GUEST BLOG: Ben Morgan – Border raids raise some important questions


Recent Ukrainian activity is forcing a re-think of the situation in Ukraine.  This week, along Ukraine’s northern border there is a range of activity underway including cross-border raids, extensive artillery shelling and drone strikes.  Most recently, Ukrainian attacks and shelling overnight of the villages of Shebekino and Volokonovsky on the border near Belgorod. The Russian governor of the region stating that on 2nd and 3rd June three raids were repelled.  This activity is causing uncertainty and confusion in the Russian oblasts (regions) that border Ukraine. Approximately 4000 people evacuating outlying villages and politicians asking for more protection, including some local officials asking for weapons to defend their villages.  A large public reaction, likely driven by the fact that even close to the border Russians were relatively unaware of the war; and until recently were able to carry on their lives without thinking about it.  

However, in Belgorod and Bryansk this situation has changed and even the Russian army has got into the act destroying the famous three-way intersection of the P124 and P 13 motorways at the border of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.  The fact that the Russians are concerned about the roads being used for raids is an interesting indicator of how worried people living along the border are by this week’s activities. Russia’s response is to escalate its aerial attacks on Ukraine’s cities, sending waves of drones to bomb and terrorise people across Ukraine.  

Further afield, Moscow has suffered drone attacks, including one by 32 drones; a large number.  And; true to form Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of Wagner Group mercenary company entered the political debate stating that his forces are ready to defend the border; and further will not wait for permission from the Russian Ministry of Defence. A clear political dig at his rival Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defence who Prigozhin has criticised publicly for not preventing the raids.  Prigozhin’s statements and self-centredness may contribute to the border slipping into a state of general lawlessness.  His forces deploying outside of military control, combined with locals arming themselves may create the conditions for the border to become a ‘bandit country’ consisting of independent pro-Putin and anti-Putin militias all enmeshed in small local conflicts.   A frightening situation for the Kremlin.  

A potential ‘fire’ that Ukraine will no doubt be keen to stoke, because if the border starts to descend into confusion or even a state of lawlessness it strikes at the heart of Putin’s authoritarian regime.  Even dictators exist by the will of the majority, who accept their failings in exchange for security, safety and certainty.  If a dictator can’t provide these things, then their days are numbered.  Unfortunately for Putin, the only way to get the border under control is to get ‘boots on the ground,’ he needs soldiers, artillery, tanks and air defence along the border to secure it as soon as possible. And; where will these resources come from?   That is a tough question because every soldier that leaves Ukraine to defend the border is one less the Ukrainians need to fight when they attack. 

However, the activity on the border raises other important questions.  The first of which is whether this activity is a short-term shaping operation; or whether something more dynamic and longer-term is planned.  Regardless of Ukraine’s half-hearted denials it is clear that these attacks are at least coordinated with and supported by Ukraine. In my opinion it is probable that they are directed by Ukraine, it seems incongruous that Ukraine would allow private armies to operate on their terrain.  The use of artillery both to support raids and for general shelling is not an activity consistent with an unsupported militia group because it involves planning and mobilisation of considerable resources that would require the authorisation of Ukraine’s military.  

It is most likely that the cross-border activity is a short-term Ukrainian shaping operation, designed simply to draw Russian forces away from the defence lines in Ukraine. And; there is evidence to support this proposition because the intensity of artillery and missile attacks increased in the two most likely areas for the offensive to target; Luhansk and the southern coast this week.  The Ukrainian military released information today claiming that their intelligence organisation has discovered conflict between Russia’s military leaders; and that mutinies are becoming more common.  A typical piece of propaganda designed to further undermine Russian confidence and that may be a precursor to an attack. We are also observing Ukrainian politicians make statements indicating an attack is imminent including President Zelenskyy himself telling the Wall Street Journal the attack was coming and warning of the grim consequences.  

However, there is a nagging concern that Ukraine may have more significant plans along the border.  The concern relates to Ukraine’s appreciation of the war and how best to win it.  In these articles we have often discussed Manoeuvre Theory; and the idea that the best way to win a war is to defeat your opponent’s will to fight.  In this case, Ukraine faces a tough battle achieving victory because even with NATO’s support it is vastly outnumbered and with Putin in charge of Russia they face an enemy willing to sacrifice enormous numbers of young soldiers to win.  A battle that cannot be ‘won by the numbers’ because Putin simply holds too many cards.  Therefore, Ukraine’s strategic battle is dominated by defeating Putin’s will to fight rather than by causing attrition.  

The objective of Ukraine’s offensive; and its broader war aims being to outmanoeuvre the Russian army in Ukraine and inflict sufficiently embarrassing defeats that those around Putin either remove him or force him to negotiate. This week’s activities open other asymmetric options; or new and indirect ways to achieve this goal using Ukraine’s distinctive strengths to exploit a Russian weakness.  The new options that should be considered are that Ukraine could make a significant thrust into Russia or create a destabilised border zone that slowly bleeds Russian resources making staying in Ukraine unsustainable for Russia.   

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Looking at the first option, Ukraine making a significant thrust into Russia we can see that Ukraine is used to pushing boundaries and forcing ‘red lines,’ and it is currently actively supporting the Russian Volunteer Corps and Russia Freedom Legion’s cross border activities.  By emulating Russian ‘Gerasimov Doctrine’ as applied in Crimea in 2014; and reinforcing these groups with Ukrainian ‘volunteers’ Ukraine could potentially quickly capture large areas of Russian land at relatively low cost before reinforcements arrive in the area and secure the border. This would create a terribly embarrassing situation for Putin. One that would be very hard to resolve because taking land back from a motivated defender is very difficult.  Ukraine betting on the fact that retaking the land would be too difficult and that Russia would be forced to ‘horse trade’ for land in Ukraine.  Potentially, winning land back at relatively low military cost. 

However, this option is risky.  It may destroy Ukraine’s current position on the moral high-ground and influence NATO willingness to supply weapons and equipment.  Most importantly, it may initiate rapid and uncontrolled escalation of the war because it provides an opportunity for Russia to claim that Ukraine; and by inference NATO is invading Russia.  In my opinion these factors make it the least likely of the options; but it is still worth considering because it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. 

The second option, is more interesting and implies a different Ukrainian approach and may also indicate that Ukraine is not ready to transition to offensive operations. That perhaps Bakhmut cost them more dearly than we have appreciated.  The idea of using Russian Volunteer Corps and Russia Freedom Legion’s cross border raids to create a lawless zone along the border, possibly drawing in Wagner Group and over time creating a patchwork of disconnected fiefdoms along the border is attractive because it is relatively low cost for Ukraine and terribly disruptive for Russia. Ukraine could defend on its current frontline probing and pushing forward minor attacks while using its proxies to cause chaos in the border regions of Bryansk and Belgorod.  Essentially, developing a border campaign that serves as a long-term shaping operation designed to cause embarrassment and eventually make the war in Ukraine unsustainable; forcing Putin’s removal and a negotiated withdrawal; avoiding a bloody campaign in Ukraine.

If this option develops it may indicate that Bakhmut has cost Ukraine more dearly than expected; and that Ukraine does not have the combat power to move now.  Therefore, it will be an interesting couple of weeks as we observe how the situation along the border develops.   It may be that Ukraine has accepted that the war will take time to win and is looking for a smarter way to win without an expensive direct offensive; so instead is husbanding its forces and attempting an asymmetric approach.  Or, it may be that they have suffered more casualties than we have appreciated and need to look for other options because they don’t have enough manpower to prosecute the offensive.  Perhaps they are waiting until they have F16s available to provide air supremacy reducing casualties.  It is impossible to say, all we can do at this stage is to continue to observe.

In summary, the last week has been very interesting and is making me reassess some of my positions.  It seemed unlikely that Ukraine would cross the border and given the lack of United States or NATO reaction to this activity it is likely to continue.  The big question is whether this is a short-term shaping operation to encourage simultaneity (i.e. to over load Russian decision-makers with problems they need to solve putting them under increasing pressure before the offensive starts) and force the re-deployment of Russian soldiers from Ukraine to Belgorod and Bryansk.  Or; whether it is the start of a new, unpredicted decisive operation, designed either to capture Russian territory and force negotiation or to take a longer approach to shaping Russia by slowly creating a chaotic and dangerous border that requires enormous resources to stabilise making the war in Ukraine unsustainable.  Further, the activity around the border raises the possibility of un-expected Russian escalation.   

So, my advice is to keep watching the situation closely because over the next week it seems likely that we will be able to see more clearly how the border situation will affect the war’s progress.



Ben Morgan is a bored Gen Xer and TDBs military blogger


  1. Continual ‘escalation’,,,, and Don’t worry about Nuclear war, because ‘they are bluffing’,,,, could be a two edged sword.

    There has been numerous provocations and escalations starting with the usa backed coup in 2014 ,,,, accelerating with Russia’s direct military involvement in Feb 2022,,,,.

    Russian involvement which allegedly preempted a Ukrainian Army “Operation Storm” ,,, modeled on the NATO/Croatian example ,,,,, against the inhabitants of Donbass & Luhansk

    “Trained by U.S. forces, armed by Germany, with U.S. fighter-bombers flying air support, the Croatian Army had just driven some 250,000 Serbs from their ancestral homes.
    Serbian farmers owned the land and lived in the Krajina for over 400 years, but the ‘New York Times’ called these Serbs “rebels,” thus lending legitimacy to this nightmare.”

    ‘It no longer seems to matter that Croatia forced 200,000 Serbs to flee from the advancing Croatian army and for the most part, never to return. Several international courts consider this to be ethnic cleansing. In Croatia today, barely anyone mentions the retaliatory attacks on those who did not flee. Various sources estimate that 700 – 2,500 Serbian civilians were killed’-DW

    Anyway ignoring the 2014 on-wards lead up ,,, since direct Russian intervention the neo-cons have escalated from Javlins to M777’s to Himars to German and British tanks to Patriots ,,, always with the ‘Russia is bluffing’ and ‘what are they going to do about it’ attitude.

    Britain, a damp wet nation whose city of London is the world Capitol ,,, for money laundering and financial crime ,,, and whose long lost Empire was built on piracy and theft ,, that the Brit’s call their Royal Navy………

    Well it is the British, despite being a ‘has been’ and impotent nation ,,,, who are the main drivers and escalators of the Ukraine war among Europe…

    Depleted Uranium munitions, that the yanks would not send ,,, the Brits did.

    Long range missiles that the yanks would not supply ,,,, the brits did …

    Terrorism bomb making courses ,,, the brits run em.

    Kerh bridge bomb plotting ,,,,

    Sabotaging peace talks early last year ,,, Boris and the Brits did that.

    The Brits have had the shits with Russia since it failed to take Crimea of them in the Crimean war.

    Churchill attacked them, and failed, at the end of WWI.

    But in the present day Russia needs to put a stake through the heart of this Brit shit ,,,, where they think they can kill Russians with impunity and no consequences.

    If I were Putin I would either launch a non-nuclear strike,,, or hold a referendum on doing so ,,, where Russia would announce the targeting and destruction of Buckingham Palace.

    24 hrs notice would allow charles to get his valuables, staff and stuff out of there.

    It would allow enough time for Patriot air defenses etc, to be installed and activated ,,,, and then demonstratively fail.

    It’s only a building,,, and unlike the queen nobody likes Charles & Camilia… they can go live in another castle/palace.

    Something like this is needed to wake the British people up,,, and have them tell their treasonous leaders to stop fucking with Russia,,,it’s already been at their expense with Britons post-covid economy in tatters.. tatters.

    And what are the Brits going to do about the of blowing up of a building they could not protect?? ,,, Launch nukes starting WWIII and destroying civilization worldwide?.

    They’d have to be insane to do that ,,,, or bluffing to threaten it.

    Stick that in their English escalation pipes and smoke it …….

    That’s what I would do if I were Putin.

    • Russian nuclear button is not the same as a western nuclear button. In America nuclear commanders are drilled so hard they have no choice but to follow the orders of that decision. But in Russia it is up to nuclear commanders whether or not they want to launch or not. That is what happened to Vasily Aleksandrovich Arkhipov captain of a submarine during the Cuban Missile Crises. Wait an observe indeed.

      This hybrid stuff has gotten all the calculation totally missed up. Future creep I think they call it.

      What if some Russian green fiery throws a suitcase bomb at Poland. They’re not legal combatants of Russia and Poland isn’t at war with Russia I’m not sure what legal means that would give to in invasion of Russia, or international support that might generate in Putin’s favour because there are rumours Putin wants to declare all green fairies as legal combatants since right back to 2014.

      Putin hasn’t even turned off the gas yet. War is total choas. Yet Putin is not the one laying his cards down in random order.

      • Russia’s “Dead man Hand” a system that is permanently activated to immediately launch a Nuclear counterstrike when inbound missiles are detected. Russia solved that problem decades ago.

      • Pat ‘Are you sure you are not Putin?’ Odea, obviously you’re some sort of thought leader with such an intellectual response.
        Are you sure you’re not Lindsey Graham?

    • But you are not Putin, Putin understands that any strike on a NATO country triggers article 5( “One for ALL and ALL for one).

      Retaliation on St Peterberg and Moscow would be swift, destructive and Putin’s downfall. That is if Putin can get his orders be implemented by the Russian military.

      Poland would have no trouble taking Kalingrad and deny any future Russia the only warm water port except for a hostile Black Sea one.

      One could almost hope Putin taker your senseless advice, for straight after Russia could rebuild without him. But will Russia still have Siberia after the Chinese take advantage?

      • Doesn’t really matter when China is the biggest buyer in town. They’re the biggest buyers of energy by a long way. Whether they buy it out right or negotiate access rights.

      • How interesting that my tongue in cheek ‘if I were Putin’ fantasy ,,,, made Gerrit compelled to proclaim that if Russia blew up a building in London,,,, with no loss of life ,,,, that NATO would evoke a ‘One for ALL and ALL for one’ start to a nuclear war ,,,

        That sounds at least as dangerous and stupid as starting WWI because some Austrian Royal got killed by Serbian Student radicals who were sick of Austrian subjugation/racism ,,,

        Around 18,000 Nz dead and over 40,000 wounded in WW1 because of what again? ,,,, the geopolitical article 5’s of the time ,,, that’s what.

        Back to the present,,,, Never mind that All for One can mean Doom for everyone ,,,it is dripping with hypocrisy Britain being involved in attacks on Russian citizens, calling for Putins assassination/overthrow etc,,,, and these are fine and acceptable escalations…..

        …. But blow up king charles wank building in my fictitious scenario,,, and Gerrits NATO will launch “destruction” upon St Peterberg and Moscow … starting a nuclear war with 100% certainty,,, as the dirty Poms would try and sneak in nuclear strikes ,,,

        And any Large incoming NATO missile attack’s on Russia,,, in the real world as well as my fantasy one, would trigger a full Nuclear retaliatory launch of Russia’s total arsenal ,,, to ensure the Mutual in the M in MAD.

        I guess we are lucky that I’m not Putin (dodged a bullet there ; ) ,,,, and Gerrit is not NATO’s twitchy finger.

        Putin is far more measured than me, and I wouldn’t presume to give him advice ,,,,

        The real question is how much of an outlier Gerrit is compared to the Biden/Nuland/Blinkin/Sullivan and Lindsay Graham neocon clowns,,, running the NATO show.

        It looks like a very dangerous circus ,,,

        • Are you Serbian Awakesky? Croatia had every right to kick out the Krajina Serbs. Pity Bosnia can’t kick out their Serbs as well.
          I suppose you will deny that Serebrenica never happened and that Mladic and Karadzic are innocent!

        • You remind me of a certain commentator from years gone by. Using those ….. and ,,,,, Only thing missing is the ….eh!…. You PhilU?

          NATO does not need nuclear weapons to knock St Peterberg and Moscow back to the 18th Century. Enough conventional weapons to do that. Poland only needs to walk across the border to take Kalingsgrad. China only needs to walk across the border to take eastern Russia and deny Russia access to the North Pacific (North China Sea!!), the eastern trade routes and pacific naval power.

          You bought up the nuclear option, not me. Any attack will be replicated in full. Your imagination might think leveling a few buildings (even without human casualties) is shits and giggles. NATO wont.

          • Did this philU make you look a bit unhinged Gerrit ? … unsurprisingly it’s just another thing you’re wrong about ,,, Were you one of the clowns claiming Russians probably blew up Nord Stream’ as well? ….

            Gerritt being naively stupid,, or thinking that we are. — “NATO does not need nuclear weapons to knock St Peterberg and Moscow back to the 18th Century. Enough conventional weapons to do that.” ,,,,

            The only swift/immediate NATO weapons capable of striking Moscow or St Petersburg are missiles.

            Whats the difference between a nuclear armed missile versus a conventional armed one ,,,, on a Russian radar screen?…. Nothing.

            Gerris huffing and puffing about NATO toughness,,, may have made him to stupid to realize his proposed retaliation to my fictional humiliation of little England,, would 100% guarantee nuclear war.

            Or do you have a magic wand to do your “swift” destruction Gerrit… No missiles needed??.

            I think your blow-arsing rather than bluffing….

      • Why, Ted? Are you disappointed that the massive Ukrainian Counter-Offensive seems about as real as the Pastafarian Flying Spaghetti Monster, and probably isn’t going to happen? Just wondering.. You have sounded so confident up till now, even if unhinged.

      • Oh Tedheath, did you forget to take your meds today, you know, the ones for schizophrenia & psychotic paranoia?

    • The Russian oligarchs were only too happy to flock to London and enrol their kids at elite English schools so actually Russia loves the UK!

  2. Option D. Ukraine since taking massive losses in Bakhmut estimated at 70k by Wagner have reverted to well known proven tactics of deliberately attacking civilian populations, after all it’s what they do best.

      • Ukraine’s flea bit attacks on Russian civilians only resulted in over 200 dead Ukrainians, the loss of 15 tanks and 20 armored troop carriers. was it worth it Ovod?

        • The jury is still out whether that information is correct Finngrin. As always you will jump in with anything remotely Putinist. However fools rush in …

    • More correctly it was Russian partisans who attacked the Belgorod region not Ukrainians. As always you got it wrong Finngrin.

  3. Eastern Europe has thousands of years of history like this – no natural borders so just one invading tribe after another. Totally fluid

  4. Ben – Catching up?? NATO is going to lose…why?? No soldier from NATO nations will be fighting directly against the Russians

  5. Where did anyone get the notion that getting rid of Putin would solve everything?
    The war would stop according to Ben
    News flash
    Any dissatisfaction with Putin is mainly because he’s considered to be a pussy, not tough enough .Putin’s successor….and there will be one…is not going to be a pro-western Yeltsin look-a-like, or a rabid nationalist like Navalny
    Been there , done that ,those days are long gone
    You’re going to get a much more hardened , uncompromising hawk, who will not do business with the west, and will pull out all the stops militarily

    • Who is this Putin replacement magician?

      Problem with all dictatorships is that the dictator cannot brook any rivals or premote a replacement. It is a feature of ALL dictatorships. Putin like Stalin before him purged the able from within their power structure.

      Stalin tolerated Zhukov because he was so good at his job, but Stalin would have got rid of him in a heartbeat. Worth a read;

      “But in the mad paranoia of the period, Yung’s reports delayed Zhukov’s promotion. This offers one explanation as to why Zhukov survived the purges. Had he been promoted sooner, his chances of being purged would have been greater — as the higher the rank, the more likely one would fall into Stalin’s and the NKVD’s sights. It was typical of Stalin’s purges that the closer one was to the center of power, the greater the risk.”

      Parallels with Putin today in that he has ended up with the most useless leader of the military simple as he has purged the good ones. How many commanders has Putin gone through now?

      Again who will be Russia’s magician?

      • Nada.
        There is nothing.
        The Russians are getting nervous.

        Let’s hope we get a Russian withdrawal soon. This insanity has gone on for far long.

        • “There is nothing”
          “The Russians are getting nervous.”
          “Lets hope…”

          Johan offers the distilled wisdom of all the war-inspired Western deadheads in the comments.
          THat’s all you got: fantasies, insanity, and wishful thinking.

          The entire Ukrainian campaign is a losing side playing up the optics.
          As Ben is starting to realise.

          The limits of Russian restraint, restraint totally unknown in any US invasion, is the only important, unanswerable question.

    • All the stops have already been pulled out and Russia is still failing in its invasion of Ukraine.

      Russia has thrown everything it can short of nuclear strike, but has proved itself unequal to the task of conquering Ukraine or even holding parts of Ukraine they had occupied in Kherson and Kharkiv. The territory retaken by Ukraine amounts to 63% of the territory captured by Russia in their initial assault.

      As others here have pointed out, any escalation by Russia as per Awakesky’s wet dream would trigger Article 5. A full scale Nato response.

      The Americans say they have the military capability of sinking the whole Russian Black Sea fleet with conventional weapons.
      Putin’s permanent standing professional army has been proved to be a parade army, riddled with corruption, bolstered by reluctant poorly trained and armed civilian conscripts and press ganged prisoners.
      Even if Putin resorted to nuclear weapons it will not save the Russian forces from being destroyed by conventional Nato weapons.
      Not only that, but the revulsion by the whole world not least the Russian people would spell the end of the Putin regime.

      Putin will not be replaced with some one more hardline. Putin’s removal will signal that the war is over and the invasion of Ukraine has failed.

      • Think of it like tide in, tide out Paddy. Russia sweeps over Ukraine draws Ukraine into battles on their terms and then withdraws to tactical positions, Kherson is a good example of Russia withdrawing to better defensible positions with minimal loss of equipment and hardly any fatalities despite what the West claims. Where has Russia ever stated they wanted to take the entire Ukraine? they never did, demilitarize, de Nazi that’s just the Wests wet dream not based on reality or facts.
        Article 5 of the NATO charter does not impose a mandatory reply to any attack on NATO, what the fuck is NATO going to use since the cupboards are bare.
        As for the Yanks sinking the entire Russian fleet well that’s a joke waiting to be written. Latest war simulations by China showed the entire American fleet was destroyed 5 out of 6 times by China’s hyper sonic missiles the Yanks have yet to still have a successful test of ONE. Iran, China and Russia are the only 3 country’s confirmed by the West to have Hyper sonic missiles.
        Interesting Western talking points about “press ganged prisoners” since Ukraine released a know Noe Nazi convicted of pedophilia and murder of a child to fight, Anyone with those convictions were declined by Wagner. Russian standards.
        Cool story Bro, as I said previously it needs more dragons!

          • Now that was a post worthy of a PHD, and you wonder why people query your dubious claims. Ovod. Dropping little nuggets like a rabbit since 2022.

            • Talking about dubious claims are we? Well your obsession with Ukrainians as Nazis is total bs! You are a sadly deluded simpleton finngrin!

      • If Pat + Looks up the well-defined objectives of the military campaign he will see that those objectives do not include major territory changes. They have Crimea, Maruiopol Luhansk, Donetsk, Bakhmut and the land and the land and see in between. The Russians will eventually take Odesa. If Ukraine is winning Pat, I would hate to see what losing looks like.

      • Russia has not pulled out all the stops.
        That is Western arrogance and fantasy.

        They’re not exhausting themselves over Ukraine. There is no need. And that is the US’s goal.

    • Navalny a rabid nationalist? Get a grip you nasty, nasty man! Nothing feminine about you Francesca!

      • Lets have a read about Navalny according to Baud, an ex NATO officer.
        It’s ironic to see European politicians taking up the cause of Navalny, an extreme right-wing nationalist, who approves of the annexation of Crimea (and declared in the pro-western Moscow Times that he wouldn’t give it back if he came to power ), who has never expressed a concrete project for Russia, who has sought to enrich himself through embezzlement, and who represents none of the values that Europe claims to defend!.

        • It’s typical of you NickJ to trot out yet another conspiracy theorist. Baud has zero credibility.

            • A thoroughly discredited conspiracy theorist? Nick J you can do better than that! You are truly desperate!
              Navalny went through a nationalist phase but he certainly can’t be classed as one now. He is an anti corruption campaigner who has been imprisoned because he is popular in Russia.
              Can you justify his imprisonment Nick J? You would have to be a real misanthropist to do so.

    • You seem very sure of yourself ‘Francesca’ (obviously male). You cannot predict what would happen after Putin. You have no mortgage on truth. Can you speak Russian? I would imagine not. Очень жаль!

  6. If the ” Wagner,” private Russian army get to powerful then they could take over Russia.

    He who controls the fire power controls the country… Every time!

    Putin lives by the sword and will die by the sword.

    • Wagner is no longer a powerful army, it was always a proxy army funded by the Kremlin.
      And the Russian generals do not like Wagner. Who would?

  7. the question is have any nato service personnel or western mercenaries crossed the border, if that were to happen the cat would be amongst the pigeons

  8. None of these outcomes are desirable.
    There is significant pressure on Russia to withdraw its troops as this will improve the chances of creating stability without further significant bloodshed.
    There is little apparent willingness on the part of NATO to withdraw its support for Ukraine and to do so would jeopardise Europe ……. bombs in Warsaw, Stockholm, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, London, New York…..

    The 10th of June is approaching…..

    Arming the civilians in Bolgorod may well become a headache for Russia.

    No-one wants a further escalation of this war. Can Putin still stop this war or will it take a different course?

    • Johan, ‘no one wants a further escalation of this war’. Are you sure about that buddy?

      Ever heard of manufacturing consent? This war has nothing but escalated. The left (now the neocons) is in lock step with the arms manufacturers and both are wanting to severely ramp things up.

      Being wilfully blind will not cool the situation down.

        • Johan, I refer you back to your most naive statement.
          But as you must consider yourself some sort of freedom fighter your consent has surely been manufactured, bro.
          Neocons gonna neocon.

          • No one – as in no human being wants this to escalate and all human beings would prefer peace and prosperity.

            • Johan, yet another naive statement. You’ve proven yourself an intellectual lightweight.
              You say defending freedom is worth the effort, bro. All you have to do get yourself to Ukraine and volunteer your services, bro, like so many others have already done. The US and nato will give you a rifle and send you into a meat grinder, bro.
              If you’re lucky you might get an orc in your sights.

          • You are an idiot Off white. Neo con is a totally meaningless term that you Putinist propagandists love! I defy you to define the term ‘neo con’.

            • Ovod, you really struck at the core of the argument there. Ad hominem and straw men, no less. Neocon may be as meaningless as neoliberal but let’s face it we all know It’s synonymous with those promoting war, regime change, military industrial complex, new conservative, war profiteer. Argue semantics all you want if it helps you avoid (ovod) the core issues. Next you’ll be having a crack at my sentence structure, perhaps I should’ve separated the paragraphs.

              • You assume ‘we all know’ …. Really? You have to do better than that! I am awaiting an adequate definition!
                Your use of language is very similar to Finngrinn …

                • Ovod, ah yes, as I expected, semantics. How about we just go with Johans definition as both of you have fallen for the new con, same as the old con. Over and over again. Hence neocons gonna neocon. You two wanna fight Russians on behalf of the military industrial complex, go. Endless war awaits.

                  • Context and semantics have real value.
                    Sorry to burst your bubble.
                    Even Joseph Stiglitz places that caveat on his book “The Price of Inequality”. Most who read this book miss that sentence and happily fall for the trap of hyperbolic 99%.

  9. Russia is losing a lot of thickos cant get their head around this fact. Its looking good at the moment Russian army shooting at Wagner and laying mines. Russian resistance fighters killing Russian scum in Belgorod province, does get better than this.

    • In fact Russia is sitting tight waiting for the Ukies to exhaust themselves in futile counter attacks and then eventually getting them to the negotiation table . Remember that Russia has only committed a quarter of their standing army of 2million plus .

      • You really think Russia would have recruited prisoners if they had access to trained soldiers?
        Or is that just an eye blind.

        I can assure you they are negotiating but the Russians still think they can occupy parts of Ukraine. Not even Macron agrees with that approach any longer.

      • If the Russians have a standing army of 2 million why did they need to conscript 300,000?

        Well that “standing army is only 1,000,000 strong. The rest of your “standing” army are civilian staff to maintain those troops

        “Currently Russia has a limit of just over a million military personnel and almost 900,000 civilian staff.”

        Basically every soldier needs one support person and actual boots in the combat zone is limited to 1,000,000.

        One of the problems in this war is that the combat zone is not that large. You cannot fit 1,000,000 troops in that small area without exposure to Mr Hi-mars, Miss777 and any number (thousands) of grenade carrying drones.

        Also remember that many of those troops are classified as “internal” troops, required to keep the peace in the regions and not available for deployment in the war zone.
        Worth a read; .

      • 2 million my ass, what troops they have are poorly trained and equipped with bad morale. Freddie I bet you go all quiet when the UKR army takes back Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

        • That is not a bet that I will make.
          Things go wrong all by themselves and it is easier to break things than to fix things.
          I share your “optimism” but there is so much at stake and so much that go terribly wrong.
          If one looks at Putin’s aspirations it becomes apparent that he has chosen a course of action that is very different from the aspirations of the rest of Europe.

          How does he retreat from here? How does NATO retreat from here? Retreat is no longer in the vocabulary of nationalist Ukrainians and has probably also disappeared from the leadership in Europe and the Balkans and Scandinavia.

    • Wagner bled and mauled a substantial portion of Ukraines armed forces, who were rotated through the Bakhmut bloodbath.

      And for the first time in modern history a PMC defeated a serious large powerful army ,,, one brimming with NATO weapons and munitions ,,, as well as being given NATO co-ordinates/targeting intel for the weapons.

      The Russian regular army lost hardly any of it’s soldiers in the brutal battle Ukraine fought and lost trying to hold Bakhmut,,,, that’s a fact.

      Along with Ukraine, Wagner may certainly have been weakened, ,,,, but that depends upon their recruitment and training rates.

      No doubt some will try to claim that Wagner are the only decent Russian fighters ,,,, but for those with memories longer than a gold-fish,, Mariupol showed otherwise.

      A bunch of hairy larakins who liked to dance and yell Akhmat Sila alot,,, along with DPR units, who are considered second tier to Russian forces…. they were the main ones who defeated the Elite and best equipped AZOV bad boys,, along with other top Ukraine units,, who died or surrendered in their Maruipol defeat.

      Also, the Usa/NATO has never fought a modern war without massive air-power and near total domination of the sky.

      Expecting the Ukraine proxy to fight without air cover is only marginally better in the care of your soldiers lives ,,,, than the generals of WW1 sending the troops ‘over the top’.

      The evilness of sabotaging the Minsk peace accords is really coming home to roost now….

      “This war was completely avoidable”

      • 4faced Ovid’s standard of debate consists of using adult words in his childish ‘you’re dumb’ arguments.

        But I’m glad he decided to comment ,,, as I’d like to point out his support for ethnic cleansing and he’s come to me.

        Ethnic Cleansing is the means for achieving the ends of both Ethno-Nationalists and their pure blood-line father,,, fascism,,,, a family based around extreme racism.

        Ovod- ” Croatia had every right to kick out the Krajina Serbs.” ….

        “Kick out” is Ovods white-washing euphemism for ‘Ethnic-Cleansing”. Why not write what you meant Ovod?? ,,,

        “Croatia had every right to ethnically Cleanse the Krajina Serbs.”,,,, that’s Ovods position.

        Ovod has also called for ethnic and culturally Russian Ukrainians in Donbass etc to be cleansed from the land/’kicked out’ of their homes too ,,,

        Confirming for him the desire and objectives that gets denied as Russian Propaganda,,,, when this ‘Pure Ukraine’ anti-Russian motivation is attributed to far right Ethno-Nationalists within Ukraine.

        Ovod – “Are you Serbian Awakesky? “…. ЗАШТО (WHY)? Revisiting NATO atrocities in Yugoslavia after 15 yrs

        Here’s what the Croatian leader said about the Serbs,,, at the time of his ethnic cleansing/kicking out’….

        This is the racist Justification from Franjo Tudjman, President of the Independent State of Croatia….. – “”And there can be no return to the past, to the times when they the Serbs were spreading cancer in the heart of Croatia, cancer which was destroying the Croatian national being and which did not allow the Croatian people to be the master in its own house…” …”They [Serbian refugees driven from their homes by the Croatian Army] didn’t even have the time to take with them their filthy foreign currency or their knickers.”

        Are Serbs another flavor of Orc to the 4 faces of Ovod …

        “Aside from the fact that modern genetics rejects the old claim that humans are divided into races, even if races did exist, Serbs would not constitute one as distinct from other southern Slavs. (‘Yugoslavia’ means ‘land of the southern Slavs.’) The Serbs are a national group, that is they do have a distinct culture and history, but they are physically identical to Slavic Muslims (for example, Bosnian Muslims) and Croats for the very good reason that Serbs, Croats and Slavic Muslims represent religious divisions within not-very-distant common ancestors. (They all even speak the same language, contrary to the Western media; it’s called Serbo-Croatian.)”


        • Aha so you are Serbian. FYI I never called for Russians to be removed from the Donbas. Many Russian speakers there, are Ukrainian patriots. Stop lying about my arguments.
          Milan Babic basically broke Croatia in two when he declared independence with the support of Milosevic. What did you expect Croatia to do?
          I vividly remember the Vukovar atrocity and the horror of Serebrenica.
          Like it or not Serbs were the major culprits in that war. Arkan, Mladic, Karadzic, Milosevic were all pathological killers.
          What’s more ‘Strelkov’ aka Girkin now a convicted war criminal was involved in much of the fighting for Serbia. He learnt separatist tactics to use in Crimea and the Donbas.

        • What’s more Milan Babic was convicted by the ICC for ethnic cleansing in the region of Krajina. You are exposed by your own rhetoric Awakesky!

          • 1) I’m certainly not Serbian you self embarrassing clown ….

            2) I’m not wasting my time searching through your four user names comments,,,, but if it was not you calling for Ukrainians of Russian descent to be sent back to somewhere (Russia) that they never came from/were born in ,,,, then who did???? ,,,, Ted-‘filth’-heath is the only poster as demented and frothy as Orc Hater Ovod,,, perhaps it was him?

            3) Did Canterbury university actually accept your ‘Aha’ thesis ,,,, written in Crayon.

  10. yup ted allegedly 1/2 ukraines bomb shelters are locked up…wonder what they contain certainly not the ukrainian civilians we all care so much about

  11. @tedheath. 4.20pm

    Western media has indoctrinated you well.

    Congratulations and good luck and all the best

  12. You’ll be ‘reassessing your position’ alright Ben.
    As this tide now begins to speed toward the military destruction
    of the great ukranazi delusion.
    How many pundits Left flip flopping in the detritus of ruined USAMO hegemony.

  13. If Pat + Looks up the well-defined objectives of the military campaign he will see that those objectives do not include major territory changes. They have Crimea, Maruiopol Luhansk, Donetsk, Bakhmut and the land and the land and see in between. The Russians will eventually take Odesa. If Ukraine is winning Pat, I would hate to see what losing looks like.

      • Georgia in 2008.
        Crimea in 2014.
        Donetsk and Luhansk.
        Ukraine 2022.
        Where does this stop?
        Warsaw, Berlin, Paris……
        Why do you think Finland and Sweden wanted in.

        America is the aggressor, yeah, right. Russia will not win.

        • “Yeah right?
          Do you know what a color revolution is? What the Maidan was? What the CIA has done and planned ever since it existed? What the US has demanded for the growth and secureity as global hegemon?
          So ignorant.

          • We know what the Maidan was and fully understand it Paul. The problem is your interpretation of events is the total opposite to ours. You are the ignorant one Paul!

            • Multiple degrees and more than 20 years of critical reading and analysis – you clearly do not have.

              You’re squatting belligerently in a cultural mind prison. You can’t eat McDs your whole life and expect a healthy life.
              Same for your information consumption.

              • Paul, you describe our friend PhuD beautifully. He tries to lord it over others with his PhD, leaves me in no doubt of his intellectual dishonesty.

                • And you have a chip on your shoulder NickJ because obviously your marks were too poor to be admitted to PhD! You keep rabitting on and on about it. What sort of Masters did you get? Third Class Honours?
                  I was on University Challenge as well and while we didn’t win, we got second. I was on the Auckland team FYI.
                  Your main problem is that you don’t read a wide enough range of sources. Your dismissal of Timothy Snyder as a ‘neo con’ is so undergraduate-like. You don’t have expertise in Russian or Ukrainian history and you are not likely to acquire any at this rate.
                  I would guess that your cultural knowledge is negligible as well.

                  • Always ” I was I was I was”, hell of a superiority complex PhuD. Or should I say inferiority. You wouldn’t have lasted a single meeting in the commercial world where degrees count for zip, you would have been politely asked to revise your cv.

                    • What the hell has the commercial world got to do with it NickJ? You are just running for cover after taking a beating! We are talking degrees here and you have a chip on your shoulder!

                    • What the hell has the commercial world got to do with it NickJ? You are just running for cover after taking a beating! We are talking degrees here and you have a chip on your shoulder!

                  • Ovod, well that explains it perfectly. University challenge, wow! High education, I quiver! The sad reality is you’ve just been straight up indoctrinated and spent decades in echo chambers, going over white papers by think tanks sponsored by weapons manufacturers.

                    • Post grad education teaches critical thinking. Something which you seriously lack.
                      PhDs have to be original, Masters don’t have that requirement. In addition we have to defend our thesis to often hostile questioning.
                      We are pretty skilled on rhetoric by the end. That’s why replying to someone like you is a cakewalk!

              • What a load of crap Paul. You are a mindless idiot. Your claim to have some Ukrainian heritage is yet to be proven. Put your cards on the table! I have studied Russia all of my life which is a helluva lot longer than 20 years!

  14. If Pat + Looks up the well-defined objectives of the military campaign he will see that those objectives do not include major territory changes. They have Crimea, Maruiopol Luhansk, Donetsk, Bakhmut and the land and the land and see in between. The Russians will eventually take Odesa. If Ukraine is winning Pat, I would hate to see what losing looks like.

  15. It would appear from reports that the “offensive” has been underway for two days. Who knows, seems very underwhelming so far but let’s keep powder dry and not be preempt.

    In a fortnight we will be eating or demanding humble pie. I await the response.

  16. Now the Putinists have blown up the Dnipro dam at Nova Kakhovka. Now the Russian press is lying through its teeth about who did it.

    • How desperate is this man.
      This is sad beyond imagination. Who will believe these events in future? Only those who can reason.

      It seems Putin’s new battle plan is to let the Ukrainians follow them onto the Kerch bridge and then blow it up.

      • Maybe the dam is just plain incompetence.
        Increasing the level of a dam after you have damaged the wall is plain stupid.

  17. I like your last sentence Johan. It appears the Russians know they are losing and it is scorched earth as they retreat now. The dam destruction will buy them sometime and free up some troops temporarily but it is clearly counter productive if Russian were plans to hold Kherson and Crimea long term. IMO the Kremlin can see the writing on the wall and this destruction of territory they illegally declared to be Russian signifies a change of tack and that they have now abandoned that dream.

    • It turned out to be a wet dream. Sorry, I could not resist.

      Many civilians in Kherson and Crimea will be harmed but Russian troops will also suffer as a consequence of the flooding. This dam can no longer be weaponised.

      Where does anger take this conflict?

    • I was outraged at the aggressively nationalistic stance of Evgeny Popov, a member of the Duma, who was interviewed on BBC 4.
      He was totally refusing to admit that the captured provinces were Ukrainian at all.
      I look forward to seeing this clown being tried in the ICC at The Hague!

  18. does anyone remember the kerfuffle about depleted uraniam in afganistan and the middle east…now the ukrainians are using such munitions the silence is deafening from the same liberals who got all pissy about previous use….juz sayin loike, juz sayin

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