by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted
Deal or no deal, General Winter is coming to town – ready to entertain his guest of honor Sun Tzu with so many new dishes at their dinner table.
The announcement of the Kherson Retreat may have signaled one of the gloomiest days of the Russian Federation since 1991.
Leaving the right bank of the Dnieper to set up a defense line on the left bank may spell out total military sense. General Armageddon himself, since his first day on the job, had hinted this might have been inevitable.
As it stands in the chessboard, Kherson is in the “wrong” side of the Dnieper. All residents of Kherson Oblast – 115,000 people in total – who wanted to be relocated to safer latitudes have been evacuated from the right bank.
General Armageddon knew that was inevitable for several reasons:
no mobilization after the initial SMO plans hit the dust; destruction of strategic bridges across the Dnieper – complete with a three-month methodical Ukrainian pounding of bridges, ferries, pontoons and piers; no second bridgehead to the north of Kherson or to the west (towards Odessa or Nikolaev) to conduct an offensive.
And then, the most important reason: massive weaponization coupled with NATO de facto running the war translated into enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control.
In the end, the Kherson Retreat may be a relatively minor tactical loss. Yet politically, it’s an unmitigated disaster, a devastating embarrassment.
Kherson is a Russian city. Russians have lost – even if temporarily – the capital of a brand new territory attached to the Federation. Russian public opinion will have tremendous problems absorbing the news.
The list of negatives is considerable. Kiev forces secure their flank and may free up forces to go against Donbass. Weaponizing by the collective West gets a major boost. HIMARS can now potentially strike targets in Crimea.
The optics are horrendous. Russia’s image across the Global South is severely tarnished; after all, this move amounts to abandoning Russian territory – while serial Ukrainian war crimes instantly disappear from the major “narrative”.
At a minimum, the Russians a long time ago should have reinforced their major strategic advantage bridgehead on the west side of the Dnieper so that it could hold – short of a widely forecasted Kakhovka Dam flood. And yet the Russians also ignored the dam bombing threat for months. That spells out terrible planning.
Now Russian forces will have to conquer Kherson all over again. And in parallel stabilize the frontlines; draw definitive borders; and then strive to “demilitarize” Ukrainian offensives for good, either via negotiation or carpet bombing.
It’s quite revealing that an array of NATO intel types, from analysts to retired Generals, are suspicious of General Armageddon’s move: they see it as an elaborate trap, or as a French military analyst put it, “a massive deception operation”. Classic Sun Tzu. That has been duly incorporated as the official Ukrainian narrative.
So, to quote Twin Peaks, that American pop culture subversive classic, “the owls are not what they seem”. If that’s the case, General Armageddon would be looking to severely overstretch Ukrainian supply lines; seduce them into exposure; and then engage in a massive turkey shoot.
So it’s either Sun Tzu; or a deal is in the wings, coinciding with the G20 next week in Bali.
The art of the deal
Well, some sort of deal seems to have been struck between Jake Sullivan and Patrushev.
No one really knows the details, even those with access to flamboyant 5th Column informants in Kiev. But yes – the deal seems to include Kherson. Russia would keep Donbass but not advance towards Kharkov and Odessa. And NATO expansion would be definitely frozen. A minimalist deal.
That would explain why Patrushev was able to board a plane to Tehran simultaneous to the announcement of the Kherson Retreat, and take care, quite relaxed, of very important strategic partnership business with Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
The deal may have also been the inbuilt “secret” in Maria Zakharova’s announcement that “we’re ready for negotiations”.
The Russians will leave the Dnieper riverbank in a managed military retreat. That would not be possible without managed military-to-military negotiations.
These back channel negotiations have been going on for weeks. The messenger is Saudi Arabia. The US aim, in the short term, would be towards a sort of Minsk 3 accord – with Istanbul/Riyadh attached.
No one is paying the slightest attention to coke clown Zelensky. Sullivan went to Kiev to present a fait accompli – of sorts.
The Dnieper will be – in thesis – the settled and negotiated frontline.
Kiev would have to swallow a frozen line of contact in Zaporizhye, Donetsk and Lugansk – with Kiev receiving electricity from Zaporozhye, hence cease shelling its infrastructure.
The US would come up with a loan of $50 billion plus part of the confiscated – i.e. stolen – Russian assets to “rebuild” Ukraine. Kiev would receive modern air defense systems.
There’s no doubt Moscow will not go along with any of these provisions.
Note that all this coincides with the outcome of the US elections – where the Dems did not exactly lose.
Meanwhile Russia is accumulating more and more gains in the battle for Bakhmut.
There are no illusions whatsoever in Moscow that this crypto-Minsk 3 would be respected by the “non-agreement capable” Empire.
Jake Sullivan is a 45-year-old lawyer with zero strategic background and “experience” amounting to campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Patrushev can eat him for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snack – and vaguely “agree” to anything.
So why are the Americans desperate to offer a deal? Because they may be sensing the next Russian move with the arrival of General Winter should be capable of conclusively winning the war on Moscow’s terms. That would include slamming the Polish border shut via a long arrow move from Belarus downwards. With weaponizing supply lines cut, Kiev’s fate is sealed.
Deal or no deal, General Winter is coming to town – ready to entertain his guest of honor Sun Tzu with so many new dishes at their dinner table.
So, the RF has agreed to a deal that makes them look disorganized and incompetent?
I really don’t understand why the RF would engage in yet more time wasting diplomacy with a group of sociopaths who have clearly indicated they want the removal of the current government and the complete and total subjugation of Russia.
Obviously, there is a lot we are not seeing but no matter how you slice this, the optics are very bad.
I agree, something isn’t right with this picture and Nato is eating this up as a defeat for the Russia Army.
Your optics are bad, Bob.
The optics of 15k Russian soldiers floating down the Dnieper would be bad.
American optics, now, they’re exceedingly bad.
No, I get that, that’s not really what I was referring to. It was more of a big picture statement with regards to negotiating with the DC cavalcade of clowns, your point is well taken.
Sun Tzu Walks Into A Kherson Bar.
Originally Authored by Pepe Escobar,
First of all:
This article was first launched here on the Saker blog by Pepe Escobar.
But the article have now been altered and re-launched on Zero hedge.
Pepe Escobar is still named as the Author of the Article, against all journalistic decency.
Pepe should sue Zero Hedge for defamation.
I disagree with both Zero Hedge and Pepe on the outcome of the Russian retreat in Kherson.
The western weapons to Ukraine have no impact in the war, even though it is NATO who is controlling the forces of Kiev. NATO has no superiority in reconnaissance and communication in Ukraine, because Russia has created a de facto no fly zone over all of Ukraine. Simultaneously, more than a 1000 Starlink satellite connections for internet and mobile communication to Ukraine, has been shut down by Mr. Elon Money.
I see the Kherson retreat as a move by Russia which has deeper implications.
Leaving the right bank of the Dnieper would be wise if Russia wants the Dnieper River to be the future border between a new state in Eastern Ukraine (Novo-Russia) and the remaining Western Ukraine.
General Armageddon does not tell such plans to the public.
Thus both NATO and the public in Russia may have problems understanding the Russian retreat, but will understand the full ramifications, when they realize that Russia does not want Ukraine as part of Russia.
“Putin´s Imperial dreams” are what is being propagandized to the western population, however I believe Russia wants a new state “Novo-Russia” between Ukraine and Russia. Just like Bela-Russia is today.
Novo-Russia will be all the land from the current Russian Border up to the Dnieper River.
The Russian retreat was a tactical move to get the Russian population out of Kherson, before Russia launch the final blow to the Kiev-NATO forces in Kherson with Heavier weapons. Already, 115,000 Russian speaking people from the western part of Kherson oblast have migrated into the future territory of Novo-Russia.
The Russian military and the Russian population left Kherson City in an orderly retreat.
That would only be possible with accepted military-to-military negotiations.
Russia has emptied Kherson City of Russians, and has bombed the 2 bridges back Kherson when they left.
Via the retreat, Russia has now secured all the territory of Kherson Oblast east of the Dnieper River.
Kiev has apparently accepted the loss because they have ceased their shelling of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
Ukraine has long tried to destroy the bridges across the Dnieper River around Kherson, in fear of a large scale Russian invasion into Southern Ukraine. Russia doesn’t mind the destruction of the bridges, because the destruction cements the Dnieper River as the new border between Novo-Russia and Ukraine.
Russia doesn’t need the bridges around Kherson to advance into Odessa. Russia can just launch its amphibious force directly into Odessa with support from the Russian Air force, and the Black sea fleet.
Odessa may well end up being the future Kaliningrad of the Black Sea.
I believe General Armageddon is out to block the NATO supply lines into Novo-Russia, by creating a bottle neck for the Kiev-NATO forces if they try to cross the river via the remaining bridges left.
1 bridge in Kiev may be the last bridge between Ukraine and the new state of Novo-Russia.
That sole bridge in Kiev will be the new (Check point Charlie) between the East and west.
There is no illusion in Moscow that any backdoor agreement will be respected by the US. So Russia is now deploying troops to clean out the future state of Novo-Russia from Kiev NAZIs and NATO mercenaries.
Russia has already raised $billions to build Novo Russia, and the building projects have started.
The 4th Reich US-EU-UK will promise a loan of $100 billion to rebuild Western Ukraine.
But will never deliver.
After Russia has already incorporated the 4 oblasts into Russia through a laborious process you think they will eject them and establish a new state called Novel Russia?
Unless we find that Russia’s retreat from Kherson City is part of a deal with the USA. I will begin to suspect that the entire Ukrainian conflict has been theatre scripted by the WEF for the purpose of furthering the Great Reset.
The good news is that I do think it is part of a deal with the USA.
The deal could be something like this: Russia agrees not to attack Odessa and USA/ Ukraine agree to recognize the 4 new Russian regions as part of Russia, including Kherson City and Zaporizhia City.
Russia’s retreat from Kherson City allows Ukraine to say that they are negotiating from a position of strength. In other words, it allows them to save face.
Waiting for General Winter reminds me of the Samuel Becket play Waiting for Godot.
I’m pretty much on the same page here. If it’s a deal with the US, that’s one thing, but Russia’s constant inaction is starting to make me very suspicious.
Obviously, the situation is fluid and we are always reassessing based on new info, but the events of the last few days are simply not passing the smell test.
Yep, especially when you consider what Russell “Texas” Bentley relayed the other day. From his Telegram channel, on November 10:
“Attacks on Ukraine’s railroad and critical infrastructure prevent Russian oligarchs from delivering, Sivkov said.
The Ukrainian railway infrastructure has not yet been destroyed, because Russian, Ukrainian and Western oligarchs are interested in this, continuing to earn money together on business schemes that have not changed since the start of the NWO.
Konstantin Sivkov, Deputy President of the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Troops, stated this on ORT.
According to Sivkov, Russian titanium is delivered to the West via Ukrainian railways, on which a number of industries, including the military, critically depend.
“Under the existing sanctions that everyone must comply with, there is only one “gray” communication that connects Russia and Europe. These are Ukrainian railways.
Russia produces 87% of the world’s titanium. All this titanium used to go to the needs of the Soviet Union – submarines according to the American classification “Alpha”, according to ours – “Lira” of the 705th project – these were boats made entirely of titanium hulls. 3.5 thousand tons of titanium. The Americans were shocked, because titanium is considered to be at the level of gold in terms of value.
After the destruction of our country by the thieves’ nomenclature of the Soviet Union, titanium became “not needed” here, since there was an interest of the West, primarily the United States, to get this titanium. The whole titan went to the West.
They began to make aircraft wings from titanium, the Excalibur shells for the M777 cannon, which is used against us today, are made from our titanium. If titanium stops deliveries now, then all this will stop. This is worse than gas, because the construction of the latest combat aircraft depends on titanium, among other things.
Therefore, our oligarchy, the Ukrainian oligarchy and the West are objectively interested in ensuring that this railway communication runs smoothly,” Sivkov said.
The main (90%) volume of Western military and material assistance to the Kyiv regime, which lost over 70% of the weapons available on February 24, comes by rail from western Ukraine (Lviv), bordering Poland and Slovakia.
Vulnerabilities – three bridge crossings within the range of tactical missiles and airborne forces, which can be destroyed by three pinpoint strikes at known coordinates. In this case, communications that support the viability and military stability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the regime as a whole will be destroyed with the prospect of restoration at least a month or two.
Alternative trucking by road does not compensate for the logistical disaster. However, this does not happen, just as many enterprises of the basic economic and defense structure controlled by Kyiv avoid missile and bomb raids.
Export goods and products manufactured at the enterprises of Ukrainian oligarchs and their Russian partners are also exported along the mentioned railway routes in the opposite direction, to the west. After all, after the blockade of air communications, maritime transport and international motor transport, the railway, which was removed from the limits of Western sanctions, remained the only logistical export-import communicator.
Rear Admiral John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said that, contrary to the logic of hostilities, US intelligence did not record a single attempt by the Russian Armed Forces and the LDNR by any means to block the flow of American and European weapons coming to the disposal of the front-line units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from late February to mid-April.
Probably, this explains the “indistinct” position of the majority of the Russian oligarchy and many of the most influential figures in the Russian Forbes list in relation to the US and EU hybrid aggression against Russia, including its most sensitive component – the fighting in Ukraine, and this also explains the strange course of the special operation.
The country must know its “heroes”…”
Great info, it just confirms that the RF is not fighting this war they way it should be fought. Their hands are tied all over the place.
Realistically, what army that is serious about prosecuting a campaign, allows their enemy to be constantly resupplied by choice, there is no way to spin it, it just does not make sense.
Until you read the above.
Heartlander, Your comment is the most important comment that I have ever read on this blog.
It is moronic to think that the interests of Russian oligarchs is the same as that of the Russian working class.
Agreed, why are the financial interests of a few Oligarchs dictating how this conflict is being prosecuted?
This is not the way wars are won, it is historically how wars are lost.
Their interests should not even be a consideration, you do what’s best for the country and it’s people, not what’s best for a few extremely rich and greedy individuals who are putting their interests in front of the entire country and more specifically, it’s armed forces.
This constant policy of ‘strategic’ retreat makes much more sense to me now. If it ever came out that 1000s of Russian soldiers had lost their lives due to bad decisions made in the name of a few extremely rich individuals who did not want their financial interests interfered with, I cant see the common man (or woman) being particularly happy about it (or forgiving for that matter).
I feel suspicious too but I musst be wrong, I hope very much I am wrong, it was the death of Kirill Stremousov that I find worrying, why was he heading East so fast? Maybe just an accident, but the USA has so much money to throw about,.. Putin staying in Russia instead of going to the G20 meeting, when the cat’s away etc.
I don’t mean to insult the devotion of generals, but……..
Russian MOD, when explaining why they evacuated Kherson City, said their primary concern was the lives of Russian soldiers and civilians. Mod. If that is the case then I would think that destroying all Ukraine decision making centers and all Ukrainian military command centers during the first few weeks of the SMO would have cost a lot less Russian soldier’s lives than than the course Russia decided to take did.
all the if’s and but’s. do you want me to quote iron Mike again? Russia really thought they can do it on the cheap, like anyone would, but being who they are, they planned better than the west for a game of attrition…
if and almost only count in horseshoe and hand grenades
it is what it is and the pullback has everyone confused… my guess is they’ve decided to take the gloves off
“…they’ve decided to take the gloves off”
They have….to take them off and put them away. The war is over. Now they are negotiation with the Americans. By the Christmas time we will now the conditions of peace.
The war did not end; in fact, the war hasn’t even started, comrade. The bleeding of Europe and the emptying of the United States continue. Winter is coming and it will make everything worse for them and Putin would never give up Odessa: it is the casus belli.
It’s almost unimaginable that Russia would ever negotiate anything other than unconditional surrender with Ukraine. Anything that did not allow a complete Russian takeover of Southern Ukraine clear through to Transnitria and the total demilitarization of Ukraine would be viewed as a failure of Putin and Russia. What makes this all so strange is that Russia was winning every battle in Kherson with massive losses for the Ukrainians, it could destroy the entire infrastructure of Ukraine at will, it had air and sea supremacy, a looming troop advantage over Ukraine, and the beginning of advantageous winter conditions. Any outcome that does not lead to the unconditional surrender of Ukraine and the rescue of the pro-Russian city of Odessa will be viewed as a defeat not only of Putin and the Russians but of the entire Eurasian alliance, which after 500 years has the imperialist West completely entrapped by its lack of resources, internal divisions, and crumbling geopolitical and economic alliances.
Russia has been trying to negotiate with the west for years, even before 2014 coup, negotiations have went no where for Russia. Continually making the same mistakes and expecting different results or outcome is insanity.
The whole Kherson region looks like a big swamp.
According to average temps provided by a couple of online searches, it just doesn’t look as though it gets cold enough even in December for hard freezing of the ground. I can’t help wondering whether the General Winter effect in Kherson is enough to provide a basis for any kind of military activities other than freezing butts on all sides while vehicles are mired in the mud.
I also see the following:
“The Black sea is even more anomalously warm: much of it is 2-4 °C warmer than average for this period! The extreme northwestern part is up to 5 °C warmer than average.”
Surely this affects the mouth of the Dnieper and Kherson and the whole coastal region.
Falls es stimmt, dass die RF einen Deal mit den USA vor hat, ist das für mich völlig unverständlich.
Man kennt ja auch nicht die Kräfte in Russland die im Hintergrund die Fäden ziehen um Putin und die Patrioten zu schädigen.
Noch ein paar Gedanken.
Pepe es wurde die linke Flussseite geräumt.
Es ist schmerzlich an zu sehen wie befreite Gebiete zum dritten Mal geräumt werden, um begangene Fehler zu korrigieren.
Es wird wieder zu Exzessen von Seiten der Ukrainer kommen.
Das die linke Flussseite geräumt wird ist für mich nachvollziehbar. Die Brücke wäre über kurz und lang getroffen worden. Auf Grund der Flussbreite und der vorhandenen Gefahr von Staudamm Sprengungen ist ein taktischer Rückzug militärisch sinnvoll. Politisch ist es eine Katastrophe. Die linke Flussseite mit allem militärischen Gütern zu versorgen. Es bleiben nur Brücken- oder Fährübersetzstellen.
Der Flaschenhals wird also nicht beseitigt.
Habe selber bei der Armee eine Großraumfähre als Kompaniechef gefahren (Fährenlänge 120 m). Es musste eine Division übergesetzt werden. Da das rechte Ufer verschlammt war und es nur eine Abfahrtstraße gab, kam es zum Stau an der Übersetzstelle. Es wurden Einheiten auseinander gerissen, um die Division komplett über zu setzten. Danach hat es vier Tage gedauert bis alle Einheiten zueinander gefunden haben. Damals sagte ich zu meinen Offizieren, das möchte ich im Krieg nicht unter Beschuss machen.
Translation from German to English:
If it’s true that the RF is planning a deal with the US, I don’t understand it at all. You don’t know the forces in Russia that pull the strings in the background to damage Putin and the patriots.
A few more thoughts.
Pepe the left side of the river was cleared. It is painful to see liberated areas being cleared for the third time to correct past mistakes. There will be excesses again on the part of the Ukrainians.
I understand that the left side of the river is cleared. The bridge would have been hit sooner or later. Due to the width of the river and the existing danger of dam blasts, a tactical retreat makes military sense. Politically it is a disaster. To supply the left bank of the river with all military goods. Only bridge or ferry crossing points remain. So the bottleneck is not eliminated.
I myself drove a large-capacity ferry as a company commander in the army (ferry length 120 m). A division had to be crossed. Since the right bank was muddy and there was only one exit road, there was a traffic jam at the crossing point. Units were torn apart in order to completely transfer the division. After that, it took four days for all units to find each other. At that time I said to my officers, I don’t want to do that under fire in war.
There are a couple of possibilities for the Kherson withdrawal, none of them are what has been announced in my opinion, this action smells to me like a negotiated deal between Russian and the USA. The whole case for the military withdrawal actually makes sense if you want to save Russian soldiers lives and reduce losses, but frankly it doesn’t align with the overall strategy of accepting the Kherson region into Russia and making it “Russian land” presumably Kherson will have to be retaken at some point if we are to believe the Kremlin, and unless the city is given back in a negotiated settlement or because of a Ukrainian military collapse , Russia is not going to get it back anytime soon. I will say that I am absolutely not there and if I was a Russian soldier in Kherson I would be thankful to retreat also.
None of this looks good for Russia either politically or militarily to be completely honest and it has everything thinking person wondering what exactly was traded here. Russian pro telegram channels are doing heavy mental gymnastics over the last few days to explain this retreat especially when it comes to the hard questions. I suspect we will have to wait a few weeks/months to see were this Kherson business ends up but no matter how you slice it, this doesn’t look good for Russia, either politically or militarily.
In hindsight, I suspect this decision was a political decision that was made maybe even prior to bringing in the new general. Looking back Surovikin was brought in to give military credence and legitimacy to dressing this up as a military decision to take some heat off the Kremlin. I suspect the resistance that the Ukrainians are putting up and the complete unwavering support of the USA/West for Ukraine is spooking the Kremlin and they may be getting cold feet about the whole situation and are beginning to seriously look for a way out.
I know some of you may laugh at Sullivan due to a lack of real world experience(I agree), but Sullivan has something Patrushev could only dream of. Sullivan and the US/NATO have Russia surrounded for the most part and have gone all in on Ukraine short of US troops which if this becomes a frozen conflict would undoubtly be stationed in Ukraine. In other words Sullivan/US/NATO have gone all in on Ukraine and it looks like this is not the hill Putin and Russian leadership want to die on, hence the backroom negotiations and hence the leaving of Kherson.
Some Russian commentators will argue that the Kremlin is playing 5D chess and perhaps that is so, but any scenario where Ukraine remains a fully functioning state as a de facto proxy on behalf of NATO/US with US military personell and weapons spells big trouble for the independence of Russia no matter how you slice it. Either way some big implications, either the Russian militarily is much more weaker than thought and simply cannot defeat the Ukrainian military in its current configuration or the Russian leadership/Putin is unwilling to go all in on the possibility of direct confrontation.
The US/NATO/West appear to be all in on this affair, it looks like the Russians just blinked and are going for another round of Minsk like agreements.
Russia isn’t going to leave ukraine. Also, it seems like it is the west that is getting cold feet. They would like to end this as their economies are having an increasingly difficult time, and winter is going to compound this. Perhaps this was a face-saving measure before the west throws ukraine under the bus somehow. So IF a deal was cut, Russia is only going to agree to something if it is really worth its while, and meets its security demands. Short of that, no deals. Russia would end the operation tomorrow, if Zone A agreed to its terms. You seem to think that this is about Russia militarily defeating and occupying ukraine. It’s not.
Personally, I don’t believe there was a deal. It was a repeat of the military strategy from Kharkov regrouping. And in the end, that did not work out for the ukrops either.
Remember G8. Russia was included in this group and then suspended indefinitely. So any agreement will be suspended in the future, when it doesn’t suit the Empire. The Empire is non- agreement capable. Russia’s choices: Win or lose credibility.
Winning battles does not win wars. Russia has disappointed many in multiple arenas: military, monetary and media. If Russia freezes the Ukrainian conflict with an agreement, it won’t be a pillar in the multipolar order. It hasn’t successfully resolved the Syrian conflict too. Neither achieved much success in the monetary arena. The Financial Empire wins with an agreement, as Russia will be weakened with diminished credibility. Russia’s reputation is on the line.
Russia, China, BRICS, SCO & the rest of the world will need to go all the way to gain sovereignty and end the Financial Empire. Hegemony needs to be ended for MULTILATERALISM.
I hope that there is no deal. If the US is playing such games, it means the collective west is scared of something, and wants to end it before they lose a lot more, but still come out as looking like a winner. And yes, they will not keep their word. Ukraine must lose all access to the Black Sea, all of Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. Only then can Russia ‘negotiate’ anything.
What is clear is that the Putin government prefers to stop the Special Military Operation now, to consolidate the new regions annexed to Russia, before continuing a long war of attrition that both the United States and NATO members are willing to continue.
We can also say that the west is willing to stop as well, so Russia doesn’t spring anything more on ukraine. Hence why US is talking, or making any deals.
…..then Moses, raising his cane, the waters parted…….
Let’s flip it on its head…….the Ukrainians sprung the trap, of Monty Python proportions. The threat Russia has faced, mass flooding, is now owned by the Ukrainians. Will Ukrainians ever feel safe living on a flood plane. Should Russia chose, they can flood the area and move the Ukrainians back, swamp land not really having much human value. Awesome natural border also. Ukrainian will have to raise a National Hovercraft Brigade if it wants to attack across the river……er, swamp.
It is obvious that some deal between Russia and US is made, but I believe that scope is grossly exaggerated. It was of utmost importance for Russian side not to leave heavy weapons to Ukrainians, which would happen along with serious casualties if they had to retreat under fire. Americans were more than satisfied with the fact that imminent threat of losing Odessa is alleviated..Everything more than that doesn’t fit well with the situation on the battlefield. Russians will promise anything to pass the time before frozen ground.
Only after winter showdown real negotiations can be considered.
No deal. There was no deal regarding Kherson.
The US needed to show something before the elections. And they needed to make certain Zelensky was not using more than his daily supply of coke.
Jake also was checking on 10% for the Big Guy.
Jake was the bag man bringing nose candy for Ze and taking Biden’s and the Dem’s cut back for the elections.
They have recounts to pay for so the results in three weeks will jump back to the Dems and runoff in Georgia which will take hundreds of millions to buy the media and stimulate the voters to reject Walker, a Georgia icon for 35 years. Stuff costs big bucks.
Ze thought the money was for the war and his own pocketbook.
The Sullivan deal was a drug deal and a rake-off deal. You know, peace and democracy.
The so-called meetup with Patrushev last month was to see if Patrushev would talk with Burns.
Patrushev said “after Winter. I have business in Iran.”
Burns is busy trying to overthrow Moldova and stir shit in Armenia. Ukraine is a military thing, not CIA.
The light in the tunnel coming at the US and NATO is General Winter and 300,000 fresh troops.
That’s no deal.
That’s the beginning of what Putin referred to: “We haven’t even started yet”.
General Surovikin is starting the war no deal can stop.
I hope you are right.
The fact that the Russian forces were not attacked while retreating from Kherson City suggests, to me, that there was a deal.
More likely they could not be attacked and so were not attacked.
Indeed.. In the past 2 months, the Ukies have lost between 9.5-11,000 troops and mercenaries during their counter-offensive 2.. Chased back to Zap, where they lost even more.. (source: VZGLYAD vz.ru)..
A poll on this site showed 90% of Russians are against negotiating with Kiev..
The Russian forces lost very little, while not even being on an offensive in the region..
I hope you are right, it is the only scenario which makes any sense. (Also the most palatable one). The news that Iran has now gone hypersonic is a satisfactory ending to a disturbing week and must be causing deep consternation amongst some unmentionables.
Agreed, things are not always as they seem.
There is so much BS out there that it is often hard to make an objective assessment.
Such is the nature of this thing I guess.
So Russia mobilized 300K troops, and is bringing in more equipment, has extra 30K soldiers to commit elsewhere, and is desperate for a deal? No way. Russia would not bother with all this, if it was desperate. To me, it is the ukrops and their foreign backers who are desperate. They want as much gains as possible before they lose even more, so they end up with little more than they would have, if they did nothing.
I think the westoids are scared of what’s coming, and are looking to cut a deal. But in their warped way, they want to make a loss look like a victory, and it would not be he first time, either.
But everything is conjecture at this point, and we will have to what and see how things pan out in the coming weeks.
Larchmonter 445: I have always enjoyed your clarity of focus, and ability to interpret by reading beneath the surface and understand who is playing in the dirt. If you are right here it seems that the “optics” issue is about to be stood on its head. If so Pepe’s favorite phrase “game changer” is going to apply to an awful lot of Western minds.
When all the women, children, pets, OAPs, and OFP have been cleared out of a city, what’s left but to bomb it flat?
Exactly, as was the case at Mariupol, and Russia wasted no time in beginning the re-construction of the mostly Azov-damaged city..
If we are to accept that the withdrawal from Kherson was a deal, then we have to assume withdrawal from around Kharkov was a deal. And exactly what did Russia get up there from the US and NATO for that? Nothing. But what happened to ukraine a month later? Lots of air strikes and half or more of urkaine’s energy grid is kaput right now.
I agree with Larchmonter. From everything I read, it appears Kherson retreat is for military reasons only, and not due to a “deal”.
Peskov even confirmed that the Kremlin still considers Kherson part of Russia.
According to Mercouris, several Russian military pundits have commented that Kherson should never even have been taken at this stage, without consolidating the rest of front line first.
I can understand people in Russia are upset at this turn of events. Perhaps the speed and force of the military action need to be changed, but that’s a top level strategic decision.
Mercouris, like the most of commentators forgets that Kherson was taken during the first, “white glove” approach. Completely different universe. In the new situation it was huge liability, hence retreat. And, since it all went well, without losses, I do not see ANY problem.
Except for those in Moscow who advocated “special” war. I do not think there will be much fuss about it, they will be just put aside for the duration of the conflict.
Agree on all except partly, “No deal on Kherson”. I have a strong feeling that there were no concessions involved, only threats. While Americans could trap, 30000 strong Russian forces by destroying dam(s) on Dnieper, Russians could respond with “OK do it, and see what the consequences will be.” Apart from destroying AEGIS Ashore in Romania and grounding multiple AWACS radars elsewhere, opening orbital hunting season on Starlink strings of satellites, Russia can impose an oil embargo on US and UK with one phone call. Effectively shutting down US diesel fuel production! (Not so sure about kerosene, it is unclear). The US military is the single largest consumer of diesel and kerosene in America. Gobbling up to 70% of production. Currently, their strategic reserves are on low, thanks to Biden’s policy.
Although, West dominates in communications, media, and Command&Control, Russia holds the keys to “gas station”. What’s the point of having full battlefield awareness if you can not power up tanks nor transport ammunition? I mean, you can, but 10 times costlier than opponent. That’s what “War of attrition” means.
The war is entering a phase when BOTH sides feel pain. US used proxies so far, and felt nothing. From now on, they will. Proxy shields are deflated, and Russia recently put a bigger bat in the hands of a heavy hitter.
Let’s see who is more willing to endure serious beating.
Yes, I have to admit that while I definitely considered the possibility that a deal was made, I also strongly considered the possibility that the maniacs in the US leadership had made some unhinged threats, that if followed through on, could well have blown the lid off the whole thing and pushed it the last mile to a full on confrontation.
It’s possible that the RF decided to shut that down by simply not allowing it to happen. The whole thing is murky as hell tbh.
Also, not a big fan of Mercouris, he constantly claims he knows very little about military affairs, but constantly offers opinions on them. Also, ‘The Oracle of London’, that’s a little pompous if you ask me. Obviously, he has as much right to an opinion as anyone else, so have at it.
Bob, I think that the USA did, in fact, make some unhinged threats but the threats were in response to Russia’s planned offensive against Odessa. Maybe Russia knew that making plans for an attack against Odessa would bring the USA to the negotiating table.
Yes, that is definitely a good possibility.
Again, this whole thing is murky as hell.
This was not a factor in the US elections. I’m American. I can tell you that 9 out of 10 Americans are not following this at all anymore and the one that is, isn’t following closely. They did in the first month or two, but they have lost all interest. Barely even headlines once or twice a week and not even in all outlets. Candidates were not discussing it.
The problem is that when you mix politics with anything, all you get back is politics, and all but the newbys are burnt out with politics and have moved on to more productive, rather than politically destructive, agendas.
US foreign policy is considered as constant among diplomats. Who ever is in White House,
Senate and Congress, foreign policy stays the same. Especially when Russia is involved.
There will be brief pause in financing while DEM mafia is replaced with GOP mafia, but all current operations will continue, unabated.
Larch is correct. A frozen conflict on its border is the last thing Russia wants.
Russia has made it clear what it wants- A new security order in Europe as per the documents given to NATO/US in December 2021plus the end of US hegemony worldwide.
All else are details until this is achieved.
I don’t like any of this back channel dealing with fighting mens lives are at stake. If one Russian life was left behind the generals should be charged and fired.
Napoleon in 1812: “Hey, this is easy! Let’s go ahead and take Moscow!”
Napoleon in 1813: “Why are all these fields and farm houses burned down?” and “It sure is cold out here”…
(Z)elensky in 2022: “Sure, we double-dog promise to stick to our deal. Shake hands on it. My word is my bond”
(Z)elensky in 2023: ” I want those expletive orcs dead, dead, expletive dead. Crimea is ours. Gimme some expletive nukes”
Amerikanski – provides the historical clue — “It sure is cold out there…”
General Winter is currently rampaging across the Canadian Steppe.
“Yesterday, 33 Low Temperature Records Fell In Alberta Alone.
Calgary was one of 33 Alberta communities to see record-breaking daytime lows on Wednesday.
Of the record-busting communities, the coldest came out as Sundre — the small, central Albertan town plunged to a jaw-dropping -32C (-25.6F) yesterday, shaving more than 10C (17.8F) off of its previous record low of -22.1C (-7.8F).
Below, I’ve listed all 33 of Alberta’s busted benchmarks from Wednesday, Nov 9.”
Tweets from the National Weather Service in the US – dated 9 Nov – report snowfall records from 1920 have been smashed.
Forecasts for Continental US [CONUS];
“Much colder weather and higher heating demand in mid-November than previously expected.
The market is focused “on the arrival of widespread below-average temperatures across the U.S. around mid-November that will increase demand for gas as heating fuel,” analysts at energy consulting firm Gelber & Associates said in a note.
The latest GFS runs (shown below) visualize what hundreds of millions of North Americans could soon be contending with — the GFS 2 meter temperature anomaly dynamic map runs from 10 Nov — 23 Nov.
Refer partway down this page on Electroverse report of 7 Nov:
Contrary to mainstream media propaganda, while there has been a warming trend since 1850 up until ~ 2000, this trend then paused. We have now entered a Global Cooling Phase – just as we did in the Little Ice Age, particularly between 1650 – 1715.
London Frost Fairs provide historical evidence: https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/discover/frost-fairs
The book by Philipp Blom, entitled “Nature’s Mutiny,” provides substantial witness accounts of these freezing times across Europe.
“The Little Ice Age was a global phenomenon that led to a reduction of
average temperatures by about two degrees Celsius, though with radically
different effects on local levels.
Ocean currents and the salinity of seawater were affected, oceanic condensation
patterns changed, polar ice caps and glaciers grew rapidly, climatic systems were disturbed.
All this led to a succession of brutal and extreme weather events—severe storms, weeks of rain,
and even years of summer drought, as well as unrelenting frosts.
There were reports of population collapse due to famine in Ming-period China,
as well as murderous winters in North America and paltry harvests in India,
while the Ottoman Empire experienced some of the most devastating winters its historians
had ever recorded.”
We have entered a new, 21st Century Grand Solar Minimum, similar to the one 350 – 400 years ago.
Really bad news ~ the EU electrical grid is completely unprepared for a freezing Winter;
“Half of France’s nuclear power fleet were already out of action and EDF was hoping to bring “all of them” back online for winter. But they’ve just announced that at least four plants they planned to restart will suffer a major delay. France’s electricity prices have hit €1,000 per MWh for January 2023 delivery.
France’s large nuclear fleet is normally a major exporter of electricity, referred to as the “backbone” of the whole European grid. Blackouts are not only being forecast in France, but there is growing recognition that they are now more likely in the UK too. Where else will this spread?
To make matters worse, a week ago, a pipe ruptured during a safety test at the Civaux plant. This is the same plant where corroded welds were discovered in August last year, but this is “absolutely not a weld that gave way” this time, which sounds ominous.
When they shut Civaux down last year, they also shut down another 12 reactors built to the same design — which paradoxically are the newest reactors in the nuclear fleet and only about 20 years old.
Such is the urgency, that currently 500 specialist welders are working on these plants, about 100 of those have come from the US and Canada.”
Missing from this post:
No references to freezing effects upon road/rail/sea/river/air logistics/intermodal infrastructure, hospital/healthcare facilities, heating homes/offices/aged care facilities, water reticulation or sewerage effects, telecommunications infrastructure, food distribution networks.
I have not even touched on the effects to military deployments or combat operations…..I will leave this to our forum members……
Generals January, February and March are still many weeks away ~ what will happen then?
You said…“Yesterday, 33 Low Temperature Records Fell In Alberta Alone.
Calgary was one of 33 Alberta communities to see record-breaking daytime lows on Wednesday.
Of the record-busting communities, the coldest came out as Sundre — the small, central Albertan town plunged to a jaw-dropping -32C (-25.6F) yesterday, shaving more than 10C (17.8F) off of its previous record low of -22.1C (-7.8F).
Below, I’ve listed all 33 of Alberta’s busted benchmarks from Wednesday, Nov 9.”
With these temperatures occurring all I can say is thank heaven for “global warming” then LOL.
Also one of my family is off to visit Perfidious Albion this month. Just me but I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near the place for at least the next 6 months, nor anywhere in Europe including France for that matter.
I take it this is just “delayed maintenance” [AKA I haven’t f^[email protected]$g dunnit ave I] with the French power stations… great timing… NOT. This is happening in so many countries as their economies descend into their debt death spirals. France’s banks are now in the deepest of doodoos too, with their two largest banks ranked in the top 5 G-SIBS on the globe.
I would say that little Rothschild bankster-creep they call “their” President will be in for a torrid time as the Generals march in. Maybe his school mammy will be able to keep him warm… good luck with that.
Yes indeed — the cold times are returning.
For those in the Southern Hemisphere, the Jan 15 2022 eruption of the Hunga Tonga H’apai submarine volcano, was the highest volcano eruption ever recorded.
Because it was a submarine type volcano, massive amounts of water & sulphur ash were in the plume that touched the mesosphere. The central spire of the plume reached 150,000+ feet.
“Sulfur sent to such lofty atmospheric levels has a global cooling effect. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption is recent evidence of this. As shown below, Pinatubo’s VEI-6 ‘pop’ cooled the entire planet for approximately 3 years, and by a substantial margin, too. Hunga-Tong H’apai was rated as with a Volcanic Explosive Index of 5.
“Similar to sulfur, water vapor also has a cooling effect, although not at the surface, rather in the stratosphere — cooling that is achieved in the same manor to sulfur; that is, by reflecting incoming solar radiation.
“It has been calculated that Hunga-Tonga’s eruption resulted in a 10% increase in total stratospheric water vapor content (from 1560 Teragrams to over 1700 Teregrams) which is an immense achievement for a single volcanic event.”
The article from electroverse.co has some very interesting graphic images that display a stratospheric cooling effect of between negative 10 – 15 deg C that has covered the entire southern hemisphere.
Refer to the GFS Analysis image of 27 AUG 2022.
Note: This temperature variance refers only to temperatures within the stratosphere, not ground surface temps.
Oh well, what do I know?
I tend to agree with Larch, that there is no deal. It doesn´t make one bit of sense. The SMO is part a large theater thing, with the goal of clipping Occidental wings for good. I heard one significant tidbit from a commentator concerning order of battle. Apparently in Kherson, that was out of whack on the Russian side. The defensive group was created in the time before the mobilization, kind of patched together I would venture. So that, seems to go along with the routine by Russian commander Surovikin. He is getting his ducks lined up before the starter gun sounds.
In the mean time Russia is still taking positions, as in Pavlovka.
You have to ask yourself, why would Russia let the west off the hook at this point. They are on the edge, out of everything and in no shape to fight. My view it is just sheer, I don´t know, ignorance to think along these lines. Russia is run by a group of people, from soup to nuts, that are not the kind you play with or you suffer quite seriously.
The next phase of fireworks is coming and nothing thrown in the way of Russia to stop the end goal of the SMO, is going to prevent it from getting what it wants.
I like Pepe but, I don´t exactly know why he wrote this.
Regards to all.
As Ukraine is taken back to the dark ages, the unconditional surrender of the junta will cede the lost territories back in exchange for new sub station transformers and a promise not to blow them up again. The EU must see the migrant wave coming from Ukraine and realise that it will have a catastrophic cascade reaction on their societies hence the pressure to finally compromise. Russia didn’t fall into the trap of having to look after 30m+ ungrateful losers, that’s for the EU/US to cope with.
Prior to the SMO, Russia did accept 1.5 million refugees from the Donbas.. After the SMO began in February, Russia has accepted an additional 4 million, from all areas of UA.. Those citizens who were evacuated from Kherson have been offered housing in Moscow..
True. However the difference is that the assimilated areas and people were historically Russian and were keen to reintegrate given the circumstances after the 2014 coup. I think NATO knew Ukraine would lose but expected to win a guerrilla campaign of a completely annexed country. That didn’t happen.
Thus far, mere speculations. May we suggest that because none of us work in the hierarchy of the Russian Military, nor in Russia’s financial world, nor in the Russian Diplomat Core, that we suspend criticisms of what happened, as noted with Pepe’s latest article.
“….enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control.”
This I don’t understand. Haven’t so many ‘experts’ been saying that Russian military has the means to knock out enemy comms with superior EW equipment?
The optics may not be that bad. The dems are on the edge of losing House and Senate, no matter how long they try to delay counting the mail-in-ballots in AZ and NV.
Getting an accurate update for the election numbers on any msm channel is next to impossible. Because they’re constantly changing them, as if heralding a “changing of the guard” too. Like after getting caught in a deadly poker game bluffing with a pair of snake-eyes.
Kherson City was “abandoned” by the Russians for the same reason the Ukro-nazi regime will never inhabit it. Leaving the nazis pondering a new angle from their deep-seated paranoid complex, what their reasoning was for attacking it in the first place. Which was obviously, for purely terroristic pleasure.
Now, they see “Sun Tzu” written all over it. Go figure.
Add on: the US House is already lost. Senate is close but labelled a “toss-up” by the GOP masters. Funding for Ukraine was already an “if” before the midterms declared from the dem side. Either way, so will be the funding for this entire turkey shoot.
I sincerely doubt the RF will be forced to make any concessions, other than promising not to turn Kiev into a parking lot. The Kherson withdrawal may be a house “Full of Aces” to the end game.
Great synopsis Pepe. Sun Tzu city.
“Leaving the right bank of the Dnieper to set up a defence line on the left bank may spell out total military sense. General Armageddon himself, since his first day on the job, had hinted this might have been inevitable.”
One small point… is this a typo with reference to the left and right in this paragraph?
Just me, but from a southern hemisphere perspective looking north… West = left and East = right.
Do people based in the northern hemisphere label this differently? Pepe was obviously born in the south so this all becomes somewhat confusing. Perhaps we should use the East and West labels to avoid this confusion… just saying.
Following on… this is only my gut feeling. Still, I wonder if perhaps this is some kind of strategic move as the operation matures where Russia accepts that the layout of Kherson doesn’t fit well with the natural geographical partition of East and West Ukraine using the Dnieper river as a natural boundary. Of course, the exact same scenario applies to Kyiv in the north too.
Perhaps the long-term plan is that every one of the regions East of the Dnieper can eventually follow the Crimea/Donbas models, becoming independent autonomous Russian protectorates that provide a wide buffer zone from the Nazi/Nato-backed crazies in the West.
I have zero military expertise and am just expressing thoughts on paper for discussion. I see this as simple garden-variety logic and common sense.
Cheers and thanks for your tremendous contributions Pepe
“Do people based in the northern hemisphere label this differently? Pepe was obviously born in the south so this all becomes somewhat confusing. Perhaps we should use the East and West labels to avoid this confusion… just saying.”
Actually, left/right bank is clearer and more consistent because the designation does not change, regardless of how many loops and oxbows the river’s course actually makes. As you face downriver, the right bank is always the bank on the right and the left bank is alway the bank on the left, regardless of the compass direction.
So, in Kherson, looking downriver, toward the mouth of the river, the left bank is actually to the south and the right bank is to the north.
Col: That Left Bank – Right Bank issue puzzled me too. Then I thought about it and saw that the perspective is articulated from the point of view of floating downriver. Then the Left Bank is in the East and the right is in the West. This seems a logical convention don’t you think?
I always enjoy your posts. Regards from a Kiwi expat.
Tah Taffy and Snow Leopard… my mistake… it shows my ignorance of river navigation… all clear now.
Cheers and thanks
Col, I was with you and mistaken too then.
Because the western rules for water navigation is different. And designates “return-to-port” (upriver) as a basis for their standard rule: Red_Right_Returning when determining color for channel markers during travel direction.
In which case ‘Right’ is the easterly side.
“Red, Right, Returning…
You may have heard the phrase, “Red, Right, Returning.” This expression refers to the
fact that when returning (entering a channel from the open sea or proceeding upstream),
a boater must keep the red Aids on the right (starboard) side of the boat. These Aids
have even numbers, and the numbers should increase as you proceed inland. ”
It is not about “western” rules.
Before 1982 there were 30 different navigation systems in the world, that became 2 systems, having the colors on opposite sides.
Lights are green to port and red to starboard or the opposite depending on what region of the world you are navigating.
The IALA established two regions: Region A and Region B.
Region A consists of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, parts of Africa and most of Asia. When entering a harbor in this region, marks to port are red and marks to starboard are green.
Region B consists of North America, Central America and South America, plus the Philippines, Japan and Korea. When entering a harbor in this region, marks to port are green and marks to starboard are red (red, right, return!).
Umm… you sure about that?
I’ve lived in the U.S. all my life, and while I’ve never navigated on a river, I was imprinted with the “Barges” song at a young age (during the 1960s) around many a campfire…
“Starboard glows green and porter shining red
As the barges signal up ahead…”
Heartlander, the lights on each side of the boats, as in the song, and the navigation lights on the banks or in the water, are two different things.
I believe that on the boats, starboard is green all over the world.
(Mods: I know that we are OT, but this will be my last on the subject.)
I don’t think the Left/Right Bank designation origins have anything to do with navigation or “red right returning.”
it is a descriptive geographical term.
It is fairly logical.
“The descriptive terms left bank and right bank refer to the perspective of an observer looking downstream.”
German: Linkes Ufer/Rechtes Ufer
French: Rive gauche/rive droite
Russian: levy berege / pravii bereg/
In the Ukrainian context:
“Right-bank Ukraine (Ukrainian: Правобережна Україна, Pravoberezhna Ukrayina; Russian: Правобережная Украина, Pravoberezhnaya Ukraina; Polish: Prawobrzeżna Ukraina, Slovak: Pravobrežná Ukrajina, Hungarian: Jobb parti Ukrajna) is a historical and territorial name for a part of modern Ukraine on the right (west) bank of the Dnieper River, corresponding to the modern-day oblasts of Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Kirovohrad, as well as the western parts of Kyiv and Cherkasy. It was separated from the left bank during the Ruin.
Right-bank Ukraine is bordered by the historical regions of Volhynia and Podolia to the west, Moldavia to the southwest, Yedisan and Zaporozhia to the south, left-bank Ukraine to the east, and Polesia to the north.”
>>>Just me, but from a southern hemisphere perspective looking north… West = left and East = right.
As in Paris, so throughout the civilsed world.
There might have been a deal about the withdrawal, or maybe not. We don’t really know, and we probably won’t know for some time. This is not really important. Talks would normally be a good sign, but the western leaders are actually non-agreement capable, so I don’t expect much good from talks at this point.
The Russians are getting the battle field set up in a better way. If the fight was with Ukraine, it would be horrible to leave Kherson. But this is a long war of attrition with NATO. Having troublesome front lines on the wrong side of the Dniepr is a terrible idea at this point.
Remember, dead soldiers is much worse than the bad optics from a retreat.
During the winter, the Russian public will demand more fighting and more progress. While the western public will lose the will to sacrifice themselves for Ukraine, at the same time as the cost of supporting the war increases.
Kherson looks to me like a terrible place to make a stand.
virtually all of the built-up city is on the right bank. It looks as though it is covered with small houses.
On the left bank is a huge hope area with lots of ponds etc. and no cover.
It almost looks at though a serious effort to “take” Kherson would involve “taking” the whole coast.
Kherson could also be attacked from the sea. Maybe also defended from the sea. If Ukraine controls Odessa and Mikolaev, how can Kherson ever be secure?
Geographically, Kherson is in a low-lying area which makes it vulnerable to terrorism.
There is really nothing for the Russians to talk about becuse the Nazis will just use the time to plan and build up forces for a direct attack on Crimea,there are many things about the Russian actions i never understood from day one,why is there an airport and rail track still in one piece in Ukraine? British aircraft full of weapons are landing in Ukraine as we speak,i keep thinking the RF military have a plan to take this war to the Nazis and their handlers.i also wonder why Russia has not used its air superiority as much as they could?
The Russians clearly have learned lessons from ww2. During the Battle of Stalingrad the Red Army was with its back against the Volga. Constantly attacked by the Luftwaffe and shelled by the German artillery. A difficult situation that made resupply almost impossible and left Russian forces exposed within the city.
The US/NATO mercs will now be unable to advance across the Dneiper and the Russians will continue the war of attrition with air and missile attacks against any advance by the AFU.
The primary goal of the zionazis is to engage Russia in bloody battles – what is left of the Ukrainians and mercs are mere cannon fodder. The Russians simply handed over the PR Pyrrhic victory at no cost.
My guess is that something big will happen soon – but not in the Donbas. Possibly a direct attack on the Polish border with the goal to capture all of Ukraine.
The first sign of ww3 will be when the Russians take out all the NATO surveillance flights and satellites and move west down from Belarus.
Whats the point of trying to capture all of Ukraine? what i would like to see is Eastern Ukraine up to the Dnieper taken,Western Ukraine is infested with Nazis,let them fester there.
Pepe, I hope you are wrong. There are many assumptions in your interpretation, which cannot be supported. by facts. Certainly, some things don’t add up, but, this would be a huge departure from SMO objectives, and besides, I don’t think Russia trusts ziocons anyways, never mind striking a deal, which by the way is terrible for Russia on many levels. What good it is if nazis remain in their current form at Russia’s doorstep? It doesn’t make sense to me. Ziocons are escalating, be it further arms deliveries, or training ukros, in other words, the war game is not ceasing. Withdrawal is barely justified, but it is a military decision based on facts on the ground.
My question is, at the end, when Kherson needs to be recaptured, how many lives would Russia save? I think, to clean ukronazis will take much more than 300 000 soldiers because those bastards are not giving up easily, plus, Poles are more than happy to join the party. At some point in past 6 months, Russia should have acted with more resolution and strength, not allowing the enemy any opportunity to recover, never mind going to the offensive. War is speed.
Friend: “war is speed.”
The ukronazis are there for only one thing.
And TOS-1A’s will rain down like “Hell-on-Earth” for their speedy departure.
This is one of the rare occasions that I disagree with Pepe’s assessment.
I believe there’s no deal.
True, when things reach a certain level adversaries sometimes meet to cut a deal but it is also true that sometimes they meet to clarify their stand on certain issues, IOW to make threats and counter-threats. I believe it is the latter.
Like everyone else I’m baffled by Kherson, what with the loss of face and handing Ukro/Nato a propaganda win etc, but I’m inclined to take the Russian MoD’s word at face value.
I think RF is taking the threat from a breach of the Kakhovka dam’s locks — about 50 km upriver from the city — rather seriously. It would be disastrous not just to the surrounding areas downstream and make defence of Kherson city untenable — as cited by RF MoD — but also to the Zaporozhye NPP’s cooling system. A nuclear meltdown is something nobody, except Ukr/Nato, needs.
At the same time, curiously, Ukro/Nato seem reluctant to move into Kherson (city). It’s as if RF is saying, ‘You want Kherson? Well, come and get it,’ and Ukro/Nato studiously looking the other way. And somehow this reminds me of Snake Island — effectively a no-man’s land — on the western bank of the Dnieper. Come in, and you’ll be clobbered. The only thing that’s certain, as far as I’m concerned, is that this situation is temporary and RF will be back in Russian Kherson city.
If Ukrainian forces enter Kherson City, they will be in a very precarious position indeed.
I for one am disappointed in the Kherson retreat.
Yes it was the logical, rational move to make NOW. But the mistake was that Russia did not aggressively move to take Nykolaiv-Odesa immediately and create a land bridge with Transnistria. Denying NATO any opportunity to create a base on the Black Sea should have been a critical objective.
This reminds me a lot of the Russian strategy in Syria. Two years before USA troops moved into the Syrian oil fields, the town of Raqqah on the Euphrates River and the dam at Tabqah was not under Kurdish control. Russia could have instructed Syria to accelerate its advance from Palmyra towards Deir-ez-Zur and Raqqah, taking those towns before the Kurds/USA contingent. From Deir-ez-Zur, they could have moved further east to secure the oil fields east of the Euphrates. Instead, Russia and Syria got bogged down in Aleppo, a battle that seemed to go on forever. It was only after the fall of Aleppo that the Syrian army moved to secure Deir-ez-Zur’s west bank but it was too late to protect the oil fields as the east bank had already been secured by the Kurds.
The same issue exists now with the juncture of the Black Sea and the Dnipro River south of Zaporizhzhia. No way now to cross the Dnipro River and attack Kherson.
Again, the threat to Russian supply lines and the dam near Kherson could have been made secure if the Russians from the start had aggressively attacked Nykolaiv and taken Odesa. Yes, this would have meant an early mobilization and a more hostile posture. The SMO concept, fighting with one hand tied behind you so as not to injure the other guy too badly, was (and remains) deeply flawed. Russia should have committed to an all-in effort from the start, especially when it came to securing the Black Sea Coast. Yes, lives would have been sacrificed but time is also a factor. Now, should there still be a desire to secure the coast, it will be years at current pace for this to happen.
If Russia settles for any sort of deal without taking Odessa which is a Russian city,Odessa will become a Nato base its that simple,as for Syria the SAA were advancing on Idlib with Russian support,then Russia signed up to a stupid deal with the Turks,since then Idlib is infested with turkish backed Islamist terrorists and has been for years.
I think the key thing here is that as in Syria, the Russians went in with limited firepower and undefined objectives. Securing the oil fields and agriculture region of Syria should have been a priority, and when they had ISIS on the run, there was no reason not to take the oil fields, since at the time of the taking of Palmyra, the oil fields were unoccupied. The USA and Kurds were busy in the far northeast quadrant of Syria fighting ISIS and had not advanced south to Raqqah. Now, the Syrian oil fields, an important revenue generating part of Syria, is lost for the foreseeable future.
The same is true with Nykolaiv and Odesa – lost for the foreseeable future.
I’m not sure why the lack of “all-in” tactics. All I can surmise is that Russia does not want to get bogged down like it did in Afghanistan, where it was forced to retreat after years of armed conflict.
But Ukraine is not Afghanistan. Critical objectives remain, and if Russia had moved quickly, the Black Sea coast could’ve been secured before the Ukrainians/NATO had a chance to do anything about it. Instead, we saw Russia waste valuable time and resources in their initial invasion of the area near Kiev, an area they admitted later was not of interest when it came to occupation. The same cannot be said of the Black Sea coast, where occupation is of vital interest.
“…am disappointed in the Kherson retreat…”
It was a tactical withdrawal, not a retreat. The MSM and western prostiticians try to spin ut as a retreat but is no such animal,
I like Pepe Escobar’s writings and have been reading them since about 2004. However, I do not see any kind of “Minsk 3” deal coming. The odds are overwhelming that this tactical withdrawal is simply a prelude to a very large Russian winter offensive. I will not share my speculation on how this will unfold.
Nah, there is no deal that does not include total Russianvictory, unconditional surrender, control of Odessa, and the complete de militarization and de NATO ification of all of Ukraine. What would have been the point otherwise, simply moving NATO further West into Ukraine where they can build their new missile launchers and continue to sabotage and harass the East and Russia ? Nah no deal, just strategic planning, troops in place, waiting for ground to freeze, a deal would make the call up look stupid, why do that if they were just going to capitulate. US influence and NATO must be verboten in all of Ukraine, and hopefully all of Europe ( for their sake ). The US is wah wah crying for a deal maybe, as they know darn well the handwriting on the wall, they are coughing up money they don’t have, deficit spending to beat the band, out of weapons and now a visible gaping hole in their ability to replenish, and they may have won the PSY OPS war, propaganda, so far, but, come on now, as Europe starts freezing and losing employment/jobs, and as the pipe line sabotage is obvious as all get out, the optics will be turning very negative for the US also. I imagine China will if given a vote also agree, you started it Vladimir, now finish it.
Beside the loss of the infrastructure and buildings of a Russian City I also saw where a person I know from Germany posted a video of what he describes as Javelin missiles hitting Russian Tanks or heavy vehicles from 2 sides of the road. Does anyone know about this? If accurately described it did not look good, but is perhaps just a reminder that both sides are losing many lives. I am not qualified to identify such things by their profile on a misty rainy set of roads and the attribution was vague to nonexistent.
The politics in the US are also still murky with 3 days since election day and no clear results for who will have a majority of either legislative body. There is some talk of defunding Ukraine if the Republicans take the Congress. Again murky but probably more clear to the deep state insiders . The nuclear rhetoric has toned way down and young people voted for democrats based on their feeble promise to address climate change. All of this makes the offer of a serious negotiation seem plausible. Zelensky has made himself tiresome and despite Kherson, the power centers in DC can probably read the situation more clearly than they admit. They may know they are facing a very bad winter if they do not cut a deal. And the Dnieper may be the line along with restrictions on foreign military presence.
If there is a negotiation and a Minsk 3 is agreed to by the R F and Donbass it may give Russia a chance for for a new start in international relations. If this is even remotely possible it seems to indicate a tremendous fear in the power centers of a far more serious loss of western power lying close at hand. The US has tried the ‘ this war could last a dozen years” bs and the ‘they are going to force us into a nuclear war’ bs and the ‘Ukrainians are winning with our help’ bs and the ‘Russians blew up their own pipeline’ bs and the ‘sanctions will cripple them’ bs and they are having a very hard time escalating to anything credible. They may be running out of bs.
Some here seem adamant to see Russia take complete control of the Ukraine but that seems to me a disastrous idea and a formula for a never ending headache. I don’t think Putin wants to try to manage western Ukraine if a settlement can be reached that meets Russia’s security needs and safeguards the areas and people who are culturally aligned with Russia. In the long run It seems like Russia can win on a deeper level if the Russian territories prosper while western Ukraine turns its people over to the tender mercies of the west and they get the likely result. Putin seems to me to be playing the long game economically and a a visionary of a new power balance and that is what the West is avoiding at all costs.
I appreciate reading the various comments. Definitely a change of tone for Pepe.
Nope, this idea that Russia made a backroom deal with “the empire of liars” simply contradicts everything that Putin has said, it undermines all the effort put into Eurasia.
Nope, don’t believe it.
However, if after all this talk about eradicating the Nazis from Ukraine and backing NATO off is not realized then the whole SMO undertaking was just talk.
Because NATO and US must be neutered in order to complete Putin’s multipolar ambition.
If the Russians have indeed made this deal with the Americans, they will pay for it sooner or later, dearly. The Americans keep their word only when they are in a submissive position. In any other situation they will use any chance to break your spine regardless of the deal. IMHO, this is a huge embarrassment for the Russian military, not as much from the military aspect, as much as it is from the moral aspect. If Kherson was a part of Ukraine and the Russian military withdrew from it, it would say it’s OK, fine, they are consolidating the troops and saving the lives of the soldiers. But they WITHDREW from the territory of RUSSIA!!!! Let that sink n! From Russia’s territory! Two questions arise here:
1. Since when is Russia’s territory for sale?
2.If they gave up Kherson, who is to say they won’t do the same tomorrow with Moscow?
On the other side if the Russia’s new military doctrine to win wars by saving human lives, I am afraid it will not win too many wars, if any. But then again, what do I know? I am just a naive and stupid peasant who once would not have thought twice to give his life for the land he was born on. As is, carry on!
Kherson can not be defended against that possible dam collapse at the moment. That event would doom the military men/equipment and civilians in Kherson.
So at one stroke, withdrawal preserves soldiers, equipment and a large number of Russian civilians.
It also removes that option from the Ukraine side – at the cost of some bad PR.
So now Ukraine can takeover an empty city and be pulverised by artillery, drones, missiles and aircraft … and suffer even more losses.
At the same time Russia now has the troops it removed available to deploy in other areas that do not have that flooding risk and where Ukraine is already weak.
Russia is not averse to saving lives if that coincides with a smart military move, but does not seem to have altered its normal military doctrine.
QW your explanation is so simple to understand, and many others including myself have said it too.
Russia affected an orderly withdrawal of men and material for strategic reasons, and to preserve those assets. Kherson city is useless to the Ukies (propaganda value only) and they dare not enter in significant numbers. RF are increasing the pain dial elsewhere and when conditions are safe the residents of Kherson will return under RF protection.
WTF is it so difficult for people to grasp these simple real world facts?
USA is the most immoral country that has existed in the history of the world but if 1 centimeter of it was attacked, it would respond with severe force. Kherson is part of Russia, it should respond with severe force.
Russia says it has retreated from Kherson in order to protect the lives of its soldiers and citizens. But now that Ukraine is in Kherson, it is in striking distance of Crimea and thus Crimea’s soldiers and citizens are less protected.
Indeed what happens when Himars start blasting into Crimea? make no mistake when Nato and their Nazi puppets feel ready there will be a major attack to take Crimea back,i just hope Russia doesn’t give them that time,the gloves should have come off months ago.
Assalaamu alaykum w w.
What people not seems to understand is that Russia knows that there is a part of the western establishment that want to provoke a nuclear war here.
And because that would destroy about everything for now, Russia does everything she can to make it as difficult as possible for them to have that war, and to make the inevitable take as long time as possible.
So that thing take long time is a Russian victory.
In reality this means that the Russian president and his crew (may God’s peace and blessing be upon him) is the protector not only of the Russian people but of all people who would suffer from the nuclear war.
“Appearance and reality are opposite to each other”.
And also, can’t it be as simple as this: if Ukraine invades Kherson, they have invaded Russia and a war will be declared?
May God almighty bless all of you <3
Who knows? None of us are privy to the overall Russian strategy, nor have any of us spoken with the generals in command.
From a strategic standpoint it makes sense. You definitely want the enemy crossing a river to come to you rather than having it at your back with the enemy encircling you
But really Russia has been waffling this whole war
They refuse to destroy the supply lines despite showing on several occasions they most definitely could, yet they keep allowing NATO weapons and soldiers to pour into Ukraine. They’ve left Ukrainian command intact despite showing they’re able to reach out and hit senior commanders. They refuse to destroy infrastructure, leaving the Ukrainians free to maneuver pretty much unchallenged to stage assaults despite regularly bombing the Ukrainian rear just to show they could.
It seems like the Russians are banking on their reinforcements to deal the deal but every week they wait the enemy digs in deeper, kills more civilians, cycles in freshly trained conscripts, and receives more NATO weaponry and soldiers.
Its like Russia *still* hasn’t recovered from the general staff purges or something.
I’m sure they’ve got some big plan but they need to execute it before Ukraine permanently siezes the initiative and finishes their ethnic cleansing of the new Russian regions.
> They refuse to destroy the supply lines despite showing on several occasions they most definitely could, yet they keep allowing NATO weapons and soldiers to pour into Ukraine
well, think of it this way… you vaccum up all the resources they have into one place and wait for the right time to finish it all off… better than scattershots everywhere. to do that, they have to make tactical adjustments everywhere and take a couple of punches in the process
atleast that’s what me thinks
Putin will agree to Minsk 3.0, ZZZ wont and Putin will put his kid gloves off and don his gauntlets: destroy all Uki forces, take all the way to Odessa and then turn north all the way to Kiyv and Beyond!
All those comments about A DEAL ? ! ? Involving USA and Russia ? ! ?
Guies ! Russians don’t waste time, so, please, be inspired.
Whatever the rationale, if Ukraine is in any deal, then USA is running it. If USA is there, then there is no deal worth talking about, USA have proven and confirmed it time after time.
Russia knows it and doesn’t waste time (do I need to repeat it once more ? You know how serious they are with existential threats).
Hence, what is behind this Kherson retreat is yet to be discovered – maybe in history books 15 years ahead. Maybe Russians look accommodating to USA, who knows. If so, it is to buy time.
Things are just at the beginning, wolrdwide. It is a war to death between global south and global west, even if some countries might not have yet realised the deadly seriousness of it. Serious as a hypersonic brick wall in the face.
No truce, no deal, and no dignity to expect from west, but treachery, lies and nasty moves. And nowadays, of the dim lit kind, probably. Because it is what West is and does.
Something is up, and it is not a deal, because “USA” is to “deal” what “wet” is to dry”.
Russians might be patient and cautious to the point of slowliness, but yet, dim lit, they are not.
Something is coming, big time.
“enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control”
why, Why, WHY do Pepe Escobar and others mindlessly engage in parrotting western psycho-babble claining a superiority in “reconnaissance, communications and command and control”, and even an “enormous” one at that? NATO has more satellites, more reconnaissance planes and drones, also more encrypted communication equipment at the frontline but is this material superiority translating into any advantage that could be called “enormous”? There is no evidence for that. Russia has satellites too, as well as reconnaissance planes and drones. There are fewer of them than on NATO’s side, and Russia should have more. But that was not the reason why Russia has lost the territories it had in Kharkov region and on the right hand bank of the Dnepr. There were three reasons for that, and none of it has anything to do with any Western technological superiority. Reason no. 1 was that Russia was not able to send in more troops initially because of internal political hindrances. Russian society was not mobilized, neither psychologically nor materially, and it took months of sanctions, hate-filled western propaganda, atrocities committed by the Ukrainian side, general war fighting, the major setback at Kharkov, and terrorist attacks inside Russia to change that. In spite of these hindrances, Russia has by and large destroyed the army Ukraine had at the outset, which was already partly a NATO army. Would that have been possible without the Russians actually being enormously competent in regards of econnaissance, communications and command and control? Certainly not. Still, during this period of time, Ukraine and NATO were able to build a new army, which is now a fully-fledged NATO army in all but name. That’s why the war has now entered a new, more difficult phase, but still without any “enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control”. Reason no. 2 was simply that Ukraine was able to throw cannon fodder into the trenches and into suicidal attacks. We all know why that is the case but again it has nothing to do with any “enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control”. Reason no. 3 was the tenuous supply situation for the Russians on the right hand side of the Dnepr in connection with the threat of flooding. Again, that had nothing to do with any “enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control.”
I don’t buy it, militarily or politically. I accept that the retreat is a Washington invitation to ‘peace’ – they want an out before it gets out of hand, and it is getting out of hand. The recovery of Kherson would be their idea of a convenient juncture. But there has to be more on the table for Putin than Minsk-04. Seriously, that would be just for public appearances, or if you prefer – ‘optics’. But the real deal has to worth a whole lot more than just recognition of new Russian territories, in the wake of Minsk+ prevarication. It cannot be just a stalling tactic. The Putin-Lavrov tag team did not come down in the last snow shower. Putin’s reputation for shrewd negotiation began with US ‘compensation’ for the sinking of The Kursk in 2000 – IMF, World Bank debts promptly, but discreetly cancelled. Vlad favours the oblique, holistic approach to the nation’s well being. So Washington would have to be stumping up something Russia actually needs, and is prepared to wear public humiliation over the Kherson debacle in order to obtain. What might that be? Could it be Washington cutting loose the Baltic States, in order to be eventually (discreetly) reintegrated into the RU. That would solve a number of problems for Vlad; socially, economically, militarily…
I like Pepe but I think that he’s wrong this time around – There’s a very good piece by Redacted where they have interviewed Col McGregor and a similar analysis by Mike Whitney who both believe that this is a tactical withdrawal done with an aim to come back and destroy the ukronazis once and for all – They both believe that Russia has realised that there’s nothing to talk to the USA about and the war aims have changed to destroying warmaking capabilities of NATO to destroying ukraine as it currently stands along with the regime and all its security agencies – – That would mean an all out combined arms war with NATO and US 101 Airborne being destroyed if it tries to intervene – Countries supporting Russia understand the reasons for withdrawing from a city which has no strategic value but just bad optics – At this time, Russia is far away from wanting to do PR to shore up support – I believe this war will end by Feb with the utter destruction of ukraine and anyone who thinks about stepping in especially Poland and Romania
This development is more about keeping the eye on the prize, the bigger goal and not as much on the ball.
Simply in terms of logistics and war effort, Russia did not arrive with enough force for any serious invasion of the main land. Can there still be any doubt? Only with massive bombing of all supply routes and energy infrastructure, submission might have been possible. The only alternative was to go straight to Kiev with special forces and take out the regime but we all know that failed spectacularly. Leaving the secondary column heading Kiev area looking silly and needless. All this analyses about “pinning down forces” around Kiev are wrong. If that was part of any scenario it certainly was not the preferred role of those troops. A heavy toll. Then one would have to argue why lives of soldiers and safeguard of equipment did not play any role at that stage but only later?
The long term goal is to change the regime in Kiev but certainly left Ukraine open as trap and challenge for NATO. Only open combat with NATO controlled and supplied forces can chip away at the credibility of that security arrangement and on the longer term, the economical and political viability of NATO and US policy and “help”. This is crucial for any longer term geopolitical plans. Crucial for any new geopolitical ordering. Since nobody wants to see a hot war between NATO, US, Russia or China, it still needs kind of match, some form of lukewarm conflict to establish what is what. And this relatively cheap theater has been created before your eyes.
And there we have it. A confined theater, tactics against tactics. Missiles against missiles. Drones against drones. Economics against economics (the price of a weapon becomes part of strategic concerns, at some point). It’s a relatively safe pit to change geopolitical realities. Not without danger but for Russia it’s certainly about survival as well. Losing whole of Ukraine to NATO and EU would have been a dagger pointed at the heart, morally even more than economically. It would make Russia look weak and declining next to expanding China. While we can see now voices of Serbia and Hungary rising. Potentially Italy. Turkey trying to please all. This is already gained. It would not have happened without the Ukrainian war. Because nobody supports a loser.