I am probably going to regret doing this, but I will do it anyway (sigh): I will post maps. In fact, I am going to do this three times!
First, a video of the Ukrainian advances since their counter-attack: (no sound)
Second, here is a map to give you a closer look:
And finally a Google map of the area with the actual distance between Balakleia and Kupiansk indicated:
So what I am trying to show here?
- This is, by far, the most successful Ukrainian attack since the SMO began
- This entire battle is limited to a short and very narrow segment of the line of contact.
The Ukrainian plan is very simple: show NATO the best they can do and it appears that the best they can do is to conduct a tactical attack (not an operational level one!) at an immense costs in human lives.
Hardly a reason to celebrate (for the Ukronazis) or to freak out (for Russians).
The fact that a “super-dooper US military commander and genius strategist” like Blinken has traveled to Kiev is no coincidence and it is rather evident the true reason why this entire show has been executed is pretty obvious: Blinken is desperate to make President Brandon look good/better/less clueless (“Presidential” in US parlance) before the upcoming elections. Blinken in Kiev is not unlike BoJo in Kiev: just a brain-dead ignoramus demanding “total war” against the Russians at, literally, any cost (to the Ukrainians, of course, and they are both irrelevant and expandable for Uncle Shmuel).
I can also clearly see that US/NATO PSYOPs are out in full force again (and I am sure that they will instantly pounce on the comments section below) trying to make it look as if the Ukronazis were about to take the Kremlin. Not only are western PYSOPs feeding their usual nonsense to the folks in the West, they are also very active in the many Russian Telegram channels.
And the fact that the Russian MoD had nothing to say about it this for already 48 hours only adds to the sense of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) created by this massive PSYOPs effort (more about that below). And, alas, yes, Russian information operations still suck and are Kindergarten level when compared to the multi-billion dollars PSYOP industry available to the western ruling class (aka Neocons).
So, setting aside all hysterics and silly rumors, what do we know so far?
So far, the Nazis have made their initial push, and they have already brought in reinforcements. But, at least so far, they have failed to further develop this tactical attack into an operational offensive. The entire area the Ukrainians have taken back is roughly the size of the frontal assault of a single division.
Please keep in mind that the Russians cannot (well, will not, since that would violate basic Russian tactical/operational norms) commit their operational reserves until they are quite convinced that 1) the Ukronazis are fully committed to specific (one or more) axes of attack 2) that the Ukrainian reserves are fully committed and 3) that no other major (relatively speaking) attack is feasible elsewhere along the line of contact.
In theory, if successful, this Ukrainian attack could threaten Russian forces in all sorts of ways, but I personally don’t believe that this will happen as the Russians are, according to numerous reports, concentrating very large forces to contain the Ukrainian attack. Furthermore, the Ukrainian advances *already* has come at a *huge* cost in personnel (again!).
Also, please consider this: the further East the Ukronazi forces go, the less artillery they will have to support them: shorter range artillery systems (like small-medium caliber mortars) will either be too far, or will have to be moved forward (at great risk) and only long range artillery (MLRS & HIMARS) will be able to support the Ukrainian attack. And, of course, it is much easier to resupply the Ukrainian attack force while it is closer to the Ukrainian rear than when the resupplies will have to be brought through a very dangerous and highly contested area!
For the Russian side, it is exactly the opposite: the closer the Ukrainian forces moves East, the more firepower the Russians can unleash against them and the shorter and safer distance Russian logistics have to deal with.
The same goes for airpower. The further East the Ukrainians move, the safer it will be for Russian CAS to strike them from a (relatively) safe(r) position as most of the Ukrainian air defenses are further back and the only type of air defenses the Ukrainians have en masse for this attacks mostly MANPADs (Igla, Strela, Stinger, Osa, etc.) which are only effective against some types of aircraft (Mi-24s and Mi-8s) and almost useless against others (Mi-28, Ka-52, Su-25).
I spend a few hours reading the reports of the (very few) Russian military correspondents I trust (including Evgenii Poddubnyi, imho the best one of them) and it is pretty clear that nothing is clear. There are major clashes (not even a real “battle” in the military sense of the word!) being fought with, on one side, Ukrainian forces and (lots) of foreign mercenaries and, on the other side, Russian Guards (Rosgvardiia) and airborne units. Which means that the Ukrainian forces are heavier, at least on the ground, as neither the Guards nor the airborne forces have heavy armor. However, this is partially already compensated by the Russian artillery and CAS. But the Russian military itself has not yet engaged her mechanized and armored forces, this will happen either today or in the next couple of days at which point things will get even worse for the advancing Ukrainian forces.
So right now, we simply need to wait for what will happen next. This one is simply too early to call.
Still, I know what most readers are thinking: did the Russians screw up pretty badly or is this some kind of fancy Russian plan to pull the Ukrainians into attacking and then destroying them?
Truth be told, I don’t know.
What I do know is that there are A LOT of very unhappy voices in the Russian blogosphere and this is hardly surprising. First, the western PSYOPs are making the most of this, and part of the Russian audience is freaking out. Second, most Russians are now too young to remember WWII and thus there are also plenty of Russians who simply do not understand that a retreat does not necessarily mean “disaster” (though it CAN mean that too, depends on the circumstances) and that this is simply what warfare is all about.
Simply put, any new type of warfare, like the SMO, always implies two things:
- Mistakes are inevitably made and need to be corrected and
- Some aspects of the operational planning need to be adjusted or even changed completely
==>>These things are NORMAL, they “come with the territory” if you wish.<<==
In Russian there is an expression “this is unpleasant/upsetting but not dangerous” (это обидно, но не опасно). I think that this fully applies here: nobody in Russia is particularly happy about what is taking place (except maybe the Russian General Staff IF we assume that this is all a big trap the Russians deliberately created, and there is some evidence for that as the force concentrations prior to this attack were reported by numerous observers, so it was hardly a secret that the Ukronazis were about to attack somewhere in the northeast). But we need to really keep aware of the proportions of what is happening: after six months of warfare, this is the first and only Ukrainian attack which shows some real capabilities, and it is all limited to a rather narrow corridor within the Russian tactical defenses only! As I said, these are strong tactical attacks and clashes, but the size of them does not even amount to a real “battle” or “offensive”, at least not in the military sense of the word.
Now if the Russians do not take back the initiative over this week-end, then things might seriously become alarming and we could speak of the first operational success of the Ukronazis and their Neocon masters.
Could that happen? Yes, absolutely.
Should we assume it will? No, this is too soon to come to such a conclusion.
So wait and see is the best I can suggest at this point in time.
One more thing: it appears that the Ukronazis have, yet again, attempted an amphibious landing near the ZNPP and, yet again, their fast attack craft were destroyed before they could reach land. Yet another attempt to get a desperately needed “peremoga” which ended up in disaster.
Remember “Ze”‘s “million soldiers army”? Of course, this statement was laughable. But there is more to this, I think. I personally see that as a type of Freudian slip in which “Ze” shows his confidence that he still has immense reserves of cannon fodder to send in all sorts of attacks à la “Charge of the Light Brigade“.
“Ze” knows: his future depends on President Brandon and right now what President Brandon needs the most is some kind of “peremoga” of his own to show the people of the USA that the US military – and, therefore, is proxy forces – is still the “‘The Finest Fighting Force in the History of the World” (as per Obama’s dixit – and who could possibly doubt that military expert?!), which it never was, but nevermind that since US Americans don’t study history, even less so the history of warfare (or, when they do, they “study” a Hollywood version thereof).
There is a sad, pathetic, irony in the fact that ignorant brainwashed US Americans are hanging Ukie flags in support of the Nazi regime in Kiev while their own rulers are basically committing genocide against the peoples of the Ukraine!
That is about as ignorant and stupid as ignorant and stupid gets…
Finally, please also check out Andrei Martyanov‘s and Bernhard‘s views on this on their respective websites:
And since it is Friday, I will leave you with some music which I hope that you will enjoy. In this case, I want to share with you several versions of Chick Corea’s composition “Spain” (one of my absolute favorite ones to interpret and improvise over). Enjoy!
First, Chick Corea himself with Hiromi Uehara:
Next, the Spain as interpreted by the group “Nation of Five”:
Next, John McLaughlin with Paco de Lucia:
and, lastly, the vocal version of Al Jarreau: