A reader recently asked me why I have not posted any maps of the military situation in the Ukraine, and that is a fair question which I will answer below.
There are a few reasons for this, but the main and most obvious one is this: unlike the first month or two of the SMO, there are very few changes worth showing on a map. That is NOT to say that there are no changes on the frontlines, there are, plenty, but they just don’t translate into nice looking maps.
A recent post on Moon of Alabama quoted what appears to be a leak from the Ukrainian command and which I will repost here:
Ukrainian channels are discussing what might be a leaked data from AFU General Staff:
– The AFU are only at 43-48% strength
– medical workers at their limit
– small arms and armor are not enough
– 191 thousand soldiers were killed and wounded (only AFU, not including others)
– there is not enough hydraulics and liquid nitrogen for M777 howitzers
– no one cares about the missing – there are no statistics
– the equipment transferred by the West is running out
– Western weapons are operated by amateurs, since there are no qualified specialists
– no way to repair weapons on the spot due to the lack of spares and specialists – everything is sent to Poland
BTW, even with this dire report, I would caution against predicting a decisive break in morale. As with Peski, the walking wounded are sent straight back into the trenches
I would just add here that Peski has been taken.
But the key factoids here are “The AFU are only at 43-48% strength” and “191 thousand soldiers were killed and wounded (only AFU, not including others)“.
Figures might change from country to country, and it all depends on the type of warfare which is being conducted, but the rule of thumb I was taught is that any unit which loses over 30% of its strength is not capable of fulfilling its theoretical combat missions. Now, in history, there are plenty of examples of units with 30% or even more losses, but such units can only hold their ground, not operate an orderly withdrawal nevermind a counterattack. The eventual outcome is always the same, eventually such units collapse and disappear (dead, prisoner or escape).
Put otherwise, at this current stage of the war, statistics such as the one above tell the story, maps don’t.
That being said,
The truth is that the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass have been in a de-facto operational cauldron since the first week of the SMO. That is not the result of any special Russian military move, but a factor of geography. Simply put, the eastern Ukraine is a gigantic cauldron. True, it as not a locked cauldron, meaning that the Ukrainian side still could move forces into and out of the cauldron, but it was already “locked by fire” meaning that Russian forces could, and did, attack the forces moving in and out with devastating effectiveness.
Quick reminder: the Ukrainians, supported by billions of dollars from the combined West did have eight years to prepare very strong fortifications along the towns and cities they controlled before the SMO. Maybe somebody expected the Russians to move in frontally, carpet bomb the Ukie-controlled Donbass (as the USA would do) and then frontally attack taking huge casualties in the process. The Russians, wisely, did not oblige. Instead, they chose to slowly grind down the Ukrainian defenses.
These tactics did, by the way, result in quite a few towns and villages being liberated by Russia (Izum, Peski and others), and quite a few tactical “cauldrons” which eventually were absorbed. But, again, the maps did not reflect the nature of what was taking place.
One question I get a lot is: how come the Russian can’t even stop the shelling of Donetsk from, say, Avdeevka? They have a much stronger and larger artillery force and they have very good counter-battery capabilities, so what is the problem here?
Simple, the Ukrainians position their artillery right next to buildings occupied by civilians. So when a Ukrainian mortar, howitzer or MLRS fires at Donetsk or Makeevka, the Russians DO see where it fired from, but they cannot simply reply with a volley of their own, because that would be killing tens if not hundreds of innocent civilians. That would also give the West the “Russian massacre” they so badly wanted in Bucha. So, instead of firing back, the Russians then refine their firing data, which not only takes time, but also allows the Ukrainians to move, not necessarily by much, just a few tens or hundreds of meters, sometimes just on the other side of a building.
So the Russians decided that moving in slow makes much more sense than to frontally storm the Ukrainian fortifications. This is better for both the LDNR and Russian forces and it is much better for the civilians.
Look, why do you think that the entire civilian infrastructure of, say, Kiev or Kharkov is fully functioning? If you really sincerely believe that the Russians could not destroy it on day 1 of the SMO, you might as well stop reading and never revisit this blog again. For the rest, here is the truism which really explains it all
==>>The Russians do not fight wars the way the USA does<<==
What do I mean by that?
Here is the basic US war plan:
- Attack a basically defenseless country
- Achieve air supremacy (in the absence of any modern air defenses)
- Fire a large amount of cruise missiles, followed by massive air strikes
- If that is not enough, deliberately target and destroy the entire civilian infrastructure
- Then send in ground forces whose basic tactic is this: advance and shoot defenseless people, and when meeting any resistance, call in an airstrike. Then continue.
- Declare victory and leave (ideally while leaving a comprador puppet regime in control)
The result is well over a million dead in Iraq, the total devastation of Libya, the massive bombing of Serbian civilians in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, etc. etc. etc.
The Russians simply reject that “logic” on moral and pragmatic grounds. Remember the #6 above! That is *not* a viable option for Russians.
Historically, genocide has ALWAYS been the Western way of war, this is especially true of the British and the US Americans. You don’t have to believe me, simply read this book: The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607–1814 by John Grenier, who retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2009 after a twenty year career in which he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and served two tours as a professor at the Air Force Academy. He currently serves as the senior professor in American military history for Norwich University’s on-line Masters of Art in Military History (MMH) program. Really, I mean it, get his book, read it, and lose any naive illusions you might have about “Western democracy” and how “liberals” wage war on others.
Another question I get is this: why do the Russian not bypass the Ukronazi towns and villages in the Donbass and push on deeper inside the Ukraine? The answer is simple: because that would place Russian forces in between the still existing Ukrainian positions which the Russians are slowly grinding down now and the Ukrainian forces in the Central Ukraine. It is hardly surprising that the Russians do not want to have their forces fighting on two fronts, one to the West and one to the East. So what about the famous “deep armor operations” or the use of battalion tactical group as a tactical-operational maneuver group? These are all parts of a regular, full-scale, combined arms operation, yes, but the SMO is NOT, repeat, NOT a regular combined arms operation. One example, when the Russians initiated their SMO the Ukrainians had a pretty substantial numerical superiority over the Russians, combined with specific military technological elements (such as advanced secured communications) which the LDNR forces did not have at all, and which the Russian military did have, but not down to the same subunit levels as the Ukrainians. What do we see today? The numerical superiority is gone, and the advanced technologies given to the Ukronazis by the West have only made things more difficult for the Russians, but failed to affect the outcome.
And, of course, the “favorite” one: you (and others) have said many times that Russia could and would defeat the Ukraine in days, a few week max. So now do you admit that you were totally wrong?
First, let’s begin with the assumption of that question, that is to say that Russia did not defeat the Ukraine in days or weeks. Is that even true?
I would argue that is is not. The Russians *DID* successfully basically disable the Ukrainian armed forces in the first few days and weeks of the war: almost the entire Ukrainian air force was destroyed and so were much of the Ukrainian air defenses. As for the ground forces, they have failed to execute a single effective counter-attacks, at most they claimed that every Russian retreat was a result of their counter-attacks, but let me ask a simple question here: if those counter-attacks were successful, where is the result??? Nothing, well, other that the utterly fictitious fairy tales coming out of Kiev, of course. And since Kiev has been wall-to-wall lying about everything from Day 1 of the SMO, how can anybody take their grandiose statements seriously?
So what really happened?
What happened is that the untied West decided to throw its full military might behind the Nazi regime in Kiev. Not only have BILLIONS of dollars worth of equipment been made available to the Ukrainian forces, there were also THOUSANDS of “volunteers” sent to the Ukraine to support the Ukronazi forces (see chart of the right, click here for higher resolution. Quick translation of the main terms: Страна: country; Прибыло: arrived; Уничтожено: destroyed; Убыло: departed; Всего: total).
Last, but most certainly not least, the US and NATO are making use of all their C4ISR capabilities in support of the Ukronazi forces. In fact, it would be accurate to say that the US+NATO have now taken full control of all the military operations in the Ukraine (they have also presided over the total crackdown on any and all forms of internal Ukrainian opposition!).
Once this is understood, let me ask you three simple questions:
- Have I or anybody else declared that Russia would militarily defeat the combined forces of the US+NATO in days or weeks?
- How long would YOU estimate it would take the Russians to achieve such a goal?
- Do you really not see that IN SPITE of that massive and total support of the West, Russia is well on her way to do just that, to defeat not only the best and biggest proxy force in US history, but also all the efforts of the combined West to defeat Russia militarily and economically?
If you did not see this, say, even one month or two ago, I could understand. But if you STILL don’t smell the coffee, then I declare you hopeless, encourage you to stop reading this article and stay away from this blog :-)
Seriously, if the combined West had left the Ukronazi regime in Kiev to its own devices “Ze” would have had to capitulate about 10 days into the SMO, if only to spare the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.
Did the Russians expect such a massive reaction from the West? The term “expect” is very misleading. That is not how these things work. Operational and strategic plans are not based on a single scenario which you “hope” will materialize. Here are also two things which we should always remember:
- It is the job of the intelligence agencies and the operations planning departments to prepare and model for as many possible scenarios (or scenarii?) as reasonably imaginable.
- Operational and strategic plans do not deal with tactical issues and they CONSTANTLY change depending on a feedback and decision making loop.
One example: Putin admitted during a TV interview that when the Russians moved into Crimea he had placed Russian nuclear forces on maximal alert. Does that meant that anybody in the Kremlin or the General Staff “expected” the US to nuke Russia? Of course not! But they DID consider that possibility and took the needed action to try to prevent it.
Same here. I am very confident that the Russians were fully prepared for the West’s insane and, frankly, suicidal reaction to the SMO. In fact, that “maximal” response was one of the MANY contingencies which the Russians must have prepared for. As a former intelligence analyst, I can tell you that military analysis does look at as many options as possible and then the operational planning folks make their own preparations for any contingency.
It is now abundantly clear that the West is determined to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian. Hence the truly idiotic order given to the best and most capable Ukrainian forces to not engage in a mobile defense but to hold their ground in the Donbass until they are totally destroyed.
Furthermore, it is also abundantly clear that the Western countries are willing to destroy not only its own economies, but the entire international financial system to try to hurt Russia (and China) as much as possible.
In other words, Russia is not engaged in a war against the Ukraine, but against the entire united and consolidated West.
==>>Have I not been saying just that since at least 2013?<<==
How long will this war last?
I cannot answer that because the answer depends entirely on: how suicidally stupid the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire are?
The Ukrainian forces in the eastern Ukraine have no hopes for an orderly retreat anymore, so they will be destroyed. How soon? I don’t know, that depends on the folks in the trenches and how strong a grip the Nazis have over that force.
Will there be a Ukrainian counter-attack towards Kherson? I sure hope not.
Why? Because currently the Ukrainian forces are dug in inside the city of Nikolaev, and if they decide to attack, they will not only have to get into their pre-battle order formation outside the protective confines of the city, but then they will also have then cross a mostly empty plain. In other words, it will be a massacre.
Might they still try? Sure! ALL the orders given to the Ukrainian forces by the USA+NATO are de facto suicidal and make no military sense. No Neocon will ever give a damn about more massacred Ukrainians.
What else could the Ukrainians do?
Mostly, what they have been doing so far, including:
- Massacring as many civilians in the liberated areas as possible, including with the use of banned weapons (anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions).
- Organize effective terrorist attacks not only in the liberated areas of the Donbass, but also inside Russia (that the Ukrainians have proven pretty good at)
- They might conduct further attacks against Russia, Crimea and the Crimean bridge. None of them will make any military difference or even have much of an impact, but it will be good PR, especially with the full support of the AngloZionist propaganda machine aka “the free press”.
- They are trying hard to bomb the nuclear power station in Zaporozhie. The power plant at Chernobyl might become a target again. Finally, the Ukronazis still have access to plenty of spent nuclear waste which they could use as a “dirty bomb” against their own population and blame Russia (think of it as a “nuclear Bucha”).
- The steady flow of fixed and rotary wing aircraft from Poland, Romania and other countries will continue, giving the Ukronazi propaganda the illusion that Russia does not have air superiority over the entire Ukraine.
There is also a very real possibility that Poland and Hungary might move into the western Ukraine to “protect” their nationals. They have, so far, refrained from doing so, at least openly, probably because US/NATO commanders do not want to risk a Russian strike on NATO forces (even these idiots Biden and Stoltenberg have publicly said that!). However, if done intelligently, Poland and Hungary might well obtain by entirely non-official channels, a Russian promise to “look away” and not take any action. Why? Because Russia has no need whatsoever for these territories and because Russia will be more than happy to let the Poles and Hungarians deal with the Ukronazi nutcases of the western Ukraine.
I hope that the above answers at least some questions you might have had.
I will mention one last thing: while the collapse of the international financial system is already well underway, its effects have, so far, not been fully felt, most definitely not in the USA and not even fully in the EU. Once the magnitude of this self-inflicted disaster become absolutely undeniable, not even by the Neocon-run “free press” things in the West will began to change politically. So now is the time to wait and see, not speculate.