GUEST BLOG: Ben Morgan – Don’t listen to the news, Russia is losing.

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The battle of Severodonetsk continues; and as predicted the Russians continue to feed people and material into the battles around Luhansk Oblast (region).  Since the last article, international media spent the week furiously painting a picture of an inexorable Russian advance that will crush Ukrainian resistance. So it is probably a good time to look at the situation and provide some perspective.  The fight around Severodonetsk is very important, not because the city has great tactical value but rather because of its political value.  It is one of the two remaining cities in Luhansk that is still held by Ukraine.  If the Russians want to legitimately claim victory in Luhansk, they need to take Severodonetsk.  

If an army wants to capture a city it has two broad options, it can either surround and starve it; or it can assault it.  The Russians have tried and continue to try, surrounding Severodonetsk by advancing from Izyum and Lyman in the north and from Poposna in the south.  So far none of these advances has made significant progress, however the Russians are often reported making ground.  Although, the reality is that their gains are often small, kilometres at max but more often hundreds of metres.  The Russians are throwing everything they have at progressing this battle and are still not making significant progress.  

Severodonetsk itself is a strong defensive position. Firstly, it is an urban area full of buildings to fortify, sewers to move or hide in and all the other complexities that make cities difficult to fight in. It even has a Cold War era fortified and bomb proofed factory complex!  Add this to being over looked by its sister city Lsysyschansk, from which Ukrainian artillery observers can survey Severodonetsk and then direct fire from their artillery, tucked safely away in low ground behind their positions. It is a tough place to attack. Even the river that separates Severodonetsk’s defenders from their comrades in Lysyschansk is a mixed blessing for the Russian attackers because it makes any kind of envelopment very difficult.   Essentially, if you wanted to fight a defensive battle and destroy as many Russian soldiers and tanks as possible Severodontesk is a great place to choose.  And if the Russians want to attack it ‘head on’, that’s even better if your objective is attrition. 

The key issue with Severodonetsk is not the current battle but the next battle.  The next battle will be either tactical or strategic.  When and if, the Russians take Severodontesk my assessment of their most dangerous next move is to ‘dig in’ along the Severskyi-Donets River.  This river is a formidable defensive boundary and would secure the vast majority of Luhansk.  By doing this the Russians could request a ceasefire while defending the area that they have already taken.  This would give them time to subdue the areas captured and annex them into Russia.  After, being annexed these parts of Ukraine would become ‘Russian’ and be covered by their nuclear deterrent, changing the strategic dynamic. The Russians could use the ceasefire to rest, recuperate and undermine NATO unity. By playing the ‘long game’ the Russians can prepare for the next campaign and over a period of years plan to absorb more of Ukraine. 

So in recent days it is a relief to see the Russians doing the opposite and instead building strength around Izyum and trying to push south along the M103 highway towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk and also continuing to push north-west from Poposna towards Bahkmut a town on the same highway.  This activity indicates the Russians are aiming to stay in the war until they control both Donetsk and Luhansk.   If the Russians remain committed to taking Donetsk, then their tactical options are constrained.  In simple terms it commits them to a series of tough battles, as follows:

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  • Severodonetsk must be taken.
  • Lysyschansk must either be taken or bypassed.
  • Sloviansk and Kramatorsk must be taken. 

Attacking Sloviansk and Kramatorsk will be very difficult. The two cities are large with a population between them of around 260,000 people, and both sit on high ground. Further, we know that the Ukrainians have been ‘digging in’ extensive defensive positions around them.  So after taking Severodonetsk, the Russians will have to slowly fight their way from their current positions across distances of approximately 25km on the axis of advance from Izyum or 30km from Poposna or 60km from Lysyschansk.  If we look at their current rate of advance it will take months.  Then they will have to fight well ‘dug-in’ and prepared defenders, tough proposition. 

However, there is another factor that needs to be considered called ‘tension’.  Tacticians understand that battle involves both ‘tempo’ and ‘tension’.  At the moment the ‘tempo’ of the battle is slow as pressure builds every day around Severodontesk. The Ukrainians keep fighting and the Russians continue to build up their forces. This situation can be described as ‘tension’. The frontline is like a stick being slowly bent.  Eventually, the stick will break and the ‘tension’ will be released.  It could be that the Russians fail and the Ukrainians are able to make a sudden advance or it could be the other way round and the Ukrainians suddenly retreat, either way the ‘tempo’ would change and we could see sudden advances.  It is important that we do not read too much into any initial release of ‘tension’.   It is likely that any sudden Russian advance will stop dead at Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.  Likewise the Severskyi-Donets River makes significant Ukrainian advances unlikely.  

However, it creates uncertainty so the media may make a range of unfounded assessments and it is important that we understand that in the next days or weeks there could be sudden unexpected activity.  Good generals won’t want the uncertainty created by this situation and will try to avoid it. Unfortunately, not many generals are skilled, or lucky enough to manage this factor in battle.  It is important that observers and political decision-makers are aware and do not over react because of a sudden and unexpected Russian advance. 

In the north, near Kharkov the tactical battle remains largely static.  In the south the Ukrainian advance is slowing down and Russian forces are reported to be ‘digging in’ to defend Kherson.  The western Black Sea is also an area to watch as Russia and Ukraine struggle to assert their control over the area.  Russia installing air defence missiles on the island to replace the capability lost when the Moskva was sunk.  Ukraine fighting to stop them and sinking Russian warships.  This battle could be an indicator of future Ukrainian activity because a sensible pre-requisite for an advance on the coast is driving the Russian Navy away from the area. So the recent sinking of a vessel re-supplying Snake Island’s garrison is a demonstration of the Harpoon missile’s capability that may indicate larger Ukrainian plans. 

Strategically, I was worried last article by the actions of some NATO members that appeared to be looking to provide Putin with an easy way out of the war.  Fortunately, late last week NATO leaders made a strong commitment to guaranteeing their support for Ukraine. Further, the United States pledged nearly a billion dollars’ worth of equipment to be shipped directly from their reserves to Ukraine.  This support reinforces NATO’s commitment to upholding the integrity of Ukraine’s borders and independence.  Another important point is that NATO’s language is thoughtful and well-considered, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg clearly stating that “We must prepare for the fact that it could take years. We must not let up in supporting Ukraine” effectively committing NATO to a long strategic campaign.  In fact a battle fought across the world, as we all manage inflation and increases in the cost of living generated by this war and in the countries that depend on Ukrainian grain to feed their people.  However, a battle worth fighting because the price of appeasement is more war and instability. 

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the United Kingdom’s highest ranking military officer commented recently that strategically Russia has already lost the war, increasing its own isolation, unifying Europe and sacrificing a quarter of its military power to make minimal territorial gains. In my opinion this is a sound assessment of the situation and Ukraine’s current strategic goal is to ‘hold on’ and attrit the Russians. The more Russia is weakened on the battlefield the more economic sanctions will bite.  Replacing military equipment is expensive and will get harder and harder for Russia. Slowly Ukraine’s resources will increase while Russia’s decrease, it will take time but is inevitable. It is important that the countries supporting Ukraine are aware that this campaign will take time and are committed for the long-term. 

In summary, the Battle of Severodonetsk is a terrible but strategically significant battle.  It is the first step in a campaign that will see similar battles fought in another three cities, as the Russians advance west and grind their people and equipment away against defended positions.  Strategically, Russia has lost and sensible decision-making would be to minimise their losses and negotiate as settlement.  Unfortunately, this does not look likely creating a terrible situation in which many young people will die fighting for their different causes and lots of Ukrainian civilians will be killed, crippled and driven from their homes.  The Ukrainians are suffering to defend their country. However, we must spare a thought for the young Russians being fed into the meatgrinder. Young men killed, burnt and maimed simply to assuage the ego of an elderly dictator.    

  

 

Ben Morgan is a tired Gen X interested in international politics. He is TDB’s Military analyst.

128 COMMENTS

  1. Whilst you write this nonsense Ukrainian reservists die in increasing numbers. For a lost cause. How much more blood do you want?

    • What lost cause? Preventing the loss of half Ukraine into Novarussia? The subordination of Ukraine to Kremlin dictate? Are you saying the West should deny Ukraine the means to defend themselves for their own good?

      • Severodonetsk is under Russian control and has been for a week or more.
        Except for a small area of the Azot chemical plant where Ukraine is hiding about
        2500 strong. Some have already surrendered, only a matter of time for the rest.
        This is a rerun of the Mariupol situation. They are fully surrounded with 2 options.
        Surrender or die.

        Geeze Ben where do you get your intelligence?

          • I have 20 odd sites that tell the truth, no propaganda bullshit from the west or east. None of them are Russian.
            American, UK and Asian. All saying same thing more or less.
            2 map site are Ukrainian, apart from showing their territory loses
            on the map a couple days late, they align with the others.

            • lol I call bullshit..
              If you are not Russian, Ukrainian or US with spy planes flying over you are either reading made up stuff from people who have no idea or reading one of the above publishing their stories under different banners..
              The reality is they know what’s going on and the rest are guessing.

      • Yeah. I will say the west should deny Ukraine western “military aid!!!” You fucken moron. Denying Ukraine western military aid was a policy of every POTUS since Henry Kissinger, right up until Donald J Trump when he sold anti tank missiles to Ukraine against every sage advice.

        • I’m imagining those Ukrainians defending their country are thankful for those anti-tank missiles. Pity we haven’t got the collective nous to send our own expiring Javelins.

    • Why is it a lost cause if you don’t want to surrender your country? I don’t think anyone has disputed that the Ukrainians voted for their sovereignty at the fall of the USSR. You can go on all you like about the west suppling weapons, proxy war etc, but they are not supplying the will to fight.

      • SPC and Wheel, if you read widely enough you will find out the scale of the disaster. Any further death and sacrifice wont change the result. Any responsible sane and humanitarian leader would sue for peace.

          • Like it or not Russia is hammering Ukraine on the battlefield and have been since the second phase started. Ukraine loses are horrific – that’s what is upsetting and must stop. The need to surrender to stop the carnage. If you aren’t aware of this then you should be.

            • So you think the result will be Ukraine’s unconditional surrender.

              Yet the President of Ukraine has already said this will not happen.

              • Zelenski is a problem. But it is far from his fault only.
                Ukraine Far Right militants (Nazis) will kill him, and his family if he surrenders, just for starters. US and UK pressure and “security guarantees” are another.
                He can not surrender unless he grows some balls and negotiate with Putin. His country is being pulverised and will not stop until he does so.

                • Russian state owned media has made it clear numerous times that the ultimate goal of Russia is to end Ukrainian culture and language, Russian agitation has made surrender an impossible suggestion.

                • what nazis are you talking about? Every country has neo-nazis. Russia has them too they belonged to the Russian National Unity. After they were disbanded they formed info splinter offshoots, there’s just more of them now. Putin’s friend Dmitry Utkin, founder of the Wagner group has three nazi tattoos, on his upper body, with a Nazi eagle crest with symbol above his pectoral muscle. Canada has them too, do does Germany, Sweden, Australia. In Ukraine their party received less then 2% of the vote, not even enough to register a seat. You’re delusional dude. Nobody knows how this war is going to play out. All I know is Ukraine is not surrendering, even of the president said yes to surrender the people would not go for it. The United States will not let Ukraine fall. they will keep pumping weapons into the country. Russia is recruiting 18-60 year olds. I listen to intercepted Russian phone call between family members and a father was telling his deployed son about how they’re recruiting 60 year olds and sending people to the front with broken arms and legs.

                • what nazis are you talking about? Every country has neo-nazis. Russia has them too they belonged to the Russian National Unity. After they were disbanded they formed info splinter offshoots, there’s just more of them now. Putin’s friend Dmitry Utkin, founder of the Wagner group has three nazi tattoos, on his upper body, with a Nazi eagle crest with symbol above his pectoral muscle. Canada has them too, do does Germany, Sweden, Australia. In Ukraine their party received less then 2% of the vote, not even enough to register a seat. You’re delusional dude.

        • Or Nick how about Putin pisses off. Your logic is just surrender the opposition is too big. Thank f’k Winston Churchill didn’t have your attitude

          • It’s been a fair fight so far. Europes 2 biggest most tooled up armies going at it hard. Ukraine/Nato against Russia.
            Russia is pounding them into submission, literally.
            It’s beyond time that the west came clean and tell the truth.
            Ukraines army of brave men is being sacrificed for no result.

            • good thing you weren’t around in the 40s or we would all be speaking German.
              What a load of garbage you are slinging out.

              1) In no way is this NATO/Ukraine vs Russia. It’s Ukraine with a sprinkling of western weapons VS russia. Russias conventional forces would be defeated in 1-2 weeks if NATO actually was fighting alongside Ukraine. If certain weapon systems weren’t being restricted and/or supplied in sufficient to Ukraine they could very quickly turn the tide themselves. And they will but with the dripping-pace of new weapons it will take longer.

              2) No Russia is not pounding Ukraine into submission. Russia has an a significant advantage in artillery and firepower and yet Ukraine is resisting and holding on, buying time until newly trained units are operational and more western equipment arrives. This comes with a cost in lives unfortunately but it’s a strategically sound. This is not submission, if anything it’s defiance. Russia is very slowly and very costly grinding forward on certain fronts but are being pushed back on other fronts. If russia really was so dominant as you claim the battlefield would look very different.

              3) Saying that Ukraines sacrifice is in vane just shows what a tool you are. What you dont seem to get is that they don’t want to be a part of a russian empire, they do not want to be enslaved. We’ve seen what happens with civilians in cities that russia occupies, what sane person would want to live under that. Who the heck are you to say that they should stop resisting being conquered and just submit to the will of the invaders. Fine that you yourself are fine with having a master, but don’t come and say that resisting enslavement is not worth whatever sacrifice they deem necessary.

              • Good thing the Russians were around in the 40’s. or you might be speaking German. After Stalingrad and the encirclement of VonPaulus the war changed momentum.
                Btw over 250000 Ukraine militia fought for the Nazis.

                • Read about the Holodomor and then you may realise why some of the Ukrainians were fighting against the Soviet Union.

                  And again the Soviets were only fighting the Germans in WW2 because Germany invaded the USSR in 1941 – and before that they were allies / worked in tandem invading Poland.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

                • Wow great way of simplifying history making ussr/russia look like freaking liberators.

                  No it was not such a good thing for Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia who were enslaved by russia/ussr after world war 2….

                  Maybe the 250000 Ukrainian militia wouldn’t have fought against them if soviet russia hadn’t occupied Ukraine in 1918??? So it was not so much fighting WITH the nazis as just fighting AGAINST the damn occupiers, as they are now!!

                  Russia has always been an imperialistic country and where other empires/countries have long since changed their ways russia has not!

                  • tom everybody and I do mean EVERYBODY in eastern europe has a tale of horror perpetrated on them….take a look at the ethnic cleansing and murder by both ukraine and the poles on each other whenever one gets the upper hand..and if we want to go back to the russian civil war the failed polish invasion of the ukraine, history is full of wrong and no one has a monopoly.

      • But the sovereign régime installed after the fall of the USSR was overthrown by an undemocratic coup in 2014, and some think that democracy there has been rather dodgy since the installation of the right-wing, pro-western govt installed with connivance of guess who…

    • Err, how many Ukrainian reservists have been killed by Ben’s lucid and considered writings?

    • How much blood does Russia want? It is obvious to all but the most ardent Russia supporters that Russian frontal movement has stalled. Why do you write such nonsense that Ukrainian reservist die in increasing numbers? Perhaps a link to verify YOUR nonsense?

    • Did you not read the last paragraph? Ben did not start this war & the overall impression from his columns is that he would like it to end but he is also realistic enough to recognize the agendas of the different forces involved which is why he has included the comment that “it could take years” before the conflict is resolved.

      • Bonnie, I’ve read the post above. It’s the first of his that I’ve read: I’d surmised that, like pretty much all western commentators – especially those who fancy themselves military experts – he wouldn’t know anything about the situation. And so it has turned out.

  2. Russia is applying the tactics used in Syria, albeit using its own soldiers on the ground. The obvious consequence of such methods is the large number of refugees.

  3. Foreign mercenaries are now much reduced, the gloss has gone off for various reasons,an aversion to being cannon fodder, incompetence and corruption being among them
    Western weaponry is noe being sold on the black market, something Ukraine has been famous for , for some time.Ukraine is 3rd on the list for criminality in countries of Europe.(Russia something like 10th)
    Ukrainian soldiers are dying each day far in excess of Russian soldiers
    Where do you imagine sourcing the meat for your grinder?
    Why so Eurocentric vis a vis Russian “isolation”
    It is now the west that’s becoming isolated from the numerically superior rest of the world.

    • Volodymyr ‘supporting Israel bombing kids in Gaza’ Zelensky doesn’t care how many Ukrainians he gets killed.

      • Here we go again!, Once again you smear Israel for something that they have had very little to do with apart from standing up for another brave country . Who would have thought Israel is part of the problem? Are they also responsible for our current account deficit, lack of median barriers on roads and the domestic violence that rots our society? You seem to try and link them to every bit of nastiness playing out around the world.

    • “Foreign mercenaries are now much reduced” – So the Russians have lost a lot of their Chechens yeah?

        • Sorry my mistake – they were ‘forcefully reintegrated’ just as they are trying to do with the Ukrainians . .

          • James Brown: :…they were ‘forcefully reintegrated’….”

            Nope. Chechnya is part of Russia. I’d add that the Chechens played a big part in the liberation of Mariupol. They fought like lions against the Azov types, but when said Azov types surrendered, the Chechens behaved like cavaliers. They treated the surrendering militants with enormous restraint: no violence. I’ve seen video of this,filmed by independent journalists.

            Your comment about the Ukrainians says to me that you really don’t have any idea what’s happening in the Ukraine, or has been happening there over the last decade or so. I recommend a lot of reading, so as to correct that ignorance. And nothing from the BBC/CNN. Or any western mainstream media.

              • My five year old daughter can read better than you. She don’t lash out in agony anymore when the big bad wolf shows little red riding hood his teeth no more.

            • you gotta be a special kind of person to call the destruction and invasion of Mariupol, the slaughtering of thousands upon thousands of civilians for a freaking liberation.

              Come to think of it you also have to be a special kind of person to call the Kadyrovite tiktok brigade lions..
              (but yes they certainly made handled them traffic lights with a firm hand..)

              But since you also seem to think that Chechnya is just a jolly-completely-not-forcefully-reintegrated member of russia and blissfully skipping past 1st and 2nd Chechen Wars, I guess you would just call it the liberation of Grozny anyway so whats the point.

      • Extreme Right Wing apologist for slaughtering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, and collaborating with Assad and Putin.
        Francesca is more Chetnik than Bolshevik.

    • Hi Francesca! Doesn’t commenting here feel like bashing your head against a brick wall? It’s very clear that, while some commenters are well-informed about what’s happening – and has been happening – in the Ukraine, others (including the author of this post) have absolutely no idea. They’re reliant upon western news and analysis, and we both know that that’s pants.

      • I am bemused by the willingness to believe such absolute tosh coming from western think tanks and media, that time and time again is shown to be nothing but wishful thinking.I am reminded of dogs, fooled by their owners into chasing after phantom sticks, never tumbling to the trick.
        How many times has Putin been at death’s door, dying of Parkinsons, cancer, advanced dementia or insanity?
        Russian soldiers running out of missiles, having to beg villagers for food?
        A kind of selective amnesia is at work, each day we are born anew, each day the news tells a story that has no historical context, just a fresh sensation with a manipulative message. Russia is bad!!Russia is losing!Putin is dying!!(but not fast enough)
        It’s disturbing, this lack of healthy scepticism

      • More of the your usual, gaslighting, of other opinion. It’s like kindergarten in a university quad with poseurs claiming some group truth think intelligentsia quality known only to themselves.

        Some grow out of it, not all sadly.

        • So you want us all to acquiesce and drink your sickly, syrupy infant-lotion of straight, one-eyed western propaganda bullshit?

  4. Let me adjust the title of this article so it conveys a truth to you Ben.
    “Ben Morgan – Don’t listen to the news that Russia is losing.”
    Any comments about the cauldron that is forming in the area your are writing about? And how will the loss of 50 generals and other officers (from a Russian missile strike) affect the Ukranians “going forward”?
    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/06/ukraine-sitrep-lysichansk-cauldron-sinking-morale-more-provocations.html#more

  5. Well said, Francesca. Very much reflects views outside MSM narrative.

    Ben, you can’t be serious when you say that Russia is “throwing everything they have at this battle”. I’m no militery expert but they have used their air power and hypersonic capacity sparingly and deployed less than a fifth of their men under arms to Ukraine.

  6. Wars aren’t won by capturing territory – they are won by destroying enemy armies.

    Putin never said the aim was to capture territory – what he said (according the the New York Times) was:
    “I have taken the decision to carry out a special military operation,” Mr. Putin said. “Its goal will be to defend people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kyiv regime. For this we will aim for demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as taking to court those who carried out multiple bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.”

    They seem to be doing quite well with the demilitarization – destroying more equipment than NATO is able to replenish and Zelensky’s suicidal defense of Severodonetsk is only feeding over 100 Ukrainian solders every day into the Russian meat grinder.

  7. Putting aside the ambiguous headline over this piece, for it, or any other view on the subject, to be taken seriously, it’s essential that links are provided to the source of the claims being made. Otherwise it will deserve to be dismissed as long-winded anti-Russia propaganda, or just Ben’s ramblings.

    • Malcolm Evans, Ben is so much better informed than you are about this war. He doesn’t rely on an extremist site like Grayzone to get his information for a start!

  8. The Russians will likely take Severdonetsk but it will prove to be a pyhrric victory assuming the West continue to provide support.
    The Russians have stripped the separatist regions of their men, with men as old as 65 conscripted whether fit and able or not.
    These poor bastards are being fed like meat to a grinder often being sent forward for the sole purpose of drawing fire.
    This cannot go on indefinitely and at some point the Russians will either have to undergo mass mobilisation or face defeat.

  9. Long term Ukraine cant help but win, the Russians are using artillery shells at an unstainable rate. The only Russian plan is using artillery so they can take rubble its a doomed plan. The Russian soldiers dont want to be there on pain of being shot by Chechen “MP”s for deserting. The big one was bringing 60 year tanks out of storage with an incompatible main gun shows they are scraping the barrel.
    Wars are won by logistics so with aid from the West coming in Russia is buggered.
    Excellent comment Ben, love the comments from the Ivans I need a laugh.

    • A matter of perspective really. Do you start with the Russians latest Thermobaric missiles and allow yourself to be under armed in case of a full conflict with NATO, or do you use old weaponry against a foe that Russia knows fully well exactly what armament’s they have. Smart move on Putin’s part.
      The West hasn’t been exactly been pumping Ukraine with their latest and greatest either, because they are well aware Russia has the military edge. Full on war will make the Blitzkrieg seem like a firecracker on Guy Fawkes.
      The US is nowhere close to testing Thermobaric missiles and they have absolutely Zero defense against them. Throw in Iran’s “Sunburst” and the West is double screwed.

      Be like Ben.
      Russia will fully take the Donbass, hold Crimea and secure the Black sea and hold the strategic advantage.
      The West will bleat about illegal “Annexation” just like they did with Austria circa WW2 despite it being a legal Plebiscite. The World will split into a bipolar World with the US losing its global dominance and descend into a Civil War. (Current US polling 48% within 5-10 years)
      Russia, China, India and large parts of the Middle East and Asia will become one large trading block (Oil) and there will be a further decline of the West as Citizens really start to feel the bite of rampant inflation and global food shortages.
      All the signs and warnings are there.

    • You are mistaken. Western wars are won by logistics. Winter wins Russia their wars. Tisk Tisk. Europe being dependent on Russian gas brings a new dimension two lists fact.

    • Laugh while you can, Ted..
      Going by past form, the side that the US is backing will have a puppet, so-called ‘democratic’ but horribly corrupt government; the army will be only superficially trained; half the aid won’t even reach the army, because much of it will be sold on the black market…
      Happens every time: Vietnam; Afghanistan… Nothing ever seems to be learnt. Years after the event, historians will tell us the above truths, but in the meantime we once again get fed volumes of dumb, optimistic propaganda. (Plus, in this case huge quantities of tear-jerking.)
      Ted, in a way I hope you are right, because I don’t like Putin. But I don’t like your chances in the long term.
      If it goes nuclear, we may never get to find out. That is the biggest danger.
      And figure out for yourself which nation has the rep for being trigger-happy.

      • The Bolsheviks disappeared with the fall of the USSR, 1989 – 90, Cantabrian. Putin’s lot are dirty, capitalist oligarchs. Do try to keep up with the march of history.

      • OH, the sweet delicious smell of irony and ignorance. Slava Ukraini, the original rallying cry of the Nationalists and the Neo Nazi Azov.

  10. Conveniently overlooked in the current Ukraine saga, is the very uncomfortable truth that there are three wars playing out simultaneously, within the Russian Forces Special Military Operation there.

    The civil war between Kiev and Donbas, the war between Ukraine and Russia and the war between NATO and Russia.

    Anyone up with the play would know the outcome of the civil war was decided on day two of the SMO, Feb 26th.
    Ben, you’d know it too if you merely sought a semblance of balance, by analysing Russian ‘propaganda’ as impartially as our own ‘sanitised’ chewing gum western version.

    Unfortunately for your credibility, the Ukraine vs Russia operation is going the Russian’s way too.
    In case you missed it Ben, that was confirmed three weeks ago by editorials in the Washington Post, NY Times and Henry Kissinger at Davos, among others. All backpedaling their support for war as fast as they can and very vocal on the need for achieving a peace agreement in Ukraine, quick smart.

    In this case, one may naively believe Ukraine would be negotiating from a position of strength while the Russians beg for mercy. But if one thinks about it, that’s not rationally possible if the best of the west are telling (Z)elensky to do what it takes to end the war.

    It does beg the question though, what could have put NATO on the ‘peace’ ropes already?
    After all, it barely took 100 days of Russian ‘inferiority and incompetence’ to dispatch eight years of NATO’s meticulous military buildup and strategy for success in Ukraine, to crash into the need for ‘peace now’ reality.

    Might it be believing poor quality intelligence? Like Rand Corporations 2019 Report ‘How to destroy Russia’ wherein they conclude ‘the USA can enjoy high probabilities of success and high benefits by overextending and unbalancing Russia’.
    https://www.europereloaded.com/how-to-destroy-russia-2019-rand-corporation-report-overextending-and-unbalancing-russia/

    Might it be blow-back from the full spectrum sanctions designed to cripple the Russian economy, thereby creating massive unrest among the population with the aim of forcing regime change there?

    It’s inconceivable I know, but the reality is Russia’s economy has gone from strength to strength and the people are mostly united against the threat from the west.

    If not Russia, then where are inflation, interest rates, unrest and unemployment wrecking havoc today?
    Unfortunately, Europe is experiencing the first wave of blow back as they ignite their coal fired power stations, you know, to punish Russian gas.

    Is that consequence coming home for us NATO pilot fish too?
    I’m sure it’s co-incidence there’s no hot water tonight in Thames (NZ).

    Or is it just relentless colonial hubris, megaphoned by a plethora of media regurgitators and far removed from the facts? Like the thousands of experts employed at Rand, who without exception, think and behave alike, or have no job.
    It’s just business!

    Or could it be the superior quality of the Russian Forces and equipment?

    No matter what, it may be useful to cram for the upcoming disaster that’s hurtling towards all who are living within the Western Alliance.

    https://thesaker.is/for-europe-from-russia-with-love/

    • Good comment, Wildsilver.
      For the benefit of Andrew, “as dumb as a sack of hammers” is a good epithet for those who wishfully believe “our own ‘sanitised’ chewing gum western version” of propaganda without questioning anything.

    • Ah yes, the propaganda site of the eastern orthodox empire, where the west is Anglo-Zionist and needs to be de-Nazified by Russia’s Tsar as much as Ukraine does.

    • Lol, no hot water tonight in Thames? Funny, we don’t have district heating / centralized water heating.

    • Wildsilver, I commend you for your effort to try and educate the mind-prisoned fellows.

      It is the comparison of what you are being told, the trends, and what facts and details are concealed by what narrative that is the important part of “being informed”. If you re just consuming Western news, you’re uninformed. Any Westerner who is not reading sites such as the Vineyard of the Saker have no idea of what they know, don’t-know, and don’t know they don’t know. And have no clue when they are being fed white-is-black bullshit

  11. Great update Ben! Keep them coming.

    But, hell, there are some stupid comments above. It’s patently clear Putin has gone rogue and needs stopping. Suing for peace now just allows him to consolidate his ill gotten gains and plan his next invasion. You’d need to be as dumb as a sack of hammers to think appeasement will work on this tyrant.

  12. Seems like if you are anti west the Russians are going to steam roll al over the Ukraine. If you are pro west the Ukrainians with NATO help will evict the Russians, take back the Crimea and conquer Donbas.

    Would recommend the independent Australian analyst Perun.

    He does excellent reviews and his backlist of comments, going back to the start of the war, are worth a review.

    If Russia attacks Lithuania to secure the rail line to their only warm water port in the Danish Sea at Kaliningrad it will physically draw NATO into direct boots on the ground. Lithuania is a NATO member and ALL for one, one for ALL comes into play.

    Russia has trouble maintain the Kherson front with Ukrainian forces only some 10 km from the city centre.

    Can they maintain another front in Lithuania?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGGwO99fQaI

    • So.
      knowing that – knowing that a wider war will likely result because of this action, Lithuania begins shutting out Russian access.
      Thus poking the bear one more time.
      Oh.,
      that’s a smart idea.
      I wonder which bright spark in Brussels or London or DC or maybe even TelAviv thought that one up. Perhaps the same voice whispering in the pretenders ear the ‘nuclear’ option : remember ? up against Russia’s border ? Or the voice laughing at the intentions of the Minsk agreement as aggressions continued to murder the population of Donbass and fortifications were extended toward the east ?
      Whoever. This obvious provocation adds further evidence, that NATO actions are a clear and present danger to the Russian Federation.

    • Well, amazingly one-eyed, I would say, Bruce. But I doubt that it reflects the truth. (Always the first casualty in war, because each side propagandises just like your video.)

  13. Putin is a bad actor – a dictator but he had no other option but to invade Ukraine with the expansion of NATO and all their people killing weapons directed at Russia.
    When the Berlin wall fell and the Warsaw pact ended so should have NATO but no the war machine (People Killers) of the USA expanded their empire building policy in their bid for would domination.
    UAS and their allies (including this rediculious country) want Russia gone and will use the largely inocent Ukranian people to as caonon foddder when the havent got the courage to do it themselves.
    Ardern stay at home and sought out the mess at home, housing, state abuse, child poverty sadwill do for a start. But she won’t miss out on a photo oppurtunity – sad.

  14. Putin is a bad actor – a dictator but he had no other option but to invade Ukraine with the expansion of NATO and all their people killing weapons directed at Russia.
    When the Berlin wall fell and the Warsaw pact ended so should have NATO but no the war machine (People Killers) of the USA expanded their empire building policy in their bid for would domination.
    UAS and their allies (including this rediculious country) want Russia gone and will use the largely inocent Ukranian people to as caonon foddder when the havent got the courage to do it themselves.
    Ardern stay at home and sought out the mess at home, housing, state abuse, child poverty sadwill do for a start. But she won’t miss out on a photo oppurtunity – sad.

  15. What a lot of comments with no one sitting on the fence.
    Whether one believes that Russia (and it is Russia not just Putin) is justified in this action to defend the ethnic Russians of the Donbass , and to make a stand against the increasing threat of NATO’s expansion and military basses on her border or not, the concept that they can be stopped from achieving their stated objectives by Ukraine is deliberately delusional.
    All supplying military aid fro the US and Europe can do is prolong the bloodshed and misery of the Ukrainian people , both the Russian affiliated faction and the Ukraine nationalists. And everybody knows it.
    The pretence propagated by writers such as Ben and the comments aligned to Western propaganda are doing a dreadful evil disservice to all the people of Ukraine.
    T speak like UK’s Johnson as if the West were going to provide the help necessary to change the outcome is a horrible deceitful lie; goading the govt and the people of Ukraine into feeling they have to try to defeat the Russian armed forces with promises of weapons that will come too late ,too few, and mostly never get to the right places in one piece.
    The only way Russia will not do what they said they will do is by the US NATO becoming directly and openly involved in an all out war against Russia and they do seem to mostly wanting to avoid that so far. But what is going to happen when the nonsense being aired here by the author and his disciples and the Western political leaders can no longer be believed by even the most determinedly delusional. How are those politicians and propagandists going to adjust to both admitting they were wrong , and that the West does not have the balls to prevent Russia doing exactly as she sees fit.
    One problem with democracy is that no individual politician ever has to take personal responsibility for important decisions . It is always shared, so someone like Lindsey Graham can speak as irresponsible as he thinks will appeal to his voters and he will never be held responsible for the end of the world in a ball of nuclear fire. This shared responsibility is very likely to be a factor in what happens when it is obvious that Russia has done as they wished , and the Donetsk and Lugansk republics are self governed and safe. Who is going to step up and admit that they couldn’t be stopped. I don’t think it is psychologically possible for the kind of person who mostly get to be a politician in the US or UK or EU to swallow that.
    I hope we are far enough away but I doubt it.
    D J S

    • Well-written DJS. My fears too. My greatest fear is that a certain trigger-happy element might initiate a black-flag nuclear incident. I hope not. We are only a fruitloop away from a nuclear war. And I fear that we have fruitloops in the West in positions of power. Putin can also be seen that way with his fundamentalist Orthodox Christian outlook. A bad recipe.

  16. Hey Hey, Putin, Ukraine will win

    I am old enough to have joined protest marches up Auckland’s Queen Street against America’s war in Vietnam.

    We used to chant, ‘Ho Ho, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam will win’.

    When the US forces were in full retreat and scrambling to get out of the country, I remember that in the very last protest march against the war up Queen Street, we changed the protest chant to ‘Ho Ho, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam did win’.

    Just like the Vietnam war the invading super power will be defeated by its smaller adversary. This is because the whole population of Ukraine, just as the population of Vietnam was, have been mobilised and are motivated to repel the invader.

    https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/world/how-zelensky-harnessed-the-immense-power-of-the-citizen?fbclid=IwAR0RYD0Z6KjAVSwcCLJCa8Y7Ai503-vpoyCLwkYTR2jkd9edj-W5A7bXt6s

    Already Ukrainian people have suffered terrible losses at the hands of the Russian invader and have had to make terrible sacrifices and undergo much suffering in their efforts to defend themselves.r. After making such sacrifices and undergoing such suffering, surrender becomes unthinkable.

    The US had to bring in conscription to prosecute the war in Vietnam, and they still lost.

    Putin is contemplating bringing in conscription to prosecute the war in Ukraine. But will still lose.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/300621973/russia-will-soon-exhaust-its-combat-capabilities-in-ukraines-east-western-intelligence-predicts

    • Romantic rubbish, Pat. I am old enough too be at those demonstrations too. But when I saw how the NZ Herald portrayed the demonstrators, I understood that there was no point in demonstrating: they used nasty photos etc to turn the majority of the population against you, and they succeeded.
      Your huge mistake, Pat, is to fail to see that the USA is behind the Ukraine coup d’état in 2014, just as the USA was behind the fake South-Vietnamese governments. The leopard does not change his spots.
      Like the Viet Cong and the NVA, the Russians are starting to make it clear that they are winning in the Ukraine.
      How did you end up on the wrong side, Pat?

      • In Vino. There is no way that Russia can possibly win the war in Ukraine. Not without resorting to the use of nuclear weapons at least.
        Which Putin has threatened..

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70ScZMh144w

        And which is also something Nixon also contemplated doing when he realised the US was losing the war in Vietnam.

        https://www.nytimes.com/1985/07/22/us/nixon-says-he-considered-using-atomic-weapons-on-4-occasions.html

        Even though Russian is losing, it is my opinion that Putin will not resort to nuclear weapons to win the war, for the same reasons that Nixon didn’t. Which was that American people themselves would not have stood for it.

        Neither will the Russian people.

        • You’re workig on faulty data, making misaligned parallels. Russia is fighting for Russia in Ukraine. And until Nato accept Russia exists and is sovereign and sign on to a stable peace and demilitarises, Russia will keep going with its denazification programme.
          And for those who don’t understand, this is Western diplomacy, and Western culture in fgeneral right now: Agree with me or you are wrong. Misinformation, cancelled, a threat, sanctioned, segregated…
          That is absolutism. That is domineering control. That is Nazidom.

    • Whatever temporary victories are achieved by the Russian Federation. The US war in Vietnam, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the US war in Afghanistan, show that no foreign invader and occupier be it the US or Russia or indeed the old British empire has ever been able to prevail against a united local insurgent population determined to rid their country of the occupying power.

      • A point that I have also been making since the start of this conflict . . yes Russia will win battles and occupy cities but as previous conflicts have shown us (including recent ones such as Iraq / Afghanistan) it is very hard to impossible to occupy a foreign country when the resident local population are largely united against being occupied / counter with irregular warfare using IED’s and snipers etc.
        Russia may win the battle(s) but this certainly doesn’t mean that it will win the war.

        • That’s the whole point James.
          The people of the Donbass have made it clear that they want Russian aligned Autonomy. Not rule by the Coup established US aligned regime in Kiev that they did not participate in the election of subsequent to the coup.
          Your general hypothesis is correct . It’s the application of it that is mistaken .
          D J S

          • Point taken re the Donbass David but Kherson and Kyiv for that matter are not in the Donbass . .

        • The Ukraine government spokesperson Mykhailo Podolyak told the BBC last Thursday, “complete lack of parity” between Ukraine and Russia, 200 Ukraine soldiers are being killed every day.

          These horrendous losses reminded me of the famous quote by Ho Chi Minh;

          “You can kill 10 of my men for every one I kill of yours, yet even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”

          Official figures released by the Vietnam government in 1995 proved the numbers to be almost twice Ho Chi Minh’s estimate, at 18.9 to 1.

          But Vietnam still won.

          In Vietnam the Americans said they never lost a battle, but they lost the war.

          The only battle the US really lost in Vietnam, and it was a crucial one was to win hearts and minds.

          The horrendous losses from US bombings, military incursions and atrocities, only hardened the Vietnamese people’s resolve to defeat them.

          The same is happening in Ukraine.

          No matter how much territory they occupy, or how many cities they turn to rubble, Russia has already lost.

          The Russian leadership just can’t bring themselves to admit it.

          Ukraine and the Russian Federation are both involved in an existential struggle.

          Vladimir Putin has compared himself to the Russian leader, Peter the Great, who defeated Sweden after a 20 year war and increased the territory of the Russian empire at Sweden’s expense.

          In my opinion a more accurate comparison to Putin would be Czar Nicholas, defeated by Japan.

          …..Emperor Nicholas II remained convinced that Russia could still win if it fought on; he chose to remain engaged in the war and await the outcomes of key naval battles. As hope of victory dissipated, he continued the war to preserve the dignity of Russia by averting a “humiliating peace”.

          (We all know what occurred in the Russian empire to Emperor Nicholas II after that).

          Russian speakers in the Donbass confront invading Russian Federation troops.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgmKygmkqSA

  17. “…G7 countries alongside the leaders of the BRICS nations, the image noted that the population of the former amounts to 777 million, while the BRICS countries are home to 3.2 billion people. ”

    Game Over! The West lose!

  18. Sympathy for the Russians, more so for the Ukrainians. For the benefit of both I wish a less terrible birth of democracy for the Russians than the Germans. The world can’t midwife that sort of birth anymore. The world is at its end.

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