s a far different thing than recognizing the reality on the ground right now, which is that you can’t tolerate this sort of BS from a supposed “superpower with nukes” and expect it not to escalate. Today, Ukraine. Tomorrow? Day after? Where do you propose to put your stop line, the one where you finally think “Oh, yeah… We need to do something about that…”? When the Russians are demanding East Germany back?

    Generous, aren’t ya, with other people’s rights to live their lives on their own, without some Russian thug telling them what to do.

    I don’t think any of this has been “done well”, and I blame the entire line of idiots after Reagan, on behalf of the US bit of it. Especially Bush, Clinton, and Obama. This situation never should have been allowed to arise, but here we are: Ukrainians are being killed by Russians. And, for what? To be forced to rejoin “the penitentiary of nations”? The one that took such good care of Ukraine that it casually killed millions upon millions of innocent Ukrainian peasants to meet the needs of “collectivization”? You know, that farm thing that worked so well for the Soviet Union that the former “Breadbasket of Europe” had trouble feeding itself?

    The more I see of some of the people posting on here, the more I think I need to just leave. You’re morally compromised, without compass, and demonstrating exactly why the West is in decay. Look in a mirror, after reading the news out of Ukraine and watching the footage that’s crept out. Are you not ashamed, to come on here and essentially advocate for Russian imperialism?

    Y’all need a wake-up call. And, due to the things you’ve been advocating for, these last thirty years, you’re going to get one.

  211. Xennady said:

    “I’ll repeat what I said in the other thread- all that was necessary to prevent this war was to make it known that Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO.”

    Repeating something doesn’t make it right.

    You seem fixated on the “provocative” nature of NATO. When, pray tell, did NATO ever do any of the things that Putin ascribes to it?

    Y’all mouth the Russian party line perfectly, as though you’re mumbling around a Russian genital. And, you’ve yet to articulate what is “threatening” about joining a defensive alliance that’s done nothing more “provocative” than to stop an ongoing genocide being conducted by another Russian stooge state? Or, did you miss all that crap going on in Serbia, wherein the Russians were trying to “orchestrate” Serbian politics? Again. Or, Montenegro, another classic “Russian possession”?

    I don’t support the crap the US did in Ukraine, but that’s because I don’t like corruption by anyone. If the Ukrainians want to be Russian citizens again, let them–And, it’s fairly obvious at this point that minds have either changed, or didn’t want that in the first place. Those upraised cell phones aren’t there in lieu of flowers, now are they?

    All a “NATO denial” would have accomplished would have been a signal to the Russians and Putin that we saw Ukraine as a mislaid province of theirs, not a sovereign nation. They’d have been in there a lot sooner, and that would be about it.

    Someone is really going to have to explain to me what “threat” NATO actually consists of. From where I sit, it basically means “don’t do shit about your own defense, and hope the US showers cash on your military for social engineering work…”. Honestly, in term of threat reduction, Russia should have been encouraging Ukrainian NATO membership–They’d never do anything effective with their military again.

  212. Kirk, you’re a freaking idiot. I’ve said a dozen times above that Russia is 100% wrong. I don’t need lectures from the likes of you. Go to hell.

  213. Oh, and riddle me this, all of you Russophile knob-gobblers: If Russia feels “threatened” then that justifies all, right? Russia can do whatever it damn well pleases, because it feels “threatened”, right?

    What’s the flip side of that coin, then? Does that mean that Russia’s neighbors can do whatever they like, ‘cos “threatened”? Or, are you simply power-worshippers impressed because “Russia Stronk”, unwilling to acknowledge that other people besides Russia have a right to fear and then take actions to mitigate that fear?

    Russia wants peace? They can have it–All they have to do is leave people alone. Nobody was “threatening” Russia until it started behaving insanely under Putin. Now? Guess what, Vlad-baby–Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  214. You trust Darth Austin and Gen Milley Vannili, to handle this, how about the twitter General of the 82nd Airborne, who continue to purge able bodied officers and nco’s out of their ranks, the understaffed air force, now the British para fresh out of Afghanistan, probably do a might bit, but the hyper ‘woke’ I say seed podded head of MI 6 would be no help, so we have fatuous gestures like dumping vodka by even red state governors, and other tom foolery,

  215. Kirk: My concern is the United States. All those foreigners can go fsck themselves.

    Once again we’re being hung on a hook to pay for the endless schemes of the globalist cabal ruling the western world. This time, we’ve been assigned the task of replacing the government of Russia, cost to us unknown. But let’s not ask any questions, or think about it any further.

    Benefit to us? Likely nothing of note.

    Benefit to the people who have been bribing the present American regime? Quite a lot, possibly, unless they get nuked.

    At the risk of repeating myself, this is an existential threat to the Russian regime. The stakes are quite high and I don’t really see too much comprehension of that.

    I’m getting a WWI vibe here- and no one seems to notice the danger. As usual, I hope I’m wrong.

  216. Kirk- I note that there was an attempted “color revolution “ in Kazakhstan just a few weeks ago. If I were Putin I’d take that as an aggressive action aimed at replacing a pro-Russian government with an enemy.

    Plus, I’ll note I’m old enough to remember the end of the USSR and the promises made to not expand NATO eastward. I even remember bush 41’s infamous “chicken Kiev” speech when he told he Ukrainians to give up on any thought of independence.

    I’ll hypothesize that one reason Russia ended up with Putin is that expansion, in that the relatively pro-Western Yeltsin government hadn’t been successful in stopping it.

  217. my family was a spectator, I thought to the carnage of the cuban revolution, they did seize the little plot of land on my mothers side, the furniture store on my father’s side, it was only years later that I found that a relative, 3rd cousin who was a victim of the deep state’s betrayal, I’ve mentioned the name before, playa giron, was just a precursor to the fracas in indochina, where the current ruling class, kerry biden et al, slithered out of their seed pods, Reagan tried to bring the country, back to some degree of sanity,

  218. “Someone is really going to have to explain to me what “threat” NATO actually consists of.”

    Pearls before swine. if you look at the changes to the map of Europe over the past 20 years you might be able to see how NATO has spread steadily eastward, something it promised not to do.

    If you look at a slightly larger map you can see that Ukraine occupied by a hostile force, is a very direct threat to Russia. It makes an attack from Ukraine very dangerous indeed. An existential threat if you will.

    As the CIA in the form of Victoria Nuland engineered a coup in 2014 that was very successful, hell they boast about it, the country changed from a mildly left wing state to one you could call fascist with no exaggeration. This has been run largely by the CIA and it has engineered several operations from its base in the Azov brigade, a bunch of real Nazis with swastikas, deaths heads and SS memorabilia freely displayed. These are the people shelling civilians in the Donbass.

    America is fuelling the conflict there and using it to threaten Russia. NATO is just the European branch of American power and of course will do as its told. This is too much. Putin decided that now was better than later.

  219. Miguel, I don’t trust Milley or any of his other peers to pour piss out of a boot. The parallel between Milley and Shiogu is so deep that it’s not even funny–The way those two equivalent morons prioritized on uniforms over other readiness issues?

    This whole situation is insane, but to sit here and fail to recognize what is going on? Russia does not, and never did, have a right to dictate to its neighbors on any issue. Russia claimed Ukraine was a sovereign nation to get another vote in the UN for decades. What’s changed? Now, at Russian convenience, they’re suddenly an “integral part of historic Russia”?

    Funny, the actual Ukrainians seem to disagree on that point.

    I don’t like this one damn bit. Feckless moronic politicians on all sides have gotten us here, and I don’t see an easy way out. But, to sit here and say that the Russians are, somehow, correct? What. The. Actual. Fsck?

    I’d see the point of their rampant paranoia, if anyone were saying in Ukraine that they wanted to build a Nazi empire and slaughter Russians across Russia, or if they were trying to get Kazakhs to take up their sabers and get on their ponies to take over their historic regions in Russia, but… That ain’t the case, is it?

    If you’re mouthing the Russian government’s line on these things, you might, just might, want to back up and reflect for a moment about whether you’re right or wrong. I can see the Russian point, somewhat, but I’d also remember my history: Most of what they got, they got because they decided to stick their noses into other people’s business. Stalin has as much responsibility for WWII in Europe as Hitler; he enabled his early-days successes. You go back and look, and what was the actual genitive cause for Napoleon’s invasion of Russia…? Why were all those ‘stans that the Russian Empire gobbled up “problems” in the first place? Why was the Caucasus a multi-generational field of blood, under the Tsars? Did all those “bad things” happen to Russia just “because”, or were they things the Russians brought on themselves because “expansion” and bullying their neighbors…?

    From reading here, I’m getting the feeling that a lot of people raised their kids by giving them sweeties as rewards for good behavior, and they think that sort of thing is good way to teach polite behavior. Quit mouthing the Russian government’s versions of reality around those sweetcakes, and start to consider the radical idea that other people beside Russia have a right to decide things about their countries, their governments, and what to do.

    It’d be one thing if Russia had this sterling track record of competent governance and were trying to “help” Ukraine to achieve the same thing, but so far as I can tell, it’s just like Germany in the 1930s–They just want to run the place with their own people for their own benefit, Russian oligarchs instead of Ukrainian ones.

  220. You people are . . . a rum lot. A motley crew. Self not excepted.

    One of the arguments I made here at CB a while back was in regard to the oft-expressed but seldom unpacked notion that “If only more people in the West had known about [say] Treblinka and Auschwitz then we would have made war sooner, and people would have been more willing to fight.”

    That’s plausible but far from provable, and the context is one of known German/Nazi brutality during the war. Sometimes the idea is backed up in time–“If only more people had known about [Aktion T4, or something else sick] then . . . ”

    The second theory is much less plausible to my mind. Hitler could have spent his golden years purifying the “German” genepool to his heart’s delight, and the rest of the world would have grumbled and complained and maybe sanctioned–those who weren’t following the “race science” like he was anyway.

    What’s the diff? Obviously, it’s invading other countries. That’s the way the world works and always will–just like Daddy Bolton told the Bastard in GOT, if you go about acting like a mad dog, people will treat you like one eventually. Or Clausewitz more elegantly–the Balance of Power reveals itself only when threatened.

    Poland wasn’t exactly the world’s most democratic country in 1939, but that stopped having any relevance on 1 September of that year.

    There are common sense thresholds and Putin crossed them. At this point his state of mind can be left to the shrinks and historians; our senile, stupid, and corrupt leaders are what they are, but that’s no reason to assume that Putin should just be allowed to roam free now.

  221. As it happens, Eddie, I am in the process of reading “The New Dealers’ War” by Thomas Fleming. Yes, FDR and his crew did know about the pogrom against the Jews quite early — and did everything they could to keep it quiet. FDR was intent on a “Germany First” policy (to save the USSR?), whereas US public was focused on attacking Japan in reaction to Pearl Harbor. FDR was afraid of making it seem that his focus on fighting in Europe had anything to do with saving the Jews.

    We were all brought up with the idea that WWII was the “Good War”. Our Guys wore the white hats. It is disheartening to learn how venal they actually were. Not that that excuses anything done by Hitler or Stalin. But it is a lesson that we need to scrutinize our own leaders very carefully — not follow them blindly.

    The current fighting in the Ukraine could be brought to a halt quickly if the US (or the UK or Germany or …) stood up and said the Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO. Instead of doing that, “Our Guys” are feeding weapons into the conflict — with the risk of the conflict expanding beyond the boundaries of the Ukraine. Why? Our leaders’ actions do not make sense.

  222. Oh, and riddle me this, all of you Russophile knob-gobblers: If Russia feels “threatened” then that justifies all, right? Russia can do whatever it damn well pleases, because it feels “threatened”, right?

    Kirk, I’m surprised to see you echoing Hillary Clinton. “Waving the bloody shirt” went out of style a century ago but I expect to see it return in Biden’s SoU. I posted my concept of what was going on a month ago. I assumed that Biden’s handlers were egging on Putin to create a crisis before the election. That is an old tactic for dictators and those who seek to be one. I never believed that Putin would be such a fool to actually invade. He obviously overestimated what his army could do. Some of his concerns were valid. NATO kept creeping east. Of course, Russia was responsible for some of that.

    World War I began because Germany feared the paper tiger Russia. I don’t how this will turn out and neither does Biden or Putin. By “Biden” I mean the people writing his scripts.

  223. I agree with the theory that NATO expansion was a threat and embarrassment to Russia at a time when they could have become friendlier. The propaganda right now, even here, makes anyone who sees this a “Russiophile knob gobbler.”

  224. My Instapundit Post on the Ukraine War

    https://instapundit.com/506407/#respond

    I have a pretty good idea of what is going on in the Ukraine, but this is certainly not the place to begin to explain it. It is possible to state my opinion on the ultimate outcome.

    This is the spring thaw mud season in the Ukraine. Nothing will happen swiftly. It was the worst possible time for the Russians to invade. Off-road movement is pretty much limited to tracked vehicles.

    Russian logistics capability is limited (very much so compared to ours, Israel’s and South Korea’s) and, in particular, it appears they have few fuel tanker trucks, let alone fuel tanks designed to be placed in the beds of flat-bed truck trailers or ordinary military trucks. Those can be quickly produced, but not in time for this war. This is a mechanized war so the invading Russian forces have enormous fuel needs which are not being met. So things would move slowly even if this was summer.

    The Russians might be able to eliminate organized Ukrainian resistance in another 4-5 weeks, and should definitely be able to defeat the Ukrainian forces in the field by then, but that won’t end the war as no Ukrainian government will agree to a cease-fire, and years ago prepared for an organized guerrilla war which will go on until Putin is removed from power.

    What will end the war will be the Russians running out of money just to pay their on-going operational expenses, and this has definitely been moved up significantly by the international sanctions coming down. IMO this will happen about 30 days from now. Putin might last a month after that happens. He will definitely be out this year because of this war.

    Russia simply lacks the military power to win this war in any way, shape or form. This has turned into a national war for the Ukrainian people and they won’t give up even if the Russians use chemical weapons (nerve gas) or nuclear weapons. The Russians control, at best, only the ground they are currently standing on and will be subject to armed attack everywhere else. The British had pretty much the same problem during the American Revolution.

    It is also important that European NATO is intervening in this war without American backing. Look for stories about Mig-29’s held by former Warsaw Pact Soviet satellite nations (Poland, Romania and Slovakia) who are now NATO members being used by purported Ukrainian pilots. Those will be Polish pilots flying from Polish airbases.

    The reason for this is that all those Mig-29’s were brought up to NATO standards for electronic warfare and munitions after the Soviet Union collapsed, and have since been replaced in service by F-16’s and, recently, F-35’s. Ukrainian pilots simply can’t operate those Mig-29’s – they haven’t been trained on them and the war will be over by the time they could be.

    Definitely consider how the war will go with 50 European NATO Mig-29’s, well interfaced with the Ukrainian integrated air defense system, flying from Polish air bases a la the Korean War air conflict along the Yalu River.

    And look ahead to after this war ends, and the prospects of that on war termination. The Ukraine will be pretty well beat up if it goes on for another 30 days even if their army and major cities are still holding out. The place will desperately need hundreds of billions of dollars in reconstruction aid, and probably several trillion. Plus Russia’s economy will at best be in tatters controlled by some new government which is very, very sorry about the crimes committed by the Putin regime, and plead for some of that money too.

    Which is what the EU is for. It prefers to give away scads of other people’s money for influence, power, and a reasonable commission for the bureaucrats who give it away. Basically, Europe can and will bribe both the Ukraine and Russia to stop fighting, but this can’t happen until Putin is out of power. Naturally the prospect of billions of Euro economic aid might motivate some well-placed Russians to remove Putin from power. And free him from life too, which would be safer.

    So that’s how I think this will come out. Watch what the EU and European members of NATO are doing.

  225. Every paranoic schizophrenic has “reasons’ for why they do what they do. You listen to them, and they sound… Rational. Too many posting on here have fallen prey to that.

    NATO expansionism. Hmmm. Just what, precisely, does that mean? What’s NATO done, besides put a hard stop on how far Russian expansionism is going to go? Why is it “threatening” if a border state, with damn good reason to find Russia a threat itself, joins NATO?

    Has NATO ever done anything than give a hard “NO” to Soviet or Russian territorial ambitions? What are the actual things that Russia fears? Someone telling them that they no longer get to dictate terms and policies to Ukraine, and can continue to economically rape that nation to their hearts content?

    What gives Russia that right?

    Absolutely nothing.

    So what if Russia fears being victimized by its neighbors? They have to fear being victimized by Russia; all NATO does is make it clear that there’s rather more of them than there are of Russia. Russia has depth and mass for security; why can’t its neighbors join an organization that offers them the same two advantages?

    I understand the Russian mentality, as much as any outsider can. I even sympathize with it, a little–But, that does not mean that I’m going to buy into the bullshit that says “Russia has legitimate fears…”, and justifies what they’ve done over the course of the last twenty years.

    I’ve got a neighbor, who I’ll rename Bob. Bob’s a character; Vietnam vet, former LAPD cop, and pretty much a racist due to bad experiences with a particular community. He’s got reasons, written in blood. Down the street a little ways, we have a couple of yuppies who’ve put up a BLM sign in their front yard. I’ve talked to them walking our dogs, and they seem kinda touchy-feely liberal to me, but I can live with that. What I would have to draw the line at would be them going down the street to burn out Bob’s place, or Bob, acting upon his “legitimate grievances”, going up the street to do the same thing.

    You can live in your home, have your opinions–But, where the line has to be drawn with any of that is where you start burning your neighbor’s houses down over those opinions. Which is pretty much, on a larger scale, what Russia is doing with Ukraine. Russia thinks it’s a better benevolent ruler, and that it has a right to rule Ukraine. Ukraine begs to differ, on that count. Now Russia is on their territory, unprovoked, killing and burning their property down.

    And, you folks supporting Russia’s “right to paranoia” think that’s OK, hunky-dory?

    I cannot respect that position. At. All.

  226. they signalled weakness with the failure to provide offensive weapons in the aid package, with the surrender in Afghanistan, with providing Putin with the oil weapon by cutting domestic oil production, forcing the curtailment of the campaign against Houthi proxies on the Arabian peninsula et al

  227. Tom: A Ukraine in ruins needing “rebuilding”, i.e. serving as an even larger slush fund for corrupt Western politicians and their friends and families, would be a terrible nightmare outcome of this fiasco. If I thought Brandon had a functioning brain I could almost convince myself that that could partially explain why he seemed determined to goad Putin so badly…

  228. “Goad”? Don’t you mean “enable”, as miguel points out, just above your post?

    Saying that anyone has “goaded” Putin or Russia is BS; they’ve got no “right to paranoia” as demonstrated by their actions. You have a “legitimate” complaint about someone joining an alliance meant to keep you from raping them? How does that make sense?

    I would love for all of the Russophile apologists on this site to have to live right next door to Russia for a few years. You’d be singing a different tune. Most of you, probably in Russian, ‘cos that’s how you roll: Appeasers and pleasers. Don’t forget to tickle whilst you fellate, boys.

  229. For those of you who haven’t bought into “Russia Stronk” as a fact, here’s something I just remembered: Shoigu, the Russian defense minister? Tuvan.

    Contemplate that, for just a moment. He’s been in the Russian government since forever, and he’s the one that aced out the actual reformer Sherdyukov back in 2012. Sherdyukov was actually reforming the Russian military, breaking a lot of rice bowls and pissing off a lot of people. They got him ousted, and Shoigu helped, then got his job.

    For all y’all who aren’t familiar with the ethnic issues in Russia, Shoigu is not an ethnic Russian. As a Tuvan, he’ll never get to the top of the heap, won’t ever be in Putin’s shoes. Apparatchik position, in other words, is as high as he’ll ever get.

    Tuva is one of those provinces I’ve been pointing out that Russia peeled off of China back when. Hmmmm…

    Makes ya wonder, that does: Chinese influencer? Irredentist looking for a return to the good old days of Chinese satrapy? You tell me; I think I’d have been a little more cautious about putting someone like that into high position, and then taking his advice. He’s also done a bang-up job of preparing the Russian military for this operation, and seeing it through, hasn’t he? Wonder if any of those logistical “missteps” might not have a source other than mere traditional Russian incompetence?

    We will see. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything, at this point. Were I one Vladimir Putin, I’d be wondering, right about now, just how far I should trust that military I’ve had a potential Chinese deep cover agent running for a decade… Shoigu might or might not be working for the Chinese, but at a certain point of poor performance and incompetence, that becomes immaterial. He may have to sell Russia out to China just to ensure personal survival.

    This whole situation grows more and more opaque, less and less predictable, the longer it goes on. I can’t see an endgame for either Russia or Putin that leaves them at even the pre-war status quo. Their near-term prospects do not look good, and the more shrecklichkeit they pour onto the Ukraine, the more dismal it gets. Ukraine may not have had much of an identity before this, but they’ll damn sure have one going forward.

  230. Kirk, you are a liar and a moron. I’ve never said Russia had any legitimate reason for invasion. Never even implied it. Get bent.

  231. Brian, the Ukraine is very corrupt, Russia is very corrupt and the European Union is very corrupt. I.e., it’s a match made in heaven provided someone else is paying, and the EU taxpayers will be. What’s not to like?

  232. Kirk,

    We’ve heard all about your feelings and how bad we are because reasons.

    I still don’t care about Russia or Ukraine and who rules either. Maybe if I had Ukrainian or Russian friends I’d feel differently. I haven’t and I don’t.

    If you think Russia has no interest in a neighbour joining an alliance aimed right at them, I disagree. I note the US had quite an interest when the sovereign nation-state of Cuba decided to host Soviet missiles, a while ago. And I also note that the US quite famously invaded a sovereign nation-state a few years back, with results well known.

    It’s not about my feelings, my opinion of Putin, Ukraine, or Russia.

  233. Brian: “I agree with the theory that NATO expansion was a threat and embarrassment to Russia at a time when they could have become friendlier.”

    Also, Brian: “Kirk, you are a liar and a moron. I’ve never said Russia had any legitimate reason for invasion. Never even implied it. Get bent.”

    You see agreement with the Russian line on NATO expansion, which they’ve used time and time again as justification for strong-arming independent nations on their borders as “…never sa(ing)id Russia hd any legitimate reason for invasion…”.

    Your cognitive dissonance bell ought to be ringing right now, but it is apparently either on mute, or non-existent that you cannot see the impossible-to-reconcile differences between those two statements. On the one hand, you cede the idea that the Russians have “legitimate security interests” in keeping NATO out of Ukraine, and at the same time, you say that that idea doesn’t imply the right to do something about it. What you apparently miss is that by offering up the one, you’re intrinsically supporting the legitimacy of the other.

    If you’re spouting the same lines as Putin, Bernie Sanders, and AOC…? You are probably on the wrong side of both the argument and history.

  234. Tom H,

    I agree that the EU loves to give away other people’s money for various reasons, including to line the bureaucrats pockets.

    My problem is that a great deal of that money is American. I expect if the EU somehow manages to take control of Russia, somehow we’d end up contributing untold sums to this endeavour, which we don’t really have.

    I further expect the EU would get control of Russian gas, and we’d nothing more than a pat on the back along with that bill. No thank you.

    And if Europe wants to go to war with Russia on their own dime, then they can go for it.

    But no, they’re raising the stakes all on their own, knowing we’ll be dragged in regardless.

    That’s why I said this has a WWI vibe to me, recalling that quite a few Europeans were very surprised when they found out they were war.

    Again, no thanks.

  235. I think putins security interests is a dodge maybe he was seeing act of valor where a chechen mountain tribesmen operates a drug syndicate out of kyev

  236. Its possible the encirclement of the Ukrainian army has begun in Eastern Ukraine. That may be the end game of the invasion force, if they pull it off.

  237. Tom H: “The European Union’s intervention in the Ukraine – Russia war has begun.”

    Let’s hope this is misinformation/propaganda to keep the armchair warriors on the edge of their seats. Because otherwise this is the expansion of the war beyond the borders of the Ukraine. Shades of 1914 !

    The armchair warriors may suddenly realize that they are no longer observers but are now participants in a widening worsening war. And what is this war for? Is it worth risking the Tom H’s of this world getting nuked in order to incorporate a corrupt Ukraine into a rather pointless NATO?

  238. The issue here is whether or not to stand by while Ukraine is slaughtered, yet again, by Russia. How we got here, and who is to blame for that is really immaterial; the fact is, without real justification or provocation, Russia invaded.

    They were just claiming that it was done to stop Ukraine from getting nuclear weapons, which coming from the same Russia that talked Ukraine into nuclear disarmament by guaranteeing their borders, is pretty rich.

    People that keep talking about “Russia’s legitimate security concerns” due to NATO and this supposed Ukrainian “threat” are parroting Russian propaganda lines, just like the good old days of Soviet media campaigns–Which, at this point, is disgusting and immoral. You can say “Oh, the US shouldn’t have done that…” or “The EU/NATO shouldn’t have done this…”, but the fact is, nobody was dying until Russia decided to start killing people. That was a Russian choice, and it’s their usual go-to. If it’s OK in Ukraine, then it’ll shortly be OK in Poland, then the Baltics, then Finland, then Sweden… Where do you think the Russians are going to be satisfied, with their “security”? At the Atlantic Ocean? Where and when do you propose to stop giving away other people’s sovereignty? Mid-Atlantic? Greenland?

    This Ukraine issue templates perfectly over the Austrian Anschluss, with Georgia and the other minor territory grabs serving as the various other things people acquiesced to during the 1930s. I’ve often wondered why people let those things happen–It was pretty clear where the Germans were headed, and that something should have been done about it. It wasn’t, and I now begin to understand why.

    Some of the people posting on here in support of the Russian position have minds so open that their brains have fallen out. The path taken to get here doesn’t matter; facts on the ground do. You want to tell some kid that “Hey, sorry you got your family killed around you, but it’s OK because Russia has legitimate security concerns that were provoked by NATO membership of your country…”.

    No matter how you want to try and make excuses for them, the situation is very binary: If you’re deliberately killing civilians and kids the way the Russians are, you’re in the wrong. And, when you’re doing it because of something like this? Where the sole justification is that Ukraine wanted to join a defensive alliance against having someone do this to them?

    Taking the Russian position, or supporting isn’t just the wrong thing, pragmatically–It’s also the wrong thing, the evil thing morally. And, if you’re so jaded, so cynical that you can’t see that? You’ve lost some of your humanity, the same way people brought on the onslaught of WWII by looking the other way while Germany raped another country.

    You don’t get too many opportunities in life to be on the right side, in terms of morality and supporting other people’s liberties and freedom. Anyone who says that Ukraine is “in the natural sphere of Russian influence” and that Ukraine can’t join NATO because that’d be “provocative” is clearly missing something in their moral character.

    And, yes–I fully recognize that we’re here where we are due to a bunch of idiots in high office that did stupid things. That stops being a reason to look the other way, once they start deliberately killing civilians and kids.

  239. People that keep talking about “Russia’s legitimate security concerns” due to NATO and this supposed Ukrainian “threat” are parroting Russian propaganda lines, just like the good old days of Soviet media campaigns–Which, at this point, is disgusting and immoral.

    Speaking of propaganda….. George Soros is now calling for support for Ukraine. Hmmmmm…

    Also this.

    “Two years ago, Burns wrote a memoir entitled, The Back Channel. It directly contradicts the argument being proffered by the administration he now serves. In his book, Burns says over and over that Russians of all ideological stripes—not just Putin—loathed and feared NATO expansion. He quotes a memo he wrote while serving as counselor for political affairs at the US embassy in Moscow in 1995. ‘Hostility to early NATO expansion,” it declares, “is almost universally felt across the domestic political spectrum here.”

  240. @Mike K,

    I’m pretty sure that Nazi Germany loathed and feared the wartime alliance that took them down, too. As Imperial Germany no doubt loathed and feared the Triple Entente before it. Was that a reason to say “Oh, we shouldn’t organize ourselves against the territorial ambitions of an expansionist militaristic state run by a nutter…”?

    That’s the essence of your position. In personal terms, you’re telling a woman not to wear provocative clothes, ‘cos that might encourage a rapist, or something…

    I completely agree that this situation that we’re now irrevocably in is the result of really bad, likely very corrupt decisions made by a bunch of dumbasses that didn’t realize they were playing with potential fire. We’re now way past the point of “prevention”, and about where we were when Kaiser Wilhelm was marching into Belgium, or where Hitler went into Poland. People are dying; the way we got here is immaterial. What are you going to do about this insane third-world regime with nukes? Kowtow to them, ‘cos “nukes”? Where do you suppose that’ll stop?

    Frankly, I think that if there is any history written about this, in a hundred years, people are going to be saying that we should have done a nuclear decapitation strike on Russia as soon as Putin started making threats of using them. I honestly don’t know what you do, from here, that will avoid that happening inevitably anyway.

    If he’s threatening to nuke NATO over Ukraine, what do you suppose is going to happen in the next 20 years if he gets away with it? Who is next to be thrown off the sleigh to Russian wolf?

    I completely get that people are shying away from this because they don’t like the consequences that thirty-odd years of feckless foreign policy have led to, but ya know what? Nobody was out there demanding answers about what Clinton and Obama were up to in Ukraine, nobody cared about Congressional relatives and “business partners” getting that sweet foreign aid kickback cash, soooooo… I’m not all that sympathetic. Y’all earned this, folks–You thought we were at the “End Of History”, didn’t ya? You thought you could ignore what the politicians you elected were doing, in your name.

    Well, when the bombs start to fall, you just need to go to the damn mirror and look into it, for who is ultimately responsible. Democracy is a two-way street; you don’t monitor what your politicians are doing in your name, you don’t rein them in? You get what you pay for. I’ve been railing about crap like this for years–Anyone with a lick of sense that read the papers knew what shenanigans the Clintons were up to, selling Loral to the Chinese and all the rest of that, but did anyone listen to us? Nope; all y’all hit the snooze button and let the good times roll.

    Piper’s tuning up, and he’s gonna want paying.

  241. Kirk- Do you have any sort of rational argument to make, other than appeals to emotion?

    Hmmm, I can do that too. Does it bother you to be on the same side as Nancy Pelosi and George Soros?

    You might want to rethink that. Pelosi is a thoroughly corrupt politician who was certainly involved in the conspiracy to steal the 2020 election. Soros infamously got his start knocking gold fillings out of the teeth of murdered Jews, and he hasn’t gotten any better. You are on the side of evil here.

    And the children- yep, I like children. Being old and yes thoroughly cynical, I’ve noticed that the talk about children surfaces whenever the left wants to convince people to go along with something stupid. Otherwise, the left has no use for children, other than as internal parasites to be aborted for political gain.

    And since the Russian regime has been telling everyone over and over again for years that Ukrainian NATO membership was a redline, I think the Deep State has had this war on tap the whole time, knowing full well they could trigger a Russian invasion whenever they wanted. Now, facing political disaster coming up in a few months, they’ve decided that now’s the time to break-glass-case-of-emergency. Blood is on their hands yet again, including the blood of Ukrainian children.

    Anyway, I’ve had enough of the endless foreign adventures demanded by the Deep State. We made no guarantees to Ukraine and the ugly fact they’re bribed a swarm of American politicians doesn’t change my position, or make me want to send Americans to die for them.

  242. Holy fscking sweet jeebus- let me get this straight: Russia has no right to react to an incipient threat, but NATO does- and should use nukes to end it!

    What about the Russian children you’d roast? Don’t their lives matter?

    And now Russia is going to be taking over the world, unless we stop them. But also Russia is a decrepit third world country with no real military capability

    Which is it?

    Also, for the record, the disgust and opposition to the Deep State’s relentless self-dealing and corruption goes back a long way, beginning with the 1994 election result. The response was for the Clinton’s to take vast sums of Chinese money. Lately, that opposition has been stronk enough to elect Donald Trump. Twice.

    The response from the Deep State has a stolen election, censorship, more censorship, persecution of opponents- and now, an idiotic rush to war.

    No thank you.

  243. Russian strategic planning always included a nuclear response (I think the late Angelo Codevilla pointed that out) Reagan acknowledged that, and he was the bad guy for it,
    when Kim jon un threatened nuclear brinksmanship, Trump responded in kind,

  244. It is understandable that current events are very emotional for people who spent a significant part of their lives getting ready to put their bodies on the line if the Bad Guys attacked. But we are where we are — What would Kissinger do? Or Bismark?

    Probably they would quite sensibly say that the Ukraine is not worth a nuclear war, and point Ukraine in the direction of Finland. The future of the Ukraine is as a buffer zone between the EU and Russia — good relations with both sides, and a threat to neither. And the same applies to Poland and the Baltic States — drop them out of NATO, while keeping good commercial relations. And then sit back and wait.

    As Kirk repeatedly points out, Russia & China could best be described as “frenemies”. Only the awe-inspiring stupidity of Western politicians & bureaucrats has driven Russia & China into each others’ arms. Once Russia has its buffer zone in the west against aggressive NATO expansion, the tensions between Russia & China which Kirk correctly identifies will fester and cause future problems.

    Thanks to the imbecility of our “leaders”, today China is sitting on the sidelines smiling while the West & Russia hurtle towards a pointless damaging war. If our “leaders” were smart, they would be engineering a future situation where we in the West sit back while Russia & China square off.

  245. Apologia for the Russian “point of view” at this juncture are just plain wrong.

    With regards to Soros, Biden, Pelosi and all the rest? We’re now collectively responsible for what these corruptocrats and crooks have wrought. Pulling your head into your shell and stuffing your thumbs into your ears is just not going to do much, at this point–Either you act in the name of what’s right, or you don’t. Right does not include enabling the slaughter of children and taking an entire independent nation back into the Russian penitentiary of nations.

    Russia is a third-world country with delusions of nuclear grandeur. I strongly suspect that if they start flinging nukes around with gay abandon that we’re gonna lose a couple of cities, but they’re probably going to do about as well with the nukes as they did with invading Ukraine in the first place. They’re not that competent–Which does not mean they’re not dangerous. In fact, their incompetence makes them more dangerous, but this is like walking by that police standoff down the street, blithely whistling while the cops try to deal with the heavily armed nutter with that ancient revolver I mentioned. Someone is gonna get hurt.

    Thanks to the idiots we’ve all enabled to be running our countries these last many years, here we are: Zero good choices. One path is acquiesce and let Ukraine get raped, the other is risk what I hope and pray is going to be a small-scale thermonuclear war. Standing by and not doing anything in Ukraine probably only delays that war until Putin is even stronger and better prepared.

    I hate the fact that we’ve gotten here, but at this point, it’s probably time to bite the bullet and deal with it. Delaying it is only going to make it worse.

    And, what’s the message? If you have nukes, you get a free pass on civilized behavior and get to run your neighboring countries however you like? That’s gonna encourage nonproliferation, ain’t it?

    Two predictions about what comes out of this: Likely Sweden and Finland join NATO, and South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan are going to let it be known that they’ve got nukes. Japan’s got enough plutonium on hand to do it, and I’m pretty sure someone has done the preliminary work already. If the US didn’t give them the plans to do it already.

    This is the result of feckless politicians and apathetic electorates that allowed all these things to fester and grow; if Germany had cut Russia off years ago, they’d lack the money to be doing this. If we’d not stopped fracking and hadn’t shut down oil leases, the price of oil would still be low enough that Putin didn’t have the resources he needed. Only took Biden a year to do this to us, and did anyone care enough to call BS? Oh, no… The people who contested the fraudulent election that put this senile non-entity into office are all criminals.

    We’ll likely get to see the beginnings of how that plays out for history. I only hope that there are people alive at the end of it, because this could get pretty damn bad. As in, apocalyptic bad.

  246. I’ve been working on a simplified set of concepts, to get the reason for the war across.

    This might help Kirk:

    The Russian army is there to destroy the Ukrainian military, because the Ukraine is still controlled by the CIA. The CIA boasted about the coup in 2014, and have most certainly not let control of Ukraine slip away.

  247. I’m currently reading The Shaping of Grand Strategy, Policy, Diplomacy and War by Williamson Murray, et al.

    Vladimir Putin has made exactly the same major mistakes Louis XIV did, and provoked exactly the same reaction by all his neighbors. The parallels are uncanny. See the book’s Chapter 2.

    https://www.amazon.com/Shaping-Grand-Strategy-Policy-Diplomacy/dp/0521156335/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1670PFE5WK9H5&keywords=the+shaping+of+grand+strategy+policy%2C+diplomacy%2C+and+war&qid=1646110244&sprefix=the+shaping+of+grand+%2Caps%2C132&sr=8-1

  248. Well, you might get that scenario, Gavin. Say the situation in Ukraine weakens the Russians to the point where those former Chinese provinces are just too tempting… What’s Russia got left in the quiver? Nukes.

    Unless, of course, Shoigu is responsible for spiking those missile and launch systems for his new Chinese bosses.

    There are no “good” pathways out of this; over the last week, I’ve regained that same low-level tension over the world situation that I last felt back around 1989, and that does not leave me with a good feeling. In some ways, this is actually more stressful than 9/11 and its immediate aftermath–But, then, I had too much to do responding to the whole thing. This? This I have to sit and watch on the screen, and I do not like it, not one damn bit.

  249. Xennady,

    Then Secretary of State Dean Acheson made exactly that kind of stupid mistake in early 1950 when he told the world which countries’ freedom was in American vital interests, and left South Korea off the list. This helped start the Korean War.

    So major administation officials do do things like that, even good ones.

    Don’t attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidity. Especially where stupid officials are involved. Though Acheson was one of the most brilliant individuals to ever be Secretary of State.

    And he had previously done the same thing, but more “accidentally on purpose”. As an undersecretary in the Franklin Roosevelt admnistration in July 1941, when FDR was out of town, he overrode FDR’s express orders not to order a total embargo of oil exports to Japan (including not by those from the Dutch East Indies) without FDR’s express orders, and ordered the embargo on his own authority.
    FDR let Acheson’s insubordination stand, and did not can him, upon returning because of wild media and public support for the embargo during FDR’s absence from Washington. If you study Japan’s final decision to attack the US, and I have, it was made almost immediately after it became clear that FDR had approved the embargo.

    So I’m not saying outright that your premise errs, but do contend it is error to simply accept your assumption that a deliberate decision was made to provoke a war. Notably because we have the most incompetent President in history, and the people around him are definitely second-raters.

  250. I am going to start a new thread soon because the comments here have gotten so long.

    Before I do, this is mind blowing.

    Russian Army communications have been utterly hollowed out by corruption. All their communication is non-digital on what looks like Chinese made commercial radios.

    See the text from this Twitter thread:

    https://twitter.com/sbreakintl/status/1498619303717142529
    ShadowBreak Intl.@sbreakintl
    Intelligence acquired since the beginning of the Russian military operation over Ukraine has shown an immense lack of logistic support, making this war one of the most unique in 2022 when it comes to surveillance.

    A thread 👇🧵5:20 AM · Mar 1, 2022·Twitter Web App5,101 Retweets1,558 Quote Tweets12.9K LikesTweet your replyReplyShadowBreak Intl.@sbreakintl·7h

    Replying to @sbreakintl
    For the 1st time in a modern conflict, the regular forces of Russia are communicating without digital mode, making them fully audible by everyone.

    A story documented by Nicholas Laidlaw (https://instagram.com/nicklaidthelaw/) might explain that the cause would be bad logisitic preparation.

    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    Russian units on ground were then tracked, such as Buran-30, which we can hear planning an artillery attack on a civilian location.

    We can also hear jammers trying to interrupt Russian communications and disrupt their coordination capabilities.

    https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmUMPt9mBbJ4CQS36GNRrcmTYDnjtdXtsN8QWMBYKM3QNF

    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    Using publicly available web radio receiveir (webSDR), callsigns of Russian military units and roles were discovered. Reports of losses, injuries, … everything can be heard. Even them swearing at their own crew, such as in this recording.

    https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmT93mdDcMMJVBTbVvnQJKUsroGrxqTBj83vS8JkFjK9cR

    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    During a fight West of Kiev, we learned that there was an FOB in Nalivaykovka – to which Yug95 was sent to bring the 200 (KIA) and 300 (Injured).

    https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmZovWWQ6r3AdHh3ZoWuVMb8vTz2bXEBMUbNJnz44iyrdJ

    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    We also heard them cry during a fight near Kharkhiv, as heard in this recording. But also had fuel issues, trouble coordinating because lack of maps, … While also requesting air support or talking about Iskander strikes.

    https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmZY41aKtRoKrE8VVKRDbJDkhxyFBTkEh1A87BudQPfENf

    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    Every conversations have displayed a disturbing lack of coordination between units, sometimes even firing at each other. But also, in addition to the simple fact that they are equipped with analogic radios, a lack of logisitical support.
    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    Because unsecured communications, the frequencies have been constantly jammed by civilians, sometimes in the middle of fights, making the ground infantry unable to operate properly and having to withdraw.
    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    An entire community created itself around those communications, currently scanning and recording anything of interest, including ShadowBreak. Creating hours of intense Russian army chatter recordings, each demonstrating an army unprepared for such situation.
    ShadowBreak Intl.
    @sbreakintl
    ·
    7h
    We will soon make as much raw recordings as possible freely available for journalists and translators, with the hope of shining lights on a historical situation where a regular army is being tracked by thousand of individuals.

  251. Like I have been saying… This? This is a supposed nuclear superpower…?

    We used handheld commercial radios, but that was for coordinating admin stuff like stateside convoy control on the highways. Pre-deployment for Iraq, we stripped every non-deploying asset we could get at, and had SINCGARS encrypted radios in every vehicle.

    They all worked, too. Our convoy leaving to go north into Iraq, after the war? Conducted by a freakin’ Corps-level support asset? Run ten thousand times more professionally than the cluster-farks you see in Ukraine–Those knuckleheads aren’t dispersing, aren’t getting off the roads, aren’t putting out local security, and are driving around closed-hatch with zero air guards or anyone paying attention to what’s goin on around them. Looks like about zero situational awareness, and no comprehension that they’re even at risk. Christ, we took more precautions on stateside movements for exercises than these poor fools are running on a real-war invasion. That 40-mile long convoy? LOL… Man, are they gonna be hating life if the Ukrainians manage to get at that. Remember the “Highway of Death”? That’s how we whacked just about everybody heading north out of Kuwait City, when they bugged out.

    Gotta tell you… I’m seeing below-Iraqi army levels of professionalism, in some of these videos. Non-existent NCO cadre, poor officer-level supervision, and from the looks of things, a lot of those conscript privates are just hung out there to dry.

    Criminal. Just ‘effing criminal. I can’t even begin to enumerate the number and categories of military sins on display, here. They’re not even worried about routefinding, just driving happily down the highway like they’re on parade–Which, had the Ukrainians the right tools, would mean “Highway of Death” levels of destruction. I’m aching to be calling in airstrikes on that convoy of crap headed towards Kyiv–It’s just so damn unprofessional you want to see those assholes get whacked, and whacked hard.

    God, do I feel sorry for those conscript kids. They’ve been betrayed on so many levels…

  252. Tom H: “I really like Ukrainian civilians jamming Russian Army tactical communications.”

    But somehow or other, it is Russian convoys moving freely and Ukrainian military installations getting blown up. If Russia’s military is as incompetent as Kirk says, then we have to assume the Ukraine’s military must be even worse. As the old joke about the two guys running away from a bear goes — I don’t have to run faster than the bear … just faster than you.

    As Brian has indicated, we have no reliable knowledge of what is going on at this point. Except that none (as in NONE) of the Western politicians are trying to do anything constructive to bring the fighting to a halt. And I wonder why not?

  253. There’s an old truism about assessing who’s going to win a war: It’s not the best army; it’s the least bad one.

    507th Maintenance Company’s hell ride speaks volumes as to what can go wrong on just simple movements through areas behind the FEBA, or “Forward Edge of Battle Area”, as the US Army so deludedly phrases it.

    If I were a Ukrainian soldier near those stalled convoys? I’d be having a field day, even if all I had were my guys and organic weapons. There’s a tragicomically farcical level of unprofessionalism on display in a lot of the pictures and videos I’m seeing, on both sides–But, the Ukrainians are either doing a better job on the internet propaganda, or the Russians are way over on the “not least bad” scale from them. I used to be an observer/controller at the National Training Center, and I’m here to tell you, most of the Russians I’ve seen in these videos would be getting some seriously negative After-Action Reviews from everyone involved in the training cycle, and most of the commanders and senior NCOs would be looking for new jobs. Some of this stuff is just laughably bad, and I think that if you went to the NTC and performed like that? I think the Operations Group down there would insist on relieving everyone for cause, and demanding that home station sent out a new leadership cadre. I don’t think we’d have even trusted them to load and unload the trains taking the gear home…

  254. I’ve seen tons and tons of videos of Ukrainians playing with abandoned Russian vehicles. Seen shots of some bombardments, which is not trivial, but nothing overwhelming, or designed to demolish a city, or even a neighborhood, as we’ve seen Russians do recently elsewhere. And no video of any firefights, that I can think of. It continues to be very, very odd.

  255. Serious people engaged in combat don’t do selfies and videos of themselves in action. That’s one thing; the other is that the modern battlefield is astoundingly empty. There’s just not all that much to see, and what there is, you need to be able to recognize.

    One thing I do find rather weird are all the abandoned vehicles that don’t have bodies laying around them–If they’re disabled and the crews picked up? OK… Just abandoned like so many vehicular Mary Celestes? Huh? WTF?

    Your vehicle is your home; your lifeline. You don’t give those things up easily, and when you see a vehicle sitting on a road, with guy’s gear scattered around, no blood, no bodies…? You have to wonder. On the one hand, all the random gear and personal possessions make it unlikely that it’s staged by Ukranians, but on the other…? It’s a huge, glaring “WTF?”. I mean, dude… You’re fifty, a hundred miles into a hostile country. Your vehicle runs out of gas; your unit can’t or won’t refuel you–What the hell do you do? Personally, I’d be laagered up in a tactical position with other vehicles, waiting for resupply and foraging for fuel. These guys? It looks like “OHMYGAWDWEAREOUTOFGAS!!!! FLEEEEEEE….”. Which is just… Bizarre. Where are the NCOs who should be running this shitshow at a low level, and why aren’t they keeping things together?

    Frankly, I had a better handle on what to do in situations like this when I was a bloody PFC, and if you think we didn’t occasionally break down during exercises in Germany? You’d be wrong. I at least had the sense to stop the truck somewhere sensible, put out security, and then deal with things. These guys are just… God. I don’t know–I’ve never seen anything so shambolic in my life. The Iraqis had their shit more together, I think. After the “Highway of Death”, they never did that again during the second Iraq War we had. Hell, at least they had the excuse of being in a damn desert with no cover and no concealment–The Russians have trees galore, built-up areas, and they’re not even trying to either conceal themselves or avoid making themselves targets. I mean, if you’re stopped near a building? Go park next to it, or in it–Anything so you’re less noticeable.

    Basic, common-sense stuff ain’t even being done, here.

  256. If Putin’s army does not improve, and I suspect it won’t, he may think more seriously about nuclear tactical weapons. I wonder if the Russian officers in that chain of command will obey?

    The speculation that the army units held back were high tech and better trained may have been a myth. If so, the progress may not improve.

    The Democrats seem to be “waving the bloody shirt” as an election tactic. That is exceedingly dangerous.

  257. https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/t4hr7t/another_abandoned_russian_tank_looted_and/

    Watch that video. Whoever the crew was, that tank was abandoned with all their gear still on it–That’s what those bags strapped to the side of the track armor are. The damn thing looks like the Mary Celeste, to me… Where’s the crew? What the hell happened to them?

    If I were a Ukrainian, I’d be scrounging up some fuel and moving those damn things to somewhere under my control that the recovery guys couldn’t find. Presuming the Russians even have tank recovery assets deployed there…

    Total amateur-hour shitshow. You don’t leave things like that around for other people to use against you–Every vehicle we had to abandon in Iraq during the advance north? Those suckers got destroyed, even if we had to call in airstrikes on them.

    Conscript army vs. long service volunteer one. There’s an exponential difference between them, and it shows in things like this. Those tank crews should be on those vehicles, hull-down somewhere in a defensive formation, and waiting for resupply. They should not be “run out of fuel” on a secondary road and left for all and sundry to explore, everything intact.

  258. You can find a billion videos of Taliban firefights. Now you can argue they aren’t exactly professionals, of course…But the Ukrainians are clearly trying to win the twitter front, and some nice videos of partisans in firefights with the invading Russians would be absolutely gold for that purpose, regardless of whether they kill or get killed. Looks to me like their army went to ground, presumably to avoid getting mauled, and they’re focusing on waging an online propaganda campaign, which is going very well. I’m just surprised by now we’re not seeing any combat propaganda vids…whatever, I accepted a few days ago that I have absolutely no idea what’s going on over there.

  259. If they’re actually able to control the “twitter war” that effectively, that’s telling in and of itself.

    The other thing is, don’t template expectations on this based on what you saw in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. US troops are paid very well, and have access to the most mercantile economy on the planet. The Russians are conscripts who get paid peanuts, and who will not have GoPro money. Same-same with the Ukrainians; if I were one of them, I’d be buying body armor or other gear before I plunked down for a helmet cam. So, you’ll see a lot of footage from things like cell phones, which are likely to be several generations old or a model not even familiar to Americans, without all the flash bells and whistles on it.

  260. Ukraine is a hotbed of international software development. Pretty sure there are vast numbers of late model iPhones even in every small town.

  261. This seems like very level-headed analysis. Too long to quote, RTWT as the kids say…
    https://danielberman.substack.com/p/thoughts-on-ukraine-march-1
    The concluding paragraph (after lots of very good discussion about tactics, objectives, etc.):
    Both Western cheerleaders for Ukraine, and Russian nationalists like Anatoly Karlin(who correctly called the invasion and some of its motives) are living in fantasy land. The former are greatly inflating the political options available to the Ukrainians. The latter still believe that Russian annexation of all of Ukraine including Lviv is on the agenda. Both are probably off the table after this week.

  262. LOL. The twitter war. Halfwits tweeting at each other is always funny.

    Russia will just do what it said it will. It will destroy the Ukranian military and arrest a bunch of people.

    The first is in progress. In the east the Azov brigade is dug in, in small towns and villages, where they do not let the civilians leave. So that is difficult and will take time as just wrecking the place is not what they are up to. If you join up and go fight they will kill you. There was a fairly large number of people, in a Volkssturm, or civilian force, killed in Kherson this morning after they attacked a Russian mop up crew. Bandera Smoothies is what they called the aftermath.

  263. Here is a column that I agree with 100%.

    You see everything that’s being done to Russians now by the liberal democratic leadership of the West, heedless of its wisdom or justice, simply because the Russians Are Evil and whatever we do to them is justified? If you don’t think this is going to be turned on political and religious conservatives who dissent from the ruling class’s priorities, you are deluding yourself. This is not a defense of the Russians; this is a reminder that whenever the neoliberal ruling class achieves consensus to attack its perceived enemy, the consequences can be devastating.

    Events are very fluid as I write, but what I fear will emerge in the US out of this catastrophe is total resolve by the governing elites to strike at any critics of the neoliberal order and its priorities by smearing them as allies of Putin.

    This is already happening. I would put at least tactical nukes at 50% now.

  264. Ukrainian expat I know say that while there’s deep smartphone penetration, most people own second- and third-tier Androids. It came up in conversation because they were looking for a second-hand phone shop like they’re used to, overseas.

    Probably doesn’t make that much difference, really. I was astonished to find out how many features they’re sticking a basic phone these days…

  265. Just a thought on the Twitter campaign — We know that the Ukraine has Russian equipment. It would not be difficult to post photos & videos of those, pretending they are Russian. And we know in some cases the Ukrainians have reposted photos taken several years ago.

    Let’s keep the historical record in mind. German blitzkreig took about 46 days to over-run France. What we may be seeing in the Ukraine is Russian troops moving carefully to try to minimize civilian casualties, while Ukrainian forces hunker down and wait for NATO to come & rescue them.

    Everyone is playing with fire! Especially those CongressScum calling for the US to get more involved. No Way!

  266. America took 3 weeks to over-run Iraq with about 300,000 soldiers in the coalition, which killed 100,000 civilians in the process.

    Let us hope the Russian are more humane.

  267. FYI, Gavin… At least some of those tanks are unique to Russia. You can tell by the upgrades and armor packages.

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