GUEST BLOG: Ben Morgan – Campaign counting down to the rasputitsa, Ukraine’s ‘mud season’


The land campaign progressed slowly and predictably last week, the most significant action taking place in the political arena.  Russia working hard to organise support from North Korea while the G20 met and discussed the war and how to get Ukrainian grain flowing to the world’s poorest nations again by re-instating the Black Sea grain deal.  Both initiatives are important and provide insight into the strategic situation.  Additionally, there are rumours that Russia is planning another mass mobilisation. Already, a law change is being debated that will allow the Russian army to conscript men directly from prisons and commentators are discussing whether Russia’s army will grow again; or if the political cost would be too high for Putin.  All while counting down to the rasputitsa, Ukraine’s ‘mud season,’ when the autumn rain turns the ground into a bog and freezes military activity. 


Last week it was reported that Russia and North Korea’s leaders are planning to meet.  It is common knowledge that North Korea and Russia’s relationship has become increasingly close during the war in Ukraine.  North Korea being one of the few nations isolated enough to openly support Putin’s war in Ukraine. However, last week’s report indicated a subtle change in the relationship.  Kim Il Jong, North Korea’s isolated leader is famous for being paranoid and not travelling internationally. So, when it became public early last week that an in-person meeting, in Vladivostok, was planned by the two leaders the international community took notice.  Some commentators assessing that details of the meeting were leaked by United States intelligence sources specifically to stop it happening, the leak intended to fuel Kim Il Jong’s paranoia and encourage him to stay home. 


Regardless, the meeting is important for a range of reasons. The first, is that it indicates Russia’s desperate supply situation.  North Korea is one of the few countries willing to openly deal with Russia and with its pool of Soviet era military hardware can provide ammunition and equipment useful to Moscow. The meeting’s organisation tallies with reporting from the frontline indicating Russia is losing the artillery battle.  Its extensive use of artillery; and Ukraine’s attacks on Russia’s supply lines reducing its ammunition reserves. Further, Ukraine is currently winning the counter battery battle, destroying roughly five times the number of artillery systems it is losing.   This meeting provides evidence the Russia is worried about its supply of ammunition and military equipment. By meeting with Kim Il Jong, Putin demonstrates that he is at least concerned. The once mighty Russia, one of the most powerful militaries in the world, the fear of NATO and the United States needing to parley with North Korea for support is a huge loss of face for a leader like Putin. 


The next question that needs to be asked though is – What does North Korea expect from the deal?  North Korea is likely to be looking for a range of support in return, the most dramatic being missile and nuclear weapons technology. North Korea is furiously investing in the development of a nuclear deterrent. Its plan is to develop long-range missiles that can reliably deliver nuclear payloads against South Korea, Japan and especially the United States.  Kim Il Jong and those closest to him are desperately afraid of losing power and believe that by being able to attack their potential enemies with nuclear weapons they can deter attempts at regime change. 


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However, nuclear proliferation is a double-edged sword, a nuclear armed North Korea may one day become a threat to Russian; or Chinese objectives so it seems unlikely that nuclear technology will be provided at this stage.  Russia has plenty of other support it can provide for instance, entering military alliances and exercises with North Korea.  Already, joint China, Russia and North Korean naval exercises are being discussed. North Korea seeking support from its allies as a counter to Japan and the United States exercising with South Korea.  The Ukraine War has destroyed the Russian military’s reputation in the West, however reporting in countries within the ‘Global South’s’ media demonstrates that the same war can be interpreted very differently around the world. North Korea probably still believes that Russia is a credible military power and that its support provides a security guarantee. 


North Korea’s most pressing issue though is feeding its people, and Russia can certainly provide food.  Therefore, it seems likely that North Korea will support Russia but that Putin will get the most out of the deal.  It is unlikely that China or Russia will want a more nuclear capable North Korea so an exchange of this technology is less likely than a package involving military support and food aid. In exchange Russia seems likely to get a lifeline of artillery ammunition and other military equipment.


The second large international event is the G20 meeting in India. The Ukraine War was high on the agenda and the participant’s issued a statement condemning the war but failing to condemn Russia.  American ‘think tank’ the Institute for the Study of War describing the statement as follows “The Group of 20 (G20) adopted a standard and boilerplate consensus declaration during the G20 summit on September 9 that called for a “durable peace” in Ukraine without explicitly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” However true this description is; the G20 conference represents a larger geo-political change.  A new multi-polar world order is evolving in which international conflict can no longer be seen in terms of a simple a binary contest between the United States, its liberal democratic allies and the ‘opposition.’ Instead, we are seeing a more complex dynamic evolving as countries like India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are now large and powerful enough to confidently ‘opt out’ of the historic binary competition; and pick their own international direction. 


In these columns I have discussed the rising power and confidence of the Global South. Recently, in the column ‘Escalation, hybrid war and peace talks – What next?’ I discussed August’s Saudi Arabian led peace talks in Jeddah and how this conference demonstrated a change in political dynamics. This G20 is another example of nations from outside traditional power blocks demonstrating a new sense of confidence and willingness to chart a path independent of either the United States, Europe, Russia or China.  And; the G20 has called for the resumption of the Black Sea Grain Deal. A call that coming from a wide range of nations many of whom are not directly taking sides in the war provides a strong political mandate that Russia ignores at it peril because as the Global South becomes more confident and Russia more isolated its requirement for this group’s support will grow. 


The third political issue impacting on the war this week is whether Russia will launch a new mass mobilisation. Putin is fast approaching a series of local and national elections, that although controlled, provide opportunities for political protest.  Another widespread mobilisation could be the catalyst for political protests during this period putting Putin in a dilemma because if Ukraine breaks through his defences the only way to stop a catastrophic defeat will be to throw ‘bodies’ at it.  The same tactic used in September and October 2022 to stop Ukraine’s successful Kharkiv Offensive.  This means that Putin needs to weigh the risk of Ukraine’s offensive being successful versus the political risk of mobilisation.  


Therefore, Putin will be closely studying the campaign noting that Ukraine’s continues to be slow. On the Ukrainian side, there is progress but is it fast enough? The autumn rains are not far away and Ukraine’s progress last week was slow. Ukraine attacking on three axes shown as blue arrows on the map below:


  1. The axis that started at Orikhiv, pushing south towards Tokmak and Melitopol.
  2. The operation to flatten the Velyka Novosilka salient.
  3. The advance on Bakhmut. 

Last week Ukraine managed to break through Russia’s first line of defence on the Orikhiv axis.  An important development that may have far-reaching consequences. Russia’s plan for defence is constrained by a range of factors. The first being that Russia is compelled to ‘chase ground’ with its defence because it needs to stop Ukraine’s artillery getting close enough to hit its road and rail lines on the coast.  This constrains them tactically, encouraging the deployment of most of their force as far forward as possible. On top of this operational consideration, Russian commanders are also under political pressure not to give up ground, providing more encouragement to push forces forwards. Russia’s defences are marked in black on the map; and it is easy to see that this defensive system is designed to protect the land bridge to Crimea especially the main rail and road routes that run parallel with the coast from Mariupol to Crimea marked in yellow on the map.  It is also easy to see how far from the main supply route is from the frontline defences. 


Russia’s next tactical constraint is the ability of its forces to fight toe-to-toe with the Ukrainians in battle.  Fighting from well-prepared defensive positions is easier than engaging in battles of manoeuvre. Russia’s soldiers are generally poorly equipped, trained and led so fighting a mobile campaign is beyond most units. Therefore, the Russians are encouraged to keep most of their force forward and static, in prepared defensive positions.  


And; this is why Ukraine’s breakthrough of the first line of defence is so important, it is highly likely that Russia does not have huge reserves available to counter attack a Ukrainian penetration.  The fact elite paratroopers are being pulled out of Bakhmut to fight near Orikhiv indicates that there is not a local force available to do the job. 


After their success last week Ukrainian forces continued to pursue the capture of Novopropivka and Verbove aiming to expand the break through.  The map below shows their progress to-date, dark blue arrows marking the general direction of their movements last week.  The blue highlights and light blue arrows indicate an assessment of their future plans and in summary we can say that:

  1. The Ukrainians are pushing south towards Novopropivka on the T0408 motorway.  It is likely that next week Novopropivka will fall because it is under direct attack from the north and to its immediate east Ukraine is advancing, threatening the defenders with being surrounded.  
  2. This week it seemed likely that Ukraine would advance to the west of Axis A, to take advantage of weaker Russian defences and to threaten Novopropivka’s west flank. This movement would also broaden the base of the salient making it more secure from counter attack.  Ukraine made no movement in this area last week; but may this week. 
  3. The Ukrainian’s second area of focus on the Orikhiv axis last week was toward Verbove. An attack that is likely to continue next week.  If Ukraine captures Verbove it makes the Russian force north of the town (circled in red on the map) vulnerable to being cut off and capturing an urban area on high ground provides a secure base for the eastern shoulder of the salient that Ukraine is developing.  So, expect to see more movement and consolidation of gains in this area. 

Around Velyka Novosilka this week there was plenty of fighting but little movement to report. However, near Bakhmut, Ukraine increased its efforts to capture Andrivka and Klishchivka; and made progress. Capturing these small villages would give Ukraine control of a series of ridgelines that run roughly north – south toward Bakhmut; that I have highlighted in grey on the Deep State map below.  If Ukraine can capture these villages and the ridgelines then it has a path to advance north with the grain of the land, along the ridgelines towards Bakhmut.  

In summary, the campaign is in its last few weeks and both sides will be anxiously waiting for the rain to come.  When the rain arrives the land battle will freeze as Ukraine’s rasputitsa starts.  Armoured vehicles and trucks will be stuck on roads from then until February 2024 when the ground freezes during winter, effectively stopping the battle.  

Therefore, the battle now revolves around Russia’s ability to hold the line and whether Ukraine can break through Russia’s defences.  Last week, the United States Defence Intelligence Agency stated that Ukraine has roughly even odds of completely breaking through the Russian defences by the end of the year. Essentially, at this stage the campaign is a 50/50 call; if Ukraine can breakthrough and penetrate far enough that it can target Russia’s main supply line to Crimea then it wins; and Putin is dreadfully exposed.  On the other hand, if Putin’s men can hold the line until the rain comes Putin wins.  And; the fact that he is not racing to mobilise more soldiers means he is confident.  However, Putin’s confidence has not always been justified and Ukraine is definitely still in the battle.


Ben Morgan is a bored Gen Xer and TDBs military blogger


  1. Well here we are on September the 11th Day. And Ben quotes from the neocon ” ‘think tank’ the Institute for the Study of War” – seems appropriate.

    “changes not seen in a hundred years”

  2. Thanks Ben!
    Russia’s loss of artillery radar through drone attacks and the special ops attack on Crimea’s early warning radar system may prove decisive in the next few weeks.

  3. So much Western talking points and propaganda it’s difficult to keep up or raise counter arguments to them all.
    The disconnect between Russia allegedly seeking weapons from North Korea VS the West openly trying to coerce sanctioned country’s to supply weapons to Ukraine is astounding, yet another example of how the West gets it so wrong and the hypocrisy.
    Yet again the US abandoned their latest hyper-sonic missile test whereas Russia is using them on a regular basis, remind me again how Russia is 3rd rate?
    Ben conveniently ignores Western reports how Russia has adapted to the battleground situation with great success, as for “conscription from prisons” another laughable western talking point as 247,000 Russians have voluntary signed up over the first 6 months this year.
    It’s totally irrelevant if Ukraine pushes through the first line of defense after months of trying because in front of them is 100,000 uncommitted fresh troops.
    The only way for this conflict to end is for the West to fess up and openly admit that Ukraine is outmatched, out gunned and statistically have no chance.

    • Your grammar is appalling FG.
      ‘Russians have voluntary signed up’
      The word is ‘voluntarily’
      ‘In front of them is 100,00 troops’
      You mean: ‘are 100,000 troops’
      Apart from your bad grammar your arguments are lame and pedestrian. The so called Kinzhal missiles are pseudo-hypersonic. That’s why they are cannon fodder for Patriot AA. The Americans are testing proper hypersonic missiles not half arsed weapons that can’t deliver on their PR.
      So much of Russia’s arsenal is shoddy. Remember the Tupolev Tu-144 – the Concorde SST imitation which routinely fell out of the sky.

      • Ovods main critique is bad “grammar” Guess you missed how the Patriot AA got owned by Russian hypersonics…
        Of course you did, too busy frothing at the mouth again.

        • finngrin, the troll is finding the dishes served by Russia unpalatable. Apparently it wishes to write a book which no doubt will be grammatically excellent but devoid of anything useful.

          • Here’s the thing Ovod, yes i acknowledge bad grammar (Call the police) which is due to my education or lack there off.

            Coming from a background of having a step mother that was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive as well as severe bullying at school I bailed at 16 and never had the opportunity of a higher education at UC as you claim.

            Miraculously enough after raising 3 children and 2 step children, having 4 heart attacks, i still manage to hold down full time work despite being a “bottom feeder”

            Here’s the rub, despite this i also still have a greater sense of empathy towards others and have been a staunch supporter for the disabled and vulnerable in the media because my daughter is intellectually challenged. Can you say the same?

            For someone as yourself who claims expertise you dishonor yourself and the UC with baseless attacks based solely of grammar, one would think you would advance your opinions with facts and reasonable arguments but alas you have nothing to give, a sure waste of an education if i ever saw one.

            You may win in education but when it comes to critical thinking, morality, reasoned arguments, empathy and humanity to others situation i win hands down.
            As a so called Russian “expert” you expose your bias and lack of humanity by calling them “Orcs”

            It’s incredibly sad you can not differentiate between someone offering an alternative view instead simply labeling it “propaganda”

            Again what a waste of an education.

            • Finngrin that is quite an achievement in life. My spelling and grammar can be crap despite a higher education. Mild dyslexia plays it’s part.

              You and I probably disagree on Ukraine but as with everything we look at it through our own lens. I have been open that mine in based on people I know that live in Kyiv that have told me how terrified they were during the rocket attacks. Does that make me biased? No doubt.

              I also base in on my opinions of my Russian friends and their views on Vladimir Putin and what they perceive he has done to their country (Russia).

              But I don’t call Russians Orcs and I know the situation – especially in those regions that have strong Russian ties – is complex.

              It has made me shake my head when I have seen people on this blog advocate for Putin to nuke Kyiv and when I’ve questioned that I’ve been told to “fuck off home”. Difficult since my ancestors came to NZ in the 1860s and have been here ever since but anyway.

              Personally I think this is about Putin not being able to accept Ukraine as it’s own nation – and he is not alone in that view amongst conservative Russians – but in truth we don’t know his reasoning.

              I don’t think this is all a massive CIA plot just because I don’t think the CIA are that good, and I don’t think it’s about NATO and Nazi history or we’d be talking about Finland.

              I think this is 100% about Russia traditionally owning Ukraine and feeling betrayed by them.

              But then, just my opinion, just my lens.

              We can probably agree that it’s a hell of a tragedy and it’d be nice to see the dying stop.

              My respectful opinion

              • Putin and Russia made it crystal clear as to what this SMO is all about. Likewise, the USA, the unofficial ruler of Ukraine, also made it clear what this is all about. For Russia, a neutral (or NATO-free) Ukraine is their top priority. For the USA, using Ukraine to weaken Russia is their current aim.

                There is zero need for guesswork when the aims of this conflict (for both sides) can be found, here, there and everywhere.

                But yes, it is tragic for Ukraine that their current Govt, who swept into power on a peace ticket, have sold their citizenry up the garden path….

                • I don’t think you win hands down on critical thinking, morality or logic FG. My stake in this war is personal. I have Russian and Ukrainian ethnicity and this war is a nightmare. I am an expert on Soviet and Russian cultural politics and you can’t take that away from me. My doctoral chief supervisor is Ukrainian. Look her up if you like.
                  For all your ‘empathy’ FG you have no idea about my position. Your perception is that you have critical thinking. However because you cannot comprehend both sides of the argument and dismiss reputable sources such as MSM, Bellingcat etc, in preference to false narratives from the Kremlin sadly your perception is false.

            • finngrin, my hat off to you in respect. I was lucky in life with parents who supported me, a good career. However we were taught never to forgot our origins, and never to lord it over those less fortunate. Well said.

        • Kinzhals are sitting ducks for Patriot AA because they are not true hypersonics. The US is testing authentic hypersonic missiles not some cheap hyped up imitation.

  4. Another sound piece of writing from Ben.

    Russia are conceding pieces of occupied territory daily at the moment and losing considerable quantities of equipment cf. the Ukrainians. The rainy season can’t come quickly enough for the Russians though that may not bring the respite they are hoping for. Their proxies are increasingly suggesting cease fires as it is apparent the situation is dire for them on the front lines at the moment. ATACAMs with 300km range have now been approved for the Ukrainians and the First F16 fighters are now only several months away. The momentum is certainly with Ukraine.

    • Trev, some self evident facts please.

      Last time I looked at the map (a pro Ukrainian sourced map) Ukraine had gained a contestable village and was hardly butting up to the first defense line. Behind that are said to be 100,000 fresh Russian reserves. Meanwhile towards Kharkov Russia has made considerable advances.

      Faith in ATACMS… as per Russian hypersonics they won’t win a war. A 250kg payload is really useful if delivered accurately but it’s not exactly going to change the balance of explosive power. You could fire all the 3000 or so produced and you wouldn’t even match a single WW2 RAF raid (Dresden 3900 tonnes v possible 750 tonnes ATACMS). The Russians seem remarkably adept at knocking HIMARS missiles out of the sky, ATACMS will probably be the same.

      If you want to understand this war I’d suggest you read Nick Lloyd’s excellent book The Western Front. The similarities are scary, static warfare where if anything moves it is observed and accurately bombarded. Forget manoeuvre, this is attrition.

      • The Russians are moving forward every day…….
        Or is that every other day…
        Time for Putin to save the lives of Russian soldiers and go home.

        • JKT, propably you are stupid like most of the pro ukroid commenters here and I will be wasting my time explaining this to you. But it is simple so you might understand. Russian forces sit in very well prepared defensive positions with considerable force projection while poor bastard ukroid forces expose themselves to it. How many ukroids killed in the last few months, how many Russians? Go find out.
          Of course, mindful of the 1.5 million jews killed during the 2nd world war by Banderites, perhaps jew Zelensky and neocon pushers are quite happy to see ukroids being killed.
          With regard to Putin, I see he was recently busy meeting with “Rocket Man”. As has been said before – “changes not seen in a hundred years”.

          • JKT is not stupid. You are the stupid one seer. And you are racist as well. You are an Orc supporter but because I have Russian ethnicity I am not being racist at all.

  5. The US has already said they want this to be a “forever war” with Ukraine fully drenched in the blood of dead Ukainians (and Russians).

  6. “Ukraine is currently winning the counter battery battle, destroying roughly five times the number of artillery systems it is losing.”

    Really? Is Ben Morgan willing to share with us the data and calculations he has used to come up with this remarkable ratio? 50% chance of Ukraine cutting the Crimean land bridge is another number. If these figures aren’t just pure invention, or divine revelations from the Lord God Almighty or the Wonderful Wizard of Oz then they have been reached by some sort of calculation. What is it? If Ben Morgan is doing real analysis and is not just some sort of a telegraph station for an anonymous Pentagon “Trust me Bro” source, then he should know what they are.
    I don’t suppose that I’m going to shock anyone here by saying that we are in the middle of an information war, and we all need to defend ourselves against propaganda from ALL SIDES. One way to tell real analysis from propagandistic blather is to check through their working which a real expert, like a scientist or mathematician is always happy to show you. Propagandists on the other hand are like stage magicians who will never tell you how the trick is done.

    • You would think that when the dust settles and Russia controls the parts of Ukraine that have voted to be part of it, and Ukraine Govt is no longe controlled by the Azovs, and has re enacted it’s declaration not to join NATO; ie all the objectives of Russia’s military operation have been achieved , that a specialist military commentator who has been supplying the narrative that Ben has been supplying would never have a job in this area again.
      But unfortunately when a propagandist is required again in the future to get us onto the “right” side of the issue he will be the first name on the list.
      Cheers D J S

      • You are another semi-literate idiot who buys into the Kremlin’s propaganda like that other useful idiot FG who is Putin’s lapdog.
        It is obvious with all the Kremlin sourced slogans that you are repeating, that you can’t think for yourself.

        • People who criticize others grammar etc only do so because they have no valid counter argument.
          As a so called Russian expert and having a PHD you seem to know nothing about nothing.

          • Finngrinn – ‘everything about nothing’ would have sounded better to my mind..
            But you are right about Ovod’s
            obsession with grammar. He is not so hot himself: not long ago I caught him out tying to correct somebody else’s grammar by putting a possessive apostrophe onto a personal pronoun. Of course, we all know that personal pronouns do not take a possessive apostrophe, but Ovod didn’t. To his credit, he subsequently admitted his error..
            Ovod – people are often rapidly texting off contributions on mobile phones, and it is petty to get pedantic about grammar and minor typos.
            David Stone’s apparent run-on sentence does actually hang together if you read it carefully and ignore typos.
            Ease up on the ‘semi-literate’ thing and argue the issue instead of insulting the person.

            • Why should I ignore typos In Vino? The message is tainted if grammar and spelling are poor. This is what we get taught when writing as an academic.

          • That’s your story FG. Stick to it if you like. Do you think I have no valid counter argument to you parroting Kremlin propaganda? I can analyse your stock phrases which merely are derived from the Kremlin play book. You cannot think for yourself! You are under the jackboot and you don’t even know it!

          • That’s your story FG. Stick to it if you like. Do you think I have no valid counter argument to you parroting Kremlin propaganda? I can analyse your stock phrases which merely are derived from the Kremlin play book. You cannot think for yourself! You are under the jackboot and you don’t even know it!

            • Ovods method of madness.

              Wait for a few days after Ben posts his latest, jumps on the thread targeting a few select posters and accuses them of Russian propaganda.

              Hmmm It really sounds like Ovod is the paid propagandist.
              Here’s the thing folks, Ovod claims to be a Russian expert with name dropping UC, changes handles after a while and uses a name based on Russian literature but has nothing factual to contribute despite claiming to be an “expert”
              TDB seriously needs to ban this troll.

              • My name is the title of a Soviet film not Russian literature. Ovod is Russian for ‘gadfly’ but none of you Putinists were smart enough to pick that up. Shostakovich’s music for the Gadfly film was used as the theme music for: ‘Reilly Ace of Spies’.
                Most of you are lacking in the brain department despite the fact that you think that you are intellectually superior to those of us who support Ukraine That is why you support the criminals in the Kremlin. Russia is now an international pariah but its arts and culture eclipses that of the USA. The answer is simple. Ditch the criminal Putin!

            • PhuD, if what you claim about academic achievement is true I will draw an automobile analogy.
              Reasonably powerful engine, average transmission, no back axle or tyres, going nowhere. Steering absent.

          • I strongly suspect his academic credentials .He doesn’t have the methodology of an academic, contributing nothing but insult and opinion .

  7. Nick J the Russian Kharkiv offensive is over and the best troops have been sent south to try and plug a leaky southern and eastern fronts. The Russians are claiming things are critical in various places. Not only Robytene has fallen now but various other villages as well. Ukrainian momentum continues slowly but surely with the occupied territory being whittled back daily.
    Jake Dee those equipment attrition losses are independent open source unique photo ID based. Yes it was five or perhaps eight times the number of Russian artillery are being destroyed in this counter offensive cf Ukrainian artillery losses. Ukrainians have better precision, greater distance and many more counter battery radars than the Russians now. Remember Popov and other Russian commanders were complaining about the lack of Russian counter battery capab

  8. Nick J. Toward “Kharkov”Russia have not made significant recent advances. Russian ideas of advances on that front seem to have been shelved for the moment with many of the better troops being pulled out of that sector and redeployed to the south and east where Russia are struggling with and in some instances failing to counter Ukrainian advances.

    Re defense lines we appear to be talking about different things? I was talking about the first Surovikin lines stretching roughly between Robotyne and Verbove. It is clear even from the Russian mapping that most of the first line has fallen with parts now occupied by the Ukrainians. A much smaller area of the second line is also occupied by the Ukrainians now and this line has been crossed by infantry in a number of places. Tanks etc will be across it soon if not already across it.

    Since I last wrote more Russian occupied villages have been liberated with others seriously threatened, the Black Sea towers liberated, military bases hit in Crimea etc. The Ukrainian successful momentum continues.

    • Simplicius has a long write up on the failure of NATO training and tactics,,, along with debunking the myth/western propaganda of Ukraine having or winning artillery superiority ,,,,,

      “In conclusion, there’s no truth to Ukraine’s purported artillery ‘range’ superiority, only when taken from the hand-picked account of one particular unit which happens to be under-equipped with old gear like D-30s. There are many such units, make no mistake, but there are also many with the better platforms. Remember, Ukraine took delivery of only around ~150+ give or take M777s total, Russia has 760 just of superior 2S19s, not counting the thousands of other barrel types. ” ,,, the article touches on many artillery related issues such as maintenance, barrel wear etc ,,, make of it what you will ….

      I also noted Trev, that you wrote ,,, … “regarding the losses comment. My understanding is that this is coming from an independent organisation that only claim photo proven losses.” … Now in the mass death and enormous destruction of military equipment taking place in Ukraine, we only have photo & video evidence for a FRACTION of what is taking place … perhaps NATO/Ukraine is better at taking photo’s?,,,, and the West at hyping the shit out of them ,,, is that a possibility,, yes it sure is.


      Apparently the German European Union ‘lady’, Ursula my relatives were Nazi’s von der Leyan, has issued the decree that Russian visitors/travelers were to have their personal possessions confiscated …. For some reason when Germans say things like this, pictures of mountains/piles of shoes and glasses appear in my mind,,, I wonder if Ursula will go for their gold fillings as well, the nasty demented cow.

      Racists against Russians will approve …..

  9. Jake Dee regarding the losses comment. My understanding is that this is coming from an independent organisation that only claim photo proven losses. That info did not originate with Ben. Yes they are saying Russia are losing a high multiple of artillery pieces cf. Ukraine. Depending on the time periods involved during the counter offensive 5 – 1 seems about right though it was 8 -1 one week. Russia have less counter battery radars, artillery that is less accurate and shorter ranged etc. Remember Popov and other Russian commanders were complaining months back about the lack of counter battery radars, lack of ammunition and very high attrition rates. Russia was winning the artillery war for a while due to the huge numbers of artillery pieces and an abundance of ammunition but with the passage of time and steady attrition due to the Western weapons those days are now over and the Russians are losing most artillery battles. The momentum is currently with Ukraine. If it makes you feel better Russia are only losing the tank attrition stakes at a ratio 3 -1 (Mind you the survival rate of Ukrainian tankies per hit machine is much higher than with Russian tankies)

    • Trev you obviously get your information from different sites to me. Maybe RUSI or other British Defense affiliated, who knows. My information indicates that the unfortunate Ukrainian forces have got themselves into a fire trap. So we will just have to sit it out and see.

  10. “Oryx” is the outfit documenting the photo verified losses for both sides. Lately quite a few satellite photos and online military blogger photos have been published contradicting Russian claims of minor and no losses. In some cases this has caused the Kremlin to change their story and admit damage and losses. I wonder if Russian citizens get to see these amended claims and actually know of the major losses Russia are suffering?

    I don’t know about the Ükrainian’s being in a fire trap, Nick J, however there is very tough fighting taking place. I’ve been saying the momentum is with Ukraine and that has continued with further Russian air defence systems taken out along with marine assets since my earlier posts. On top of that near Bakhmut the Russians have retreated from Andrivka and are in the process of retreating from Klischivka having two regiments decimated whilst trying to hold these small but strategic settlements. Back near Robotyne progress is happening slowly but Novoprokopivka is currently under attack and further areas of the second Surovikin line have been occupied by Ukrainian forces. We will wait and see what happens but IMO things have taken a turn for the worse for the Russians. Having lost so much air defence capability in Crimea in particular is ominous for Russia.

    • “Oryx” is a very biased source who have long been busted for fabricating/inflating Russian losses to pie in the sky levels ….

      …. And ignoring/minimising Ukraine losses to levels that would make paid propagandists blush …

      ie – “Ukrainian ground forces commander Volodymyr Karpenko, who says Ukraine lost up to 50% of equipment, to the present day.” ,,, Volodymyr Karpenko said this in June 2022 ….

      “Here we have the Ukrainian ministry of defense admitting in June 2022 that they lost not only 50% of all initial equipment in only 4 months of fighting at that point, but staggeringly, they had lost 400 tanks. Also, as an aside, at that point, Oryx had only listed 116 tank losses for the AFU. This clearly shows the laughable bias in Oryx’s accounting as the official AFU count of their own losses was 4x higher than his. ”

      Screen shots of Ukraines statements versus Oryx’s EVEN MORE pro-western spin here

    • Trev, I concur with Awakesky re Oryx, there’s a Russian equivalent that is just as biased. You need to be more cynical.
      Re Bahkmut I laughed when the Ukie propaganda lady claimed some village captured and all the Western commentators had collective orgasms. Shortly later a Ukie soldier on the spot dismissed the claim. Pays to wait a little longer.

  11. Oryx only documents photo proven losses thus under reports equipment losses of both sides . You can see the photo evidence for every single loss claim. Unlike Kremlin propaganda they do not claim each photographed loss as multiple “kills” or even use photographs video of their own losses and claim them as opposition losses. The current state of the Russian tank fleet, personnel carriers and trucks is self evident. Russia have been attritted to the state where there is a severe shortage of modern equipment hence the widespread use of ancient soviet era equipment that has been poorly stored for decades. Of course Ukraine had relatively high losses when they were first invaded as they were unprepared for invasion by a country who lied about their hostile intentions and broke various agreements/accords in doing so. Ukraine are on a much stronger military footing now and are making progress in evicting the invaders.

    The Russian military used to be accorded the recognition of being the second best army in the world. Now they are accorded the recognition of being the second best army in Ukraine. This is not some joke meme but the truth now based on the last years war results in Ukraine and comments from predominantly Western military observers. The territory Russia occupies in Ukraine has been shrinking for well over a year now apart from the small blip when Wagner took Soledar and Bakhmut.

      • Oryx are (belling) cat shit ,,, and we all know how that stinks. ….

        Oryx . “It is run by Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans. Both have previously worked for Netherlands-based Bellingcat. “

        “,Oryx has been audited and found wanting. There are a variety of issues that cause them to overcount Russian losses, in some cases drastically. These include double counting (multiple pictures of the same vehicle), wrongly identifying Ukrainian vehicles as Russian losses, counting as lost vehicles that have no apparent damage, accepting images that have obviously been photoshopped, and so on.”

        Oryx , “It is run by Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans. Both have previously worked for Netherlands-based Bellingcat. “ ………

        ………….“While vehemently insisting that it is independent of government influence, Bellingcat is funded by both the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy and the European Union. CIA officials have declared their “love” for Bellingcat, ,,,“

        “Journalist and academic Alan MacLeod has exposed in detail Bellingcat’s deep and cohering ties to the Western national security state. The supposedly open-source operation has employed a staggering number of former military and intelligence operatives, “

        “More substantially, Bellingcat was allocated €160,000 by Zinc Network, a shadowy intelligence cutout that ‘Conducts Information Warfare Operations’ on behalf of numerous UK government ministries, the US State Department, and USAID, a US intelligence front.”

        Reuters, BBC, and Bellingcat participated in covert UK Foreign Office-funded programs to “weaken Russia,” leaked docs reveal.,,,

        Reuters huh ,,,, someone should edit and correct their propaganda ,,, perhaps they should even be sued. 😉 & pat

        Back to a howler from bellingcats spawn Oryx, to finish with …
        ,,,,,,,,,,,“According to Oryx this is a destroyed Russian howitzer, and not a very badly photoshopped Ukrainian gun.”,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

        Hint I’ll give a clue to spot the very bad farcical photoshoping ,,, the image shows something that is the opposite to what vampires do not have …

        To sum up preferring and touting Western propaganda helps nothing but attempts to draw out the fighting and killing as long as Possible …. Pity the dead,..

        …But to neocons Ukrainian deaths are throw-away things of little consequence ,,, while any and all Russian deaths are great things ,,, making Ukrainian deaths totally worth it.

        • The old conspiracy theories about Bellingcat BA? Don’t make me laugh!
          It was Bellingcat who revealed the identity of the GRU assassins who targeted the Skripals in Salisbury. They beat western intelligence agencies with open source material hands down. IMO Elliot Higgins is a hero!


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