GUEST BLOG: Ben Morgan – Tide of war is turning

79
5405

It has been a week since we predicted that the Russians were exhausted.  The hypothesis being that Russia’s ground forces were worn out in the east, only pushing forwards because of overwhelming artillery fire. And, that as Ukraine started to successfully deploy modern NATO artillery this advantage would disappear and Russia would not be able to continue its advance. Further, that as this situation impacted on the Russian forces it was likely that a Ukrainian offensive would start.  

Last week’s events have tended to support this analysis, in the east we have seen two key combat indicators that tell us the Russians are in trouble in the battle to advance towards Sloviansk:

  • Ground gained: The Russians have not made any significant progress since the last article.  Numerous attacks have been launched and repelled, these are small attacks so may be probes or could indicate that Russia’s strength is ebbing and that they simply can’t muster the numbers to attack in strength.
  • NASA Fire Data: Analysts are using NASA satellite records of wild fires to measure artillery and bombing activity. The NASA satellite maps show fires, in war zones fires are often started by artillery or bombs so this system provides useful independent information about where bombing and shelling is occurring.  This week there are less fires on the Ukrainian side than in previous weeks indicating less artillery bombardment and that Ukraine’s artillery strategy may be working. 

Taken together these indicators support the assessment that Russian advances in the east are culminating.  It should be noted that Wagner Group soldiers did successfully capture the Vuhlehirsk power plant but this is a relatively minor victory.  The general trend is that the battles to advance on Sloviansk from either Izyum, Siversk or Bahkmut are all static.  

This week it was reported that Russian forces are being re-deployed from the advance on Sloviansk. Both north for a possible offensive against Kharkov and south to bolster defences around Kherson.  This probably gives the Russians to much credit; it is unlikely that Russia has the capability to move large numbers of troops around and both for an offensive near Kharkov and to defend Kherson at the same time. If the Russians had any kind of significant reserve, it would have been used as a ‘second echelon’ to push west after Lysychansk was captured securing a crossing point on the Sieverts-Donetsk River.  It is more likely that the Russians don’t have significant reserves and that any movement of forces in this area is relatively minor.

However, on 30 July 2022 photographs of Russian troops massing north of Kharkov, on the Russian side of the border became available.  This force is interesting and what is planned with it is a key question.  Is this force a legitimate threat or is it a bluff? It is most likely that this force is being constituted from poorly trained, covertly mobilised forces arriving from across Russia. It is likely that it will be deployed in an assault.  An assault that will not be successful, but that is designed to draw Ukrainian attention away from other areas.  

In the south, the situation appears to be developing as predicted with the Ukrainians using Russia’s increasing weakness to launch an offensive, the current operation aiming to recapture Kherson. Early, last week the Ukrainians carefully targeted the Antonivskyi and P47 bridges to ‘cut off’ the 49th Combined Arms Army garrison on the west side of the Dnipro River and are now advancing east to encircle the city. The operation is marked by tight Ukrainian control of information and apparent disinformation. The Ukrainian government issuing instructions to local government leaders in the area not to publish information on social media limiting the amount of open-source information available. Further, although media reports claim that HIMARs is being used against the bridges it looks more like the damage is caused by medium artillery, likely GPS guided Excalibur shells.  

It is reported that Russia has about 10-12 battalion tactical groups in the Kherson area, about 10,000 soldiers and that they are moving another ten battalion tactical groups to the area as quickly as they can aiming to build a force of about 20-25,000 and there are reports that they aim to launch a counter-attack.   It is unlikely that these troops are coming from the area near Sloviansk. Instead they are likely to be from areas in the south. 

The big question is what happens next?  

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

The best way to analyse Ukrainian strategy is to think about American doctrine.  Since 2014, the United States has invested billions training the Ukrainian military. Even during the war the United States is training senior Ukrainian officers and it appears that the investment was well founded. The Ukrainians demonstrated a smart, tactical command structure well-versed in doctrine like ‘mission command’, the philosophy of devolving tactical authority to the lowest levels encouraging flexibility and innovation on the frontline.  The defeat of Russia’s first attacks on Kharkov and Kiev demonstrated Ukraine’s level of tactical flexibility and frontline leadership.

However, if we are going to try and predict Ukraine’s next move it is the higher levels of command doctrine that we need to understand.  And, if we look at recent American wars, we can see a number of doctrinal concepts that may help us to see how the Ukrainians will fight in the next few weeks. Understanding modern American war-fighting requires an introduction to ‘Manoeuvre Warfare Theory’. This is a war-fighting doctrine that underpins modern NATO military thinking. This doctrine stresses the idea that wars are won by destroying the enemy’s will to fight rather than trying to destroy their forces.  If we look at American campaigns since this doctrine developed, they are characterised by the following tactics:

  • Fire supremacy. Using battlefield ‘effects’ like airpower and artillery to ‘shock and awe’ opponents wiping out command and communications and paralysing the enemy’s leadership and logistics.  
  • Deception. The famous ‘Left Hook’ used by coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm or the diversionary attack used in the Second Battle of Fallujah are examples of deception.  In both examples, the enemy was engaged from one direction distracting them, while the real attack came from another direction.  
  • Information war. If your main target is the enemy’s will to fight then it is vital that you dominate the information domain and ensure that the enemy sees and hears what you want them to rather than being able to make informed decisions.
  • Simultaneity.  A military jargon for using fire, movement and information war to overwhelm the enemy’s ability to make good decisions.  

Often when teaching tactics the Soviets are used as historical examples of Manoeuvre Warfare Theory. Soviet tactics emphasised all of these key doctrines and Soviet campaigns were typified by the ability mass artillery fire quickly, using deception, rapid advances and propaganda together to overwhelm the enemy’s ability to fight effectively. Think of the Soviet campaigns of World War Two; Vasilevsky’s effortless ‘Blitzkrieg’ of the Japanese in Manchuria, Vatutin’s seamless transition to the offensive after the Battle of Kursk that drove the Nazi’s out of eastern Ukraine or Zhukov’s advance through Belorussia and into Europe in 1944.  All operations typified by the use of tactics that would now be call ‘Manoeuverist’.  

It seems likely that the Ukrainians are working to these tactical concepts and developing a strategy based on this doctrine.  Throughout the war the Ukrainians have dominated the ‘information war’ their propaganda has effectively positioned them as the ‘plucky underdog’ with moral legitimacy.  A good example of their success in this sphere is mainstream media coverage of the Azov battalion’s last stand in Mariupol.  How often was the neo-Nazi history of the Azov battalion mentioned? Or that its emblem, the wolfsangel is a Nazi symbol? Instead, the Azovs were presented as heroic freedom fighters. Further, Ukrainian ‘OPSEC’ or operational security is very good, how much open-source information is available about their unit strengths or locations? Ukraine is dominating the information battle.

A key failure of Russia’s planning is not securing air supremacy when they had the chance at the beginning of the war.  Soon they will pay the price for this omission because Russia does not have air superiority so the only way to achieve fire supremacy is with artillery. Ukraine is now deploying modern, long-range artillery and has started an effective strategy to counter Russian artillery supremacy. This strategy includes targeting Russian command centres. We can legitimately predict that as more accurate and long-range NATO artillery systems are deployed the balance of fire will tip, and Ukraine will soon be able to achieve fire supremacy in the areas it wants to operate. 

So we can see that the Ukrainians are winning the information battle, are likely to defeat Russia’s artillery establishing fire supremacy and are targeting Russian command centres.  This means that the next doctrinal element to create ‘simultaneity’ that we should be looking for is deception. The Ukrainians are moving in the south but is Kherson their real goal?  

Kherson is a definitely an immediate objective, however it seems unlikely that there will be a significant battle for the city; or that it is a final goal.  If the Russians are ‘cut off’ in Kherson it seems more likely that they will surrender than fight to the death.  The morale and motivation of Russia’s frontline soldiers has been an issue throughout the war and a force isolated on the west side of the wide Dnipro River will be at significant risk of simply – giving up.  By surrounding Kherson Ukraine is aiming to undermine the defenders will to fight. If they do stand and fight; the Ukrainians would be better to isolate and bypass the city, perhaps using the Dnipro as a secure right flank for an advance north or crossing the river and advancing east. 

The next moves, will depend on what Ukraine has hidden either in the south-west between Odessa and Kherson, supporting the current offensive; or further north in the top of the Zaporizhzia and Kherson Oblasts (regions) and in the east of Donetsk Oblast roughly in the triangle between Zaporizhzia, Dnipro and Kramatorsk. If Ukraine has been able to concentrate a reserve in either of these areas this is where their next offensive operation is likely to start.  

In summary this week look out for the following activity and these predictions:

  • In the north Russian forces will build up and threaten Kharkov.  This is the divert Ukrainian attention away from other areas.  An attack may be launched but will not be successful, Russian forces are not up to the task and the Ukrainians are well prepared. 
  • In the east the front line will remain relatively static. The Ukrainians will continue to hold their positions near Sloviansk and may continue to strike north towards Izyum.  However, this operation is not about offensive action but rather fixing a large part of Russia’s combat power in one place far away from the decisive battle. 
  • Watch the south.  The Russians are reinforcing Kherson most likely with troops that were occupying nearby areas like Mariupol or Melitopol. This movement of troops west will weaken the Russian’s northern boundary roughly along a line through the following towns and villages; Kamainska, Orikhiv, Huliapole and Vuledhar. If the Ukrainians do have forces available within the triangle between Zaporizhzia, Dnipro and Kramatorsk then this weakness could be exploited.  The Ukrainians pushing south towards the coast and threatening to split the ‘Crimean land bridge’.  Even a feint in this area will force the Russians to make sudden decisions between defending Kherson and stopping the new advance. This is the kind of rapid decision-making based on sudden changes that is forced on decision-makers overwhelmed by an enemy force that has achieved simultaneity. 
  • It is also possible that the Ukrainians have moved too soon and the Russian counter attack will push them back from Kherson. However, this seems less likely. 

August will be an important month in this war, it is high summer and the best time for military operations.  In Autumn, the rains will come and movement will be harder. Further, intelligence indicates that Russia has plans for annexation of the occupied territories in September. Ukraine needs to move now while Russia is weak.  Let’s hope that Ukraine has the combat power available to inflict a significant defeat on Russia before autumn and before their country is stolen in a sham annexation. 

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

79 COMMENTS

  1. The suggestion that the Ukrainians are fighting according to American war doctrine is surely not very encouraging given the American failures to win any war in recent times.

    • @ F.
      Yea but… Modern wars are never meant to be ‘won’. They’re meant to generate vast fortunes for the U$A military industrial complex and its shareholders. The longer wars drag on the better for the bottom line. Ask any Afghani, Palestinian or Iraqi. Or Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian or Cuban, or the victims of the many other smaller incursions I’ve forgotten.
      U$A Secretary of State Nancy Pelosi is a cook. She’s a liar and a manipulator and feeds insider trading info re financial military advantage to her husband who can use that information to make millions of dollars while skirting just outside the law. That’s not a politician making tactical decisions that might best suit the quest for global peace and unity, that’s a crook doing crooked shit to make personal billions.
      When I came to understand that, thanks to Russell Brands excellent YouTube channel, I suddenly realised what I’d suspected for a long time… We’re all fucked. If you’re a soldier and you feel the need to go off to a theater of war and shoot others just like you, you’d better be sure you’re not just doing so to make billions of dollars for amoral and narcissistic psychopaths like pelosi.
      “Are members of congress like Nancy Pelosi getting rich because they’re lucky or because they have inside information that they give to their partners who then make millions on the stock market? ”
      https://youtu.be/3U4amyIOdBo

      • Past performance isn’t a good indicator of future performance.

        America hasn’t had a standard military minded appointment to The Joint Chiefs since Eisenhower. They’ve all been political appointments. Guaranteed that all changes when the west jumps head first into WW3 pearl harbour style.

    • American doctrine isn’t what failed.
      It’s the type of war they tried to fight.
      Afghanistan, Vietnam and Afghanistan for a second time tells us that occupying a country full of guerilla belligerents is a fools errand.
      Even if Russia was to occupy the whole of Ukraine, they couldn’t hold it for long.
      Afghanistan exhausted the US’ taste for it and the US is a LOT more powerful that Russia and the Taliban a LOT weaker than Ukraine.

      • Quite – Other than Desert Storm etc post WW2 the US has been largely involved in trying to deal with insurgency conflicts which have been proven to be all but impossible to prevail in (Soviets of course sharing this experience in Afghanistan) . . let’s remember as well that US involvement in the current Ukraine conflict is no more (and in fact very likely to be less than) Soviet (Russian) involvement in the Vietnam War.

      • since ww2 the yanks have relied on more and more raw firepower to try to keep politically unacceptable US casualties down.

        this leads to an over reliance on ‘tech’ whether vietnam ‘body counts’ or drones today…an agile enemy can run rings around them.

        it’s also worth noting the USs recruitment problem with a large percentage of recruits being literally too fat or stupid(even a grunt needs to lace up his boots) to be eligible for even the US forces – look it up not an anti-yank spiel their generals are worried about it to the extent of forming pre-bootcamp training to try and get them into shape,,the uk had the same problem in ww1 except it was years of working class malnutrition that was the issue not 6 big macs for breakfast.

        • Gargarin – why did you not mention the ridiculous, hopelessly over-optimistic stats being fed back to us?
          Dare I fear that we are getting the same treatment again? Every example of heroic suffering is Ukranian!
          Every school/hospital/old folks’ home blown up is always by the bad Russians!
          I think it is getting tedious, just like the Vietnam crap did.

          • In Vino of course the Russians are the villains. They are the invaders. If they withdraw they won’t be. This is in simple language so even you can understand it. So what sources do you get your information from? Let me guess: Sputnik, Russia Today, Pravda? Oh I forgot you can’t read Russian!

            • US websites Moon of Alabama and Vineyard of the Saker fortunately offer some alternative views to your very one-eyed reckons. No doubt such sources will fail to meet with your lofty approval.

            • Um all the named sources are in English for those who want to read or understand. Linked with sources for anyone to check, what does the MSM do? that’s right, Nothing to verify.

    • So what shooting war has the US lost since WW2? Or are you talking about the popular political war? Two very different things

      • korea draw
        nam ignominious defeat
        bay of pigs pushed right off the beaches into the sea
        afganistan defeat

        throw in a shed load of coups and ‘colonial wars’ doesn’t look too smart does it.

  2. Clearly precision guided weapons are over rated.

    IMO what strengthened the MAD doctine was the pitiful failure of The War on terror.

    All precision guided weapons was supposed to do was take out all of Russia’s nukeclear arsenal in one salvo. The proxy war in Ukraine a one salvo hit job is not.

    I don’t want to ruin anyone’s plans for peace but Russia didn’t initiate this war. Trump did when he sold Javelins to Ukraine.

    It’s like the worker that gets his sleeve caught in the machine. We were okay for a little bit but the off button is across the room and all our weapons is pointed in the wrong direction.

    Max ten years China will begin reengineering skuttled wrecks left over from the battle, missile tech, guidance systems, Whatevers.

    5000 years ago humanity didn’t have the technology to destroy all habitable life. Now that capitalisms baby, technology has arrived, innovation has become about finding knew ways of destroying ourselves increasing the risks of a MAD utopia.

    I guess the creator of The Star Trek franchise, Jean Roddenberry, was a sage. Capitalism will try and destroy itself before it can be saved.

    • Hmm, so now the selling of relatively small anti-tank weapons is the reason to start a major war. New Zealand has just purchased four P8 Poseidon aircraft with advanced intelligence and anti-submarine capabilities. Does that mean we have now provided the casus belli to be invaded?

      • Wrong way around, doctor. Russia ain’t gana come down here to salvage a drowned P8.

        The key word here is “innovation” and creating new ways of destroying ourselves. War has this uncanny nak of innovating more lethal ways of ending everything before it helps anyone. Great care must be taken to make any military grade research and development top secret punishable by SAS’d.

        I’m not gana do a better guide on how to end everything. But you start enough proxy wars, eventually counters and reverse counters emerge.

        All I was trying to say is sometimes new does not mean better.

      • Eventually high attrition rates will pull NATO troops into those high tech millitary vehicals and weapons we’ve sent for good reasons. One reason is Kamala Harris wants to give Ukraine a NATO membership.

        Don’t forget the red flag of “the Russian’s/China are reading all of our communications.” (Believe it noob not) lots of people just try to extract value from you, and have no interest in you as a person. If i notice people like this, i take sadistic pleasure in waiting till they need something then ignoring you, lol.

  3. Look at the Ukraine Map Ben, your correct that the Tide is turning but it’s Russia that’s surfing that wave to Victory, the huge gains can’t be explained away by your nonsense article! Ukraine has not made any significant gains in this War despite the fact it’s 200k Russian’s fighting against 700k Ukrainian forces! Most of Russia’s Troops are in Russia, Putin hasn’t even committed his entire Forces to this Special Military operation & the ones deployed are constantly refreshed & rotated, whereas the Ukrainian Forces are the ones who are demoralised & exhausted! By the end of August/September this conflict will be over & Medevev put out a Map that shows a defeated Ukraine ceding massive amounts of Territory to a expanded Russia leaving a rump, landlocked Ukraine consisting of just a small bit of Land around Kiev! Poland is also going to seize Ukrainian Lands in the West in Lyiv & Romania will grap Land on their other Flank! You need to get your Russiaphobic propaganda from somewhere else Ben because your views aren’t being confirmed in the real World scenario being played out on the ground in Ukraine!

      • the poles done it in the past and indulged in a bit of ethnic cleansing

        …everyone in eastern europe has a grudge against everyone else in eastern europe

    • Hey Mr ‘Look at the Map’ – Have a look at the map tracking German-led invasion of USSR pre Stalingrad and what ended up happening there . .

    • You are massively deluded Antforce62. You can have your fantasies. Russia has had massive casualties – 60,000+ killed or injured. I’ll never forget the pathetic sight of severely disabled Afghan war veterans begging for alms in Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St Petersburg. Just think another generation of war wounded in Russia.

      • Shame you didn’t visit the US Cantabrian, there you will see 20x the factor with their wars of aggression, all illegal of course as well as the sanctions against Russia which IS a breach of international law BTW. Watch the video on YouTube about the Cathedral of the Russian military and you might get a sense why Country 404 is lost.

  4. Hey, you forgot that the Ukraine President was getting on the Vogue Magazine cover, while demanding money from other nations to continue the war…the South American nations told him to take a hike.
    Also, no more weapons are coming from the West, until they (Ukraine) disarm the pro – Nazi Battalion – Azov Battalion, according to pro – NATO nations…
    Ukraine is stuffed

  5. I do not wish to be included in your “Let us wish”. The Ukraine has been completely dishonourable. It is also very neo-liberally doing down its own people. Zelensky would not be in power but for his war. I wish for Russia to achieve its limited aims, and then for it to move out – except for providing support and protection for Donbass. The Ukrainian people with be able to recover, get rid of Zelensky (though it is hard to identify a likeable successor), and live in peace, possibly as a EU member, but disarmed and not part of any NATO structure.

    • The Russians and Putin have no friends and will be perpetual pariahs. They are cowardly bullies – a super power attacking a defenseless sovereign nation. The population voted the Russian’s sympathetic leader out by a landslide. The only way out for the Russians is use of nuclear weapons then the world will suffer – and Putin will be the first target. Why don’t the Russians direct all their military spending on bringing their peasants into the 22nd century.

  6. A thoughtful assessment Ben.
    I’m intrigued by the fact that the road and the rail bridges have been cut, but not the one up by the dam. That has made me think that this will be where the Ukrainians plan to cross the Dnipro and access the south, and yes, a drive to the coast from here would cut the Russians in half.
    Of course that could also work for the Russians heading north. Knowledge of troop dispositions around the dam could make this option clearer but as you pointed out information is no longer freely available. So who knows.
    Destruction of the dam is theoretically not an option because of the large scale damage downstream but with the Russians not being averse to war crimes this too could be a possibility for them. I would be very surprised if the Ukrainians destroyed the dam.
    Let’s see what you make of August…
    Thanks.

  7. Civil war already starting in Chechnya will end the Russian Federation. Kadyrov is target numero uno. The end is nigh for the new Hitler.

  8. I checked the map since the last “update”. Russian and Allied forces still moving west.
    Most impressive bit of accuracy for Ukrainian rocketry a hit on the AZOV POWs. A cynic might suggest that given that birds sing that this might be very convenient.

  9. NATO/EU need to start pressuring both sides for some sort of peace. No one will listen to my ideas, but I am just putting it out there…

    1) All POW’s to be exchanged and those suspected of war crimes (on both sides) handed over to the ICC
    2) Ukraine joins NATO and the EU, but a permanent hold on all new members to NATO is implemented.
    3) Russian forces pull out of Belarus and renounces all claims to any territory beyond it borders as at 1 January, 1992. In return, no NATO bases are to be placed or troops stationed on territory that was part of the USSR as at 31 December, 1988.
    4) A referendum to be held in Crimea on whether it 1) remains part of Russia, 2) re-joins Ukraine or 3) becomes an independent nation. Same with Donestk and Luhansk
    5) Russian language remains an official language in Ukraine
    6) Ukraine communist party and other pro-Russian parties are un-banned
    7) Russia to sell 25% stakes in Gazprom and Rosneft to Ukraine in lieu of reperations

    The fighting *WILL* get bloodier and nastier. Peace must be an option.

    • This is a Nato war millsy. Get up to speed with what’s been happening, you are a bit behind in some of your suggestions and wrong in others

    • Agreed war is hell and peace needs to happen.
      But why would Russia even remotely look at your terms?
      There are a few sensible and reasonable ones, but Russia paying reperations for a war the West/NATO/USA and with gladness the Ukrainians, started. You maybe need to ‘smell the roses’.
      But we do agree war is horrid and it needs to be stopped ASAP.
      So tell the Americans and NATO to back off and go back to the borders of 1990ish as you said. That is what Russia has been asking for, for 20+ years now. Honour the agreement made with Gorby that convinced him to dismantle the USSR.
      Pity industrial industrial complex that runs a neo fascist USA Govt didn’t do like wise.

      • Kerriman you totally disregard what the Ukrainian people want. It is not a Russia v. US proxy war. It is the actions of a bully led by a brutal dictator.

  10. I think people are underestimating Russian resolve. They are barely using their air superiority or advanced weapon systems, and have been relying on wearing the enemy down with relentless artillery (which I gather if you do it on a 24/7 basis, thus stopping any sleep, and causing PTSD) which I gather has been highly effective (and very cost effective – an artillery shell costs about $1,000 vs over $1,000,000 for a single cruise missile, so you can fire off 1,000 howitzer shots for the cost of one cruise missile!). As long as Ukraine remains incapable of return fire (which get immediately taken out by Russian drones strikes), this war is going to keep on going for as long as it takes.

  11. I don’t believe a word of what I hear about the war. I have lost count the numbers of times the MSM has come out and said Putin is on his last legs from some illness. And that’s for starters

    • The fact that the “free” West has effectively shut down all Russian media, says a lot about what they don’t want us know about. Almost like there is something to hide.

    • Agree. I was rather perturbed by the ‘Tide is changing’ headline.
      From what I remember of Ben’s perspective, the tide has been running full against Putin right from the start!

      Time will tell, not armchair experts.

  12. I think we can draw some conclusions about how modern battles are fought from what has been observed.

    First is that a strategic approach trumps tactical response. Russia set out to demilitarise Ukraine and to “deNazify” it. The strategy was to simply destroy Ukraines offensive capability then to reduce its forces. Concurrent strategy was to neuter the Ukrainian industrial and agricultural base by seizing the East.

    Ukraines response was decided in the first week when their airforce / air defences were destroyed, then her mobile forces ability to operate. This has resulted in Ukraine only being able to defend, not mount a strategic offensive.

    Given the nature of the prepared defenses in the East, and the nature of modern anti armour and anti aircraft weaponry using a blitz approach with deep penetration by mobile forces was never going to be possible for Russia. Therefore to achieve their strategic goals they have deliberately turned this into a war of attrition by way of massive superiority in artillery and rocketry. Troops and armour are only committed after, meaning very slow and deliberate progress. This ensures maximum Ukrainian casualties and minimum Russian losses.

    How is it going? Like Verdun on steroids and only one side is being bled dry. The wisest thing Ukraine could do is to remove Zhelensky and sue for peace. For the Ukrainian citizenry it might be worth joining the Russian Federation and renouncing the “war debt” the West has financed.

  13. The Ruble up apparently the strongest currency this year. Three months after the ruble’s value fell to less than a U.S. penny amid the toughest economic sanctions imposed on a country in modern history, Russia’s currency has mounted a stunning turnaround’

    The Russian ruble was at 62 per USD in early August, remaining well above levels prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cementing its rebound from the record low of 150 touched in March, supported by strict capital controls and trade imbalances. Higher prices for energy and commodities since the start of the war lifted export revenues and relative ruble demand amid a collapse in importing activity due to sanctions. On top of that, monetary authorities mandated hefty fees and negative interest rates on currencies from “unfriendly” states. The disparity is reflected in the widest current account surplus on record of USD 70.1 billion in Q2 from USD 17.3 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year. Strength in the ruble withstood the CBR cutting borrowing costs to below pre-invasion levels, amid continuous weekly deflation readings and calls for ruble devaluation by policymakers in the central bank and the State Duma.

    Normally, a country facing international sanctions and a major military conflict would see investors fleeing and a steady outflow of capital, causing its currency to drop. But Russia’s unusually aggressive measures to keep money from leaving the country, in combination with a dramatic rise in fossil-fuel prices, are working to create demand for the ruble and pushing up its value.

    But in the West Russia is losing the war?????????????????????????????

  14. Read the room Ben and not read MSM. Ironic really as the MSM is strangely now silent about the brave Ukrainians.
    Both Russia and China have announced their capabilities with Hypersonic missiles using the exact same language “lightning” on the same day, Russia’s new maritime doctrine which is a big F/U to the West and Country 404 is now letting even more dregs out of prison to fight, you know convicted Pedos and torturers. Really tipping the dregs out of the bottom of the barrel.

    Time to face reality and try to adjust to the NWO. For the past 500 years the C.C.C (Corrupt, Capitalist, Colonials) which comprises 13% of the “Rules based order” has been bleeding the other 87% dry, so really it’s irrelevant if Russia wins or loses as new trading blocks and routes are being established bypassing the West, meanwhile NZ is being sold out by Judas Jacinda coddling up to the US and NATO since she was invited into the “Club” under the guise protecting us from “China”
    So the question is do we want to bend over and grab our ankles for the US and NATO or be adults and treat both China and Russia with the common respect they are asking for and finally regain our Sovereignty?
    The US is rotting from the inside, all Empires must end as you can’t argue with History.

      • Are you any better, Cantabrian? I think you are a bullshitting bluffer who cannot speak real Russian beyond a smattering of pigeon conversational Russian that you picked up from a few colleagues who helped you a lot with their knowledge of English while you worked with them for a few months.
        Do you know what mastery of a second language means? Give evidence please.

        • In Vino, I don’t need to give evidence to an idiot like you. Suffice to say my university has recognised my prowess at the highest level.

  15. Phew! Lots of Russian bots posting here.
    Keep them coming Ben, they’re most informative.
    (You forgot to mention that Ukraine now has US drones to replace the Turkish ones that were being jammed. This will make life much harder for the Russians)

  16. American taxpayers must be fuming with their hard earned money going into this disgusting lost cause, especially seeing Zelensky taking the piss with his photoshoots and his pleas for more money to finance his lifestyle. And news out in recent days that Ukraine bombed their own prisoners of war and also spread outlawed mines throughout the countryside for kids to pick up. Remember when Jacinda Ardern shrieked her Ukranian battle cry in parliament?

  17. Well this is what a Ukrainian journalist says is happening in Donbass
    The two towns near Donetsk, heavily fortified since 2015, have seen heavy fighting over the past week. On Tuesday, Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov, embedded with the military in Donbass, posted an expletive-laden report from Peski calling it a “meat grinder.” Butusov infamously filmed himself firing a cannon on the Donbass “separatists” last year.

    “There is no counter-battery fire, none at all,” he wrote on Tuesday. Russian forces were firing “6,500 shells per f****g village in less than 24 hours. It’s been like this for six days now, and it’s hard to fathom how any number of our infantry remain alive under this barrage.”

    Ukrainian troops were holding the line, Butusov claimed, but “without counter-battery fighting, it turns into a senseless meat grinder, where huge numbers of our infantry are chewed up in one day.” According to Butusov, a reserve platoon that tried to advance was taken apart in minutes, with only one out of 15 men left unharmed.

    “All the reserves are spent, the military equipment goes up in flames, and the enemy approaches and takes our positions without any problems after another barrage of artillery,” he wrote. “Right now we are losing Péski, all our human and material capabilities are almost exhausted.”
    D J S

    • It certainly does seem Russia’s strategy is to hold fast, rathe than accelerate the move forward, and destroy all those Ukrainian soldiers, reserves, and weaponry as they are thrown into the breach.The Russians still have by far superior artlllery power, so can minimise its own casualties.

  18. Nice to read some thoughtful analysis Ben. Unfortunately, I suspect Ukrainian forces may be as exhausted and as subject to logistic challenges as the Russians – and that they will be unable to launch a pivotal offensive in the weeks ahead – but I hope to be proven wrong.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.