BEN MORGAN: Putin knows Russia is in trouble

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Putin is reportedly ready to negotiate, on the condition that the current borders are frozen. This information is from Reuters, quoting senior Russian officials. Essentially, Putin realises that he does not have enough soldiers to take Ukraine and knows Russia will be ruined economically if he continues the war.  He also feels that he can claim victory based on the land he has taken to-date. So is making ‘back channel’ enquiries about negotiation.

This information has a ring of truth. Putin is not stupid and knows that at present, he is able to negotiate from a position of strength.  His armies are making incremental progress, Russian glide bombs are battering frontline towns and his missiles and drones are damaging Ukrainian infrastructure.   In another year, after losing a thousand soldiers per day and dragging the Russian economy further towards collapse he may not be in the same position.

Ukraine’s campaign against Russia’s oil and gas industry is impacting on the economy.  New mobilisation laws will increase Ukraine’s manpower, so more soldiers will be available to operate the US $ 61 billion of artillery, armour and missiles that is on the way.  Europe’s contribution cannot be overlooked and as it mobilises; more ammunition and equipment will flow.  Already, ATACMS and other missiles are delivering powerful strikes far behind Russian lines.

Internationally, France’s President Macron again refused to rule out sending French troops to support Ukraine. A series of events that initiated another round of Russian nuclear ‘sabre rattling,’ by conducting a large exercise of tactical nuclear capabilities including missiles and bombs near Crimea.

The land campaign, are we at Russia’s limit?

Last week, we discussed Russia’s strange operational planning.  How by opening a new front in the Kharkiv Oblast, Russia was dissipating effort.  Using resources to make minor gains near Kharkiv, instead of reinforcing the attack on Chasiv Yar.  It is most likely that Russia’s command is fractured, generals competing for personal glory rather than working together.  Hence, the diversion of 50,000 soldiers from a potentially successful operation to starting a new offensive.

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Chasiv Yar is the ‘key stone’ of Ukraine’s defensive network in the north-east.  Sitting on high ground, roughly halfway between Ocheretyne and Lyman. It overlooks the H20 motorway and the road and rail junctions in the town of Kostiantynivka. If Chaisv Yar fall’s into Russian hands it would have an operational level impact on Ukraine’s defences, providing a firm base for future operations that could include:

  • Using the H20 to advance north-west toward Kramatorsk putting pressure on Ukrainian forces located in the salient centred on Siversk.
  • Advancing south-west and closing the salient centred on Toretsk.

Both options could have an operational level impact on the campaign, capturing not only ground but dominating a key road network.

Immediately, Russia would improve observation of the surrounding countryside allowing accurate artillery fire on the H20 motorway and on Kramatorsk.  Additionally, an assault on Kostiantynivka becomes feasible supported by artillery fire directed from high ground near Chasiv Yar.  We discuss emergent technology a lot, and drones and missiles are highly effective but do not have the all-weather capability for continuous barrage fire.  Even now, only tube artillery has this capability and it will probably be a long time before it is replaced on the battlefield.

If the roughly 30,000 soldiers committed to Kharkiv Oblast and the estimated 20,000 on the border of Sumy Oblast were being used to attack Chasiv Yar, Russia’s situation could be very different.

Like the previous week Russia has made scant progress since the last post.  And, it is important to expand on this point. In military terms, ground is significant because of the value it provides. For instance, a ten-kilometre advance in Kharkiv Oblast will have relatively little impact on the campaign.  On the contrary a one-kilometre advance near Chasiv Yar will have a significant impact because capturing high ground there provides a range of offensive options to Russia.  Options that could quickly change the operational situation.  But instead of concentrating its force Russia has dispersed resources and not made operationally significant gains. Russia’s offensive appears to be culminating.

More detail about the Kharkiv front

Intense fighting continues, specifically near Vovchansk. President Volodymyr Zelensky claiming “Our soldiers have now managed to take combat control of the border area where the Russian occupiers entered,” on 24 May. A claim that is at odds with Russian reporting that indicates there is still fighting around the town, a couple of kilometres from the border.  The situation is probably that Russian forces are bogged down fighting in the urban area. This week there has not been a significant advance in the area, indicating that Vovchansk is holding.

Meanwhile Ukrainian sources report that Russian forces are concentrating near the border of Sumy Oblast preparing for future attacks.  The reported Russian dispositions are near Grayvoron and Sudzha could indicate that initial attacks will be near Sumy and Velyka Pysarivka.

Further attacks in this area contribute to the assessment that Russian command relationships are disjointed and their force is unable to achieve unity of effort at the operational level.  This is a significant weakness that is burning out Russia’s land forces for little gain.

Krynky and the Dnipro River

Last week, the small Ukrainian bridgehead near Krynky has been reported on by a variety of sources. Confirming that Ukraine still has an outpost on the eastern side of the river. This week there were also reports of fighting along the Dnipro River.  Recently, there has been little information about this area indicating the bridgehead could have been retaken. However, it now seems that Ukraine still holds a bridgehead and that there is an intense but little reported riverine war going on in this area.

Ukraine on the offensive in the air

Meanwhile, Ukraine is striking back using ATCAMs and European cruise missiles to hit Russian air defence, command centres and communications hubs deep behind the frontline, including destroying:

  • A S-400 surface to air missile system and its supporting radar at Belbek on 15 May.
  • On 20 May, French SCALP cruise missiles damaged a military administration building in Luhansk, possibly injuring Russian general, Gennadiy Anashkin.
  • Several ground attack aircraft were destroyed at Kushchyovskaya airbase. Although this base is on the far side of the Sea of Azov it is within range of Ukrainian drones and cruise-missiles.
  • A S-400 surface to air missile system at Mospino airfield on 22 May.
  • Russian missile armed corvette, Tsiklon was damaged on 22 May, by cruise missiles.
  • An air defence communications centre near Alushta, on the Black Sea Coast was damaged on 23 May.
  • Ukrainian drones damaged Armavir Radar Station in Russia’s southwestern Krasnodar Krai, strategic radar that monitors southern Russian airspace.  It is part of Russia’s anti-ballistic missile radar warning network.

Ukraine is clearly continuing its campaign against Russia’s air defence surveillance and command network.  This seems to be part of a larger trend, piloted aircraft on both sides being held back and air superiority over the battlefield being contested by highly accurate, long-range surface to air missiles like Patriot and S-400/300. The intensity of the frontline’s ground-based air defence is simply too great to risk manned aircraft.  In turn, a new long-range, operational level ‘Suppression of Enemy Air Defence’ (SEAD) battle is emerging in which both parties use a range of surveillance methods (drones, radar, ground observers etc) to target enemy air defence systems.  Examples include Russia’s successful drone directed missile strikes that destroyed Patriot missiles systems deep behind the frontline in March this year and Ukraine’s recent use of ATACMs and SCALP to hit both radars and missile launchers.

This aspect of the war is under-reported in commentary but should be studied because it will become a feature of future near peer conflict.  A Sino-American struggle for air supremacy is liable to develop in a similar manner, and the ability to use long-range, precision-guided missile systems for SEAD against an opponent’s long-range air-denial assets is now a war-winning capability.

Another important lesson, Russia is good at ‘Electronic Warfare’

Another lesson recently highlighted by reporting in the Washington Post is the effectiveness of Russian electronic warfare.  The newspaper reported that Russia can jam some of the sophisticated weapons provided to Ukraine by the US including HIMARs.  This point has been raised previously, for example the ineffectiveness of US Switchblade loitering attack drones highlighted concerns about the effectiveness of Russian ‘Electronic Warfare’ (EW).

The key lessons seem to be that Russia is capitalising on the enormous effort that the Soviet Union invested in EW during the Cold War.  This investment is paying dividends for Russia because it has lots of equipment and its planners actively consider EW in battle planning.  A facet of warfighting that I am not sure US and NATO armies pay as much attention too.

The second lesson is that Russia and its allies are clearly working together to share information about US and NATO systems.  Information like frequencies, guidance systems, transmission power and security measures.  Hence, Switchblade loitering munitions that were used in Afghanistan could be jammed in Ukraine because of information passed to Russia by the Taliban.  Similar intelligence will be being collected in Ukraine, Gaza, Syria and the Red Sea and filtered back to Russia and China for analysis and development of counter-measures.

Summary

This week’s key message is that Russia’s land offensive is probably culminating.  A push into Sumy Oblast is likely but based on Russia’s performance in Kharkiv Oblast is unlikely to become operationally significant.  Russia’s poor command structure squandering resources that it can ill afford to lose.

Meanwhile, Ukraine grows stronger, continuing to strike Russian oil and gas infrastructure and is now using ATACMs and NATO supplied cruise missiles to deplete Russian frontline air defence.  Perhaps opening a ‘window’ to deploy aircraft in support of a future ground attack.  Although Ukraine’s frontline units are tired and nearly exhausted, they are holding on and new brigades are being trained and equipped with NATO and US support.

It seems that Putin understands this situation and is responding in two ways, ‘back channel’ offers to negotiate and nuclear threats. Both of which indicate that he knows he is in trouble and needs to find a way out.  A situation that makes him dangerous, it is very unlikely that he will use nuclear weapons but during the endgame the risk increases.  The counter to this threat is resolve, if there is any hint that NATO and the US can be intimidated it increases the likelihood of him escalating.

The Ukraine War sets the conditions for conflict in this generation. If unilateral aggression triumphs in Europe, Putin will be emulated and nations that support the international rules-based order will be forced to fight new wars. It is vital that Ukraine and its supporters retain their resolve and do not incentivise Putin’s aggression by negotiating too early.

 

Ben Morgan is a bored Gen Xer, a former Officer in NZDF and TDBs Military Blogger – his work is on substack

48 COMMENTS

    • Ben thanks for an excellent analysis of what’s at stake in this conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
      A thousand Russian casualties a day might be over the top, but there’s no doubt the Russian and Ukrainan losses are horrendous. Ignore the closet communists, the Russian trolls, the Marxist students of Cuban history and those who think that NATO is responsible for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because Putin was “provoked”. One just has to listen to him. He wants his place in history, to restore Russia’s borders to those of the former Soviet Union and to go down in history as in the same league as Peter the Great. That’s what this conflict is about. A grab for land and resources, the subjugation of other peoples and one man’s outsized ego.

      • It’s amazing how many people here don’t listen to what Putin says. He really doesn’t attempt to hide his views. They talk about fake MSM but his speeches are public record.

        And Peter the Great is right on the money

      • Sounds like you’ve got selective and defective reading skills, al la the entire Western establishment.
        Putin gives very deep historical contexts to his views. That is to support the moral, legal and cultural basis for Russia’s and actions. Indeed the evolution of the Russia’s posture sine Putin took power is entirely due to having a good faith partner in the West to engage with to support Russia’s path of development.
        Putin’s Russia wanted to be part of Nato!
        None of it is about empire building, and it’s only possible to construe as such by dismissing the stuff you don’t like as lies and posture, and collect only the fragments that suit the narrative of the chronically rapacious and russophobic West.

  1. Putin’s problem is that the original two goals of the colonisation of the Ukraine (stop NATO expansion eastwards and the installation of a pro Moscow regime) are unreachable. He has the Ukrainians fighting a patriotic war on home soil to defend the motherland, just like Russia did in 1942.

    The problem Russia has is that there is no succession plan for leadership as Putin’s hold on power comes to it’s natural (or unnatural end). Just like China after Mao was devoid of a new leader for quite a while, to carry forward the vision, so is Russia.

    Russia’s new leader is not on the radar (for health reasons) so a period of non leaders will follow Putin until a new leader emerges from the background. What direction will this new leader take Russia?

    Autocratic leaders last around 20 years and Putin is now at 25. The longer the stalemate of the war continuous the sooner Putin’s grasp on power will wain. Hence Putin’s latest “peace” negotiation calls (which mirror the two original demands he cannot deliver militarily) is so roundly scorned. Cant win on the field to enforce the original demands so how will “peace” negotiation enforce them? Putin is failing and falling rather quickly. Those ousted generals are going to be a problem for Putin.

    • Historically military leaders in Russia always have been (a problem). I’m sure Stalin would have liked to remove Zhukov but there was no way he could touch him. I also think a lot of Putin’s aim was economic. He didn’t want Ukraine (with its resources) tying itself closer to the EU. There was a lot of money at stake.

      So many people do not grasp this point: “He has the Ukrainians fighting a patriotic war on home soil to defend the motherland, just like Russia did in 1942.”

      Anyway I broadly agree with you, although I’m sure the usual suspects will pile on to tell you how mistaken you are and that it’s all the fault of the Nazi Ukies and the evil USA empire (and in my case that I’m a Banderite Zionist)

      • Zhukov was far from untouchable. He was demoted in 1946, sent to Odessa and Siberia on insignificant commands, accused of looting. Stalin being the monster he was killed others as significant. And Beria was certainly gunning for him. That ended with the irony of Zhukov arresting him.

      • Reason being? Not my wish list, just an observation. Simple question, who will take over from Putin? He is 71 this year, can he hold on for another 10 years?

        • Gerrit, what little faith you have in whoever will take over. I’d suggest Putin arrived unannounced, as no doubt will his successor. Russia is not Putin or a one man show any more than the USA or NZ. With regard to an 81 year old Putin hark at Trump and Biden, one demented and the other with dementia.

          • Putin did not arrive ‘unannounced’ at all. He announced himself by blowing up apartment buildings and blaming the Chechens. Then he launched the Second Chechen war thus cementing himself in power.

    • I don’t know where anglophone armchairs get off saying “there’s no succession plan” from the other side of the world.

      All the demonising of Putin that is necessary to be accepted in the Western establishment ignores his intelligence, his love for his country and his efforts and sacrifices taking Russia to where it is today – a capable sovereign nation, open to all, beholden to none. To opine he’s not thought about succession is asinine.

      The “experts” said the same about Castro. Yet in half a years study I could see that Castro had not built the revolution around himself, but it was deeply engrained in the culture – inside the revolution, everything, outside nothing. So I knew it would outlive him, and it has.
      I can not be sure, but there are similarities for Russia. He has made his for Russia path clear and he has invested in making sure his people know what that path is, how they benefit, and what the threats are. Moreover, he vileness of Western Russophobia has finally allowed him to flip the pragmatists and oust the Coca-cola crowd from the top strata of he polity, if not entirely to substantive degree. And it demonstrated to Russians what these “good guys” actually think of them.
      As for who he endorses, he has been cycling and promoting and been steadfast with a number of notables over the years. Plenty of signs it will be one of them.

    • Your first paragraph is right about Putin’s aims, he’d been used to playing with Ukraine. Everything is pretty simple when you break it down. Hitler was a cunt, Stalin was a cunt. However the politics is often against you. Hence the folk on the Left who concentrated on ‘the art of the possible’, by which only Corbyn and Sanders left. Truth is a straight line it’s dangerous for most of us idiots to wander away from. Despite this 40 years of night.

  2. Absolute nonsense from Ben again. One thousand Russian casualties a day, fantasy. All Ben wants is escalation when it is obvious that NATO and the West cannot prevail. Time for the neocons to give up on the Russian and China Balkanisation project.

  3. Ben Morgan is being disingenuous & he knows it, because there are two Wars being fought in Ukraine? There is the Information War that the West & the Zelensky Neo Nazi Regime & Western Media propagandists like Ben & pundits like him are waging & then there’s the Real War that Russia is fighting on the Ground & on the Frontlines? So who is winning? The results so far are 600k dead Ukrainian soldiers, with 100k Russian losses, that’s a unsustainable 6-1 death ratio & the loss of massive amounts of former Eastern Ukrainian Territories in the Donbass Regions with Ukraine now on the verge of total Economic collapse, it’s Economy is non existent & totally dependent on Western Money & Military aid just to keep the Govt & it’s destroyed Military functioning on life support, the lights are literally going out with Russian attacks on Ukraines Electricity grid due to huge missile attacks to sap the life out of this stupid corrupt Country! Soon Russia will destroy the entire Grid which will take Ukraine back to the Stone age? Ukraine will be back to using horses & buggies & candle power after Russia is finished with them? Russia is also creating a 300 mile buffer zone around its Borders & Kharkiv to prevent Western & US Missile & Terrorist attacks on Civilian targets along the Russian Border, the US knows they have lost this Proxy War & are panicked & angry about it because they know the Geopolitical fallout from this disastrous Campaign will alter the Political landscape, America won’t be able to walk away from this debacle like it always does without suffering a humiliation so extreme that their Global reputation as a unipolar power will be confined to the dustbin of History, this defeat signifies the end of the US Empire forever so they are lashing out furiously & are killing Russian civilians to stick it to Putin? And to conclude, False propaganda, lies & misinformation don’t win Wars Ben, Artillery, Manpower, Airpower & bombs win Wars which Russia is demonstrating in its WAR OF ATTRITION in Ukraine but if you want to continue with your ludicrous predictions Ben, your even more delusional than you appear to be on this blog?

  4. “If unilateral aggression triumphs in Europe, Putin will be emulated and nations that support the international rules-based order will be forced to fight new wars”
    That says it all. As usual, the politics of Ben’s blog is more significant than the military analysis. Unilateral aggression is a no-no. But multi-lateral aggression? The aggression of NATO and its partner states? “Kapai e hoa”.
    The people of the world do not see it that way. They do not want to fight any more bloody wars on behalf of satanic powers. If NATO and its partners feel “forced” to fight new wars, they will be doing so in opposition to the vast majority of the people they claim to represent.

    • Now now Geoff, if the whole topic of ‘multi-lateral aggression’ is brought up then the role of the Ukrainian regime in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq might come up.

      I think it’s hilarious that people who pretend to support ‘peace’ will defend the Ukrainian terror regime, which has done nothing to arrest, try, and execute those involved in deploying Ukrainian forces to illegally occupy Iraq alongside the US, UK, and Australia. None of those ‘nations’ have any real right to claim self-defense until they punish every single politician and general officer involved in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

  5. Hilarious- so Russia is in trouble but “negotiating from a position of strength” and will be able to dictate terms (Donetsk and Lugansk stay liberated, and the Banderist rump state remains out of NATO)?

    • The problem is enforcement. Russia already has problems with Free Russia Legion forces incursions into the border regions.

      Russia’s strength is limited and currently will be unable to defend a Polish attempt on Kalinggrad nor a more unlikely Finn repatriation of land lost at the end of WW2. Not forgetting China’s “suitcase” invasion of eastern Siberia (no need for arms, just place Chinese nationals immigrants there). Russia access to the Atlantic via the Baltic Sea is heavily depended on a benign Sweden. Mediterranean access via the Black Sea can also easily be contained by Turkey.

      Putin’s position is anything but strength. He has an army solely tasked with maintaining internal order (some 500K strong) and is unlikely to use those in Ukraine due to problems in places like the Stans, Chechnya, Caucasus, etc.

      His other problem is Belarus. If Lukashenko falls and the land locked nation does a port access deal with Poland, the reliance on Russia is gone. Belarusian people look with envy at their Baltic neighbours. Possibly swing away from Moscow?

      The blockade of Kalinggrad may not be far away as Poland has constructed a canal that bypasses the need for Vistula Laggon traffic to exit to the Baltic via Russian held water ways.

      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-18/poland-opens-new-sea-waterway-to-cut-dependence-from-/101452310

      Sometimes one has to think strategically.

      • Finnish “repatriation” of territory (nice phrase “reconquest” or “attack” would less euphemistic) or a Polish attack on Kaliningrad and it’s straight up WWIII. No cover story for NATO about arming an innocent victim to aid in their legitimate self defence will be possible.
        Let’s play this game of Risk for a few more rounds, shall we? Perhaps when we get enough combat XP we can finally unlock the bonus upgrade with the big boom and the mushroom clouds.
        “Suitcase invasion is another nice phrase. No doubt there are thousands of Chinese in Siberia, maybe tens of thousands or even more. Salesmen in supermarkets and shopping malls, engineers, architects and construction workers on building sites, professors in universities, doctors in hospitals, technicians and miners etc. etc.
        And the Russians want them there. It’s called industry, development commerce and trade. It isn’t a fiendish plot, it’s the right and proper thing to do for both Moscow and Beijing, move the resources from the frozen north to centers of production in the warm south. Then move those manufactured goods around the world including money and goods back up to the frozen north in due proportions. There is nothing in Siberia that China wants, and Russia isn’t willing to sell them.

        • Nothing in Siberia that China wants? What utter rubbish! China still has maps of when they owned vast swathes of Siberia. Of course they want it back! The longer the war continues the closer China gets to controlling Siberia.

    • I’m just here for the comments laughing at Ben’s unwavering devotion to the US propaganda angle – Thank you Mohammed & Nathan above.

  6. He is offering peace on his terms to prepare the way for Trump. An ally, as he is seeking to reduce US involvement in Europe. It is also of a design to have the isolationist/end the war faction vote for Trump.

    It is also a strike against NATO’s will to maintain a defence of Ukraine year on year, given Ukraine may be in its last year of military support from the USA – utilising the risk to NATO from a Trump election win as a psychological weapon.

  7. Circumstances have evolved to an off ramp.

    Russia has been ready to negotiate the whole time. The only reason you hear more activity now is that Zelensky is no longer the legitimate president because his term has expired. The Ukrainian regime passed a law forbidding Zelensky negotiating with Russia. Now Russia can be approached by anyone who wants to pick up the pieces.

    Russia’s terms and goals have not changed. It doesn’t want Ukraine. It has never wanted a hostile population to bleed and suck dry of resources – al la US imperialist occupations. It is only claiming territories where it is welcomed.
    There is no functional ukrainian army, unless you count the azovite nazis who were pows but now parading around in London and anywhere not near the front line;
    Russia is establishing a buffer zone. If it secures a neutrality agreement, as should have done in the first place, all is settled.

    If there is no peace settlement, Russia will continue to sit where it is, biting off land only as needed to secure its border and cities if the Ukrainians insist on aggressive action at Belgorod or Crimea, blowing up Western supplied units and supplies as they materialise. That is a “trouble” it does not want to waste energy on. But it is fully capable of doing so.

    Where Russia has changed is its patience with the west supplying and prolonging this conflict has worn thin. So they will be picking targets in Ukraine that signal this without striking “europe”. They don’t want to strike in europe to stop these weapons, but are prepared to. That is basically what Nato are hoping for now as their only “victory” condition is provoking an excuse to throw up a forever “with us or against us” iron curtain against Russia, as a blow against multipolarity. Provoking the invasion was a start, but Russia has neutralised and come out far better than they hoped. We should really be talking about the prospect of US/Nato changing its stance towards security and multipolarity, before or after their various elections. If they keep doing what they’re doing, it’s only a matter of timing before Russia will feel forced to stop warning and “be the bad guy again” and drop a kinzhal on weapons bound for Ukraine while in a European country.

  8. Putin is giving Ukraine an out. It is a take it or leave it deal, that Zelensky would be foolish to not accept, If Zelensky is too stupid to take this deal (which is likely), the next phase of the Ukraine war is something that neither Ukraine or the US is ready for , i.e. the next phase being “Regime Change” in Kiev, which will be at the cost of many Ukrainian civilians lives (unless WW3 is on the table, which tbh with Biden at all time lows in the polls might well be the case).

  9. What a silly article, Putin negotiated twice before with Minsk 1 & 2 but Ukraine under the guidance of the UK & the US sabotaged both deals! Putin is still willing to negotiate, he never stopped, but now it’s from a position of strength & as he said it has to be based on the new reality of the current situation on the ground? Zelensky is running around with his hair on fire making demands with a ludicrous Peace conference being setup in Sweden or Switzerland which none of the main powers like the US or China is attending & Russia is excluded from any negotiations, how ridiculous! Zelensky doesn’t understand that the Losers of the War (Ukraine & the West) don’t get to dictate the Terms of surrender, it’s the Victors (Russia) who do? It’s like Hitler or Emperor Hirohito saying to the Allied Forces after being defeated in WW2, we accept your unconditional surrender Allied Forces & your Leaders are now required to face War crime Trials for defeating us & pay compensation for winning the War, do you see how absurd Zelensky’s logic is, it’s delusional? And Ben Russia can continue this Conflict for years, can the West or Ukraine, I doubt it, they are being demolished & demilitarised & Biden is trying to keep this War going until after the Election to avoid another humiliating defeat like in Afghanistan?

  10. Suggest you check out last week’s blog and YT post by an ex-PLA mercenary fighting for the Russians. It was intercepted and made public. Apparently, he was a member of a 12 man squad that arrived in Russia three months ago, and was sent to the front and his team was split up due to their experience. After three months, he’s the sole survivor. He reports Ukrainian drones acting in “hive minded fashion” attacking personnel, vehicles and armour, laying waste to several kilometres of territory from 20 KMs behind the front lines, up to the front.
    The significant part for me was this is the first report I’ve seen of AI hive drone attacks. Given what we know of US and other Sat-intel, GH Intel, and other forms of high tech surveillance, it’s not beyond today’s advances, that AI hive drones aren’t being used.
    If so, this is a capability that neither the Russians nor her allies have. I suspect the reported encounter may well be a “test”, in which case, Putin’s desire to halt proceedings hints at the effectiveness of this type of warfare, and the possibility of complete defeat, followed by an unceremonious rout.

    • There is some stuff online showing this in action and it’s pretty horrifying. Ukraine has developed quite a cottage industry in drone building and technology

    • LOL Richard your a Comedian like Zelensky, thanks for giving us a good laugh, the only AI Hive mind drones are the imaginary ones buzzing around the inside of that empty skull of yours, keep on drinking the Koolaid mate, the guys in white coats are on the way?

      • The only KOOL aid here is your refusal to see facts. You really ought to do your research before letting your pudgy fingers onto the keyboard. In case no-one ever told you, it’s better to keep a closed mouth and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.
        AI hive drones have been in development for the best part of a decade. What do you think all those “UAP sightings” really are? Every time there’s been a spike in UFO/UAP sightings, it’s always been followed by an announcement of new aircraft. Think U2, SR71, F117, B2, F22, and other advanced prototypes. US drone development is known, but low key. AI hive communication is a decade old. Do you really think it inconceivable that the convenience of Ukraine for unofficial testing is beyond the realms of possibilities? Think again.

  11. A truce and sanctions intact will help Ukraine. Then let Putin freeze. His face is halfway to Jack Nicholson’s last shot in ‘The Shining’.

  12. “Putin is reportedly ready to negotiate, on the condition that the current borders are frozen. This information is from Reuters, quoting senior Russian officials’

    Probably worth while looking at exactly what that Reuters article actually says, which I presume is this one from Guy Falconbridge and Andrew Osborn, May 24th.
    Exclusive: Putin wants Ukraine ceasefire on current frontlines
    https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/putin-wants-ukraine-ceasefire-current-frontlines-sources-say-2024-05-24/

    I am seeing,
    “four Russian sources told Reuters…”
    “Three of the sources, familiar with discussions in Putin’s entourage, said…”
    “another of the four, a senior Russian source who has worked with Putin and has knowledge of top level conversations in the Kremlin.
    He, like the others cited in this story, spoke on condition of anonymity given the matter’s sensitivity.
    For this account, Reuters spoke to a total of five people who work with or have worked with Putin at a senior level in the political and business worlds”

    None of that is “quoting senior Russian officials’ as Ben puts it. Assuming that it’s not just total fabrication, those five anonymous people could be anyone from a widget manufacturing executive who shook Putin’s hand at a conference ten years ago or a straight up wiretapping spook from the Pentagon. The Reuters attributions would still be perfectly correct.
    This is how bullshit narratives get laundered.
    A quote of a quote of an anonymous quote, stripped out of what dubious context it had in the first place and then spun with a false attribution on an anonymous or pseudonymous blog.
    It’s a rotten technique and info-warfare.

    P.S. “Guy Falconbridge” What a name! That dude should be a mercenary captain fighting Scottish border reavers or on a quest to win the hand of M’lady in the 13th century, not doing political propaganda for Reuters in the 21st.
    What a waste.

  13. Thanks for the update, Ben. Keep them coming.

    Both Ukraine and NATO would be mad to negotiate with Putin, especially at this point. He just wants a long enough ceasefire to rebuild lost fighting capacity but has zero intention of stopping the war in the longer term.

    This war won’t be over until Putin has been eliminated or the entire Russian economy is broken.

  14. The most significant information in ben’s blog is reference to two missile strikes on the missile detecting radar sights within Russia’s pre 2022 borders. Two of about 12 specialist early warning facilities that will have been well protected as they are essential to Russia’s security from nuclear attack from Nato or the US. They must have had some specialised gear to take them out as well as targeting information from the countries that can benefit from Russia’s loss of these facilities that is of no relevance to Ukraine’s defence whatsoever.
    Russia will indeed be alarmed by this development as it strongly suggests that the US and or Nato are contemplating a nuclear attack on Russia’s mainland. There will be more developments on this subject and no doubt about that.
    D J S

    • A classic conspiracy theory DJS. Why do you think that the US has been so incremental in its support to Ukraine and not allowing ATACMs to be fired into Russian territory? To prevent a nuclear scenario that’s why. Otherwise NATO would take the gloves off rather than tying Ukrainian hands behind their backs!

  15. Just think of Ukraine as a “Too Big to Fail” American Bank? The Yanks know that the Bank & it’s Illegitimate Bank Manager Voldemort Zelensky are fucking evil & corrupt as hell but the Yanks have no choice, unless the Ukraine Bank is financially supported, contagion might take hold & create a DOMINO effect that could bring down the rest of the Banks on a Global scale & that’s why a massive, never ending Bank Bailout is required? This is why the Biden Regime is so invested in Ukraine, they can’t admit that their to big too fail Project Ukraine has failed & they are doing the only thing they know how to do whenever they can’t solve a problem & what is that, go to the Pippy Longstocking Money Tree, they fire up the Money printer presses & send billions of newly minted digital fake dollars at said Recipient Ukraine, to try & rescue themselves from this disastrous situation, but in Ukraine this strategy isn’t working because the FED Money printing press can only print worthless currency, it can’t print & replace 600k dead Ukrainian Soldiers, or print Artillery, Planes, Guns & bullets? And the ludicrous Domino effect theory is the excuse the Americans always use, from Vietnam to Iraq & other Places to justify their warmongering, the mentality is “If we don’t stop them over there, they’ll end up here” & then the consequences will be that all Nations of the West will be falling like Dominoes, it’s utter horseshit because Russia has no ambitions to be the Policeman of the World unlike the Yanks, but when has telling the Truth ever bothered the Americans who bullshit & lie about everything?

  16. Just out of interest how many people in the US realise that they have just given $200 per man, woman and child to a war many don’t want or care about, on top of everthing they’ve given so far? If someone came and knocked on the door asking for it they’d get told to sod off.

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