Day Five of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.

The last five days have seen the Russian Army pushing into Ukraine  from the North, South and East with multiple failed helicopter & parachute drops around the cities of Kyiv and Odessa in the Southwest, plus three amphibious operations in the South that has left Mariupol all but surrounded.

The Russian Army started with only 3-4 Russian division-equivalents (roughly the size of the Israeli forces in Sinai in the 1967 Arab-Israel War) entering Ukraine, which is about the size of Texas with twice Texas’ population.  The Russians sent these units in five separate columns into Ukraine with the truck park sufficient to support three columns, a shortage of fuel trucks and very poor radio communications.

3-4 division equivalents are insufficient to even attempt to occupy the Ukraine unless the Ukrainian people themselves give up, and they haven’t.  The opposite in fact as there are about 150 battalion sized Ukrainian territorial militia being handed out weapons in addition to active & reserve Ukrainian ground forces.

The next three maps give a useful overview of the military events to date.


Progression of the Russian invasion to date
Progression of the Russian invasion to date


Uk Ministry of Defense update on Ukraine
UK Ministry of Defense update on Ukraine

The Ukrainian military reports the following Russian losses through 28 Feb 2022.


Ukrainian report of Russian losses up through 28 Feb 2022
Ukrainian report of Russian losses up through 28 Feb 2022 (Salt required)

For people not wishing to trust the Ukrainian reports. See this link:

Attack On Europe: Documenting Equipment Losses During The 2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

The following Ukrainian report is on Russian cruise missile launch numbers by type. Confusingly, Russia has both ballistic and cruise missile named “Iskander” because they both use the same ‘Iskander’ launch vehicle.

Ukrainian Report on Air Defense Interceptions
Ukrainian Report on Russian cruise missile launches through 28 Feb 2022

The biggest surprise of the war is the fact the Ukrainian Air Force is still flying and it’s Turkish TB2 drones are killing Russian surface to air missile batteries, trucks, tanks and even a 60-tank car fuel train in Crimea!

Ukrainian AF TB2 Strike Fuel Train
Ukrainian Air Force TB2 before and after strike photos of a Russian fuel train in Crimea

See the following link for confirmed TB2 Kills in Ukraine to date:

Defending Ukraine – Listing Russian Army Equipment Destroyed By Bayraktar TB2

TB2s have hit multiple convoys, especially carrying fuel and ammo. in addition to the previously mentioned railway POL cistern train. Ukrainian military briefings on airstrikes conducted by the 7th Tactical Aviation Brigade (TAB) Su-24M FENCERs and 299th TAB Su-25M FROGFOOTs are all described as “convoys”. ukrainian government public directives to Territorials and civilians are all about ambushing and destroying primarily fuel convoys.

This suggests the Ukrainian strategy is to block the lead Russian armored column “Schwerpunkts” and then interdict the supply of POL, ammunition and reinforcements. This is a variation on the late armored warfare author Brigadier Richard Simpkin‘s hammer and anvil” operational doctrine using a combination of air power, long range tube and rocket artillery, and “irregular” forces behind the notional forward edge of the battle area (FEBA) to interdict lines of resupply.  If this Simpkin model works as intended the effect would be like Kursk, with the Russian armored column “Schwerpunkts” stuck deep behind enemy lines and out of gas, ammunition and luck.

The problem is the Russian Army is huge and just had the Pres. Lukashenko of Belarus’s army join in the drive on Kyiv.  Despite all their success with drones strikes and jet fighter air-to-air combat, the Ukrainians are getting ground down.  They have not lost any major cities yet, but several of the middle sized ones have fallen in the South and on the coast. Some 80% of the 180,000 to 200,ooo Russian ground forces they built up around Ukraine are now inside Ukraine’s borders and are pushing with most of the 44,000 troops from Belarus set to head into Ukraine from the north in a couple of days.

The key issue for “War Termination” is Russia’s financial burn rate for the war.  Estimates place it at $30 billion a day.  So 30 days of high end conventional combat is $900 billion, AKA something like 75-80% of Russia’s pre-war foreign currency reserves.

I expect Ukraine will be overwhelmed conventionally in another 3-to-6 weeks.

Then it will be Russians fighting Ukrainian guerilla riflemen with RPG’s behind every blade of grass until Putin runs out of money and/or gets a “9mm resignation notice.”

265 thoughts on “Day Five of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.”

  1. Your sources are sometimes laughable.

    An assault that is designed to destroy the Ukrainian military is not the same as a conquering strategy. They would rather stay out of cities, if they don’t have to enter them to destroy Ukrainian forces. Precision strikes on communications and command and control are underway. They want to break Ukraine to the extent its useless as a way to attack them.

    To keep this short, I don’t think they are at surprised by what has happened, and are not far from where their plan’s timeline is going. I doubt they expected to just roll over the CIA controlled and directed nation. They are doing this because of that very control.

  2. If the Russians had lost 4500 men already there would be a loooooot more videos of Russian corpses. I don’t think that number seems plausible.
    By most accounts Ukraine is in dire straits in the south and southeast. Again, not sure why there are basically no videos, from either side, from fighting in that area, which seems like it has the most intense battles going on.
    I don’t understand why that big convoy “near” Kiev hasn’t been obliterated by Ukrainian troops/partisans. You’d think a fairly small group of men with anti-tank weapons could have absolutely mauled it by now.
    All in all it still seems like the plausible gains for Russia aren’t nearly worth the costs incurred yet, let alone still to come, but then I’m not Russian so maybe it’s just beyond my comprehension…
    The pro-war hysteria is like nothing I’ve ever seen. My middle school daughter said one of her teachers today was saying we need to get involved militarily now. This same teacher, by the way, thought Trump was going to recklessly start wars all over the world…

  3. And the same people who are all about “America must get involved!!! Eleventy!!!!” are the same lot who will turn on a dime, once we do get involved … and scream about “American warmongering.”
    Have seen about half a century of this. Done with seeing any more. I wish the Ukranians all the best of good luck – but if anyone wants to go there and fight for them, they can go there on their own dime and passport.

  4. well that’s evergreen isn’t it, this resembles the contours of the Yugoslav wars even these involved elements in the same country, but tightly connected clans and sectarian splits, Orthodox, Catholic, Moslem, the Tatars the original occupants are the odd men out, The villain in the former was clearly the Serbs, and they almost were right out of Central Casting at time,
    Never mind the Croats had their own baggage going back to the war, I wondered about the Turkish involvement in this,

  5. We should keep in mind that Germany’s top flight WWII Wermacht’s blitzkreig attack on France (about the same size as the Ukraine) took 46 days to achieve success. NATO’s invasion of Afghanistan took 7,300 days, and ended in failure. It is early days yet in the Ukraine.

    The big difference in WWII was that the DC Swamp and the rest of the US were essentially untouchable. Today, if our “leaders” carry on promoting war instead of trying to broker a peace, we are all essentially on the nuclear front lines. Sleep well !

  6. wait how long did it take to topple the Taliban, with small unit warfare, yes they found sanctuary across the border, thanks to the treacherous ISI, holding territory is harder than seizing it, you can ask any officer deployed in Chechnya,

  7. VDV assault on Kharkiv is underway.


    Marco Rubio
    Tonight #Putin has launched what appears to be the largest airborne assault of the invasion

    It is likely a final push to take control of the SE approach to #Kharkiv, a city he expected to take quickly without resistance & be welcomed by grateful residents as a liberator
    7:39 PM · Mar 1, 2022·Twitter for iPad

  8. Now we know why the RuAF sortie rate tubed for the last couple of days:

    Marco Rubio
    In western #Russia #Putin has deployed 42 An-2 “Colt” biplanes & a 300% increase in combat aircraft

    There are indications the “Colts” may have been converted to drones for use as decoys to trigger an air defense response from #Ukraine that would identify their location

  9. BTW, in case people missed the implications of Rubio’s Tweet.

    Russia had 300 aircraft committed to the campaign so far. It’s best 300 capable of firing precision weapons.

    Now it’s going to 1,200 aircraft with 42 decoy AN-42 bi-planes converted to drones.

  10. Rubio’s in deep w the IC, like I said the other day. Completely enmeshed in the corrupt senate intel committee at the heart of Russiagate. And he’s obviously their chosen spokesman for Ukraine leaks. Probably to raise his profile for a future presidential run. The IC would love to have him in the White House rather than someone who might threaten them.

  11. I watched about half of Slow Joe’s SotU speech. Lots of bluster. I really wonder if he knows what he said? The Democrats are trying to use this war to hide their domestic failures. I wonder if we will end up with a nuclear war. He could do one serious thing; end Russian oil imports.

  12. I’ll believe 1200 aircraft when we’re seeing them and they’re hitting things.

    Last time I read about it, the Russians didn’t have1200 operational aircraft of all types, let alone tactical support.

    My guess is that this number is wildly optimistic, and anything coming out of the IC here in the US is suspect for both competence and political influence. Ya have to figure out what the angles are, when they tell you things–Even if you’re a tactical commander out in the field.

  13. 1200 aircraft includes tactical transports and light utility aircraft, while excluding primary trainers. The Russians allegedly “had” 1200 total aircraft, 300 of which were modern combat aircraft capable of fighting inside the Ukrainian’s integrated air defense system, about 400 other combat aircraft capable of use against an enemy lacking an integrated air defense system (ISIS in Syria for example), and 500 or so transports, advanced trainers, utility aircraft, etc.

  14. If we’re going to compare Battle of France to the Ukraine, it’s only fair to mention that France had, on it’s northern front, well over 2 million men, while relatively minor combatants like Belgium and the British expeditionary force both outnumbered the Ukrainian army. Oh, and most historians figure that the Germans had effectively won the Battle of France when they reached the coast after 10 or 12 days. It took them a while to mop up, but the war was effectively over, with the best French forces destroyed. Yeah, the French established a line of sorts and fought hard, but what they had left was a hollow shell that collapsed when the Germans broke through.

    It’s also fair to compare the rate of the German advance to the Russian ones. Any Russian columns advancing 50 miles/day like the Germans did several times? Didn’t think so.

  15. Brian, I was wrong. The 1,200 figure is probably of all combat aircraft. Wikipedia said the Russian Air Force had 3,500 aircraft in 2015, which includes all trainers, helicopters, etc., and the Russians have well over a thousand helicopters.

  16. Tom, I think that number was right, for operational aircraft.

    3500 is probably about right, if you want to count airframes, and consider things that probably shouldn’t fly without extensive work being lavished on them. The state of readiness in Russia is about the same as in Soviet days, I suspect.

    I’d lay you long odds that even the Russians aren’t too sure of what’s really going on, with regards to this issue. Nobody wants to tell their bosses the bad news about things breaking, and nobody wants to acknowledge how much “stuff” is being diverted to make life more comfortable for the bosses. Knowing the Russians, I’d wager that an awful lot of that 3,500 is coming from counting things like the “gate guard” airframes used to decorate entrances to the bases.

    Probably, there’s someone in the intelligence world that has a clue, but they’re not likely to tell us. Portraying the Russians as ten foot giants is what they do…

  17. I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation back when we were told that the Russians had 130,000 troops. If you lined all of them up a meter apart, you’d have a line about 80 miles long. From that, I could get an idea just how broad a front they were capable of if they massed all their forces. Maybe ten miles? Not very big in an area that large. They didn’t and only used a fraction all together, so that gives an idea of just what sort of power each of their columns had. Remember that every mile of advance gives you two miles of flank if you are protecting your resupply route. 10,000 troops doesn’t stretch very far like that. The alternative is a force that can fight until it runs out of gas or ammo, then disintegrates unless it can return to safety like a cavalry raid.

    Then there’s airborne. We’ve seen a classic example of what happens when light troops go up against armor without being relieved in a few hours. Not what the Russians had in mind but the Ukrainians get a say. Remember Market Garden.

    Now we’re told there is a supply train 40 miles long, road bound in a country without a lot of roads. That will be the test. If it gets through it will be a sure sign that the Ukrainians are toast.

    My personal opinion is that Putin has nothing like four to six weeks, that six more days is probably pushing it.

    1,200 aircraft committed, get real, that would be a commitment of more than 100,000 personnel just for that. I find 300 front line aircraft implausible given the decrepit state of the Russian Air Force. That would be a very major commitment for us.

  18. }}} Your sources are sometimes laughable.

    Says the clueless bonehead who is consistently always laughable on every level….

  19. Top of the hour network broadcast this morning started off with “Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have slaughtered more than 2000 civilians during the invasion so far”.
    The local (upstate New York) radio host, who is non-ideological and usually pretty ignorant, was talking about how if Russia attacks Ukraine and we “do nothing” then China will probably invade Taiwan.
    So this relatively normie guy thinks nearly unprecedented economic sanctions and actively arming one side of a conflict is doing “nothing.”
    I’m getting pretty worried that the propaganda campaign is far too effective and we’re going to see irresistibly strong pressure to “do something” in the coming weeks which could lead to all sorts of nightmarish places.

  20. One of the points that needs to be made here is that people need to wake up and smell the coffee. The world has gotten much, much smaller in our lifetimes, and we still haven’t adapted to that fact inside our heads.

    Time was, some BS off in Crimea only mattered to diplomats and statesmen, plus the poor bastards they used as tools to go deal with it. The rest of the world saw it in the newspapers and could safely treat it as something entirely irrelevant to their lives, unless they had relatives or business interests there.

    It’s a different thing, today: China lets itself serve as a mercenary biological development site for elements of the US government and industry, and what happens? Typically half-ass Chinese controls lead to an agent being released that creates blowback for the entire planet. Remember Japans infamous Unit 731, back in the bad old days? As recently as the 1930s, that outfit could be experimenting with plague and other nasty stuff, and nobody besides their Chinese victims needed to worry. Hell, we didn’t know what was going on there, until the war was over.

    Those days are gone. World’s a smaller place, and modern technology is giving us powers and capabilities that require we manage them safely and effectively without fail.

    Once upon a time, we could have watched what was going on in Ukraine, clucked our tongues, and gone about our business. Those days are gone.

    Couple of scenarios to consider: Why was Chernobyl a target for the Russians? Caution? Concern it could be turned into a giant dirty bomb? Or… Alternatively, that’s their own plan: Wire the sarcophagus for demolition, and then use that as a threat to Europe. Never mind that it would likely do more damage to them–Putin ain’t exactly portraying himself as mentally all there these days, is he?

    Second scenario: Space is going to be a thing. Sometime before the turn of the 22nd Century, we will (hopefully…) doing resource extraction up there, bringing back the bacon in the form of minerals. Nowadays, the Chinese can test their ASAT systems and damage a bunch of stuff in orbit, but what happens when someone’s ineptitude bringing back the rocks from the asteroid belt drops something big on the planet?

    Guy I know is a geologist with a hobby. That hobby is basically astrogeology. He once made an interesting observation to me that has always made me wonder, and that observation was that the various asteroid impacts around the end of the Cretaceous Era have one thing in common (or, so the state of knowledge was, back when I was talking to him…) in that they were the sort of rocks you might want to bring back for resource extraction. He also pointed out that the sizes were “interesting”, in that the impactors were large enough that they should have been swept up by Jupiter by this point in the solar systems history, and that they were anomalous as hell in terms of how many and the time frame in which they hit. Either something unusual in the outer solar system kicked those puppies loose, or…?

    You do have to wonder. Our time here so far has been short enough that I don’t think we’d really leave all that much of a signature in terms of geological time and paleontology, a million or two years hence. Did someone else make a similar series of mistakes as we have, back then?

    We very, very badly need to grow the ‘eff up and knock off the stupid. Invading Ukraine was stupid. Doing gain-of-function research in China was stupid, but the US paid for it, and the Chinese did it. One of these days in the not-so-distant future, high-school kids are going to be doing that same sort of work as labs in their studies. Think maybe we ought to take some precautions, now rather than try to mop up all the spilt milk?

    My basis for saying Ukraine needs to be dealt with isn’t so much based on the idea of truth, justice, and the American way so much as it is getting that knife out of the hands of that dumbass poking at the sides of our inflatable liferaft. I really don’t want to drown, and those sharks look pretty unfriendly, circling us.

  21. The question is: Is this 1941? If it is what you or I want doesn’t make a nano-gram of difference. Everything that could have made a difference needed to be done years ago and wasn’t. We’re all along for the ride and we’ll see who’s left when things finally come to rest.

    A decisive defeat of the Russians would generate some breathing room and might cause some useful introspection on the part of the Chinese. A Russian victory establishes the ascendancy of the warlord.

  22. Maybe it is time for us all to look ahead and start thinking about what are the possible end states from the current position.

    NATO has refused to acknowledge Russia’s concerns about having NATO weapons on its borders. Russia has invaded the Ukraine, probably focused mainly on getting the Ukraine Finlandized rather than occupied. The West has declared all-out economic war on Russia. China, India, & Brazil have called for a negotiated end to the situation, while the West is promoting the conflict.

    One possible end state: Ukrainians cry uncle and agree never to join NATO. But someone will have to guarantee the neutrality of the Ukraine. The only possible candidate is China. We end up with Chinese forces in the Ukraine, and the Ukraine gradually becomes a Chinese colony on NATO’s border. China wins.

    The other possible end state: thermonuclear destruction of European, US, and Russian cities. This has become an existential fight for Russia — they can’t back down and end up with a heavily-armed NATO presence on their border. While the usual Lefties try to personalize the conflict and blame it all on President Putin, the reality is probably that he has harder-liners behind him ready to put a bullet in his head if he shows any sign of weakness. If NATO “does something” in the Ukraine and it looks like Russia is going to lose, the missiles will start to fly. Who wins from that thermonuclear war? China! They would be in the same position as the US after WWII, with the last intact industrial infrastructure.

    We know that Western politicians, media, academics, business are all heavily infiltrated by Chinese influence. Perhaps China is playing us all — Russians as well as the West.

  23. Updates:
    Mariupol. The city is blocked. Fighting on the outskirts. There is no direct assault yet. They are still trying to negotiate the withdrawal of civilians, but the Nazis will not refuse a human shield.

    Volnovakha. Surrounded. The stripping process is not fully captured yet. The enemy has very heavy losses,

    Position near Donetsk. The attack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (sally) on Gorlovka did not give any results, both sides suffered losses. The shelling of the territory of the DPR continues.

    Position near Donetsk. The attack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (sally) on Gorlovka did not give any results, both sides suffered losses. The shelling of the territory of the DPR continues.

    RF Armed Forces have occupied Balakleya and are moving towards Izyum. And there and Slavyansk not far. It is very likely that in the coming days, part of the forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that remained in the northern regions of the LPR and did not have time to retreat will be surrounded and liquidated.

    Kharkov. The RF Armed Forces are already kept in semi-coverage. Fighting on the outskirts. In the city – the methodical destruction of enemy manpower and its organizational and command structure. Along the way, they continue to finish off the remaining military facilities.

    RF Armed Forces approached Brovary. There is no direct assault yet. Battles near Chernigov, measures to establish full control over Konotop. Trostyanets is fully occupied. Sumy and Akhtyrka are still not completely controlled.

    To the west of Kyiv, positional battles – the RF Armed Forces are pulling up additional forces. There are losses in equipment on both sides.

    Zaporozhye direction. Battles near Vasilievka. Armed Forces of Ukraine are constantly pouring into the village. Energodar has not yet carried out a cleansing operation.

    Kherson. The city was occupied at night by the troops of the RF Armed Forces. The local authorities eventually agreed. The city is relatively calm.

    In the region of Nikolaev, fighting continues to block the city, which has not yet been achieved. The situation in the area of ​​the Nikolaev-Krivoy Rog highway is unclear. Helicopter landing in the area of ​​Nikolaev. One of the bridges was blown up near Voznesensk.

    No one landed in Odessa as usual. In the morning, Russian ships appeared on the horizon, then they withdrew. Beyond the horizon, something smoked. Perhaps there was another naval battle with the remaining boats of the Ukrainian Navy, which, after the battle at Zmeiny, went to Odessa. (later it turned out that a foreign cargo ship was smoking, something might have arrived) So far, there are no details. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine asks Zelensky to achieve a pause in hostilities, since the city is not covered from the land direction and is not ready to repel the attack of Russian columns bypassing Nikolaev from the north.

    Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine will be held tomorrow in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

  24. well Shoigu the Tuvan seemed to have been on that wavelength, but he was surprised by the escalation along with General Gerasimov, who is a smoother operator, I really don’t get why Putin decided on this 19th Century game, now of all times,

    we know shambling was a Soviet tool, much the way michael foot was in the British Labour Party, there was one one other Anthony Benn, whose subservience concerned even some kgb operative,
    we know what operations in that region, look like in the world war 2, and they were exceedingly bloody, the battle of kharkiv was a reverse thrust,

  25. ‘something’ is defined as a deterrent action, back in the eighties, the arrival of the Pershing missiles in West Germany was considered provocative, thats a piker considering what we considering doing,

  26. furthermore kharkiv was a region that welcome the intervention in the Donbass, eight years ago, up to a point, if you are shelling them, who are not really the holdouts, I suppose it’s another path to kyev,

  27. The Russians seem to be taking several thousand casualties a day. This is not sustainable. They allegedly moved 140 battalion combat teams (BTT’s) around the Ukraine before the war, and not all of those were combat capable. At 800 men per BTT, that is 112,000 guys at the sharp end.

    30 days of casualties at 3000 men a day is 90,000 casualties.

    This war will be over in two more weeks.

  28. I question the numbers of casualties. Then again, I’m not out on the ground seeing them, either. This is a remarkably clean and vacant battlespace, from the video I’m seeing posted.

    Which would speak to either a huge rate of POW and desertions, or a really good Ukrainian media-management operation. Or, that we’re being drowned in the kabuki…

    Whole thing is just really hard to make out, from what is available to us here as civilians. Likely, not much better for professional intel types, and maybe not even the Russians and Ukrainians.

    This shit is precisely why real professional soldiers always counsel the politicians not to go to war. There is no telling what the hell is going to happen. Everyone thought France was going to stand, in 1940, too. How far off was that assessment? War is the province of chaos, and I think the Russians fell for their own internal maskirovka.

  29. “The Russians seem to be taking several thousand casualties a day”
    That can’t possibly be right. Where are the images of that many bodies? I don’t think even Ukraine claims they’re inflicting anywhere near that much damage.

  30. Casualties are defined as wounded, dead, POW, and missing.

    The poor bastard doing the morning strength reports may be seeing 3,000 a day in total of all three. Effectively, when you can’t account for your guys, you’ve lost that much military power.

    If there are 3,000 Russian soldiers a day going walkabout because they’ve concluded that they’re not being supported or because they can’t support what they’ve been sent to do, well… That’s potentially a bigger problem than if they were shot by some Ukrainian. And, it still counts as a loss of Russian military power.

    Like I said, figuring out what is really going on is nearly impossible, from where we’re sitting. I look at all those trucks in convoy, all those tanks and APCs, and I don’t see a lot of people. US Army and Marine forces would have guys hanging out of hatches, doing air guard, out on the ground for local security, and all the rest. Our convoys would not consist of vehicles with no visible troops as they move, especially in hostile territory.

  31. Not on my 2022 bingo card:

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    The great nation of #Ukraine
    President #Zelenskyy
    Your honorable and almost unrivalled resistance uncovered the Satanic plots of enemies of mankind.
    Trust that the great nation of #Iran is standing by you,while admiring this heroic persistence .

  32. Miguel said:

    “furthermore kharkiv was a region that welcome the intervention in the Donbass, eight years ago, up to a point, if you are shelling them, who are not really the holdouts, I suppose it’s another path to kyev,”

    They’re not on the path to Kyiv. They think they are. I think they’re on the path to losing the Donbas, Lugansk, Crimea, and bankruptcy.

    Kharkiv is probably the most pro-Russian city in the most pro-Russian part of Ukraine that is left. They’re bombarding it. How ‘effing smart is that?

    I’ll lay you long odds that you’re going to start seeing ethnic Russians in Ukraine starting to decide that they’re better off as formerly Russian-identifying Ukrainians than they are under Putin’s thumb. Russia does not have a good historical reputation for taking care of Russians, let alone other ethnicities. I can’t find a link to it, but there was a Tik-Tok video someone sent me the other day where an ethnic Russian was saying something to the effect that he was repudiating Russia, and was going to start calling himself Ukrainian. He also said something about no longer speaking the “filthy Russian language” any more, after all this was over.

    Putin is indeed changing minds. It’s just that they’re the wrong ones, and they’re changing them to the opposite of what he intended.

  33. @Trent,

    When even the Iranians get it, I think the rest of the world is going to be in agreement before long.

    The only question at this point is, how much longer will this last, and what happens when it’s over? Will Putin still be there?

    I think it would be helpful to have the various other nuclear powers point out that any use of a nuke, tactical or otherwise, will result in an immediate counterforce strike on Russia. By everyone. I’d also be pointing out which population centers there are that are near those targets, state that I was regretful of the huge loss of human life to be expected, and then politely ask the Russian people to get the ‘eff out before we wind up killing a bunch of them while disarming their crazed leader. Who, I would emphasize, was the very first to threaten nuclear war.

    Just saying… We should make it clear to all Russians what’s going to happen if Putin carries out his demented threats.

  34. Ahmadinejad is not “the Iranians.” Iran abstained at the UN today, along with a few dozen other countries.

  35. Everyone thought France was going to stand, in 1940, too. How far off was that assessment?

    No offense but Churchill may have been the only one who believed that in 1940.

    I have no idea how this invasion will turn out. I was very surprised that Putin did it as I thought he was winning until then.

  36. “Who, I would emphasize, was the very first to threaten nuclear war.”

    Amusingly it was Liz Truss who first threatened the use of nukes. That was his response to her deranged posturing.

  37. This is the first report I have seen of the damage done to Ukrainian forces by the Russian MoD. Surprisingly, it looks about right:

    Casus Belli@CasusBellii🇺🇦🇷🇺🚨| Russian MoD :

    « 395 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 59 multiple rocket launchers, 179 field artillery pieces and mortars of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed »

    « A total of 1,325 objects of the military infrastructure of Ukraine »

  38. I dunno that I was surprised… I’ve gotten to the point with these things to where I don’t rule anything out. I mean, if you bought yourself a time machine and took it back to say, 1978? Tried briefing the President on the actual course of things over the next 44 years?

    I’ll put this bluntly: You’d still be under chemical restraint in some padded room somewhere, under the assumption you were insane.

    Given all the “unlikely” that’s happened in my lifetime, I no longer have expectations of anything. I just deal with things as they present, and I don’t rule out any form of nuttery from anyone. Y’all get on the news tomorrow and tell me that Joe Biden done launched him some nukes at Argentina, and I’m not going to be “surprised”, at all. I’m past the point where anything really provides that sort of titillation. I have no expectations of normality, causality, or that people will recognize that outcome “C” is a natural potential outgrowth of actions “A” and “B”. The world is chaotic and inherently unpredictable. I recognize this, and I have reconciled myself to the implications that I shouldn’t have any expectations that I know what’s going on. Take it as it comes, boys…

    And, be ready for the occasional ass-rape by fate and circumstance.

  39. China has made it official they won’t respect sanctions on Russia.
    What’s the forecast in Europe for this month? Hopefully not cold.
    The Fed says it will actually start hiking rates this month, which will slow the economy, in an almost certainly futile attempt to fight inflation.

    The only thing that makes any sense, and I concede that there may be cultural forces that seem “irrational” to us, is that China and Russia figure they can actually start to impose more economic pain on the West then the West can impose back. Look to the stories about China stockpiling various commodities, etc.
    Who knows. We just have to live through it and see what happens.

  40. The only thing on which there seems to be agreement is that Russian forces are moving forward and Ukrainian forces are falling back. Well, that and agreement that if war were fought on Twitter the Ukraine would have won on Day One.

    At what point do the Ukrainians decide that jaw-jaw is better than war-war? There are some suggestions that Zelensky would like to halt the combat, but the hard liners in the Ukrainian kleptocracy would make him & his family martyrs before they would allow that.

    Meanwhile, the blow back from the financial war the West has decided to wage will start to have impacts on Western populations, most immediately in Europe. Interesting times!

  41. You do have to wonder what is going on between Russia and China. Ukraine was a major supplier of wheat and other food commodities to the Chinese. Say that Putin fails to achieve a lock on things before planting season… Where does that leave China, when it comes to filling the hole in their food supply?

    Sure, the Chinese and Russians can do damage to Western economies. The West could also ensure that China starves this next winter. Checkmate.

    The world is an interdependent place, these days. Actions like the ones taken in Ukraine result in entirely unpredictable second- and third-order effects. Allowing assholes like him to do these things without restraint…? Wonder what a world of people behaving like Putin would look like. I don’t think it could support 7 billion people very well, and maybe that’s a goal.

    China can’t feed itself. That’s an issue they have to take into account. Assuming the oligarchy that runs China cares–Maybe they would happily let famine reduce their population, gambling that so long as they keep the regime-protection forces fed, who cares what happens to the workers and peasants?

    Kherson has fallen to the Russian military, becoming the first major Ukrainian city to come under Russian control since the invasion last week. The mayor, Igor Kolykhaev, told me he met today with the Russian commander who plans to set up a military administration.

    I think we need to be honest, that militarily-speaking, Russia is “winning”. Propaganda-wise, Ukraine is winning. I think that fact is important for how things are going to go in the medium and certainly long terms, but it doesn’t change the facts.

  43. “Where does that leave China, when it comes to filling the hole in their food supply?”
    There may be bad news for the West, almost as if China’s been preparing for this:
    At the end of 2021, NIKKEI Asia reported that China, with less than 20% of the world’s population, has managed to stockpile more than half of the world’s maize and other grains, leading to steep price increases across the planet and dropping more countries into famine.
    On January 5, 2022, Bloomberg reported that food prices have hit 10-year highs, causing worldwide concern.
    “Supply-chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, bad weather and a surge in consumer demand are among the factors responsible for the spike. So, too, is a lesser-known phenomenon: China is hoarding key commodities,” Bloomberg’s Adam Minter said.
    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, China will hold 69% of the world’s corn reserves, 60% of its rice, and 51% of its wheat by mid-2022.
    China is maintaining its food stockpiles at a ‘historically high level,’ said Qin Yuyun, head of grain reserves at the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration.
    “Our wheat stockpiles can meet the demand for one and a half years. There is no problem whatsoever about the supply of food.”

  44. @Brian,

    Well, that’s nice if they actually have all that stockpiled.

    I would hope, however, that you’re not credulous enough to take all that at face value. Ghost cities ring any bells? Corruption? Chinese general incompetence at managing the details, similar to the Russian one?

    I would exercise caution in taking anything that anyone is saying at face value. I haven’t seen reports out of the rest of the world other than Sri Lanka, where they’ve been experiencing famine because someone came in and bought everything up, but maybe I’ve missed those.

    I’d also exercise caution in taking the Department of Agriculture’s numbers at face value. I remember when they used to tell us similar BS about Soviet stockpiles. Odds are, they rely on what the Chinese are telling them, and I am not sanguine about the accuracy of those numbers.

    I do know for a fact that the Chinese have purchased and leased a ton of land in Ukraine. You need cooperative and willing locals to plant and harvest that efficiently, or you wind up with the same famine-plagued nightmare that the Soviet Union turned Ukraine into for most of its tenure as the proprietor of Ukraine. I doubt they’re going to be able to motivate Ukraine any better than they were before.

  45. Western intelligence sources are endorsing Ukrainian kill counts on Russian personnel.

    Massive salt warnings apply:

    Richard Engel
    · 42m
    Around 6000 Russians killed in Ukraine so far. “two Western officials tell @NBCNews that about 5,800 Russians have been killed, a number in line with Ukraine’s estimates.” @JoshNBCNews

  46. Russia took kherson, at the outset of the conflict, and gave it up in december of 2014, it’s a rather tragic back and forth

  47. This will leave a mark on the Russian VDV helicopter force.

    Richard Engel
    The US has delivered hundreds of stinger missiles to Ukraine this week, including more than 200 on Monday, according to two Congressional officials briefed on the deliveries.

  48. “Odds are, they rely on what the Chinese are telling them”
    Good grief, man, commodities are bought and sold. Like you said, they can’t feed themselves. They’ve had to buy it. Those things are documented.

    My guess is Russia’s figuring that in a few months places like Egypt will be screaming that they have to buy wheat from Ukraine/Russia or they’ll starve, and the sanctions will completely collapse, if they even last that long.
    Google “russia fertilizer ban.” Read about the current prices, and what it means for food prices in the coming months.
    Like you said “The world is an interdependent place, these days.” All the idiots laughing that Russians can’t buy iPhones right now are completely clueless about what all the implications for this are.

  49. @Trent,

    Two things… One, those fuel trucks are set up that way from the factory. You’ll note they’re using standard bows and canvas? They can only do that because the bits and bobs for doing so are already on the trucks, deliberately so. What’s been telling is that they didn’t bother to mount the canvas covers, before this–Sign of over-confidence.

    Second thing is, the casualty counts are always going to be questionable. I doubt we’ll get to ground zero on how many Russians went into Ukraine and didn’t come out again until years from now. There are probably a bunch of 18 year-old kids with Russian uniforms who’ve gone to ground with some random sympathetic farmer and who will turn up decades hence, married to said farmer’s daughter and happily running his tractors for him.

    And, knowing what I know about the state of the Russian military? I’ll also lay you long odds that the Russians don’t have names or positive ID on all the guys they sent in. Their records are mostly shiite, and they really don’t give a flying profanity about their people. If the 507th Maintenance Company had been a Russian unit? You’d have only heard about Jessica Lynch from her family, who’d likely never know what happened to her. Ever. Why? Because, even if they did find out her fate, the Russian military wouldn’t care, and would even go out of its way to conceal its incompetence. There wouldn’t have been a search for her, a rescue attempt, or anything else. And, if they did find her alive when that hospital she was in was captured, the odds are, they’d probably shoot her themselves in order to either hide the event, or turn it into a convenient atrocity for media purposes.

    That’s how they roll. I doubt that we’re ever going to know losses. I’ve a Ukrainian friend of mine whose older brother was a conscript in the VDV. He went away, went through training, wrote some letters home, and then… Nada. Never heard from him again. About 8 years later, he ran into someone who’d known of him while they were in the VDV, and he was told that his brother had been in a platoon that had been wiped out by the muj in Afghanistan. Family never notified, body never found, and all he ever found out came from that one guy who wasn’t ever sure where the hell he’d been in Afghanistan, or where that platoon was when it got whacked.

    Russia don’t care.

  50. @Brian,

    Sure. Things were bought. Then what? Did they actually make it into storage? Is that storage actually going to keep what they bought in an edible condition?

    Or, alternatively, was money spent on commodities that were resold to the profit of some connected CCP member? Did it ever even get to China?

    You’re again being credulous. You can’t imagine that some government-run agency won’t do the things it is supposed to, and might be operating for the benefit of some connected bureaucrat or minister. That’s (mostly…) outside the average experience of an American. Corruption isn’t an automatic assumption for us, which it damn sure should be when talking about China.

    Unless you’ve actually walked through those grain elevators and storage depots yourself, you can’t rely on anything you’re told. If you hand some Chinese bureaucrat a billion dollars to go out and buy wheat, the very first question he’s going to ask himself is not “where”, but “how do I make this benefit myself, my cronies and mentors, and my family…?”. This is a culture that had its currency printer double-printing currency, ferchrissakes… You really want to believe that they’ve got all that stuff stockpiled? That those stockpiles are still edible? That they haven’t been sold on the black market?

    Anyone that thinks that any of this stuff is halfway credible needs a quick trip to Asia to see how things actually work, over there. The idea of building a high-rise building out of specification such that it has extensively concealed substandard concrete support columns with even more questionable rebar in it? That people are going to work in, that may have hundreds of occupants in it when it fails? Anathema, to an American, but it happens regularly in Asia. Particularly in China.

    Believe what you wish, but I’d have to see every grain of that wheat before I bought any of those stats as accurate.

  51. Kirk: “You’re again being credulous.”

    It would be more accurate to note that Brian is saying — Trust nothing!

    And while there are good reasons for being suspicious of Chinese & Russian numbers, the same dubious processes Kirk describes for Russia apply with bells on to kleptocratic Ukranians. There are NO White Hats in this story.

    What do we believe about US figures — Unemployment is low, they tell us: inflation is only 7%, they tell us. No official word on the gender of the pilot who failed to land an F-35 on a carrier.

    Kirk — They are ALL lying to you! The Russians, the Chinese, your own government, the EuroScum … and probably most of all, the Ukrainians.

  52. because of afghanistan and chechnya, the Russians relied on Wagner Corps, largely drawn from the VDV, and contraktiki, because of the blowback, so it has an impact over time,

    the path is all these places kherson, mariupol, donetsk, have all been held given up, rinse wash repeat

  53. Good grief, how many times do I have to say stuff like “Who knows. We just have to live through it and see what happens” or “we all have to live through it to find out” smdh.
    Just trying to spin a possible story to explain the apparently inexplicable…
    I’ve always said, for months, I thought it was 99% likely Putin was bluffing, but if not, then there was some sort of massive coordinated China/Russia plan to reorder the world. I never believed, and still don’t, that “Putin’s gone crazy” is the explanation…So now that we know that it wasn’t a bluff, what can we try to discern that plan might be, given the massive amount of disinformation flying around?
    (I also said months ago to watch the week after the Olympics if anything was going to happen…but then lots of people did too, and it’s pretty absurd that we’re actually living through a world where something so dumb could have come true.)

  54. past is prologue, the only constants are blood and pain, this is why they call this stretch of land the bloodlands, I don’t think he’s crazy, I understand what drives him, I guess if the Syrian sector, that he pacified with similar tactics, were more active he’d be focusing the bulk of his forces there,

  55. Looking to the Big Picture, Ray Dalio has an interesting perspective on his LinkedIn page, based on his prior extensive historical analysis.

    An extract from his piece:

    “Before I get into what hot wars look like I want to re-emphasize that I believe that odds favor not getting into a hot war between Russia and NATO countries for the foreseeable future; at the same time I believe that they aren’t low enough for me to not consider and protect myself against the possibility. The most important principles about them are:

    A) The two things about hot wars that one can be most confident in are that 1) they won’t go as planned and 2) they will be worse than imagined.

    As a result, smart leaders typically go into them only if the other side has pushed them into a position where losing by backing down can be ruinous. We know that if there was to be a hot war between the United States and Russia (especially if China was involved) it would be disastrous so that the fear of mutually assured destruction remains the main impediment to having a hot war.

    B) Those who are most likely to win hot wars aren’t the most powerful. They are the ones who can endure the most pain for the longest amount of time. In this regard the Russians and the Chinese are stronger than the Westerners.”

  56. Details on my estimate of 3000 Russian casualties a day. My definition of casualties is medium-term loss of a soldier’s services for whatever reason.

    Russians killed in action – I averaged the Russian and Ukrainian figures for Russian KIA and rounded down to the nearest hundred. The Russians said they had 678 KIA in the first five days, and the Ukrainians said it was about 5800. 678+5800 = 6478/2 = 3239/5 = 647.8 rounded off to 600.

    600 KIA a day times three = 1800 wounded a day = 2400 KIA + WIA.

    Then I added 300 a day for missing, captured and deserted (and yes, they are deserting). And another 300 a day for disease plus injured and killed in accidents. The latter is probably low given all those one-year service conscripts driving heavy vehicles in convoys.

    This totals 3000 a day casualties for Russian forces in the Ukraine, including accidents, disease and desertions. It does not include desertions, disease and accidents for Russian forces outside the Ukraine.

    3000 casualties a day is 90,000 casualties in a month. And the Russian battalion tactical combat teams in and around the Ukraine have only about 110,000 – 120,000 guys in them. Those are the guys at the sharp end. Almost all Russian casualties will be in those units.

    In most wars those are covered by replacements from called-up reserves or new conscripts. The Russians used to keep combat units in the line until they were almost gone due to casualties, pull those back and rebuild them pretty much from scratch. In Afghanistan they did what the US did in Vietnam – individual replacements for casualties dropped into existing units every week or so. I think that’s what they did in Chechnya too.

    Here the Russians clearly expected a cake-walk so I doubt they had a replacement system organized at the beginning. IMO they’ll go the individual replacement system instead but drop most of their training, i.e., they’ll straight from basic training to combat. Which means they’ll be of minimal use in combat. Mechanized units require troops who are trained in operating their vehicles. The troops in those units won’t know how to do so in a month. They’ll basically be hastily trained leg infantry a la 1916-1917.

    I don’t see how the Russian army will be able to keep this up for a month of the medium-intensity combat we’ve seen so far.

  57. >I don’t understand why that big convoy “near” Kiev hasn’t been obliterated by Ukrainian troops/partisans. You’d think a fairly small group of men with anti-tank weapons could have absolutely mauled it by now.

    That’s why Ukr SoF retook Makariv today. It gives them a line to that column that doesn’t go through the main Russian force around Bucha/Irpin and Antonov Airport at Hostomel.

    If I’m right, dawn on Thursday in Zdvyzhivka could be spectacularly bright. The light of ten thousand suns. Or a thousand fuel trucks anyway. What was it Zelenski said? It will be a difficult night. But morning will come.

  58. As to the casualty counts, the only certainty is oryxspioenkop’s list of vehicles destroyed, abandoned and surrendered. He has images to back everything up, carefully looks for duplicates or recycled images from previous wars.

    He’s at 500+ Russian vehicles. Some are 2-3 person crews. One is the unmanned drone. But 160 are infantry fighting vehicles and armored fighting vehicles with a capacity of 2 crew and 9-11 passengers. I’m guessing you only get 9 when you have gear. Another 70 are 6×6 Kam AZ’s that hold 2 crew and 16 passengers.

    If they were carrying their full compliment, their loss could represent 2,500 men. The remaining 250 vehicles would be another 1,000.

  59. The morning always comes, the question is: Who will be here to see it?

    Kirk’s point on the supposed Chinese grain stockpile is well taken. Even assuming every bushel was landed and went into storage, it would begin shrinking and deteriorating in good facilities. The amount is mostly dependent on the quality and proper management of the elevators. This has never been a strength of Chinese enterprises. 30-50% loss in six months wouldn’t be surprising, I’ve seen it happen.

    About a month ago, I read two interesting things. The first was that the pipeline from Russia, through Ukraine and terminating in Germany was flowing from west to east, towards Poland. The second was that many LNG cargoes belonging to and headed to China were being diverted, sometimes in mid-ocean, to Europe. The war drums were already beating at that time. Though Europe doesn’t have enough LNG capacity to do without Russian supplies, China wasn’t doing their part to starve Europe of gas while Germany was sending gas elsewhere.

  60. “I don’t understand why that big convoy “near” Kiev hasn’t been obliterated by Ukrainian troops/partisans. You’d think a fairly small group of men with anti-tank weapons could have absolutely mauled it by now.”

    LOL. They have control of the air, obviously, and anyone who tries your little scheme would be killed very quickly. As killing the people who will fight against them is a priority, leaving all your crap in plain sight so some fool will try something, is not a bad idea. ;)

  61. >the morning always comes.

    Sure. But why bother to “retake” Makariv. Retaking towns isn’t part of the strategy, which is successfully raiding whenever you see a unit or two isolated. Run in fast, hit them hard and get out. The Ukrainians also rolled up Russian units in Borodyanka later in the day. (link —

    Holding Makariv gives them a major highway to get forces in position for an attack on the convoy behind Hostomel. Clearing forces in Borodyanka clears the flank. Most of the Russians around Bucha don’t have the fuel to move between Makariv and Zdvyzhivka to block them.

    I’m thinking of my Time-Life World War II book and the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.

  62. A question about China – heard somewhere else that China is currently the sole manufacturer of the large transformers used in the US. They wouldn’t have remote shut-off switches installed in these things, would they?

  63. Endless trivia. Hi ho.

    Victoria Nuland boasted about taking Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence in 2014. She said the CIA had spent 5 billion dollars making it happen. There is no way at all the CIA would ever let control of an asset of this value slip from their fingers, unless they were cut off.

    In progress. ;)

  64. Vis-a-vis those tires on that Pantsir…

    That’s a very high-value weapons system. As in, ‘effing vital to your air defense umbrella.

    If you’re not making sure that that vehicle has good tires on it, what are you prioritizing?

    The fact that one of those, apparently intact, is sitting out there for some Ukrainian farmer to make off with…? That’s flatly terrifying to whoever is running that ADA umbrella, for oh-so-many reasons. First, the system is now unavailable. Second, and probably most important, the COMSEC and IFF data may still be on that thing, intact. That means that Ukraine now has a means of getting inside the Russian ADA networks, and wreaking havoc on anything flying. Hell, with the right guy doing the hacking, I wouldn’t doubt that they couldn’t get in and change IFF id codes such that Russian aircraft were now identified as hostile across the network, which would be ‘effing incredible–They’d be able to watch as the Russian ADA shot down their own aircraft.

    If any vehicle was a burnt-out hulk, it should have been that one. Dear God, the freakin’ potential there in terms of just COMSEC having to be redone across the entire force, based on the presumption it’s been compromised. I would lay you long odds that whoever abandoned that thing intact that way probably didn’t “Z” out all the systems…

    This is, by the way, an SF teams fantasy accomplishment: Capturing something as networked as this thing is, intact. The fact that it’s sitting there on Twitter? Russian COMSEC security guys should be filling their pants, right about now, and so should the ADA bubbas.

    I cannot emphasize enough what a big deal an intact Pantsir with its COMSEC and IFF would be, to the right people. If the Ukrainians can’t take advantage of something like that falling into their laps? They deserve to lose, frankly.

    That picture caused literal jaw drop, when I saw it. The implications, past the tires? LOL… Mind-boggling. That’s galactic-level military incompetence, that is. You do not abandon or allow to be abandoned an asset like that.

    I gotta wonder where the hell the adult supervision is, in all of this. Is there any?

  65. Interesting. Half or more of the vehicles lost on each side, including combat vehicles, are lost by capture or simple abandonment by their crews. Thanks, Miguel.

  66. It’s an interesting contrast, Trent.

    We “abandoned” a bunch of vehicles on the way north in Iraq, as well–Most of them due to maintenance problems–The difference was, the Iraqis usually burned them out before the recovery teams that were out working to get all those things back off the road and to a maintenance point for repairs. They were always stripped of everything like the crew’s personal gear, and the COMSEC sure as hell didn’t get left behind without being “Z’d”-out. I did not hear of a single case where we had to do a COMSEC reset because we’d compromised fills by doing something like that–The radios and anything else even resembling a sensitive item were usually taken with the crews.

    Contrast that with this farce. The freakin’ Iraqis were more on the ball than either side–I don’t know what the stats were, but I don’t think that anything which got left behind for more than 24 hours near any concentration of Iraqis, civilian or military, was left intact. They stripped the vehicles of everything usable, then burned them. That was going on well into 2004.

    The rare times we had fuel issues, those were remedied in very short order. I don’t think we lost a vehicle due to fuel that I remember, but I’m sure there must have been some.

    On the one hand, this is bizarrely like a “War of the Flowers”, as if the combatants really aren’t all that serious about fighting. On the other, it’s like the Keystone Cops going at it with each other…

  67. Frank,
    Not sole, I know of several American manufacturers. They regularly need to be sent back for repair so I don’t know if any are, they aren’t something you can put in a container or even on most ships. It’s the switch gear attached that would do any switching anyway. that should be buried deep in the utilities, superposed to be secure, network.

    The Taiwan power outage is concerning but they are rather notorious for having unreliable power without any help from the mainland.

  68. Not a soccer guy, when I saw selling Chelsea, I thought of Clinton and was surprised I hadn’t heard of an open market. Not that I’m not sure she’s for sale, just not in the open.

  69. The Pravda article Brian posted shows some interesting things, if you know what you’re looking at.

    One, WTF is a Major General doing on a lead aircraft in something like this, getting shot down? That had to be the Desant operation to capture one of airports, early on. Which, flatly, is nuts… That’s not “leading from the front”, that’s “risking high-ranking asset with full knowledge of the operation”. Major General types in the West have enough confidence in their subordinates that they wouldn’t need to be in that lead aircraft, and if the guy was there because “ego”…?

    Crazy. Just flippin’ crazy.

    Second point: Note the final paragraph.

    “On March 2, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that during the special operation to demilitarize Ukraine, 498 Russian servicemen were killed, more than 1,500 were injured. At the same time, the department emphasized that conscripts or cadets did not take part in the operation.”

    Interesting that they felt the need to slip that last sentence in, is it not? The casual denial-that-is-confirmation for any experienced reader of state propaganda.

    If they’re admitting to 498 dead, at this point, I’d be willing to entertain the probability that the actual number of dead is at least an order of magnitude higher.

    Never thought I’d see insanity at this level.

  70. Remember they have to make the ukrainians seem almost demons this is the dynamic of this war, how could they do this with small arms relatively

  71. I believe Russia lost several high-ranking officers in Syria as well. I’m no Russophile, but it seems they do put their high ranking officers in physical danger way more than we do. Probably some sort of “life is hard and lives are cheap” Russian thing…of course, that also makes them have no compunction to annihilate cities…

    JUST IN – Saudi Arabia “considers options” of reducing investments in the US, says crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Kingdom’s investments in China are less than $100 billion, but growing very fast, he added.

    Saudi’s already been pretty clear they’re not interested in “helping” the West punish Russia, or to try to replace Russian oil, etc. What a complete disaster it would be if they move to align with China.

    I don’t think the West’s economic isolation strategy is working. They’ve already dropped their nukes by targeting the Russian Central Bank, so there’s not much more ability to escalate. Like I said before, you can’t make someone do what you want by kicking them out of your club if they have no interest in being in your club, and in fact would be perfectly happy to burn it down. The “maybe some Russian oligarchs will depose Putin” (i.e., some people who really want to be in our club will take over) is just another part of this mindset, and my guess is is hopelessly futile.

  73. Prince salman remembers how biden and his handler malley conspired against him so turnabout i dont know the arab word for revenge

  74. The Dems and their affiliated FP Deep Staters are openly pro-Iranian, for who knows what reason. Of course MBS and KSA is going to recoil from that.

  75. >Thursday in Zdvyzhivka could be spectacularly bright

    Instead of Zdvyzhivka, the Ukrainians hit the back of the convoy in Ivankiv, and took the only bridge connecting them to supply bases in Belarus.

    That convoy, possibly the entire Russian army making the primary thrust from the NW of Kyiv, may have to surrender in the next couple days as they run completely out of fuel and food.

    There isn’t enough food to feed them in the handful of villages N and NW of them. Their only hope would be a frontal assault on strong Ukrainian positions S. of Bucha. I don’t see that succeeding.

  76. So either the US has to waive sanctions on India for purchasing Russian military equipment, showing how toothless they are, or they have to impose them, which would be completely strategically insane. Like I said, I don’t think the Western “plan” is working. Fraudulently installing a corrupt dementia patient is not going to viewed favorably by posterity…
    India also happens to be the largest importer of Russian defense hardware. The U.S. is required to impose sanctions on any country that has significant transactions with Russia, Iran, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) under Washington’s tough domestic law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The law puts the U.S. in a bind when it comes to India.
    While the U.S. has waived CAATSA sanctions on India in the past, this time such a waiver isn’t certain due to U.S. President Joe Biden’s resolute stance on Russian military operations in Ukraine.
    “I can assure you that the administration will follow the CAATSA law and fully implement that law and will consult with Congress as we move forward with any of them,” Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia on Wednesday told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counter-terrorism, responding to a question on possible CAATSA sanctions on India.


    Granted, the Times, so British propaganda piece and all that, but…

    Brilliant bit of work by the Ukrainians involved.

    I don’t think this invasion thing is quite going the way Putin expected. Kinda like BidenCo. thought things would go differently on so many different fronts, including his stature as an international leader.

    Elections have consequences, mmmmkay? And, maybe electing the senile corruptocrat was not a good idea.

    My take on this? We’d be a hell of a lot better off without the majority of the self-appointed and self-anointed “elite” we have running things. The majority of them aren’t fit to serve as rent boys and girls in a down-market brothel servicing truckers.

  78. Three fronts, all inextricably interconnected.
    Physical war: Russia winning, not at the “lightning” pace, but who knows how it matches their actual expectation. Stories the other day claimed a leaked Russian document showed a 15-day campaign, which would still be insanely fast.
    Propaganda war: Ukraine winning handily, at least as aimed at Western audiences. I know literally nothing about Russian internal media or public opinion. I don’t see any real sign that non-Western countries much care.
    Economic war: West has shot its load, I think in a show of desperation to be honest. They have to hope that it’s good enough to provoke an internal Russian shakeup. Seems doubtful.

    Starting to see some more grim messaging come out, probably in recognition that the talk of Russia being stymied by heroic Ukraine isn’t going to match reality in coming days.
    JUST IN – Putin aims “to take control” of the whole Ukraine and the “worst is yet to come,” French President Macron believes after talks with the Russian president – Elysée.

  79. I am seeing a disturbing escalation of talk about “helping” Ukraine with “no fly zones” and other nonsense. Even Sean Hannity, no mental giant, was beating the drums last night. Glenn Greenwald has a column about the propaganda and its effect.

    When critical faculties are deliberately turned off based on a belief that absolute moral certainty has been attained, the parts of our brain armed with the capacity of reason are disabled. That is why the leading anti-Russia hawks such as former Obama Ambassador Michael McFaul and others are demanding that no “Putin propagandists” (meaning anyone who diverges from his views of the conflict) even be permitted a platform, and why many are angry that Facebook has not gone far enough by banning many Russian media outlets from advertising or being monetized. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), using the now-standard tactic of government officials dictating to social media companies which content they should and should not allow, announced on Saturday: “I’m concerned about Russian disinformation spreading online, so today I wrote to the CEOs of major tech companies to ask them to restrict the spread of Russian propaganda.”

    This is dangerous stuff. Ukraine is winning the propaganda war but we need to make decisions based on our own interests,

  80. “WTF is a Major General doing on a lead aircraft in something like this, getting shot down?”

    It is called “leading from the front”. It used to be a big thing when we had real militaries.

    General Patton in WWII made a point of driving towards the front in an open vehicle so that all the troops heading that way could see their leader going forward. Risky, for sure, but that is leadership. Of course, he could not drive back to HQ in the wrong direction, so he would have a small spotter plane fly him from the front back to HQ. Very risky!

    Now we have “General” Milley sheltering in his office sewing another Gay Rights ribbon to his uniform while waiting to call the Chinese with his daily update.

    It is horrible how the Karens have allowed the US “elites” to degrade this country.

  81. I think the point you’re not getting, here? The nettle left ungrasped? Allowing Putin to do as he wills in Ukraine is not in our interests.

    Because, quite simply, he won’t stop there. Just as with Georgia, Crimea, and the other two supposed “separatist Russian majority” regions, he’s now going for all of Ukraine. Where, do you suppose, the jackal will be sated? Lithuania? Finland? Sweden? The former DDR?

    Just how many people’s liberty are you prepared to sacrifice, in all this?

    I’m not arguing that this situation is something we had nothing to do with, and I’m not saying that Ukraine is some city on a hill of good governance and sweet innocence, but the fact on the ground is that Putin is taking them back under the yoke, placing them back into the penitentiary of nations that is Russia. Do we let that happen, and suffer nothing down the line? I rather doubt that–This is the equivalent of handing the Germans Czechoslovakia, with all of its industry. That was in ’38, no? What were the Germans doing with all that, by 1940, again…?

    History repeats itself, usually with a cadence of “tragedy, then farce”. We’re in the “farce” part of the sine wave, I suspect, but it can turn tragic ohsoveryeasily.

    This isn’t a thing we can just stand aside from; it’s partially of our making, and we have responsibilities for that. We elected these mongrels, and then did nothing as they did their dirty work. Were any of you outrage when those things came out during the Obama administration, the tapes of the US diplomats casually talking about manipulating politics in Ukraine? Remember that? Did you, or anyone else do anything about it? Did you write your Congressional delegation, demanding investigation and action?

    Like as not, you didn’t even notice it was going on, at the time. And, if you did, like most, you just shook your head at the doings of the high and mighty, and then went on with life.

    Guess what? The bill for that inattention and apathy about what was being done in your name has come due. It ain’t pretty, is it?

  82. Brian: “Economic war: West has shot its load, I think in a show of desperation to be honest.”

    It is possible we are seeing a real world test of whether the Pen is indeed mightier than the Sword.

    The West has unleashed the lawyers and accountants to do their worst. Whatever the near-term impact, the long-term impacts are going to be hurting the West for years to come. What oligarch from any country is going to be investing in London or keeping his stolen funds in Switzerland now they know the West will renege on the deal whenever they choose? Now the Russian Central Bank has been denied access to its funds in Western banks, what does anyone imagine the Chinese, Saudis, Indians, Brazilians are going to do? It will take time for them to make all the changes, but the US & EU will be suffering from increasing economic after-effects for years to come.

    The other side is that now China’s rulers know the worst that the Western wielders of the Pen can do. They will take appropriate counter-measures before they move on Taiwan — and take control of the computer chips the West needs.

    We are “led” by idiots! This was all unnecessary.

  83. Wanna hear a story, Kirk? I just drove across the country, and you know what I experienced? Absolutely filthy hotels, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Given only a couple of towels, in a room for 5 people.
    Fast food places where you had to wait 20 minutes for your order, where the manager would tell you that half the shift hadn’t shown up. And half the menu wasn’t available because of supply shortages.
    Several consecutive men’s bathrooms–in a Hardee’s, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Panera(!!!)–with no toilet paper, and a few of them that should have gotten the place shut down.
    Things out in America are completely broken, we may not like it, we may fight about who to blame, maybe we all are, I dunno or care, but it’s true, no matter how much the idiots on TV say it’s all a myth due to Fox News and we’re really living in a new golden age.
    Right now, as things stand, we’re in for a world of economic hurt this year. Gas, food, etc., is going to be completely through the roof, and so many people are already living on the edfe.
    And you want us to start a shooting war with Russia, so that some Ukrainians don’t get killed?
    Are you out of your freaking mind?

  84. @Gavin,

    No, it is not “leading from the front”. This isn’t some Napoleonic charge. A guy with that rank and operational knowledge emphatically does not belong on the leading aircraft. That’s just insane, on all levels. If he gets captured? Then what? The entire operation and its follow-on is compromised.

    The highest-level officer that belonged on that set of aircraft was about a Colonel. The Major General should be where he belongs, in his headquarters, ensuring that the guys heading in on those armor columns to relieve his paratroopers were actually going to be there to conduct the relief. You’ll note that that didn’t happen, either.

    Amateur hour, all around. There’s a line between “chateau generalship” and “taking stupid risks at the front for no reason”. Guess which side of that line this is?

    Frankly, if you’re sitting there getting all moist over the “leading from the front” thing, you’re demonstrating precisely the armchair generalship you’re thinking you’re not. I’ve been there, and frankly, I want that Major General back doing his damn job, which is making sure that every other piece of the operation, like those relief columns, are in place, on time, and working properly. This fool wasn’t doing his job, which is not to do the work of a junior lieutenant or colonel. Yeah, it looks good, but it’s a sign of desperation, glory-seeking, or outright incompetence.

    Need I point out the way that the US Army lost a Major General to the North Koreans during the Korean War? Brave man, unquestionably–He was out hunting tanks with the newly-arrived 3.5″ Super Bazookas the day before his capture, desperately trying to compensate for the lack of preparation and cohesion of US forces at that time. Because he was out there, “leading from the front”, he got captured. Smart move? Not from where I sit–The CG belongs in the headquarters, doing CG things like make sure I have the ammo and support I need. I see that stupid sumbitch out on my left flank, hunting tanks? He and I are going to have words. Dean was dealing with a situation that had clearly gone to shit, so I have to salute him for trying, but… Damn. Dude, if you’re in a position where you’ve got to do a 2nd Lieutenants or Sergeant First Class’s job as a Major General…? There’s a preceding systematic cluster fsck that you’ve been participating in that put you there.

    In this case? I’d lay long odds that this wasn’t the situation that Dean was in. If it was, then he knew the guys he was flying in with weren’t up to the job. By way of contrast? If I remember right, and it would take too much digging to confirm this, so I stand to be corrected, the “guy on the ground” in Afghanistan during the invasion was a senior lieutenant colonel. Not a brigadier general–And, he was not in the leading wave of things, either.

  85. One step that the Biden regime could take is to resume our energy policy under Trump. They won’t even though that is what probably kept Putin from doing his invasion the last five years. The steps they have taken are probably going to result in severe pain for the US but it won’t be nuclear war unless the crazies, like Kinzinger, get control. We are living with a ruling class that compares poorly to the kaiser’s Germany in 1914. Our Woke military continues training on transgender stuff while patriotic kids are waiting for enlistments to expire to get out. Given the merits of most GOP representatives, I see no light at the end of the tunnel we are in. I am old enough that I won’t have to live through the worst that is coming but I have kids and grandkids.

  86. Brian, you are such a hypocrite that it’s not even funny. You complain about me putting words in your mouth, and then you turn around and do the precise same thing. I have never said that I “wanted to go to war for Ukraine”. Ever. I have been to war on your behalf twice in your lifetime, and I never, ever want to go through that again. I didn’t want to go through it the first damn time, either. But, I got my orders from the duly elected political authority that you (hopefully) voted for or against, and I did my oath-sworn duty.

    I don’t want war in Ukraine, for anyone. But, I recognize the necessity. This is an ugly situation, and just like in the late 1930s, we have the chance to put a tyrant off his path to domination over others. If we don’t take it, just like the various assholes that allowed a certain German leader to gather enough resources to do what he did, history will judge us. I am personally not too fond of the idea of going down in history with that Oxford Union “King and Country” debating crew.

    Which is where we’re going to be, I fear.

  87. Brian, I absolutely agree with you on your post. We are saddled with the worst possible political leadership we could have, at this point. I don’t see a way out of the conundrum, either. The US is likely to come out of this severely diminished, just like Russia.

    Huge mess, and completely unnecessary.

  88. au contraire, if you want to reach klaus schwabs point ‘you will own nothing, you will rent everything, and you will be happy’ this is exactly the path, how do you end up in 1984’s Airship One, a world of rampant scarcity, you have a Forever war, between power blocs, with occasional nuclear events, every certain interval,

  89. which is a tacit ally of Russia, this is quite obvious in Syria, you see how this works meanwhile we shutter our own wells, and dismantle out pipelines,

  90. From recent statements by Lavrov.

    1. The operation in Ukraine will be carried through by Russia to the end.
    2. Russia’s requirements are minimum.
    3. Russia will not submit to the dictates of the West<
    4. Sanctions are the price of independence.

  91. Schizophrenia?

    Brian, you are such a hypocrite that it’s not even funny.
    (Next post)
    Brian, I absolutely agree with you on your post.

  92. I got it wrong on Russian casualties. The actual Ukrainian post said 5840 Russian casualties, not fatalities, in the first five days. That is killed, wounded and captured. The newsies do not know the difference between fatalities and casualties.

    By my analysis, that would be 1168 per day instead of 2500, and my extra 500 for missing, deserted, disease and accidents would be 234. So the Russians, using Ukrainian figures, are taking a total of 1400 losses per day, less than half the 3000 I estimated. They can certainly handle that many losses for 30 days, so human casualties won’t determine this war quickly.

    A note on Roggio – he clearly states his is a conventional analysis of the fighting. This is a people’s war for the Ukrainians. The Russian people are conspicuously uninvolved on their side. That makes a huge difference.

  93. i’m reminded of a hbo teleplay count down to looking glass in the early 80s, looking glass is the presidents emergency command station in the event of nuclear war, a South American debt default leads to a conflict in the Gulf, and tactical nukes are then employed and then it escalates,

  94. Sorry, you don’t get to point out how shambolic this Ukraine operation is, then claim we need to go to war to prevent Putin from being like a “certain German leader”, but say, oh no I don’t want it, just saying we have to do it, and get taken seriously. It’s almost as ridiculous as your mechanic’s take on Russian military doctrine.

  95. depends how motivated the Russians are, they employed at the height of the battle of Grozny, 60,000 troops, it took about two months to conclude that stage, now Grozny is a backwater, Sarajevo employed fewer forces, but we know how savage that ended up being Yugoslav Army went by Soviet training protocols,

  96. Uhmmm… Miguel? The “Yugoslav Army” never really engaged in Sarajevo–That was all Serbian-sponsored militias and locals going at it. The JNA had involvement, in terms of handing off equipment and such, but that crapfest was militia and faction-led, not an actual military operation. Neighbor against neighbor, in other words–Worst kind of civil war.

  97. Yet another brilliant move…

    This does not end well for Russia. Even if they win, who will do business with them? The moves Putin has made in the UK, with the polonium poisoning, and then the nerve agent? Brilliant!! Like that’s ever been something that would go without notice, by the Brits. This idea that the UK just ginned up this “Russian antipathy” recently, and for no reason? Erroneous, at best.

  98. Kirk: “I want that Major General back doing his damn job”

    If he was a good Major General, he had already done part of his damn job, selecting & training his staff carefully — and he had presumably delegated all the HQ part of his job to those capable people before he set out on the other part of his job, which was boosting the fighting morale of his troops by demonstrating he would not order them to do something he was unwilling to do himself.

    Sure, there is an argument for generals to behave like Milley, and there is an argument for generals to behave like Patton. Neither is a dumb choice. The man in charge has to weigh the risks and benefits in his specific circumstances and decide which way to go.

  99. Brilliant job of motivation, that… Getting killed in the first wave. Motivator, or de-motivator? I’d suggest, strongly, that that is an act of childish foolishness that did more damage to the morale and motivation of the surviving troops (assuming that there were any…) as they struggle to attain their objectives “Oh, great… Boss got himself killed, we’re fscked… Who will speak for us now? Who cares about us… He’s dead.”.

    There are reasons so many battles in ye olden days ended in routs when the Prince or the King died at the head of some idiotic knightly charge, and that’s why you don’t put the Big Guy on the first thing smoking. Mostly, because it is the first thing likely to be smoking for realsies…

    Just goes to show you the difference between actual veterans and those who think themselves well-read on military affairs. You don’t know what you don’t know, and I will continue to disagree with you on this point. The commander of those two company-sized elements and their immediate higher commander belonged on those lead aircraft–Nobody else. That Major General’s job wasn’t to lead troops, but to ensure they were taken care of and supported. Being unable to recognize that fact at that level is an indicator of piss-poor military culture. The Commanding General is a node center of information and decision-making; he emphatically isn’t the leading edge of combat operations. Unless, of course, you want to lose.

  100. The Truckers are in Indiana meeting up on their way to DC. They might have bouncy houses Brian. You should go meet up with them. ;)

  101. Kirk, it’s a different military culture. And Rommel personally commanded the engineers building a bridge across the river his 7th Panzer Division needed in the breakout at Sedan in 1940. He waded right into the river under the same fire hitting his engineers. Israeli brigadiers and generals have done similar things.

    You project our military’s culture and doctrine onto those of other country’s armed forces.

  102. MCS – thanks for that update info. I was thinking that, with China’s vaunted quality control, they wouldn’t need special switches to cause havoc with the US power grid system.
    Having our own made here is much nicer – maybe it’s an idea that can catch on?

  103. the in bruges cew they are probably the laughing stock of bala -shika (spetznaz training base)
    they killed everyone but the target, so if they have you by the throat, not offering a ride is reasonable on your rocket pack,

  104. Today’s take (March 3) on the Ukraine fighting.

    Kirk seems to be correct about the implications of the Ukraine’s capture of an intact Russian Pantsir air defense vehicle. Russian codes and IFF were captured. The best evidence of this is that the Russian air force became Seldom Seen Smith over the Ukraine after the third day of fighting.

    At this point it seems to take several days for the Russian air force and the Russian’s mobile integrated air defense system in the Ukraine to deconflict enough in major individual operations for more than trivial Russian air support to participate.

    And the Russians have definitely shifted to what are called “set-piece” battles requiring significant preparation, as those are better suited to their clearly poorly trained troops.

    The weak link in such battles is that the Russians plain lack the force density in the Ukraine to defend their rear areas, and in particular bridges over the Ukraine’s many rivers and streams. And the slowness of deconflicting their air force and their mobile integrated air defense system means the Russians lack air reconnaissance coverage of their rear areas in the Ukraine.

    This means the Ukrainians can slip company-sized mobile raiding forces into the Russians’ rear areas and take out the bridges required to supply the Russian set-piece attacks being prepared. And they are doing so. This doesn’t stop those set-piece attacks, but it slows them down and in particular upsets their timing so the set-piece attacks cannot be coordinated for mutual support. Each will be a one-off.

    I.e., the Russian advance has been slowed down in a major way. This buys the Ukrainians time to do other things to defeat the Russians.

    On a related matter, I get the impression that the Russians now operate on a three-day decision-reaction cycle. If a major attack being planned is suddenly down to one key bridge connecting its assembly area to supply bases in Russia, it takes three days for the Russians to send a ground combat battalion to defend that bridge. That is way more time than it takes the Ukrainians to move one of their raiding companies there to destroy the bridge.

    I.e., the Ukrainians are clearly operating inside the Russians’ OODA loop (a la John Boyd).

  105. That Major General’s job wasn’t to lead troops, but to ensure they were taken care of and supported. Being unable to recognize that fact at that level is an indicator of piss-poor military culture. The Commanding General is a node center of information and decision-making; he emphatically isn’t the leading edge of combat operations. Unless, of course, you want to lose.

    British generals French and Haig both stayed at a headquarters 35 miles behind the lines. One the first day of the Somme, under Haig’s command, 60,000 casualties nearly wiped out the “New Army.” That worked out well.

  106. Tom H: “I.e., the Russian advance has been slowed down in a major way. This buys the Ukrainians time to do other things to defeat the Russians.”

    It is always tough to know whether one is seeing only what one wants to see in situations where there is more propaganda than real information.

    But we can try to think ahead. Let’s assume that everything we see on Twitter is the God’s Honest Truth, and the Russians are stupid & evil whereas the Ukrainians are wonderful people who are about to whip Russian ass. When/if Russia starts to get pushed back, what do you think they are going to do?

    The Russians could do a Biden, abandon all their equipment, and run for the border. And then spend the rest of their lives apologizing and begging to be allowed back into the Eurovision Song Contest.

    Or they could crank up the violence to the next level — tactical nukes against Ukrainian troop concentrations, cities putting up strong resistance, and supply nodes in NATO members Poland & Romania.

    If we think things are bad now, wait till the Russians start “losing”. If our “leaders” were not such bought-off idiots, they would be trying to defuse the conflict, not pump it up to the point where missiles end up falling across Europe and the US.

  107. Patton didn’t go to forward areas to encourage the troops. He did it to gain information from watching the fighting that he wouldn’t get any other way. And he didn’t know in advance what that information might be – just that it might be useful. German generals in World War Two went right up to the fighting to reduce the communications lag getting information to them AND to better make crucial decisions at exactly the right time.

    It’s all a matter of military culture, communications technology and systems, and individual command style. There is no single way to do it right, and no single set of rules can cover every situation. Real life is like that, and war is more so.

  108. “British generals French and Haig both stayed at a headquarters 35 miles behind the lines.”

    MacArthur was the despair of his staff. He wandered around the battlefield like he was invulnerable. Staff were killed keeping up with him. Still he was a crazy person, many of the best are. ;)

  109. “they are pretty neutral in their analysis”

    Not at all. The Kagans hate the Russians more than most do. ;)

    Still I must admit they are doing a good job on this one. Finally got off their asses and did some work. ;)

  110. @Tom and @kirk

    Great comments. Very informative and well informed. You seem to be the only guys around here who have a real clue.

    Happen to be in Europe at the moment. Have family all over Europe. My kid speaks fluent Polish / Russian but native English / French speaker. Studied in Russia for a while (science). Good friend (ex Romanian paratrooper) has two brothers-in-law fighting on either side in the Donbas. Know my way around OS Int for decades and SU/ Russia since the 1970’s.

    Been watching a large amount of raw video / primary sources etc out of Ukraine the last few months. Plus my daily Vremya on First watched that newscast back in the early 1980’s. Plus ca change. Especially the last month or two.

    Just to say I know the terrain. The people. The politics.

    I have never seen Europeans this angry. This frightened. No one now cares what the US thinks. The US is out of the loop. A spectator. Supplies heavy lift and intel. And thats pretty much it.

    No one in Europe now gives a f*ck what the US Administration thinks. The change in European politics in the last week is not 9/11 level. Its more 1989/1991. The whole political universe has changed. Totally. 1989 built up over 6 months and even 1991 a good 9 months but the current seismic political change in Europe happened in the space of 5 days. Even the Fall of Ceaușescu took 9 days from Timișoara to the schoolyard on Christmas Day.

    To give you an idea of just obsolete the world-view of most of the comments here are. Finland and Sweden yesterday announced the were send 10,000 *more* AA/AT weapons to Ukraine. On top of what they already sent. Many thousands. Yes, Finland and Sweden. Add to that the many thousands more sent by Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania etc. Plus artillery, AA batterys, two dozen SU fighters. And all the ammunition to go with that. The list goes on and on.

    Do you know why? Because after what happened in Ukraine those countries realized they are next. So the more dead Russians in Ukraine the less available to invade their country in the future. Do you know how they know that they are next? Because Putin has said it explicitly many times. Most recently in the totally bizarre Stalinesque “Security Council” televised circus. You can find the transcripts on the Russian president site. If its still up. Straight out of the Brezhnev / Andropov era. The visuals reminded me of the film Padeniye Berlina. Not in a good way.

    As for the military end. About 115 Russian BTGs on the borders two weeks ago. 90% have gone in. At least 10% / 15% gone already. Probably higher. The vehicle losses look as high as the Ukrainian claims. Based on the damage of the 500+ fully documented so far, 1/3 battle damage, 2/3’rds out of gas, broken down, abandoned. If the Russians can get 20% of their total vehicles back to the starting line by the time this is over it will be a miracle. So thats maybe 200 out of 1000 tanks, 800 out of 4000 armored vehicles. Not much of a Russian Army left.

    The defeat of the Russian military (and doctrine) is heading to be as almost as total as Iraq in 1991/2003.

    And thats why those of us who have been paying attention for the last five decades have been rereading the “Escalate to Deescalate” literature and wondering how does a complete collapse of US political primary leadership and influence change the dynamics of threat assessment and neutralization in a NATO/Russia military confrontation. Which is what it is now. Because I can guarantee you that the current political and military situation has never once be wargamed by NATO.

    Especially the dynamics of once Putin declares a State of Emergency. In the context of a totally collapsing economy.

    Against @Tom and @kirk thank you for your very well informed take on the situation. Its going to be an interesting 7 to 10 days.

  111. tfourier: Gosh, European countries might be waking up and deciding they need to be responsible for their own defense?
    I think I may have heard that before. Think an orange man might have said it a few times even.

  112. this is like Tom Clancy…everyone’s watching live stream of an attack on a nuclear power plant…what a time to be alive…

  113. Miguel, I think this concerns the city of Kherson, which was surrendered under terms that Russian forces stay out. It needs food and fuel for its population.

  114. Brian, and it’s on the other side of the planet. That’s the best place to watch exciting things from.

  115. tfourier: “No one in Europe now gives a f*ck what the US Administration thinks.”,/I>

    Let me clue you in on something, t — Very few people in the US care what the current US Administration thinks.

    I am intrigued about your comments on Euros finally growing a pair. Do people in Finland & Sweden have any concern that sending weapons to the Ukrainians (i.e. becoming belligerents) might result in … shall we say … negative consequences for them?

  116. I have never seen Europeans this angry. This frightened. No one now cares what the US thinks. The US is out of the loop. A spectator. Supplies heavy lift and intel. And thats pretty much it.

    Awesome. Maybe they’ll throw the US out of NATO for…well, I don’t care, as long as they throw us out. And, living in America, I haven’t had a single person mention the conflict in Europe, perhaps because no one cares.

    Because after what happened in Ukraine those countries realized they are next.

    This is delusional. The USSR never invaded Finland or Sweden when it was a super-power. I see no prospect Russia will invade now, especially if the Zeropeans decide to take their own defense seriously instead of demanding a far-away country do it for them.

    And if we’re now paying attention to what Putin says, we should have taken note when he said over and over again that Ukrainian membership in NATO was a redline.

    Either the Deep State is insanely stupid, or they wanted this war so they could force regime change upon Russia. I think it’s the latter, which means the blood is on their hands.

    And if Europe is angry and frightened about that outcome, they should rethink their support of the American Deep State- and then go look in the mirror, because this ugly situation is their fault too.

  117. Claire Berlinski has some points I hadn’t considered, mostly because I never read the text of Putin’s statements:

    Oh, Claire fscking Berlinski. The last time I can recall seeing her “thoughts” displayed upon my screen she was condemning Western men as cowards because there wasn’t some sort of mass movement to go to Syria and overthrow the Assad regime.

    In other words, she endorsed an invasion of a sovereign nation-state to enforce her will, because that nation was doing something she didn’t like.

    But the Russian invasion of Ukraine is like totally different!!

    The evidence for this is that even when Russia was busily picking off its neighbors, one by one…

    Russia was picking of its neighbors one by one? When did this happen? Which neighbors?

    In fact, the Russian Far East has been stripped of its troops—Moscow moved all of the Eastern Military District forces to Belarus.

    Since I’m old, I can explain this. I recall that when the USSR collapsed, the US and our European protectorates agreed not to expand NATO eastwards. Then, while Russia could do nothing about it, we admitted a swarm of new protectorates to NATO. We continue to admit new countries to NATO- like Montenegro- for no discernible reason, and without any sort of debate involving the people who would be doing the dying and paying the taxes to defend these obscure places. Americans are just expected by Europeans to show up and die for them. At least until last week, that is.

    But from Russia’s perspective, we have been moving steadily against them. I note again that there was an attempt at a “color revolution” to overthrow the government of Kazakhstan a few weeks ago, and- again- NATO admittance to Ukraine has been described as a redline for years. That’s why Russia stripped troops from the Far East, to send them against NATO.

    In Ukraine, all the websites are up. The water, banks, and electricity are working as normal.

    You don’t say. Well, I have a tough time accepting that the Russians are rampaging monsters with this statement. Meanwhile, the West is attempting to starve every Russian- except those Russians involved in exporting gas to Europe, apparently. It seems rather obvious that Russia could do much worse to Ukraine if it chose- and I can’t help but notice that the tactics used against Russia and Russians are of exactly the same sort that Justin Castreau used against Canadian dissidents a few short days ago.

    Come out with a white flag and you will receive amnesty and 5,000,000 rubles for your equipment and weapon!” (That was worth about US$50,000 when he said it, but it’s sinking fast)….Buying every one of them would be a ten billion dollar project.

    Buying every one of them! How much would a project to buy every European and American politician cost? Hmmm, I know I should ask the Chinese government- but I wouldn’t get an answer. Regardless, I’m sure a future invasion of Taiwan would get a completely different reception from the folks so peeved at the Russian invasion of Ukraine now. After all, Taiwan was a province China, while Ukraine was…oh. Shut up!!!

    Europe and the United States, firmly allied, are powerful enough to establish a global order in which liberal democracy might survive.

    Fsck,you, Claire. What this so-called alliance has long been is a sham where the US pays the bills and does the dying while Europe lectures us about our war-mongering. I’m done with it, as are most Americans.

    And if his generals grasp that we’d be very happy to do business with them as soon as they take care of business, Czar Paul I style? Good.

    In other words, Claire and her ilk want to commit us to regime change in Russia. You know, I can’t imagine why Putin would move Russian troops from the Far East and deploy them against NATO…

    Oh wait, I know exactly why…

  118. Not during the coldwar thats what finlandization was about.

    Thank you, I thought it was obvious that I was talking about the Cold War era.

    Nope, because Vodka Man bad.

  119. Xennady: “Either the Deep State is insanely stupid, or they wanted this war so they could force regime change upon Russia.”

    Maybe the Usual Suspects want regime change in Russia — or maybe they need an excuse for the financial failures and supply chain disruptions heading towards us because of their decades of money printing. Some have even speculated that the Deep State wants a nuclear war to hide all the cancers which may be popping up from their CovidScam injections.

    US out of NATO now!

  120. Brian: “everyone’s watching live stream of an attack on a nuclear power plant…what a time to be alive…”

    Read the comments on this at Zerohedge. The war nearly got its first US casualty when I almost died laughing. The commenters there really have a wonderful sense of humor!

    (They also have some well-founded skepticism about what the Ukrainian kleptocrats are showing us).

  121. tfourier,

    Please tell us what the Europeans think of the Russians shelling an Ukrainian nuclear power plant while it’s in operation.

  122. Tom Holsinger: This is a people’s war for the Ukrainians. The Russian people are conspicuously uninvolved on their side. That makes a huge difference.

    Just wait until some Ukrainian diehards start blowing stuff up in downtown Moscow. We’ll find out which way the Russian people jump.

  123. Trent made the Daily Mail, and can expect nastygrams from the FIB.

    “… Kyiv has so-far escaped what observers feared would be Russian attempts to surround and bomb it into submission, after skirmishes in the outskirts led to Moscow’s men being pushed back. Sight of the convoy earlier this week seemed to confirm that Putin would resort to ‘siege’ tactics to force a bloody victory.

    But, as of Thursday morning, the convoy was near-motionless – having stalled late Monday. The exact reason is unclear, but American and British intelligence believe it is due to a combination of Ukrainian resistance and logistical problems within the convoy itself.

    Reports from the ground indicate that Russian vehicles have been running out of fuel, while pictures also appear to show some vehicles have been poorly maintained and their tyres are falling apart.

    A Pantsir missile system bogged down and abandoned in a muddy field lost several of its tyres when Ukrainian forces tried to tow it away, with Trent Teletenko – a former Department of Defence civil servant – wrote on Twitter that it appears Russia has failed to maintain the tyres on its vehicles properly, leaving them brittle.

    According to his analysis, it means lowering the pressure in the tyres – which is typically done so they can drive off-road – will cause them to shred, meaning the trucks and artillery systems will be confined to highways or else risk getting bogged down in mud.

    Other images showed armoured vehicles bogged down and abandoned after Russian forces tried laying sawed-down trees under their wheels to keep them out of the muck …”

  124. “Zerohedge is a notorious Russian disinformation front.”
    Oh stop. ZH is full of economic doomers, where collapse is always a few months away, and gold or bitcoin is going to save you. They steal a lot of content, and publish some outright nutters. And their comments are full of outright Nazis. But knock it off with the “Russian disinformation” idiocy. It’s a fine part of a balanced media diet, if you don’t take it too seriously. Someone who only reads ZH would have a far better grip on reality than someone who only reads the New York Times…

  125. “Someone who only reads ZH would have a far better grip on reality than someone who only reads the New York Times”

    This is laughably false, as you show in your own comments about their non-stop warning of imminent economic collapse. I read it quite a bit in 2009-11 until it became clear they were purposely misleading their readers. Someone who read only ZeroHedge would have moved to an off-grid underground bunker in rural Idaho full-time with only weapons and gold 10 years ago and not come out since except to hunt. Not a terrible backup or vacation plan but hardly a recipe for a full life for most folks. If it’s not an arm of the Russian state propaganda, it’s certainly amplifying it.

    In ZH world, everything USA is bad, literally nothing is good unless it is against us.

    The NYT has its own bias for sure but ZH is another level.

  126. New York Times readers think Trump was a Russian agent, thousands of black men are mowed down by cops ever year, every other white person is a KKK member, your odds of getting hospitalized with covid are 50%, the economy right now is booming, etc. And they actually run every major institution in the country, unlike ZH readers, who are mostly weirdos, along with people who just want to see a different perspective. NYT is infinitely more destructive, it’s not even close.

  127. That article is way off, miguel. Americans don’t want anyone’s “pity.” The problem isn’t that the “elite”, the “establishment”, the NY Times readers, don’t pity half the country, it’s that they hate them.

  128. Well, it seems all the flutter about evil Russians deliberately shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was … shall we say, overblown?

    Russia has taken control of the plant — and continues to make sure it operates, delivering power to Ukrainian citizens. Unlike what NATO did in Serbia, where “Our Guys” deliberately put electric power out of commission, harming the general populace.

    War is Bad! No question about that. But please open your mind and look around. None of the participants are wearing White Hats — and that especially applies to the media-manipulators running the Ukrainian regime.

  129. “New York Times readers think Trump was a Russian agent, thousands of black men are mowed down by cops ever year, every other white person is a KKK member, your odds of getting hospitalized with covid are 50%, the economy right now is booming, etc.”

    1. Trump was definitely trying very hard to do exactly what Putin wants him to do, only stymied at times by some of the patriotic folks around him. I don’t see how any free-thinker can look at his repeated statements of support and admiration for Putin and see otherwise. He very clearly has a man-crush on the guy and very likely also was holding out for some big payouts from his future business interests there. Every single of his statements of strategy that affect Russia can be very clearly seen as following Moscow’s strategic interest.

    2. Any evidence that’s true? I think you’re exaggerating. Also, there really is a problem of some overzealous and racist police treating black suspects far worse than white. If you don’t believe that then you don’t know enough black men. Can you find a white victim version like the Tamir Rice killing from the past ten years?

    3. Again you’re wildly exaggerating. That said, many liberals do believe white most Trump voters are at least somewhat racist. Certainly Trump has played the race card more overtly than any successful Republican nominee in my lifetime, emboldening the minority of white folks who are passionately racist. Zero doubt about that.

    4. Yet again, a wild claim on your part. That said again, vaccinated folks were far less likely to end up the hospital for COVID: “Hospitalization for COVID-19 was significantly associated with decreased likelihood of vaccination (cases, 15.8% [of folks in the hospital for COVID were vaccinated]; controls, 54.8% [of folks in the hospital without COVID were vaccinated, used as a control to get a baseline % of folks in the community vaccinated]; adjusted OR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.13-0.18), including for sequenced SARS-CoV-2 Alpha (8.7% vs 51.7%; aOR, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.06-0.16) and Delta variants (21.9% vs 61.8%; aOR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.10-0.21). This association was stronger for immunocompetent patients (11.2% vs 53.5%; aOR, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.09-0.13)”

    5. Do you own a business? I do. Labor market is very tight and unemployment “bonuses” expired six months ago or more. Every person I know who wants to work can get hired somewhere making 30% more than their 2019 rate. The inflation is hurting folks and may get worse before it gets better, we may fall into recession, but that doesn’t mean the economy isn’t booming at the moment.

    I hate to spend all this time here when this convo is supposed to be about Ukraine, but it pains me to see what you wrote. But it’s helpful I suppose as another corollary to way different folks have completely different opinions on Russia-Ukraine.

    I do agree that Biden and Europe botched this in the run-up. War probably could have been avoided without complete Ukrainian capitulation. But as we’re here now, I’d love to help grind Putin’s face in it so that he and Xi will think twice about doing more.

    Will that happen, not sure. Will it be counterproductive, maybe. Every now and then though, it’s worth sacrificing for our values. I’m willing to pay significantly more for everything in honor of the remarkable Ukrainians, if there’s even a chance it will help.

  130. Re: my #5, maybe not everyone can get 30% more but almost all can get more than their cost of living has risen.

  131. “Trump was definitely trying very hard to do exactly what Putin wants him to do, only stymied at times by some of the patriotic folks around him”
    LMAO, go back to the NYT comment section or wherever you came from.

  132. You’re profoundly misinformed. I have no idea why to waste any space on a troll, but here’s a couple sources for you
    “The Skeptic Research Center recently published a report asking respondents about race and policing. Asked “How many unarmed black men were killed by the police in 2019?”, nearly 39 percent of liberals said “at least 1,000”, including about 6.5 percent who said “about 10,000”, and 5.5 percent who said “more than 10,000.” Among those identifying as “very liberal”, 53.5 percent said at least 1,000 unarmed black men were shot in 2019, including over 14 percent who said about 10,000, and nearly 8 percent who said more than 10,000.”
    “Democrats were much more likely to overestimate the harms of COVID-19, according to the Franklin Templeton/Gallup study, with 41% believing over half of coronavirus patients would require hospitalizations”

    Now scram.

  133. Updates:

    1. Kyiv. Fighting in Bucha and in the Gostomel area. Fighting is going on west of Kyiv. Gradually, the city is pressed in from the east. Chernihiv is blocked. Negotiations are underway on a humanitarian corridor. Fighting in the north of the city.

    2. Kharkov is practically blocked by the RF Armed Forces. MLRS of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are actively working from the city, striking incl. and residential areas of the city. The RF Armed Forces continue their methodical hunt for concentrations of infantry and equipment that the enemy hides in the city.

    3. Mariupol. The ring around the city is gradually shrinking. The city itself is physically completely blocked. The Nazis are blocking the exit of the population from the city. The deputy commander of Azov reports that the situation is critical and Mariupol is the last obstacle to the creation of a land bridge to the Crimea. He asks for the deblockade of the city.

    4. Nikolaev. Fight for the city. Fighting south of the city. An incomprehensible situation with the Kulbakino airfield: it was first stated that the RF Armed Forces had taken it, and then the Armed Forces of Ukraine were able to recapture it. From the places they write that it was generally empty. The flagship of the Ukrainian Navy “Hetman Sahaydachny” was flooded by the team on the first day of the operation.

    5. Energodar and ZNPP. Control is finally established. Fighting continues at Vasilievka. The Pologi are occupied, which opens up the possibility of a strike on Gulyaipole.

    6. Raisins. Serious fights. The troops are approaching Slavyansk and the Izyum-Slavyansk highway. Krasny Liman and Yampol are not far away.

    7. Severodonetsk. Fighting near the city, the city itself has not yet entered. The prospects for the formation of the Severodonetsk pocket are growing. Most of the territory of the LPR has already been liberated. It remains to weld in the boiler the last large grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the LPR.

    8. Donetsk-Gorlovka. They continued to receive heavy shelling. Destruction and casualties.

    9. Volnovakha. The cleanup, according to Pushilin, will take several days. The enemy suffered heavy losses in men and equipment in the Volnovakha area.

    10. Transnistria. The Armed Forces of Ukraine blew up a bridge on the border with the republic in order to impede the hypothetical participation of a group of Russian troops in the PMR in the operation to liberate Odessa. No one is still landing amphibious assaults in the Odessa region, although they have been waiting there for a week.

    Putin again confirmed today that the operation will continue until the Russian Federation achieves all its goals. There will be no concessions.

  134. Wait, I thought you guys believed in free speech? Are you trying to deplatform me? “Help, I’m being oppressed!”

    From your own cherry-picked section of that poll, Brian, we can see you’ve exaggerated. 41% of Dems polled believed in 50%+ hospitalization rate, so MORE THAN HALF did not believe that.

    And this from the exact same study:
    “Democrats provide much higher and more accurate vaccine efficacy estimates than Republicans (88% vs. 50%), and unvaccinated Republicans have a median vaccine efficacy [belief] of 0%…”

    That’s Republicans broadly, now imagine ZeroHedge readers specifically, which is what we were talking about.

    Similarly, your study on shootings quoted tha 39% of “liberals” with that belief, again NOT. A. MAJORITY.

    Now if you want to compare the relative ignorance and misinformed-ness of the most liberal and most conservative folks, I think we’ll find it unending on both sides. Do you believe Hillary Clinton drinks the blood of child sex slaves? Do you think there was massive voter fraud and that DJT actually won the election, despite Republican-appointed judges throwing out every attempt put in front of them as unfounded?

    Third Russian SU-25 shot down today

    It is pretty amazing that the Russians can’t fly with impunity after all this time. I know their doctrine re: aircraft is radically different than ours, as it is in so many areas, but good grief what a trainwreck.
    Look at current prices for natural gas, wheat, fertilizer, etc. Yikes.
    So Putin’s gamble seems to be that he can impose more pain on the West that they can’t tolerate than they can impose back on Russia…we’re going to see the catastrophic impacts of “globalism” in the coming months to see who’s right…

  136. stingers can ruin your day, or insert any other compatible manpad, igla, it’s going to a big muddy for a long while, Russians certainly haven’t operated in the center and western zone of the country, so they aren’t familiar with the terrain, add to that it’s a blood feud that goes back to the 20s, with Petlura through the Holomodor and World War 2, and you have a gordian knot

  137. “It is pretty amazing that the Russians can’t fly with impunity after all this time. ”

    The US military fought with savages, with no way to impact their air power. Its different in Ukraine.

  138. Facebook now banned in Russia. Western media kicked out. Lots of people saying, oh there goes Putin turning Russia into North Korea, don’t realize at all what is actually going on.
    The overt weaponization of tech companies starting in Nov 2016 and completely out of control starting in 2020 was always going to have severe consequences for them, if they had any brains to see more than a few months into the future.

  139. Finland/USSR: The last time the Soviets took territory from Finland at gunpoint was September 1944. The Cold War flared to life sometime between 1946 and 1948. So saying that the Soviets didn’t invade Finland during the Cold War is technically true but obscures the main point, which is that the Finns have reason to fear Russian invasion based on past behavior.

  140. }}} I.e., the Ukrainians are clearly operating inside the Russians’ OODA loop (a la John Boyd).

    YYYup. And that’s usually a sign of who the victor will be, if the two are not in utterly disconnected weight classes.

    Not sure if that’s the case, here, or not. Russia is clearly bigger, but this may well be Afghanistan II for them, in the long run. It’s mainly a question of how strong the Ukrainian will is vs. that of the Russians.

  141. Do you think there was massive voter fraud and that DJT actually won the election, despite Republican-appointed judges throwing out every attempt put in front of them as unfounded?

    Always a tell with a left loony Democrat. No court case was decided on the merits of the case. All were denied on technical grounds, mostly “standing.” See the current Wisconsin case here.

    My own opinion on why the courts, including the USSC, ducked the case was fear of riots and attacks on homes and families.

  142. This conflict isn’t about where Russian troops are today…Even moreso than in early 2020, everyone should probably have several months of food stocked up…
    Food Protectionism Is Spreading as Hungary Bans Grain Exports
    Governments around the world are taking steps to safeguard domestic food supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roiled trade and sent prices of key staples soaring.
    Hungary is banning grain exports, its agriculture minister told television channel RTL on Friday.

  143. What a sick and disgusting joke. Anyone care to guess what country made the majority of “donations” to this slush fund before it was shut down before? (I.e., this isn’t really off-topic…)
    Former President Bill Clinton announced Friday that the Clinton Foundation will reconvene its Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to address the “steep” challenges facing the world.
    It had been announced in September 2016 that CGI, founded in 2005, would be winding down to be discontinued.

  144. The World’s Longest POW Camp

    The Russians have formed the world’s longest POW camp. The Ukrainians don’t have to feed it. There hasn’t been anything like this since the Anzio beachhead in 1944.

    Trent says the Russian vehicle column stuck north of Kiev is now 69 kilometers long. That’s almost 40 miles. He also says European newsies are going nuts over the satellite photos of it.

    The column can’t move. Almost all its vehicles are out of fuel. Only the ones at the north end might have some. And they’re all on the road because the wheeled vehicles can’t get off the road due to the mud and their shoddy tires from no or inadequate maintenance.

    So the Russians can’t move fuel trucks south on either side of the column. They can only deliver fuel to the north end of the column, then move north again with the refueled vehicles at the north end – say 100-200 meters long – to the nearest cross-roads north where the refueled vehicles can peel off to move further north, so only then can the tanker trucks themselves refuel. Then they can again move south to refuel the next 100-200 meters of the north end of the column. And repeat 150 times until the jam is cleared.

    This is glorious. The troops 40-50 kilometers south of the north end of the traffic jam will run out of food before then jam can be cleared to them. They’ll have to abandon their vehicles and walk north just to get food.

    Trent says Ukrainian snipers are picking off the column’s senior Russian officers right now.

    No. 1 son (LocoGato here) points out that the Ukrainians’ failure to significantly attack this “Motti” (Finnish term from the Winter War) indicates that they lack the means to do so.

    What they should really do is attack the most northerly part of the column to block the road with vehicle wreckage, so the Russians can’t slowly refuel and unpeel the column from the north.

    Trent also said that the column got to be so long because of Russians “fullfiling the plan”. They might be kakked for disobeying orders by not advancing into the traffic jam, but won’t be if they obey orders to fulfill the plan. That sounds about right.

    So almost all the vehicles in that 69 km long column are stuck there until the spring thaw mud season is over about six weeks from now. Or unless the Ukrainians let the Russians slowly unpeel the column from its north end, assuming the Russians get a clue.

    This is glorious!

  145. ROTFLMFAO. They are parked there. Waiting till they are needed.

    As the plan is to spare civilians as much as possible, the hammer is just waiting in case its needed.

    All attacks are welcome, otherwise they have to come find you. ;)

  146. Talking about liberals and about warmongers — they used to be separate groups. One set would go around chanting “NO WAR” and the other side would go around talking about … well, you know what.

    Now it looks like all the liberals have become warmongers. It must make the real warmongers quite uncomfortable. There goes the neighborhood !

    Back to reality. Two elements are very clear now:
    1. We can’t trust anything we see on any form of media. We keep hearing about how badly the Russian side is doing — and yet the Russian side keeps advancing.
    2. All the smart Western liberals are ignoring the possibility that their actions will cause the conflict to spread beyond the borders of the Ukraine and get a lot worse. The probability that we have a 1914-like situation where the conflict expands to include nuclear demolition of European & American cities is currently low — but it is clearly greater than zero.

    Where are the Western liberals pushing for a cease fire and trying to broker an end to the conflict?

  147. }}} My own opinion on why the courts, including the USSC, ducked the case was fear of riots and attacks on homes and families.

    In short, our judiciary is filled with spineless, unprincipled dickwits who WANT more violence.

    Because when you make it clear that the only thing the judiciary pay attention to is who is ready to be violent about things, you make it clear that only an idiot does not act violently.

    This country is doomed if we don’t get control back from the Left. Rule of Law is almost gone, and that is actually probably one of the most important aspects of our system that makes it work — P.J. O’Rourke collected some of his essays, with the purpose of trying to figure out why some states are failed and hopeless clusterf***s, and others do quite well. To this end, he looked at 10 failed and 10 successful states, and tried to find the things that had, or lacked, in common.

    Possibly surprisingly, it wasn’t democracy or individual liberty that seemed to be the main causes of having a successful state. It was Rule of Law and Free Markets.

    Clearly, not an exhaustive, or even carefully controlled study, but it was an interesting point to arrive at.

    And we are losing Rule of Law and they’re trying to eliminate the Free Markets.

    And you know those fuckers, when it all goes to shit, are gonna go, “Well, it wasn’t anything we did!!”


  148. }}} ROTFLMFAO. They are parked there. Waiting till they are needed.

    Indeed, “ROTFLMFAO” indeed, because we know you seriously think this.

    All it takes is a few weapons of the right type — which someone could easily give to the Ukes — and that whole convoy is a sitting fucking duck for total destruction.

    It does not take a lot of brainpower to see this claim is absolutely retarded, but that’s our penny… absolutely retarded…

  149. As always, believe or not, no way to be sure:
    NEW – Russian commanders have been killed after they felt they had to move closer to the front lines, western officials say. Deputy Commander of the 41st combined arms Army killed by sniper fire. A divisional commander and a regimental commander also killed.
    Russian commanders moving further forward to get more control and impetus behind operations which have, in some cases, badly stalled. Those commanders are trying to impose their own personality on the battlefield but this in turn, is placing them at greater risk, w. officials say
    Fragilities in systems,combined with remarkable Ukrainian resistance,has shocked Russian commanders, western officials say, and is having a psychological impact on Russian troops because of ferocity of the fight. But for all the problems, they are likely to adapt,say w. officials

  150. The entire Russian command has been rotated through Syria and has combat experience. Quite a bit of the military has been through that training course a well, and you have battle hardened commanders and NCO’s running that show in Ukraine.

    If you really believe all the nonsense about how that long line of plant is unable to move, or is somehow crippled, you are a fool.

  151. Jay,

    Re; Election fraud.

    Corrupt Judges are nothing new. I know what I saw with my own eyes.

    BTW you didn’t mention Wisconsin. Evidently some judges in Wisconsin are not corrupt.

    You also failed to mention the initial Pfizer study that showed about 3% deaths out of 42,000 vaxed. That is a rather large death rate for a vaccine. Which is why I call it a vax.

  152. FWIW, you can’t start a negotiation until you have something to barter. So it’s quite possible that the western sanctions are simply put in place to have chips to put on the table when things settle down to a negotiable state. We don’t have any clue what that state will – it could be anything between a complete Russian victory and a complete Russian rout – but based on the last 30 or so years of wars, the two sides will make it to a draw, everyone will come to a table, things will be dropped and things will be added, horses will be traded, bribes will be passed, and a negotiated end will occur. The table will then be reset with American money (foreign aid) and we will await the next cycle.

    America’s role in all of this is to pay for it.

  153. If you really believe all the nonsense about how that long line of plant is unable to move, or is somehow crippled, you are a fool.

    Russian logistics has been a mess since forever. Historically. It has led to mass casualties in every Russian War. It is the price they pay for the military they want.

    It is unusual in warfare to have troops in the battle zone idle for days. Under normal circumstances. That chews up resources to no effect.

    The results should be evident in a few more days. ==> An Army runs on its stomach. Amateurs study battles, professionals study logistics.

  154. “It is unusual in warfare to have troops in the battle zone idle for days. Under normal circumstances. That chews up resources to no effect.”

    Its the hammer. They don’t need it now, but may. Where would you hide a hammer that big?

  155. If you’re wondering why the Ukrainians haven’t destroyed the Russian column that hasn’t moved in days, it may not be that they don’t have the resources, or from a misplaced sense of mercy. The third possibility is that the Russians are in fact out of fuel and running out of food and the Ukrainians are waiting to starve them out, figuring that once they either surrender or abandon their vehicles and walk back north, they (the Ukrainians) can go in and pick up some free tanks and trucks to use on other fronts. If the Russians are too hungry or depressed to destroy them before they retreat or desert or surrender, a lot of the vehicles will only need a tank of gas and a little yellow and blue paint to be usable.
    By the way, I have read that a Ukrainian force used back roads to get to the north end of the column and blow up the only bridge they could use to get back to Belarus or bring in fuel and food from Belarus a few days ago. I’m not fool enough to assume this is true, but I’m also not fool enough to assume that it’s false and that the non-moving 40-mile columns is “just resting” (like a Monty Python parrot) and in no trouble at all, as our Canadian neo-Nazi Putinite [body part omitted for reasons of taste] asserts.

  156. The head of the 70 km long Russian column has been stopped there for four days now. It’s cold. That is not good for batteries. And if the motors are run to recharge the batteries, that uses fuel. The vehicles at the head of the column had less fuel than the following vehicles.

    At this point the head of that column ain’t gonna move fuel or no fuel. And the following vehicles can’t move off the road. That column simply can’t move forward. It can only unravel from the back, at best, and provided the Russians stop adding more vehicles to the back of the column. It is now, and will be for months, a parking lot three vehicles wide running north to south.

    It looks more and more like the Ukrainians have won right there.

    Email from Trent:

    “The Ukrainians priority was securing the Antonov plant air field to keep the Russians from air lifting fuel to the front of the column.”

    If true, the defeatded Russian first day air assault on the Antonov plant air field may have been the decisive battle of the war. IMO there was too much else going on for this to have been that decisive, but it’s possible.

  157. Sorry guys,but if you don’t want to read more about this you have to stop replying with proveable exaggerations and outright falsehoods.

    Mike K. wrote, “No court case was decided on the merits of the case. All were denied on technical grounds, mostly “standing.”

    Here’s just one hilariously perfect example from Pennsylvania:

    “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents.”

    Let’s re-write your statement here again. “No court case was decided on the merits of the case. All were denied on technical grounds.” Hmmmm… “Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents.”

    Shouldn’t the fact that you didn’t know about this give you pause about where you’re getting your information? I suppose it won’t, but it SHOULD, no? I can find more if you insist, but I’d rather read more about Ukraine and leave the US politics aside.

    And, “See the current Wisconsin case here…” which links not to an actual court case but to a comically propagandized write-up about a Republican-only appointed special prosecutor’s one-sided report, that incidentally was then brushed aside by the leader of the same body that requested it, “”Handing authority to partisan politicians to determine if election fraud exists would be the end of our republic as we know it,” Steineke said. “Reminder: Giving politicians that power when you don’t like the results of an election will also give them the authority to overturn elections when you do.”

    Again, I’d much rather move past the partisan politics and read the great stuff you guys are sharing and writing about Ukraine, but if you keep posting the bs political stuff I’ll probably keep replying to it.

  158. “Now it looks like all the liberals have become warmongers. It must make the real warmongers quite uncomfortable. There goes the neighborhood !”

    Quite a contrast with Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, isn’t it? In those days there were huge peace demonstrations all over the place. There were still lots of Vietnam retreads around in those days, probably still deathly afraid they’d be drafted and sent to the Middle East. Apparently, they’re all now either dead or confident they’re too old to be drafted into the Volkssturm. In contrast, we’re seeing a level of jingoism on the left that would put the yellow press of the Spanish-American War days to shame. As usual, our “conservatives” are still playing the game of insisting that they’re better at obeying the moral rules the Left just concocted yesterday afternoon even better than the leftists themselves. They’ve been playing that losing game for more than half a century, hopelessly outclassed by the Left when it comes to virtuosity in manipulating moral emotions. The result has been their almost complete cultural and ideological hegemony in our western “democracies.” Perhaps it’s time our “conservatives” finally got a clue what morality is, and why it exists to begin with.

  159. M. Simon, in the interest of keeping the discussion here on-topic, if you want to discuss those more can you send more details on your two points to me individually? jayhendrix67 at gmail. See guys, I’m trying!

  160. So far Ukraine strategy looks like:

    Bottle up Russians on the roads. Attack the resupply. Wait for the Army to turn into foragers vs soldiers.

  161. Its the hammer. They don’t need it now, but may. Where would you hide a hammer that big?

    In Russia where upkeep is lower.

    Look at how the Soviets did it in WW2. Not much has changed. They still have logistics problems. At this point I’d say it was cultural. Not a bug. A feature.

  162. miguel cervantes
    March 4, 2022 at 6:24 pm

    I have been commenting here since “Winds of Change” days. Remember those? I’m not a regular lately.

  163. “In Russia where upkeep is lower.”

    Comprehension is a problem I see. Its the hammer for this war. They are not using it now so its parked. They have to park it somewhere and decided that’s as good a place as any. Handy if they need it, otherwise parked.

    You people can’t be this dumb.

  164. yes I remember the golden age of blogging, when charles johnson was sane, apparently before bjorn stark, and der commissar changed sides

  165. Most of us know this old joke, but it’s very pertinent here:
    A man’s driving home from work on the interstte in heavy traffic when his cellphone rings. It’s his wife’s number and he knows she wouldn’t call him at rush hour unless it was really important, so he picks up. She says “Honey, be careful! News says there’s a maniac driving the wrong way on the interstate!” and he says “_A_ maniac? There’s hundreds of ’em!”.
    To spell out the moral for the dimwitted: if everyone else on a website seems so obviously and completely wrong that you can’t believe they can “be this dumb” – maybe it’s you.

  166. “Hey everyone, PenGun copies and pastes his “updates” from 4chan”

    Not a place I ever go. They get em’ probably where I get em’, I would guess.

    That’s “The Mouthpiece Of Totalitarian Propaganda” at Colonel Cassad’s place.

  167. Again, I’d much rather move past the partisan politics and read the great stuff you guys are sharing and writing about Ukraine, but if you keep posting the bs political stuff I’ll probably keep replying to it.<

    HuffPo is calling you. The link was to an article about the decision. The"leader" you quoted is Tony Evers, the Democrat Governor. As for Pennsylvania, the supreme court and governor are Democrats. Alito ruled that late absentee ballots needed to be sequestered and they ignored him. You will never "move beyond the partisan politics because that's what you guys are all about. The lefties all want us to get into a war with Russia. I can't imagine why a reasonable person would want that but lefties live in a fantasy world.

  168. If I were constantly quoting things written by others on websites, I would feel morally obligated to:
    a. Put the words in quotations,
    b. Say whose words I was quoting, and from what source (website/journal/book/etc.), and
    c. Provide a link to my source, it it was a website.
    Anything less would make me feel like a common troll.

    If I found that the same words I quoted were repeatedly quoted with approval by the likes of 4chan, I would think it time to reconsider my sources of information, and maybe my entire life, because something was obviously hugely wrong with both.
    But maybe that’s just me.

  169. Trent’s latest on Twitter, and the Bayraktar musical video at the end is priceless. It’s the Turkish TB2 armed UAV which the Turks used for lots of target practice against the Russians and their allies in Syria and Iraq, and then sold hundreds of thousands of to the Ukrainians.

    Here’s a separate link to the Bayraktar video:

  170. LOL. I avoid 4chan but I do have reddit account. Anyway I have sources in Russia, at the place I identified above.

    I have posted updates that were obviously copied and pasted. I am … well an uncommon troll actually, but of course, otherwise I would not be here. However your sources range from just stupid to the dailymail. That’s a downward slope BTW.

    Mine are better but its no big deal really. You are just gonna misinterpret everything anyway.

  171. Oooh, “sources in Russia” – that explains why what you post without quotation marks or links so often reads like naked Russian propaganda and bald-faced neoNazi lies. Do they pay you, or do you do it for love of brutal conquerors?

  172. I’ll regret this.

    The idea that a roadbound traffic jam 40+ miles long is a position from which some sort of attack can be launched is so utterly asinine that it gives me a headache. But then we know the source. Every vehicle and any person that hasn’t been dispersed to the countryside is nothing but cannon fodder for any passing plane. Look up the Highway of Death and that one was moving and in dry open country. It’s cold and wet and I’ll bet that most of the troops are huddled around the vehicles trying to keep dry and warm rather than dispersed. The 80 miles of flank works out to less than one man per meter. I wonder how many patrols they have out. They’ll be slogging through the mud on foot through unfamiliar territory with the standard Russian leadership, think a whole herd of Bambis during deer season. This is the sort of things nightmares are made of.

    Don’t forget that the troops here represent just about every warm body that could be collected from as far away as China. There just isn’t anybody to either relieve or rescue them.

  173. MCS,

    All the Ukrainians have to do is turn the first kilometer or so at the traffic jam’s start to wrecked and burnt-out vehicles and the jam can’t be cleared for a month. By then the war will be over.

    Plus everyone in the column who doesn’t get back out the way they came will be a prisoner of war or dead of starvation.

    Trent is probably correct that the Ukrainians can do this just with their Turkish TB2 Bakratar drones, though it would help a lot if they could bring the area under fire from their long-range multiple rocket launchers.

    In any event, that column will not move south for the rest of the war. If the Russians are lucky, some of it may be able to back out, move sideways to other roads, and get back into the war before it’s over. If so, we’ll see this in satellite photos.

    First though, the Russians have to get a clue and stop piling more vehicles into the traffic jam. That may take a few more days.

  174. I dont recall a successful operation that involved such a large force coming from one direction i know the first battle of grozny came along four axis it was still a mess i dont think operations in georgia ran like that either

  175. I’m sure the that in the plan, this is a support and supply column that’s supposed to be traversing a secured route to jump off from Kiev to mop up whatever resistance remains. I’m sure it says so in black and white, worked out to the minute.

    If you look at a map of Ukraine, you’ll see a lot of narrow roads winding through fields and forests. The secondary roads look to be mostly unpaved that wouldn’t stand much traffic in wet weather. The secret is that you have to keep an open lane to allow for breakdowns and defense. This is a matter of discipline, never a strong suit for the Russians. This is also the sort of thing that really stands out in satellite photos.

    I figure the Ukrainians are holding off for two reasons. The first is that a stalled convoy is no threat away from the immediate area and prudence dictates they conserve their resources. If there were any Russian troops to attack elsewhere it would be different. Second, shooting fish in a barrel gets old pretty fast and they’re still going to have to live alongside Russia when all this is over. If the situation is how it appears, and that’s a big if, the invasion is over and there’s probably an advantage to minimizing the body count.

  176. Don’t you realize that hearing a Russian sing might turn you into a Nazi, or something? I dunno, it’s not clear, but it would be bad, so we can’t chance it.
    Also can’t let them drive race cars.
    Also can’t let them kids play hockey.
    And their cats. Under no circumstance can we trust their cats.

  177. OK, I think and still think that Russian invasion is 100% wrong, period, no ifs, ands, or buts.
    What the hell is this though?
    Ukraine’s security service has reportedly shot & killed Denis Kireev, a member of the Ukrainian negotiating team, pictured far back on the right in the photo. He was apparently killed while resisting arrest on suspicion of treason, ukrpravda_news reports.

    Again, Russian invasion=wrong, no ambiguity.
    Things in Ukraine, i.e., Biden’s personal ATM machine, are profoundly messed up, and we need to know way more about all the details, and how and why our elites are involved.

  178. Brian: “Again, Russian invasion=wrong, no ambiguity.”

    Is there really no ambiguity? The situation with the Ukraine reminds me of an event some years ago involving the son of a friend at junior high school in California.

    The son was small for his age, and was being bullied at school by two bigger kids. The parents tried to get the school to put a stop to this bullying, but the school authorities did nothing. (The son was white, the bullies were Hispanic — hence the authorities ignored the bullying).

    The poor son was desperate. Without telling his parents, he took a knife to school. The next time the bullies threatened him, he pulled out the knife. Bullies ran away and reported the son to a teacher. You know what is coming next — the son was expelled from school, while the bullies were given a pat on the back for reporting the incident.

    Back to the Ukraine. We know it is a very corrupt country with obvious ties to US political corruption. We know US/NATO wants to get the Ukraine into the club and put threatening weapons on Russia’s border. We know that Russia told US/NATO loudly and clearly that it was unacceptable to bring the Ukraine into NATO. We know that our “leaders” in the US & NATO totally ignored Russia’s concerns. Russia was left with no choice but to bring a knife to school — even though they understood that was a very bad choice.

    Yes, there is ambiguity!

  179. That interview with MBS is amazing. To think that the Biden crew is going to throw away any sort of relationship with Saudi Arabia is just mind boggling.
    And I’m sure Qatar is more than happy to see the West get taken down a peg or two or thirty, so of course they’re excited to stoke thr flames.

    With Russian President Putin’s army steadily advancing, members of Congress and U.S. national security officials are now discussing the challenges of assisting Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s government if Kyiv falls and Moscow installs a puppet regime.

    Again, Ukraine’s winning the propaganda war, but Russia’s winning the physical war, and it seems is going to win it unless there is a miraculous sudden collapse.
    Then it’s a war of attrition, and I don’t know that the West is prepared for the economic struggles that look certain for the coming year.
    Interesting times…

  181. “Do they pay you, or do you do it for love of brutal conquerors?”

    My sources no matter where I got them are somewhat accurate, while the ones you lot find are generally laughable.

    As to brutal conquers, America and its allies took 300,000 troops to Iraq and conquered it in 3 weeks and killed about 100,000 civilians. The Russians are trying not to kill civilians, which is difficult as the Nazis in Mariupol and the ones in Donetsk are holding the civilian population as human shields. Today there may be movement in Mariupol towards some corridors to allow civilians to leave, but the local Nazis are not happy with this and dragging their heels.

    If there was just battle without human shields this would be over already.

    Sad day, we lost Vokha in Volnovakha while evacuating civilians. A fighter in the 2014 war and another hero of the Donetsk resistance.

  182. More lies from the Canadian troll – who doesn’t say whether he’s paid to post here or not. Looks like an implied ‘yes’ to me.
    He continues to provide no links, and no quotations marks, so we can’t even tell how many different sources he’s quoting, much less who they are, no doubt because who they are is obvious proven propagandists and liars. Example: I’m pretty sure the “we” who “lost Vokha” in the last paragraph doesn’t include any Canadians. So who is it? A murderous thug like his buddy Vokha, most likely – assuming of course Vokha ever existed.
    And the statement “The Russians are trying not to kill civilians” is a stupidly obvious lie. We’ve all seen the film of the tank swerving to crush a car with all the people in it, and plenty more along those lines. I won’t call PenGun an asshole because that would be a terrible insult to a useful and indeed necessary organ.

  183. PenGun is best ignored. I erred in responding to “Jay.”

    The interesting thing to me is how much inflammatory rhetoric is coming from those who opposed Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Especially given our “Woke” military that seems to be collapsing as it is being run by the left.

  184. One example of what I referred to above is here.

    “No Russian leader could stand idly by,” Putin told William Burns, now the director of the CIA, and accept Nato membership for Ukraine, Georgia, or Belarus, or allow Western weapons systems into these countries. As one of American greatest strategists and the architect of “containment” against the Soviet Union, George Kennan’s reaction to the Clinton administration’s insistence on Nato’s enlargement is particularly telling: “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake.

    I guess this makes me a Putin supporter.

  185. he could have held his fire, there is no reason to have done this now, because thats the way it was done eight years ago, so cui bono, who benefits in a war between oceania and eurasia, simplifying the exercise, eastasia, namely the Dragon,

  186. Another article on my point.

    “No Russian leader could stand idly by in the face of steps toward NATO membership for Ukraine. That would be a hostile act toward Russia,” Putin warned then Undersecretary for Political Affairs William Burns, now director of the CIA, just before NATO’s 2008 Bucharest Summit. Nevertheless, George W. Bush’s administration supported integrating both Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance at the summit, while France and Germany remained adamantly opposed for fear of poking the Russian bear.

    A compromise was reached. The alliance did not formally extend invitations to the two, but it did affirm, provocatively, and largely at the insistence of the Bush administration, “that these countries will become members of NATO.”

    Again, I think Putin is a thug but our elites had an agenda that helped produce this crisis. I don’t blame the Ukrainians for asking for help or even “no fly zones” but we have to think of our best interests.

  187. I gave you one lie, shithead: armies trying not to kill civilians do not run over small moving (and therefore occupied) cars with tanks. Now, how about answering my questions? What are the sources of the words you’re too lazy to think up and write for yourself, too dishonest to mark as quotations, and too lazy and dishonest to link the sources of?

  188. well there’s that, plus the fact that they employed 150,000 troops on the march to baghdad, had we employed double that number, there would have been the supply run tie up, in recent memory only the battle of tshinkivali, in the waning days of the georgian war, had a similar configuration, that was to surround the main georgian forces north of the city,

  189. thanks, I just try to see which gambit has succeeded like this, now the southern thrust from the crimea, looks like that battle, where is the main UKR force deployed, the seaborn landing attempted against Odessa, looks like the Abkazian war, where the Russian employed Chechen fighters like Gelayev and Basayev, the same fellows, who would bedevil them for at least decade, in Grozny, and points north and south

  190. Mike K: “we have to think of our best interests.”

    Indeed! It all seems so simple. NATO — or any individual country in NATO — could step forward and say that the Ukraine will never be permitted to join NATO. (Incidentally, there have been reports that Germany’s Chancellor has recently said that .. but “fog of war” & all that).

    With Russia’s main concern then off the table, the West could call for a cease fire and a peace conference aimed at producing a Ukraine which is neutral and has good relations with both the West & Russia.

    Our interest is to make sure that events in far-off Europe don’t spiral into a nuclear war which devastates the US. But it seems from their silence that the “No War” crowd don’t want peace.

  191. Trying to cut through all the crap, it looks to me as though the Russians tried a risky, win the war in one night strategy, with airborne units taking Kyiv airports and a powerful column rushing down a single road to Kyiv. They would take the capital, install a puppet government and deal with any insurgency. The other offensives were backups. The Kyiv part of it obviously went badly awry, leaving the most powerful of the Russian invasion forces stranded and getting weaker by the day. The other offensives are going slower than expected, probably partly because the Russians can’t get strategic surprise due to US satellite reconnaissance going to Ukraine and partly because the Russians invested their limited military spending on showy, big ticket shiny things instead of maintenance, spare parts and training for their non-elite forces.

    As to how this ends: Russia can win this militarily if they are willing to use their full force. The side with the nukes can always win militarily. They can also win militarily if they are willing to leave a desert by semi-conventional means–thermobarics and destroying infrastructure. The problem is that Russia has plenty of howling wasteland. If Ukraine ends up as more, what’s the point? A wrecked Ukraine subtracts from Russian power rather than adding to it.

    Who wins from all this? China mostly, but also Iran to some extent. Russia is diminished and more dependent on China. The sanctions on Russia hurt the west too, weakening the west versus China. The west will also face a huge inflow of refugees from North Africa, especially Egypt, if the flow of wheat stays disrupted long.

    If Putin falls, which is maybe a 20% possibility, things get very iffy. There are Russian factions far worse than Putin and not a lot of depth in experienced Russian leadership to step in. A return to the pre-Putin rule of Oligarchs is possible. Further splintering of the Russian Federation is possible. Russia as a partial power vacuum would not necessarily be a good thing. It would make China, Turkey and Iran more powerful for one thing and put control of Russian nukes up in the air.

    If Putin survives, expect Russians to have to prove their ability to endure suffering again, on a scale they haven’t seen since World War II. They will face years of insurgency in the Ukraine, draining their already sparse manpower, huge amounts of military spending and hugely reduced standards of living.

  192. “What are the sources of the words you’re too lazy to think up and write for yourself, too dishonest to mark as quotations, and too lazy and dishonest to link the sources of?”

    I told you already, short attention span?

  193. I’m actually curious to know how Russian media is portraying things. Not because it would be “truth” but because it would give insight on Putin’s planning, by how the domestic propaganda front is being handled. Right now Ukraine can’t possibly make any sort of deal, because their messaging is that heroic Ukraine is bloodying the mighty Russian invaders. Any sort of truce or deal is going to look like betrayal to anyone taking that at face value.

  194. Brian: “I’m actually curious to know how Russian media is portraying things.”

    It would be interesting and useful to see that kind of material. Since we are not getting facts from anyone, at least getting a range of biases would be interesting. However, we in the “free” & “democratic” West are not being allowed by our Betters to see anything which might detract from their narrative.

    A case in point — this article from AsiaTimes by David Goldman, who used to write under the pseudonym Spengler. He is not a fan of Russia, but does not have good words to say for “Our Guys” either:

    From Goldman’s piece:
    “Note: The essay below was solicited by the editorial page of a major US newspaper, and then rejected because it did not fit its prevailing narrative. Not only are major channels of discussion closed off to dissenting views in the United States, but major news sources are blocked by internet service providers. Interfax, the post-Communist independent news service, is inaccessible from Western IP addresses, but accessible through Hong Kong, for example. The West is fighting for democracy, but using the propaganda and press control methods of authoritarian regimes.”

  195. I’ll say it again.

    In 2014 Victoria Nuland boasted about separating Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence. She also said the CIA had spent 5 billion dollars doing this. The CIA would never let an asset as valuable as Ukraine slip through their fingers, unless those fingers where cut of. A work in progress.

    If you accept that a hostile Ukraine is an existential threat to Russia, then you understand what’s happening.

  196. Here is a link to what may be a highly relevant item. It is in Russian, but Google Translate is your friend:

    Partial translation:
    “The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) killed a member of the Ukrainian delegation in negotiations with Russia — Denis Kireyev.

    This was stated by the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Alexander Dubinsky, reports RIA Novosti. Presumably, Kireyev was suspected of treason, tried to resist arrest and was killed. Officially, the Ukrainian authorities have not yet confirmed this information.

    Until 2014, Kireyev worked in the banking sector, was a member of the governing bodies of Oschadbank and Ukreximbank. Later he was engaged in the management of private funds. Why the office of the President of Ukraine decided to include him in the delegation at the talks is still unknown.”

  197. War is hell, so said sherman, and you never know what happens when the bullets start flying

  198. “Who wins from all this? China mostly, but also Iran to some extent. Russia is diminished and more dependent on China.”

    I’m very interested in this theory that countries become diminished by acquiring more territory. Evidently Macedonia was so diminished by the conquests of Philip that Alexander’s career must all be a myth. The city state of Rome became progressively weaker as it conquered more and more territory. It must have collapsed from weakness under Augustus, so the subsequent history of Rome is all mythical as well. Polk diminished the Union by acquiring huge territories from Mexico, and Lincoln weakened it further by preserving the Union. If that’s all true, then, yes, China will benefit if Russia succeeds in recovering Ukraine. If, however, there are a few flaws in this “weakening by conquest” theory, then it’s not out of the question that China will not be quite so pleased with the outcome as you expect.

  199. Mike K. wrote: “I guess this makes me a Putin supporter.”

    You know, Mike, when you come down on the same side as PenGun — who is gleefully calling on Russia to annihilate the Ukrainians — you might want to re-examine your position. Just a thought.

    Gavin wrote: “It all seems so simple. NATO — or any individual country in NATO — could step forward and say that the Ukraine will never be permitted to join NATO.”

    NATO membership is a red herring and has nothing to do with the invasion. Both Georgia and Ukraine are ineligible for NATO membership and will continue to be until they settle their border disputes with Russia. To prevent Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO all Russia had to do was……nothing. No invasion was necessary.

    The invasion is about Russian conquest, not defense.

    PenGun wrote: “If you accept that a hostile Ukraine is an existential threat to Russia, then you understand what’s happening.”

    The idea that Ukraine is an existential threat to Russia is preposterous. Ukraine couldn’t get ten miles into Russian territory with a running start. If ever there was a case of starting with the desired conclusion — Russia has a right to conquer its neighbor — and working backward to the premise, this is it.

  200. mkent: “NATO membership is a red herring and has nothing to do with the invasion.”

    Come on! Be serious. Stopping expansion of NATO into the Ukraine was the top item in Russia’s very public list of concerns.

    If what you are asserting were true, every NATO country would have reassured Russia that there was no way the Ukraine could join NATO. Instead, NATO put on a haughty display of saying that the Ukraine could join if it wanted. And thus the invasion occurred.

    You can believe anything you want, but the facts are what they are.

  201. “Russia can win this militarily if they are willing to use their full force.”
    Everything I have read concludes that this is their full force, the fact that many had to be drawn from as far away as China supports that conclusion. Strategy page has claimed for a year, at least, that Russia has, at most, about 200,000 troops capable and worth deploying. That’s close to the number deployed now. There won’t be a second wave because there just isn’t anybody to send.

    For what it’s worth, I was listening to a Russian emigrant with family in Moscow that says the folks back home seem solidly behind this. They have been consuming a steady diet of Ukrainian Nazis plotting against the Motherland for years in Russian media. For now.

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