GUEST BLOG: Ben Morgan – Ukraine offensive update – Why is it going so slowly?


This week’s Ukrainian advance may seem slow to people that are not students of war. However, observers need to understand that in Ukraine we are witnessing something most of us are very unfamiliar with; a large-scale conventional war fought between near-peer (or equal) adversaries.  This is not a war like the 1993 Gulf War, in which allied airpower was able to pulverise the Iraqi defenders with roughly 1000 air attacks a day for 42 days before the attack started. Or the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, in which the American led coalition had vast technology advantages, so could use air strikes and cruise-missiles to cripple Iraqi command and control before the attack started.  

Instead, this war for all its advances in technology is more like the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88.  A large, conventional war fought between national armies.  A war characterised by Iraq using superior tactical skill, especially in its use of artillery to off-set Iran’s advantage in numbers.  And; offensives in any large, near-peer conflict tend to take time.  In this case Russia is defending and has taken months to build a sophisticated and carefully designed defensive system.    The system is based on tried and tested principles of defence and consists of roughly three layers:

  • A forward defence zone.  This area comprises smaller less well-fortified positions and more mobile forces. The aims of this zone are to slow down the advance; and force the attacker to deploy their key weapons like tanks, mine clearing equipment or bridging equipment early in the battle allowing it to be targeted by artillery or local counter attacks.  And; to help ‘shape’ the enemy into the strongest sections of the main defence zone.  After the forward defence has slowed the enemy down, destroyed some of their key weapons and has ‘shaped’ them the troops in it will withdraw supported by fire from the forces behind them. 
  • A main defence zone.  This zone is normally about 5km behind the forward defence zone; roughly mortar and anti-tank missile range.  And; this is where the strongest defences are located; trenches, concreted fighting positions and tanks dug-in to provide fire support. This zone also includes local counter-attack forces ready to re-capture sections of frontline that are lost; or to conduct spoiling attacks to support troops withdrawing from the forward defence zone. 
  • A depth zone.  Like the main defence zone this area is full of well-developed and strong defensive works; trenches and concreted fighting positions but also has deep bunkers for command centres, medical facilities, protected artillery position and storage. This line is generally about 20km behind the main defence zone allowing artillery in this zone to fire in support of the zones in front of them.  

Each line is strengthened by obstacles like Dragon’s Teeth, anti-tank ditches, barbed wire and mines all placed to slow down the advancing enemy and direct them into ‘killing zones.’  

Behind these zones the defenders will also have reserve forces, tasked to reinforce failing sections of the frontline or to counter attack any break through.  Essentially, Ukraine has a tough job.  One made harder by Russia learning lessons from the campaign.  Dr Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds researchers from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) recently published an article called ‘Meatgrinder: Russian Tactics in the Second Year of Its Invasion of Ukraine’ that describes Russia’s tactical evolution.  The article provides the following insights:

  • Russia’s tactical structure based on combined arms Battalion Tactical Groups has changed. Russian infantry units now dividing into functional groupings. The authors group them as follows:
    • ‘Disposable:’ Soldiers forced to fight. Ex-convicts or conscripts being punished that fight in very small groups and are used to probe enemy defences or to harass advancing forces tiring the enemy out and identifying weak areas without the loss of more valuable troops.
    • ‘Line:’ The majority, mostly conscripts and ‘contract’ soldiers. Units of this type are likely to be the ones defending positions along the frontline. 
    • ‘Assault:’ Better trained and more experienced soldiers able to conduct complex operations.  Units of these soldiers will be local counter-attack forces and be the hard edge of any reserve.
    • ‘Specialised:’ Snipers, artillery forward observers and other very highly valued troops that are moved around the frontline to where ever they are most needed. Perhaps supporting a counter-attack by a unit of assault infantry or supporting line infantry to defend a heavily contested section of front.  
  • Russia’s armoured units are not being used offensively as often as they were. Instead, they are being carefully husbanded and protected.  Firing at long-ranges from hidden positions and using new tools like thermal blankets that make them harder to identify using thermal imaging.  In my opinion, this change in tactics reflects the transition to defence and the impact of losses of Russian tanks.  The report says that when tanks are used in attacks, they are often older models, better newer tanks held in reserve. 
  • Russian artillery tactics are changing too. Russian artillery dispersing more and making much more use of drones to direct long-range fire and to attack Ukrainian artillery.  This change in tactics is important because greater responsiveness of fire combined with better accuracy will cause more Ukrainian casualties.  And; more dispersion will make it harder for the Ukrainians to find and destroy Russian artillery. 
  • Another battlefield function that is not often discussed in mainstream media is electronic warfare, and the RUSI report highlights Russia’s effectiveness using electronic war assets to disrupt drones. Last year, we discussed the limited effectiveness of American Switchblade drones and speculated that Russian electronic assets were effective against the system after gathering information about them in Afghanistan.  Russia’s effectiveness using electronic warfare to block drones has the potential to significantly effect Ukraine’s offensive. Ukraine uses armed drones to loiter over the battlefield and destroy Russian artillery. If Russia is effectively disrupting drones, it may limit the effectiveness of Ukrainian counter-battery (anti-artillery) operations. 
  • The RUSI report also highlights the Russian air force’s limited role in the current campaign, attacking from long-range using stand-off weapons.  This demonstrates that Ukraine’s air defence ‘bubble’ is working and deterring strikes.  In my opinion, Russia is likely to be holding its air power back as reserve in case Ukraine breaks through. If Russia’s tank force has been compromised sufficiently then air power becomes the ‘big stick’ to stop a Ukrainian exploitation if they do penetrate the defensive line. 

Russia’s strong defences and evolving tactics make this battle tough for Ukraine. However, do not think the Ukrainians are going to lose; or that the battle is not running in their favour.  At this stage it is much to early to tell. From public source information we can assess that Ukrainian forces are currently fighting through the forward defence zone and have committed between 10-20% of the reserve they have built for this offensive. 

At this stage, it is difficult to get good information about the progress of the offensive because Ukrainian forces remain ‘tight-lipped’ and Russian disinformation confuses the situation.  Essentially, it appears that the Ukrainians are making significant local attacks targeting the following areas:

  • Threatening Tokmak, a key rail junction about 40km north of Melitopol. If captured it will have a significant impact on Russia’s supply lines in Crimea and Zaporizhia.  Tokmak is also a step towards capturing Melitopol on the coast.  Ukraine is using two thrusts to threaten Tokmak; one orginating near Orikiv and another starting about 35-40km east near Huliapole.  Reports indicate that in this sector Ukraine is making slow progress and the advance into occupied territory is less than 2km. 
  • Capturing the Velyka Novosilka salient, a bulge pushing north into Ukrainian lines about 40km east of Huliapole.  In this area progress is reported to be progressing faster, with the eastern axis of advance driving about five kilometres into occupied territory, threatening the important village of Staromlynivka.  The village dominates the local area and is an important junction point sitting on high ground between broken country to its west and the Mokri Yaly River to its east. 
  • Encircling Bakhmut. In recent days Ukrainian forces have made progress towards encircling the city advancing about four to five kilometres both to the north and to the south, and capturing high ground overlooking the city.  
  • Supporting the Russian Volunteer Corps and Free Russia Legion to prosecute operations along the north-eastern border. 
  • Supporting partisan groups in the occupied territories. 

At an operational level, this phase of the campaign sees activity spread across a wide front. Keeping Ukrainian options open; and imposing dilemmas on Russian commanders by providing tactical problems that cannot be solved with the resources they have available.  Physically, the aim is to force Russian commanders to move frontline troops around, concentrating them in one area and thereby reducing forces holding the line in another.  The current campaign is also designed to ‘draw out’ Russian reserves.  Forcing Russia to concentrate their reserve forces near the threatened area thereby reducing numbers in other areas.  And; to get anywhere a reserve needs to come out of hiding and move increasing the chance that it can be targeted with artillery or long-range missiles. More importantly at a psychological level Ukraine is overwhelming Russia’s commanders by providing them with so many different things to think about that they make bad decisions.  

Further, one of Russia’s key weaknesses is the morale of its troops.  Throughout the war we have seen examples of Russian soldiers unwilling to fight; giving ground easily or surrendering quickly.  When soldiers fight from strong, well-constructed defensive positions in areas they know well, supported by flanking units and artillery that they trust their morale is likely to be higher.  Therefore, part of Ukraine’s current shaping operation is to force Russian soldiers to move from their current positions to new and unfamiliar locations.  Movement and familiarising yourself with a new environment is always stressful and that stress reduces morale increasing the likelihood of soldiers retreating or surrendering.

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At a tactical level, in each area of interest the Ukrainian attacks are performing similar functions.  However, at this level artillery becomes a key priority, every Ukrainian attack forces local Russian artillery to fire and reveal their positions and it can be targeted.  The attacks are also identifying and forcing the deployment of local counter-attack forces and reserves.  Not only does locating these forces impact on the tactical battle; destroying them forces Russia to backfill using its operational reserves. 

The Ukrainians are also testing ideas, seeing what tactics work and how to best use their new equipment.  An example of this is a reported transition to night operations.  Ukraine received large quantities of NATO night vision equipment and their new NATO tanks and armoured fighting vehicles have very good night vision. This gives them a potential tactical advantage over their Russian foes but working with night vision equipment has its own constraints and difficulties. Recent, reports from the frontline indicate that Ukrainian forces are attacking more often at night and developing tactics to maximise this advantage. 

In summary, my assessment is that the offensive is progressing as expected; slowly and carefully.  It is unlikely that we will see huge Ukrainian advances in the next few days or weeks because Ukraine’s campaign is a large and complex operation. An operation that at this point is aiming to spread Russia’s resources thin, forcing them to re-deploy assets like artillery and counter attack reserve forces from safe positions in the rear onto the frontline. By drawing Russia’s supporting forces forward, Ukraine is creating empty space behind the front line that can be exploited if they break through.  Simultaneously, Ukraine is using HIMARS, Storm Shadow and partisan attacks to disrupt Russian logistic pipelines psychologically isolating Russian soldiers on the frontline from their support elements.  It remains to be seen if this campaign will be successful, and if it is not; expect Ukraine to preserve its forces and slowly stabilise the frontline.  However, if a break through happens expect a phase of very fast operations as Ukraine commits the remainder of its large reserve and exploits the less well-defended area currently being created behind Russia’s defence lines.   

Finally, it may be an indicator of the threat Ukraine poses that Putin’s recent speech at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum included confirmation that Russia has deployed tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus and ambiguously worded threats directed at the alliance supporting Ukraine.  Putin resorting to using nuclear threats to scare off NATO support, perhaps in anticipation of another Russian defeat increasing NATO’s willingness to support Ukraine.  But it is too soon to tell for sure how much Ukraine’s offensive is hurting Russia; and we can only keep waiting and watching to see how the offensive unfolds.  


Ben Morgan is a bored Gen Xer and TDBs military blogger


  1. Ben – it is simple, they (Ukraine) have sold their weapons believing NATO would be providing them weapons…NATO weapons are 30 years old, and mostly do not work, hence why they gave them to Ukraine.

    • The Ukrainians are fighting a much larger army that has dug in. This is war, it takes time, money and far too many lives. Take the battle for Bakhmut as an example if you want to understand the scale of the challenge that is facing the Ukrainians and the invaders.

      We used to clear land-mines one at a time, like in the movies. Look at how they clear minefields and place minefields now! In a single kaboom!

      If there was ever a reminder that we should always work towards peace, this is it.

      • “work towards peace”

        If only the simple act of listening to a nuclear nation’s security needs, and not overthrowing a govt and installing and arming a hostile regime on Russia’s borders weren’t beyond the megalomaniacs who “lead” the “Civilised West”.

        Yet another Western “regrettable mistake”.

      • The weaponry deployed in this war is a serious step up from the stuff that was available in the 1980’s. That was scary enough.
        The way in which they breach identified minefields is very dramatic. But identifying a minefield is pretty much hard and dangerous work even when one is not under fire.
        I agree with your take that the NATO hardware appears to be superior to Russian equipment and that the results of battles show this to be true.

  2. US/NATO Weapons & US/NATO training? Results=Ukraine’s on to its 3rd NATO trained Army & Weapons that’s being obliterated. But Don’t Stop Believing Ben, keep the Hopeism going that Ukraine is winning like the Song from Journey?

  3. Anyone reading this blog would be forgiven for thinking Russian defeat is forever just around the corner. The analysis is as laughably one sided as an RNZ edit just in the opposite direction.

    It is the tactic of using media to mobilise public support using the same style of discourse for ‘forever war’ seen with Iraq and Afghanistan which allowed the US military industrial complex to string along their industry’s financing and shareholder returns for two decades. The difference this time is the threat of nuclear escalation.

    For a counter perspective here’s Glenn Greenwald.
    Many of the same PUNAC/neocon grifters and ideologues who sold the Iraq war (so should be completely discredited) are selling now the Ukraine war.

  4. Thanks for a comprehensive article on the situation there, your explanation gives insight that the various headlines on social media sites (I have not read their articles/watched any videos) do not appear to have. While I would prefer that there was no war & suspect that the US intentions are not totally pure the war exists so it is good to have reliable information about it. Putin took the bait & started the conflict so if he was prepared to compromise could save the lives of many people.

  5. The Iraq-Iran war was facilitated and armed mostly by western countries. The west supplied Iraq with chemical weapons that it used against the Iranians. Even apartheid Israel got into the act and started arming the Iranians to keep the sides fighting ‘so they can annihilate each other’. This was revealed with the Iran-Contra scandal. The same actors are now arming Ukraine funny enough they like to call themselves liberal democracy?

    • I do not find it strange that politicians who believe in liberal democracy assist those who share this ambition in locations where liberal democratic principles are suppressed.
      I prefer peace to the export of freedom and democracy.
      But when the maintenance of peace is no longer an option one has to support the maintenance of international law.

  6. Not sure if the seemingly slow progress to date with this offensive is as to be expected or due to the Ukrainians finding stiffer than expected opposition from the Russians . . guess only time will tell but hoping for a significant breakthrough soon and then ideally some kind of Russian collapse to some degree.

  7. That stupid photo of a Ukrainian Soldier giving the Sheesh sign, finger to his lip about the start of their moronic Counteroffensive sums up the idiocy of the US/Nato War against Russia? All they have are Lies & BS to create a Hollywood Production Movie NARRATIVE! But sooner or later REALITY arrives as it is right now, the Counteroffensive is a disaster for Ukraine, they are being annihilated & destroyed, western tanks blown to hell & the US & it’s Western Vassals now have a stark choice, escalation until this becomes a Nuclear conflict or back down because Russia views this as a existential threat & will not stop until Ukraine & America is brought to its knees! Who will blink first? It won’t be Putin it’ll be the corrupt criminal Geriatric POTUS Biden that will head for the exits like his humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving like thieves in the night!

    • So what’s your solution? Do you think Ukraine should surrender? Do you think the west should succumb to nuclear blackmail?

      • The “West” should have gone “hey, we need to listen to Russia’s security concerns”

        Finally admitting that is not nuclear blackmail, it is common sense and humility first. sellf-preservation and belated morality second.

        • The West, ie the USA, wants to destroy Russia and this is their chance, they won’t listen – John Bolton is a good example of the thinking that’s going on behind the scenes. NATO is a military organisation not a political one, all they know is how to fight so no chance of them listening. European governments have been weak and no doubt the US has been applying pressure and threats behind the scenes.
          Common sense won’t get a look in, sadly.

  8. This war will not end anytime soon as Zelensky and the West are agreement incapable, personally i believe we are in the infancy of a Major European/World war with no off ramp.
    Ukraine has no reasonable prospect of success and Zelensky still lives in an illusion determined to drag the conflict on despite catastrophic losses of 68 tanks, 64 infantry fighting vehicles, 74 armored combat vehicles and 950 personnel in the last 24 hours. That’s western wonder gear being swept of the battlefield with ease by Russia. Personally i take Putin’s Kremlin spokesman’s comment “The war between the Russian federation and the west has begun” seriously.

    • You can believe your own myths ginbinge but those figures are grossly inflated.
      I am more concerned about Alexei Navalny being put on trial yet again and what’s more the trial being held behind closed doors. I’d ask Putin supporters to consider how ‘justice’ is being done in Russia!

    • I think there are off-ramps but at present those who can take them are choosing to stay on course.
      The fact that you bought into the social media rhetoric and propaganda that waging war is easy, says it all. Z has never said it was going to be easy.
      The Putinista idea that “The war between the Russian federation and the west has begun” says everything, does it not!?

    • That’s my worry too. Casualty numbers are always exaggerated to favour whoever the reporter supports and can be taken with a pinch of salt but how does this thing end?
      Zelensky and Putin won’t back down and NATO (ie the US) is treating the war as a golden opportunity to cripple Russia. If Ukraine gets bogged down the US will supply them with more weapons and at some point Russia must retaliate against NATO rather than continue to take the losses. If Russia starts to move forward the US will intervene more directly and again Russia must retaliate. If Russia retaliates then the US will retaliate in turn and things will get out of control very quickly.
      If the US gets involved in a full scale war with Russia it can’t be too long before China siezes the opportunity to take Taiwan.
      Even if the worst case doesn’t eventuate nothing good will come out of it. It’s too late for most diplomatic solutions now but one must somehow be found.

  9. The Ukraine counter offensive is looking like a modern version of the charge of the Light Brigade only with modern weapons and on a huge scale involving the wholesale slaughter of a generation of young Ukrainian men. Two generations perhaps if the POWs who gave themselves up on a video I just watched is any indication. One kid looked about 14 , most of the rest near retirement age.
    I think this war will end in about a month’s time tops. The Ukrainian troops have cell phones and can communicate with each other and observe the hundreds of corpses left littered over the fields they are required to cross to join them, . They are going to toss it in en mass soon and get the medical care many of them need from Russia.

  10. It took us almost 2 months to break out of Normandy after D day. The Ukrainians are just checking for weak spots in the russian defence. They are using 1/10 of their assault battalions the other 90% are still training and waiting for the russians to falter.
    All the Ivans on here will go quiet when the Ukrainian army gets to the Azov sea.

    • At Ukraine’s rate early indications are they are in a state of collapse and the offensive has been put on “Hold”
      Russia is stunned at how big the massacre is becoming with massive losses of up to 30% of Western gear. The numbers of Ukrainian solders surrendering has show a large increase and hospitals are over capacity but of course MSM hide the truth, without MSM running interference for the Neo con war machine this would have ended long ago.

  11. Blinken is in Beijing. Ostensibly to rein in Sino US tensions. Real reason is to beg Xi to ask Putin for terms that won’t make it appear in the West that Ukraine is suffering a catastrophic defeat.

    After watching for three weeks it is obvious that the offensive has failed. It may go on for longer but it is going nowhere. On every front, military, diplomatic, economic Russia has the initiative.

    Hence Blinken salvage mission. The question now is how Russia will play her hand? Being in front is fine but Russia doesn’t hold all the aces. Blinken will no doubt be relaying that via Xi.

  12. It is looking like Russia will be on its knees before NATO or a subset of its members loose resolve! Ukraine has the will to keep fighting and as long as the West keep providing aid Russia will continue to “bleed out”. Attriting Russia’s ability to invade other sovereign countries in the medium term is part of the West’s plan here. Russia, perhaps correctly, think the West and in particular USA will tire of this war and that then peace talks can begin. Personally I think this is not a given and even if true a subset of NATO countries have more resolve and this war will carry on until Russia are are evicted from the all or the majority of occupied Ukraine. Russia gambled hugely and has already lost out on its main initial goals. Threats of use of nuclear weapons are potentially scary but any use would see an article 5 retaliation from NATO and the obliteration of Russia’s military power. Hence nukes are just a propaganda talking point. If Putin wants mutual destruction will his generals play along? Most analysts don’t think so!

  13. At Normanby we were fighting the Nazi, Ted.
    Not fighting for them.
    And, like all proud cocks,
    you crow. And we are told how that is when you have to eat it.
    The ‘silence of the ‘Ivans’ will mostly be due to the administrators of this site not posting their comments.

    Interesting the media silence surrounding the document Putin presented to the African Leaders in St.Petersburg, two days ago. initialled in Istanbul in March last year by Kiev. Initialling their agreement to cessation and Neutrality.
    Agreeing to not contesting Donbas and Crimea.
    No NATO.


    Agreed to until the western deepsnake pushers of the Ukranazi regime told Z elensky to betray it. Which he did. Thus establishing the time-line of the Bucha staging. The RF withdraws, as per the agreement. In come AZOV, knives readied by blind HATE, to massacre Russian collaborators . Strew their bodies about the streets scripting MOCKINGBIRD media stenographers in theatre;
    and everyone gets on the same page to huff the Reuters BBCNN shag.

  14. At Normanby we were fighting the Nazi, Ted.
    Not fighting for them.
    And, like all proud cocks,
    you crow. And we are told how that is when you have to eat it.
    The ‘silence of the ‘Ivans’ will mostly be due to the administrators of this site not posting their comments.

    Interesting the media silence surrounding the document Putin presented to the African Leaders in St.Petersburg, two days ago. initialled in Istanbul in March last year by Kiev with the RF army sat just outside that city, poised . Initialling their agreement to Cessation and Neutrality.
    Agreeing to not contest Donbas and Crimea.
    No NATO.
    Agreed to until the western deepsnake pushers of the Ukranazi regime told Z elensky to betray it. Which he did. Thus establishing the time-line of the Bucha staging. The RF withdraws, as per the agreement. In come AZOV, knives of HATE, to massacre Russian collaborators . Strew their bodies about the streets scripting MOCKINGBIRD media stenographers in theatre;
    and everyone gets on the same page to huff the Reuters BBCNN shag.

    • Time to reprogramme Nemo’s bot. That fantasy stuff is just not believable! Just like Russia are not going to invade Ukraine, Ukraine blew up the dam etc. Bucha was enacted by the Russians and there is ample evidence to prove it. War crime trials await the perpetrators of the Bucha and other war crimes against civilians.

    • Total conspiracy theory stuff Remo.
      Try this one for size: Poland may put boots on the ground in Ukraine rumour has it. And Bulgaria has changed its stance after the election of a pro-EU, pro-NATO government.

  15. Interesting analysis, not supported by much I’ve seen from the ground however. I found this link interesting. Not really pro either side, seems well qualified to comment. A few weeks ago, however…
    John Mearsheimer
    “The Biden Administration is engulfed in a staggeringly expensive folly in Ukraine with no forseeable good outcomes. The Committee hosted University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer the week after the Russian invasion fourteen months ago. That zoom salon had 1,136,000 views. The Committee has invited John to return — this time in person. John will argue twin themes: First, we are in a war where both sides – Ukraine and the West versus Russia – see the other as an existential threat. That makes a workable peace agreement beyond reach. The best possible outcome is a frozen conflict that is likely to have a variety of terrible consequences. The worst possible outcome is a nuclear war, which is unlikely but cannot be ruled out. Second, Russia is going to win the war, although it is not going to decisively defeat Ukraine. It will end up, however, conquering a large swath of Ukrainian territory and making it part of Russia, while at the same time turning Ukraine into a dysfunctional rump state. The Committee would not be holding this salon over Ukraine if we had been faithful to constitutional processes. The systematic provision of $113 billion in military assistance to Ukraine in its war with Russia makes the United States a co-belligerent requiring a congressional declaration. But no co-belligerency declaration has been initiated by Congress nor sought by President Joe Biden. If Congress were required to vote, it would balk at co-belligerency as it balked in 2013 when President Barack Obama asked for a declaration of war against Syria and as it balked in 1999 when President Bill Clinton asked for a declaration of war against Serbia”

    • Mearsheimer is an idiot. He does not have expertise in Russia and Ukraine but has a ‘one size fits all’ theory which he attempts to impose on the conflict. It is not convincing.

      • Ironically Mearsheimer and other well respected political commentators are “idiots” BUT Ovod with a PHD from Canterbury university in “Russian” studies his yet to offer his expert opinion once. Time to put up or shut up Ovod.

        • Mearsheimer is senile and is not up to the play. He has no particular expertise in Russia.
          Listen to younger academics who are Russian specialists such as Mark Galeoti or Timothy Snyder.

  16. What is lost to the pedant;
    is “The Treaty of Permanent Neutrality”.
    This Document was presented by Vladimir Putin to the assembled African Delegation, and to the World. It showed the initialled agreement to Ukrainian NEUTRALITY.
    That means NO NATO.
    Agreed to by the Ukrainian authorities.

    That is until the treaty was betrayed by the Kiev/CIA/UK/EU regime change machine.

    Aotearoa New Zealand is, by association; being drawn deeper into this very ancient mire. An historic, hate filled, narcissistic (Nazi) hegemon is afoot. Determined to ethnically cleanse Ukraine of all it’s people and things Russian.

    This is not a good ally to have.

    • remo June 21, 2023 at 8:15 pm

      Two things… just cherry picking your post

      “(Aotearoa ) New Zealand ”
      In the 1835 Declaration of Independence New Zealand is referred to as “Nu Tireni ”
      So if we are going to change our country I say do it with facts, not marketing hype

      “by association; ”
      The Russians have already dealt to us. Last year the Russians published a list of unfriendly nations.
      New Zealand is listed thanks to being part of the collective west.

      The inference is that NT/NZ needs Russia more than they need us. We are GONESKY

      A masterclass in diplomacy from Foreign Minister Lavrov

      • -In marketing, it rings better than Nu Tireni, but; I’d say overall, you are right.
        -NZ is ‘unfriendly’. Russia complained back in 2015 or thereabouts to the Broadcasting Complaints Authority over the anti-Russian coverage post Maidan. To no avail. We deserve having been dealt to. Our ignorance, bias and bad journalism caused it.
        -The conflict appears to me to be ancient civil war; purposefully ‘re-ignited’ by western deepstate, as proxy, in an effort to destroy the RF for the ‘uni-polar’ hegemon. NZ could be looking toward the emerging multi-polar effort to negotiated settlement. NATO is not a good ally to have.
        -Lavrov is the most important and able Foreign Minister in the world today.

    • That was a DRAFT version of a proposal that was never ratified. It was an attempt at a treaty that never happened. Thus more Russian misinformation. How about the Minsk agreement and other treaties that actually happened that Russia broke. The Kremlin regularly lies; eg we will not invade Ukraine, we did not blow up the dam. No sane follower of history believes such concoctions. Russia has a proven history of lying.

      • “The demonstrated draft of the Istanbul Treaty was dated April 15, 2022. Earlier, the media reported that it had been initialed on March 29. That is, the date we see on the treaty is already after the withdrawal of the Russian army from Kiev and after Bucha.
        The most interesting thing is that according to the information I received from Ukraine, everything happened exactly as the Russian media reported.
        First an agreement was reached, with Russia largely going along with the Ukrainian proposals except for the main issues, Russia received the Ukrainian version of the treaty on March 29, then the withdrawal of troops from under Kiev took place, followed by a staged Bucha, Boris Johnson arrived in Kiev (April 7), and Ukraine withdrew from the treaty unilaterally.
        And the withdrawal of troops from near Kiev was, as Peskov said, a goodwill gesture. I would add that it was a gesture of goodwill, but in accordance with the preliminary agreements. It is just that the final version was signed on April 15.
        It also became known that the document is called “The Treaty on the Permanent Neutrality and Security Guarantees of Ukraine”.
        Ukraine’s neutrality is mentioned in the first paragraph of the first article. The next paragraph says that the guarantor states recognize, respect and guarantee the status of Ukraine as a permanently neutral state, they are obliged to ensure compliance with this status.
        The guarantor states in the preamble are Russia, the United States, France, Great Britain and China. Ukraine “undertakes not to carry out activities that would contradict the international legal status of permanent neutrality. The treaty was supposed to be signed by Russia, Ukraine, and all guarantor countries.
        I have attached a table with figures on Ukraine’s obligations to reduce the size of its armed forces.”
        – Oleg Tsaryov, an ex-politician from Ukraine.
        Russia is not the only one with a proven history of lying, trev. And don’t start crowing sanity. Minsk was betrayed by Merkle, Holland and Poroshenko all admitting it was a Ukranazi/NATO ruse to buy time. And have you checked who ‘we’ is, lately ? You don’t know who blew the dam. But one thing for sure is the ‘we’ you have ‘chosen’ are fascist.

      • My responses don’t get through, so I will leave them for now. All points of propaganda, are answerable; but I feel, given the choices expressed, no difference will be made. The war is either for the nato/nazi army
        or against them.

  17. There is an interesting series on BBC radio about conspiracy theories and theorists at the moment.
    I would wager that every pro-Putin poster on TDB is some sort of conspiracy theorist. Because of their fears, the mainstream media is devalued or totally disbelieved. Similarly figures of authority – academics and books written by them are dismissed as irrelevant. I’m sure there are many anti-vaxers amongst the posters here.
    Many rely on confirmation bias to quote their contrarian facts and statistics. They are aided by the agitprop techniques devised by the Bolsheviks which greatly assisted their rise to power and which are perpetuated by sophisticated techniques of Putin’s Kremlin. Russia Today headed by the scary Margarita Simonyan, an ethnic Armenian, who admits she is not a journalist and shadowy funding for the Brexit and Trump campaigns.
    Meanwhile Putin continues to contravene international norms, declaring the World Wildlife Fund illegal banning its own human rights organisations including Memorial which was set up under glasnost to uncover the numerous crimes of the Bolshevik governments. As Stalin biographer Stephen Kotkin states, the Soviet archives were opened in the 1990s but firmly slammed shut when Putin took power. Now transparency in Russia is non existent, there is no plurality of media so the only information from the Russian based media carries the official propagandistic line.
    Our conspiracy theorists on TDB complain that the anti Putin posters only access a narrow range of information but the reverse is true. The UK, US, European media have much greater plurality than Russia ‘s and therefore greater reliability.
    It is important to fact check the claims of these conspiracy theorists but they will never admit they were wrong!

    • Hi Troll, what a load of garbage. I just checked facts from all sources and some idiots are still claiming Ukraine success at the front. That’s a conspiracy against reality.
      I said I’d keep powder dry, I’m calling it. Start eating humble pie, you got it wrong.

      • PHUD will never eat humble pie because ironically enough he still has blind faith in Western sources yet spouts out “confirmation bias” automatically discarding alternative sources. A closed mind is a closed book.

        For the record Ovod I read left wing, right wing, and alternative media sources daily paying extra attention to what is said, read between the lines and have a good understanding of the facts. To me balance is the key to understanding. Ukraine is losing, that’s without a doubt no matter which way you cut it and I say this because in all my media travels over the years Ive seen enough evidence to claim so confidently.

        Do i support the death and destruction? in a word No, I hate conflict even personal conflict but im wise enough to understand that in any confrontation there is always one main aggressor.
        Do not mistake my understanding for the Russian position as being a “Putinesta” empathy goes a long way in life. It is possible to hold 2 completely opposing views at the same time, for example being against war and conflict but also have the view that sometimes it is necessary for the collective good of mankind.
        In no way do i agree with Ukraine joining NATO and all that entails with US nukes right on Russia’s border, exactly the same as being against Russian nukes in Cuba, see the Western hypocrisy?
        That’s akin to having the mongrel mob next door with loaded shotguns. Would you find that acceptable?

        Was Ukraine the main aggressor? Partly by designating their own Russian speaking citizens as terrorists and conducting a military offensive against them resulting in the deaths of 14,000 since 2014 that’s an irrefutable fact confirmed by your own Western sources.

        It’s blatantly obvious that behind the Ukrainian puppet regime the strings are being pulled by the United States with their open support of Neo Nazis before the SMO, there’s enough clear evidence of the US training them and visits to the White house.
        {Googles your friend}

        Does Russia have “legitimate” security concerns? IMO that’s a clear yes. For over a decade Russia has been on the record raising them to the West only to be laughed at and ignored, Heck Putin even floated the balloon of Russia joining NATO again to be laughed at because the real goal is not European peace but the destruction of Russia and the theft of its resources. That’s the ultimate prize.

        For someone who claims a PHD in Russian studies i see you as one dimensional because surely you must understand Russia is Ukraine, and Ukraine is Russia. There can not be one without the other. How is Russia supposed to reconcile the fact that of the two countries that share a common history, one is openly discriminating against Russians, i would imagine if Russia banned Ukrainian speakers we would all hear your moral outrage, so yes Russia does hold the moral high ground.

        You label Russian sources as propaganda but in all honesty after reading them daily for 2 decades I have yet to find a single clear example of disinformation. Sure there are differences of opinion but one must respect differences and understand that inflexibility only leads to conflict, it comes as no surprise Russia has therefor labeled the West as agreement incapable, a label i agree with.

        • What a rant! You are in cloud cuckoo land if you cannot discern the subtleties in Russian agitprop fg.
          I have an MA in Russian and a PhD in European studies but the point is you have no academic training yourself so you are not able to comprehend the difference in inputs between academics with expertise in the field and non academics.

      • You fit the profile of conspiracy theorist perfectly NJ. It fits your profile to claim that you are the ‘enlightened one’ and that nobody else can see the truth as you see it. And you absolutely hate someone fact checking you.

      • Remo you are just authenticating yourself, to use existential terminology.
        As the documentary on BBC Radio 4 states, those in the conspiracy theory mindset will never return to a rational manner of thinking especially when there are examples such as Trump and Putin around.
        Sadly Mark Galeoti predicts that if Putin remains in the Kremlin his followers in the West will increase and those in Russia will decrease.

    • Cool story Ovod. Google IAEA debunks Ukrainian claim about Europe’s largest Nuclear plant and you will find nada in the MSM, but plebeians will still believe “Russia mined the cooling ponds” as claimed by the coke addict comedian. There’s your reliable “Western media for ya” but hey feel free to label dissenting opinions as conspiracy theory’s if it makes you feel you have the “high ground” Twat.

    • I am always struck by the diverse commentary by American “scholars” and commentators. The tolerance of diverse opinions is interesting.

  18. NJ you have just proved my thesis about conspiracy theorists. You refuse to admit that you were wrong about Mikhail Valtersson. You lack any credibility whatsoever.

    • What makes your truth THE truth Ovod?
      Only arrogance from someone like yourself that blindly assumes someone having a different opinion is a conspiracy theorist or a Putin supporter/dictator/anti Semite.
      Yeah I’ve heard all the labels from people like yourself, my way or the highway eh Ovod, as far as im concerned they are intellectually lazy incapable of personal growth and understanding.

  19. All bets are off! Prigozhin has turned on Putin and co and is marching on Moscow as we speak. It is a parallel to the mutiny of General Kornilov in 1917. Prigozhin will fail but he has destabilised the Kremlin and the war effort.

  20. I’ll bet NJ and all the other miscreants will be praying for the survival of Putin’s regime. Mind you I think they are all nihilistic atheists anyway.
    Also to Martyn, Putin doesn’t have a religious bone in his body – unless he is in thrall to the god Mars.

  21. Maybe.
    But Maybe all you and I are doing is saying out loud how little we actually know? There are whispers from the leviathan that suggest this could easily be a ruse to mobilise Russian call-up – martial law powers to mount a few million man army so RF can just get in and get this thing done before the covert western ‘hybrid war’ crap goes on too long. To clean the nest of Ukranato.nazis out in one go and get it done with.
    You and I obviously don’t know.

    • Yet another conspiracy theory and a very far fetched one at that! Why would Prigozhin be so accurate? That the whole war was waged on a false pretext supposedly to save the people of the Donbas – something that NJ bangs on about. Well it seems you have been led down the garden path by Putinist spin NJ. I dare you to admit it! But you won’t of course.


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