GUEST BLOG: Ben Morgan – Complete Russian collapse in Ukraine is imminent


Russia’s army in Ukraine continues to collapse. After capturing Lyman, the Ukrainian offensive in the north-east continues; and their forces now threaten Kremina roughly 30km east of Lyman. Running north-south, parallel with the Zherebets River is the P66 highway that links Kremina with Svatove 40km to the north.  This road is Russia’s new defensive line protecting occupied Luhansk and troops from Russia’s 3rd Motor Rifle Division are reported to be digging in along this line.  If the Ukrainians break it and capture either Svatove, Kremina or both; then Luhansk’s open countryside awaits providing limited opportunity for defence between there and the vitally important transport junction of Starobilisk.   

At Starobilisk, the P07 and H21 highways meet. The H21 running north/south and the P07 east/west, extending outwards like a spider’s web moving trucks from Russia into the campaign area and moving supplies towards Kremina, Svatove and south-west to towards Severodonetsk and Lysyshansk. But more important for Russia’s war effort, Starobilisk is a rail junction.   Essentially, if Starobilisk is captured then the northern half of Luhansk Oblast is likely to fall to Ukraine. 

This week, the Luhansk Peoples Republic’s ambassador to Russia, Rodion Miroshnik stated there are 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers west of Kreminna and that Russian garrisons at Svatove and Kremina are starting to be cut off so we know that a battle is coming in this area.

Further south in Kherson, this week confirmed that the Ukrainians are maintaining their momentum.  The offensive in this area is progressing as anticipated with Ukrainian forces closing like a vice on Kherson.  Russian defenders in the northern half of occupied Kherson, west of the Dnipro River withdrew roughly 60km this week to avoid being encircled and captured or destroyed.  The Ukrainians also continue to maintain pressure on Russia’s supply lines and command and control in this area with an interdiction campaign.  Using precision guided artillery and rockets the Ukrainians are destroying bridges, supply dumps, headquarters and even the Russian Federal Security Service’s office in Kherson.  The impact of these strikes is to isolate Russia’s frontline soldiers in Kherson from supplies and support. 

And, it seems to be working.  Reliable reports from the frontline confirm that the morale of Russian soldiers is failing, a situation exacerbated by poor leadership at lower command levels and by the policy of deploying newly mobilised soldiers directly into frontline units.  A practice that undermines unit cohesiveness and demonstrates the level of desperation that Russia’s military is experiencing.   Russia started the war with too few soldiers and after losing 80,000 casualties they are suffering terribly. The simple fact is that soldiers are human and if their morale fails, they will run or surrender.  The evidence in Ukraine points to Russian commanders on the ground understanding that their soldiers are at breaking point and withdrawing early to avoid large numbers of soldiers falling into Ukrainian captivity. 

Further, mobilisation appears to be failing generally because years of corruption mean Russia does not have the material or human resources to mobilise quickly and effectively.  A telling indication of this is being reported by the Institute for the Study of War; that “Local Russian officials appear to be frantically looking for ways to fund their mobilized units as the Kremlin increasingly expects local administrations to pay for the war effort from their own budgets”.  Essentially, Russian central government resources are running out so the cost of mobilising soldiers is being pushed down to regional administrations, who in turn force money from local people and businesses.  No wonder protests are continuing, recruiters are being threatened and recruiting centres attacked.  And, Russian men are still fleeing the country including two that washed up in Alaska seeking asylum.  

In the midst of this chaos, on 5 October, Putin formally signed the annexation of Kerson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhia into law.   

It is now clear, that as predicted the Russians are losing the ground war.  This week a chorus of retired American generals supported the conclusion that the decisive point in the ground war has been reached, essentially the point at which Russia cannot win. General David Petraeus summing the situation up as an ‘irreversible reality’ that Russia will lose.  In simple terms, the Ukrainians are advancing too fast and the Russian army is not capable of stopping them.  The Russians are too few, their logistics is struggling to support them and they are simply not capable of mobilising more manpower.  Even if they could they can’t equip them with modern weapons and equipment. Initially, the question regarding the effectiveness of mobilisation related to speed. Or, could Russian soldiers be put on the ground quickly enough to stabilise the situation. However, since 21 September Russia has proven that its systemic and structural issues are too crippling and that mobilisation is unachievable. 

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And, without enough cannon fodder available quickly enough the Russians can’t stabilise the frontline and their morale will drop as Ukraine’s increases.  Further, the corruption and ineptitude within Russia’s elite means that a cohesive national response is becoming increasingly unlikely.  In the last week, Russia’s influential military bloggers started openly criticising the Ministry of Defence and during the week this discussion escalated. Russian media seeing a significant change in discourse with the war being criticised more openly. Some commentators believe that Putin is setting the conditions to blame the Ministry of Defence and military commanders for the defeat; pandering to the military bloggers and using their commentary as an ‘honest voice’ from the frontline.  

This is an interesting situation because the conventional military are the key to Putin’s nuclear capability.  Previously, we have discussed the evolving distrust between the conventional military and Putin.  The Russian military has let him down and I am sure that he is very upset.  We know that he is micro-managing the campaign and by allowing public attacks on his military leadership in the media he is demonstrating his distrust.  Further, the elevation of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, and Wagner Group CEO, Evgeniy Prigozhin’s social media discourse blaming Russian generals and criticising the military is another indicator of Putin’s increasing distance from the conventional military. A distance that is likely to increase as Putin focusses increasingly on his unconventional allies.

Putin also has to contend with the military bloggers, an influential and ultra-nationalist group highly critical of the decision not to mobilise fully for war.  This group represents the pro-Russian political hardliners that are traditionally Putin’s allies and share his vision for a new Russian Empire.  However, they are still a small group within Russia and no matter how loudly they howl for a declaration of war and full mobilisation Putin knows that based on the response to ‘partial mobilisation’ the majority of Russians are not going to accept this step.  

Essentially, Putin is trying to balance too many disparate groups within his political elite.  It seems logical that the more strained the relationship between Putin and the conventional military, the less likely it is that there will be a nuclear escalation.  This step requires the support of the military’s elite; and as retired American general Ben Hodges pointed out this week, it’s likely that a strong message has been sent via back channels to this group. A reminder that Putin is losing and that if nuclear weapons stay off the table, then there is life after Putin.  The more distant Putin is from the people that control Russia’s nuclear weapons the less likely they are to sacrifice their lives and integrity by using them.

So in coming weeks, Putin will look for other ways to lash out, gain time or try to push NATO out of the conflict.  It is likely that we will see more nuclear threats.  However the real danger is unconventional actions like the Nord Stream Pipeline attack. For instance, large cyber-attacks or unattributed attacks on infra-structure because as NATO security measures increase there is the likelihood of these operations being compromised creating a decision point for NATO.  Does a large and successful cyber-attack warrant a NATO military response?  In Russia, we may start to see purges in the military, as Putin tries to put more ‘compliant’ people into this institution, although this action could be a trigger for the military to remove Putin so is risky.  


In summary, this week the war on the ground appears to have reached a decisive point and the Ukrainians are racing to capture as much ground as possible before the autumn rain starts and makes movement almost impossible.  Putin will not stop; although it seems unlikely that he has support amongst his military for nuclear escalation.  Ukraine’s capture of Lyman and advances into annexed territory last week provided a number of potential triggers for Russia to use tactical nuclear weapons.  Every major Ukrainian city recaptured; or large Russian withdrawal that happens without nuclear escalation provides evidence that Putin’s nuclear threats are empty.  Unfortunately, the threats can never be completely written off but they should not stop NATO’s support for Ukraine especially as evidence mounts that Russia’s threshold for using nuclear weapons in higher than Putin’s threats imply.   

This week was the start of the endgame. Putin, will not give up and probably believes that if he can hold on until winter the battle will slow down and his gas embargo will divide NATO.  It seems less and less likely that this plan will work as Ukraine advances.  Soon, as his options run out, he will reach an internal tipping point at which he must either admit defeat or try to force a catastrophic escalation and either option is likely the end of Putin. Now, NATO and the world need to start planning for Russia’s defeat, the ensuing collapse and the geo-political difficulties that this situation will create.  

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


      • Please send a link to support this claim, so we can all see whether this is the ‘pot calling the kettle, black’.
        To me it looks like our media is nothing but UTTER propaganda, on this and many other subjects. We ‘Joe public’ are the equivalent of Turkeys voting for multiple ‘Thanks Giving days’. And as a society, we’re obliviois to the fact.
        I’m not saying the other side isn’t doing likewise, but when you read media from around the world, you get the feeling that the collective west are in the wrong here, by a LONG way. So yes ‘we are the baddies’ !!!!

          • Cantabrian the banderite troll can’t get enough of Ben Morton BS and the Ukraines are only winning on social media as for the empty towns that it’s regaining only looks like they’re progressing but in reality they’re mince meat and winter fast approaching taking run down towns with no power.

              • Cantabrian buhahahaha Your history on Nazis in Ukraine is a bit undercooked and needs re-exanimating! Your venerated idol Stephan Banerra was a Nazi collaborator I believe he was instrumental in supporting the murderous fascist group Ustaša Militia in Croatia during WW2. A remainder to historically illiterate peps such as yourself, Ukraine has been an anti semitic country for centuries its in their DNA which is puzzling to have Zelensky who isn’t a practicing Jew at the helm of this fascist state.

  1. I say read the map, it looks good for Ukraine until you notice no major towns or cities are under attack, nor any capacity to do so. The Russians have ceded empty space. So there are no prepared defenses, long lines of supply, soon to be out in the open in the snow. There is evidence of Russian build up, but that has not been committed to the front. We’ve seen that scenario before.

    The end game is now in play. There is no evidence that Russia’s economy has suffered from the sanctions. Putin is as popular in Russia as ever and unlikely to be ousted. There is no evident desire from anybody except Zhelensky to use nukes. There is plenty of evidence that European industry is near collapse from energy pricing and deprivation. The real battle is with the tolerance of Europe’s people to fund a war whilst they go hungry and cold.

    All indicators are that this will be over soon with an American economic victory over Europe for supply of expensive LPG to wrecked uncompetitive German industries. We know how that ended last time. The mid terms can’t come fast enough to cripple Bidens insane administration.

    • Major towns, especially in the North are under attack. It is not just towns, but also the main transport links. These are progressively being captured by the Ukrainians. There are some very good YouTube channels which show the daily changes on the map including the actual distances gained and the key road and rail networks. Right now one of the major supply lines is well within Ukraine artillery range. It wasn’t two weeks ago.

      Your proposition that the Russians are simply consolidating on more defensive lines would be credible if the Russians were withdrawing in good order, but way too often they are not. Abandoning major equipment and leaving their dead. Now being forced to use 40 year old tanks and munitions.

      Perhaps Russian and separatists forces will be able to consolidate, but that increasingly looks like it is to the 2014 boundaries. Hardly a success.

      As for economics, yes, Russia can sell oil, and get cash, but can they get advanced electronics so that their weapons can match those of the West?

      As for Europe collapsing economically, well, that is a fantasy in your mind. The Europeans have spent the last several months sorting out their energy supplies. Internally from Norway and from pipelines from the European Atlantic ports. Plus LNG from both the Middle East and from the US.

      • Wayne, check out where the bulk of the Ukraine army is. Bakmut, defending, being bled white.

        I’d note that in the whole of this conflict all Western commentaries point out the supposed superiority of Western weapons. I’m not seeing it, it’s similar to German wonder weapons years ago. It’s a form of wilful blindness. Where you might ask are the required stocks of ammunition, or Western hypersonics?

        Economically you must have your eyes closed. Europe is in deep trouble, read what German industrialists are saying, watch the Euro and pound in free fall, watch MBS restricting oil production. Its all there, open and obvious.

        • The US is supplying more oil and gas to Europe to forestall their economic problems. That was the point of my comment.

        • I am aware of the Bakmut sector. The Russians are pushing hard, but not making much headway. It appears that the Ukrainians are better able to hold their defensive positions.

          That is not surprising to me. At this stage of the war, it is clear the Ukrainians are better led and with higher morale than the Russians. Coupled with a substantial quantity of western weapons, it is pretty obvious the Ukrainians have the overall initiative.

          I note that we are now seeing the Ukrainians with a lot more western equipment, not just 155 mm artillery which is clearly superior to the Russian 152 mm gun, but also a lot of armoured vehicles. I noted one column fully made up of M113 APC’s, a newer up armoured model. The M113 dates back to the 1960’s and 1970’s (I used them when I was in the Army in the 1970’s and 1980’s). Obviously some NATO country was disposing of surplus stock, which had no doubt been hangered for some years. I would note NATO’s storage systems and practices seem vastly superior to that of Russia, which seems to park old armoured vehicles and tanks out in the open with minimal preventative maintenance.

          The comparison could be made to the Russian BPM from the same era, and we see a lot of them being used by the Ukrainians and the Russians. I would say the M113 is substantially superior, especially the more modern variants.

        • Cantabrian your Banderite nazi friends in Ukraine are getting wasted. The small gains that Ben Morton keeps harping on about are only small towns that have zero strategic value and they also have no power either with winter fast approaching. Ukrainians are dying for the globalist not for Ukraine or their sovereignty wake up man?

    • “ There is no evidence that Russia’s economy has suffered”. Not saying you are necessarily wrong but I am not sure they are so forthcoming with data in any case.

      As for Biden, you are saying he is supposedly boosting energy sales to weaken Europe. Please explain that logic? Not the bit that he will lose the mid terms for making the American economy stronger (interesting in itself), but how does a weak Europe keep your mate Putin in check?

      • Whose mate Putin? You don’t need to support Putin to point out delusion and fairy tales.
        To help you get the energy picture for Europe there’s a heap of industry sites and papers, even WAPO and NYT stories paint a real picture. In short German industry makes its margin by using cheap Russian gas, over 40 percent of Europe’s supply. US gas is double the price, and the quantities needed are neither available nor transportable in sufficient bulk. So in short, not enough gas, what there is too expensive, German industry unprofitable. Do the research, this war is a disaster for European economies.
        On Saudi oil, MBS needs US$80 to balance his budget, if supply gets to high prices fall, so he cuts production. He just did it, told Biden no can do. He won’t cut prices to help US hurt Russian profits.
        Read more broadly, its all available.

        • Without Putin there would be no war. Nick J, you deny supporting Putin but tacitly you are! Russia minus Putin is a good Russia!

          • You mean this “Good Russia” without Putin?
            From 1999-2022.
            Average salary has gone up 18 times.
            Average pension has gone up 22 times.
            Life expectancy has gone up from 65-73 years.
            Population has gone from 145 million to 156 million.
            GDP has grown from 4.8 trillion Rubles to 139 trillion.
            Gold reserves have grown from 12 billion dollars to 55o billion.

        • Nice condescending sign off. You still have not explained from a Cold War style point of view how the US benefits from Europe going down the drain? They want to strengthen Russias position? There is massive US investment in Europe. The US sold 271 billion worth of exports to the EU in 2021. So your argument is the US is trying to kill their second largest trade partner/block? If energy is all part of a Biden master plan why has one huge refinery in Texas just been sold to the Saudi’s? I think you are overstating his ability to have things his way (well the way you think he wants it)

    • You really are a fantasist Nick J. Are you denying that Putin threatened to use nukes? How could Zelensky threaten to use them! He hasn’t even got any! You are on a different planet!

    • You really are a right winger aren’t you Nick J! I don’t think things will go the way you want them to go though. The appalling Roe v. Wade decision will stuff the Republicans.

        • Your idea of logic and my idea of logic are totally different – primarily because you are a conspiracy theorist and I am not. The percentages are against you. The standards of academia are much higher now. In your day it was very easy to plagiarise. Not now!

          • Did somebody bully you as a child? I’m getting the impression of suppressed rage and deep inadequacy. Not to mention an inferiority complex that demands look at my PhuD. Sad.

            • Not at all – you are the conspiracy theorist. You don’t understand anything about my countries and you are deliberately spreading misinformation about them. Why shouldn’t I be angry?

            • I think you are the one with an inferiority complex because you don’t have a PhD. Why do you keep referring to it all the time? I don’t keep harping on about it. It is actually more relevant that I specialised in Russian and Ukrainian history and speak the language. There is no evidence that you have any scholarly knowledge of the region. If you rubbish mine then I can accuse you of anti-intellectualism which destroys your credibility – entirely.

  2. It appears that the Russian military are in some kind of holding position, quite willing to give up hard to defend territory in order to protect lives and equipment. Ukraine knows this, henceforth they are on the offensive, but they are losing men and equipment at hard to replace levels despite Russia’s largely defensive rather than offensive position. Remember also that Russia secured close to 100,000 square kms of territory since the beginning of their SMO, with Ukraine reclaiming at least 4000 square kms in recent times. This, the size of the territory won/lost, gives us an indication of where this conflict is at.

    But the question is what is Russia planning? What are they waiting for? Time will soon tell.

    The other thing I’ve found out lately is that the Russian nuclear doctrine does not allow for nukes to be used in Ukraine… we can put that over-hyped issue to bed.

  3. Readers might want to consider how unhinged Zhelensky has become. His words yesterday.
    “NATO should make it impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons.”
    “Preemptive strikes are needed so that they know what awaits them if they use nuclear weapons. Not the other way around, waiting for Russia’s nuclear strikes and then saying, ‘oh, you’ve done that, then get this,'” he said on Thursday, speaking via video link at Australia’s think tank, the Lowy Institute.

    • Finally I can agree with you on something.
      Despite the fact that Russia should never have invaded Ukraine it is my opinion that the US have pulled a rope a dope on Russia and Russia has swung harder than big ole George did and will collapse, militarily at least, eventually.
      Zelensky may or may not have been complicit in the rope a dope, but he certainly is unhinged. He’s read far too much of his own press.

    • You are the one who is unhinged Nick J. Zelensky is just doing his job. On your basis the wartime Churchill was unhinged – he was just keeping morale up as Zelensky is.

  4. lol keep smoking crack Ben. Perhaps you’d like to make a wager on your CIA-sponsored fantasies?

    • Far out! I’ll take that wager, Mo.

      I will bet you that the Russian Federation forces will, due to internal collapse and Ukrainian military advance, give-in and retreat back to their own border.

      I don’t usually gamble but this is not a gamble, Mo, it’s a sure thing. Name the amount Mo that you are willing to bet against me that I am wrong and I will match it.

      You are an anonymous troll. So I need to know how can I collect my winnings from you. Maybe we could each forward our stake to Martyn’ Bradbury’s account?

      What do you think?

      • Here’s a better bet ,,,, If Russia loses the war ,,, Pat O’Deas dishonest and devious ‘Authors techniques’ are fully exposed.

        If Ukraine wins his dirty tricks stay secret.

        What’s your presently fake reputation worth Pat ?.

      • If Martyn’s up for it, I’d be happy for him to hold my stake, as long as his bank can take a cash deposit at an ATM and he’s happy to pay out in some way that doesn’t let the American-loving pigs who run the Ardern regime track me. You know they like to watch him, after all, Pat?

  5. Most of us now know that we’re so far up the U$A that we know much of anything else and their MSM is everywhere we dare to peek. Their politics is a low rating Vaudeville act, their politicians are either old or mad or both and are myopic, arrogant or are just plain dumb at the best of times.
    Putin, however, is unknown. Who is he? We could ask our MSM but they’re beguiled by America and its money. We really have no idea who, or indeed what, Putin is other than what the U$A MSM tells us.
    What I do know, is that America bets heavily on our enduring ignorance when they need to lead us into their wars. Russell Brand is a sound source of international news in my opinion. He seems well researched and has a non judgemental and open mind. He also has highly credible guests who, with impartiality, help unpick both sides of the story. Isn’t that what we need right now?
    Rather than only relying on the U$A military industrial complex telling us what they need us to believe?
    If a nuclear war erupts in Ukraine the only safe place to be is directly opposite where the bombs are falling, and that’s here. In AO/NZ.
    We must understand by now, surely, that U$A presidents are merely window dressing. They’re figureheads. It’s the rich boys, invisible and behind the scenes, who run the shit show that’s the U$A.
    And I would argue they’re even richer and more powerful and influential than the alleged richest man on Earth, Elon Musk. What we can do is make sure we know what we’re getting into if the U$A wants to use AO/NZ as an aircraft carrier or a rocket launching location.
    Oh, wait..? I think I might stock up on iodine.
    “How much iodine should you take if exposed to radiation?
    Adults 18 years old and up:
    Take one 130-milligram pill of potassium iodide, or. 2 milliliters of liquid potassium iodide, or. 2 tablets of 65-milligram potassium iodide.”

    • Why don’t you do some reading if you want to know about Putin, Countryboy? There are certainly enough books on the subject. Catherine Belton and John Sweeney who were both journalists on the ground in Russia and Ukraine have written good ones.

  6. Hes had 5 different types of cancer and hes still not dead.

    He was said to be frail and old age was creeping in, but hes still alive.

    He was meant to be insane, but he’s out smarted the US,EU, NATO and the Nazis in the Ukraine.

    Russia’s economy has been on the brink of collapse forever! And thats not happened.

    Oh, and Russia is still losing the war. How’s that bs going?

    Tell P. Buchanan to revise his keynote talking points for you.

    • Alot of predictions have gone wrong but overall it is Russia that is retreating. For example Kherson was suppose to be occupied months ago but they have defied predictions of a collapse there for months now so Putin will most likely hold on past the New Year imo.

  7. I am starting to think Ben is a prophet everything he predicted has come true. Its as if he was part of the Ukraine Joint Staff

  8. Great post again Ben. Thanks!

    Regarding “Now, NATO and the world need to start planning for Russia’s defeat, the ensuing collapse and the geo-political difficulties that this situation will create.” we need to anticipate Russia becoming a failed state and all the chaos that comes with it. That and the rebuilding of Ukraine after the war will require the modern equivalent of the Marshall Plan to provide stability.

  9. Russia still bruising their heads against Bakhmut as well for what ever strange reason while giving up territory elsewhere i don’t think their leadership has any idea.

  10. The Kerch bridge now has a road span down and damage to the rail which will take quite some time to fix. One of Putin’s worst nightmares has been an apt birthday present from Ukraine?

      • Not to full capacity! Just a fraction. More attacks on the bridge imminent and psychological damage is done to Russian pride and already low moral.

        • All the collective power of Nato and Ukraine fucked up the destruction of the Kerch, just like they did the NS pipelines , still operating and easily repaired
          And there’s the aftermath still to come.

          • So much for Russian propaganda saying the bridge was invulnerable and the most heavily protected in the world guarded by 20 different types of defence systems etc. Russia won’t be fixing the reduced capacity anytime soon and will be worried about the next attack. The propaganda saying the bridge can never be hit has been undone and that “trust” will never be restored. The NS pipelines are another story!

      • False triumphalism Francesca da Rimini, military convoys could not pass through. Putin’s logistics are screwed.

    • I believe pwesident Poutine has, subsequent to the bridge explosion and the loss of the Kharkov, signed a declaration banning cigarette smoking by Russian forces.

    • Actually Putin’s best present was kicking Exxon out of the Sakhalin oil and gas project
      The bridge was a fizzer, road and railway open already , final repairs easily achievable .Jeez Nato, couldn’t you even get that right?

      • I think metaphorically Ukraine is running out of bridges to burn. There are increasing dishes to be eaten cold. I heard one wit slice too close to the truth commenting that power bills in Europe this winter won’t be unaffordable because you can’t be expected to pay if nothing is delivered.

      • As of minutes ago the road and railway are still not carrying heavy cargoes across the bridge and one lane of the road bridge is not operating. This is seriously inconveniencing the Russian military as far as logistics go with heavy cargoes having to go by ferry/ship. Bridge capacity for even light vehicle traffic is way down.

  11. Thank you for your great summary that beets everything I’ve seen on YouTube. Gone blind following that.

    The sparrow on the back of your eagle — the army must take control of Russi. From WW 2, they’re the only ones with legitimacy.

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