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Russia’s War for the Donbas Begins: What Happens if Putin Can’t Win?

T-80 Tank
T-80 Tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

If Russia’s Donbas Offensive is Stopped, the Ukraine War is a Stalemate: The last big Russian push in the Ukraine war has begun. The Russian army has regrouped after its earlier, uncoordinated assaults all over Ukraine. It is now concentrating on Donbas, the eastern portion of Ukraine. After its humiliating defeat around Kyiv, this is likely Russia’s last chance to fight a war of maneuver – to break through Ukrainian lines with its armored columns and wreak havoc in Ukraine’s rear. Russia’s large commitment of tanks and other armored vehicles – and their well-documented destruction by Ukrainian soldiers – strongly suggests this is the type of war Russia wants to fight, but which Ukraine has stymied so far.

The Course of the War So Far

Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly expected a blitzkrieg. Putin seems to have believed his own propaganda that Russian forces would roll over weak defenders weakly committed to a corrupt, semi-failing state with a low sense of national identity. Putin has repeatedly claimed that Ukraine is a ‘fake country.’ He has been subverting it for a decade. In 2014, he snatched Crimea from it. His likely goal in the war now is to break off another chunk in Donbas as Russia-dependent statelets.

The sloppy Russian actions in the first month of the war suggest Putin believed this narrative, and the result is that Russia squandered the advantages of surprise. Had it been staged and coordinated properly – combined arms failed spectacularly – it might have knocked Ukraine out of the war before it could mobilize and before Western aid could make a difference.

This failed, and Russia is now fighting a massive proxy war it probably cannot win if it does not win soon. Western aid coordination problems will soon be worked out, and NATO heavy weapons are already on their way. Ukraine is a motivated, increasingly well-armed opponent. Punishing Western sanctions will gradually undercut the Russian economy’s ability to support the war effort. The window for a quick Russian victory – which could permit a quick end to the war’s losses and a quick end of sanctions – is closing.

The Donbas offensive is Russia’s last chance to wrap this up soon and avoid a long, punishing grind. A drawn-out conflict of attrition similar to World War I or the Vietnam War looms, and even if Russia were to somehow win that in a year or two, it would be a pyrrhic victory.

Donbas is the Best Area for a Russian Assault

Donbas is a good target for a last Russian gamble. The territory is flatter and more open than the urban warfare it tried – and failed at – around Ukraine’s cities. Russia’s desire to deploy tanks is better suited here. Ukrainian ambush teams will find it harder to approach Russian columns in open space.

The population of Donbas is, ostensibly, sympathetic. Eastern Ukraine has a larger portion of Russian-speakers and ethnically Russian people than the rest of Ukraine. It is to defend them against Ukrainian ‘Nazis’ that Putin launched this war. There are already Russian-sponsored separatists active in Donetsk and Luhansk. If there is anywhere in Ukraine where the Russian assault might find local sympathy, it is here.

Russian Advantages

The unfolding Donbas struggle will be the toughest challenge yet for Ukraine. The Russian military has almost certainly learned from its errors of the first six weeks. It will probably not make amateur mistakes – sending light armored units far in advance unaccompanied, leaving long columns of vehicles lined up for days in easy ambush position, not informing its soldiers of their actual missions – again.

Russian armor should, if properly supported by infantry, be much more devasting than before. The lines of contact in Donbas are long; in some cases, there are trenches. Static, open positions like this are precisely what tanks were designed to outmaneuver. If Russian armor can finally move at speed, its tanks should be able to reduce their losses to drone strikes. Ukrainian ambush teams will also find it harder to track them and be more exposed to retaliation. And if the Russians really breakthrough, they might encircle the bulk of the Ukrainian army east of the Dnieper River. Were that to happen, Ukraine would likely sue for peace.

The emerging consensus is that if Ukraine does not receive heavier weapons from NATO, it will probably lose ground. This likely why Russia resumed its offensive so rapidly after retreating in the north. It needs to outrace the arrival of NATO aid.

So Russia has a decent chance in this next phase. Its firepower will be concentrated on one front. It will likely fight more coherently, having learned from last month’s bloody nose. NATO heavy weapons will take time to arrive, and pervious Ukraine’s advantages – in drones, nimble ambush squads, urban terrain – will matter less this time.

But Ukraine survived for the last sixty days when few analysts thought it would. It is better led and motivated, and Russia’s firepower advantage is eroding if only NATO can accelerate its arms transfers. If Ukraine blunt this offensive long enough for those advanced weapons to level the playing field, the war will degenerate into a stalemate. Putin might be tempted to break that with a weapon of mass destruction – but the associated costs of that are massive and unpredictable.

Far more likely is that, post-Donbas offensive, the invasion becomes a battle of attrition which Russia loses slowly over time.

Dr. Robert E. Kelly (@Robert_E_Kellywebsite) is a professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science at Pusan National University. Dr. Kelly is a 1945 Contributing Editor as well. 

Written By

Dr. Robert E. Kelly (@Robert_E_Kelly; website) is a professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science at Pusan National University. Dr. Kelly is now a 1945 Contributing Editor as well. 



  1. Him

    April 19, 2022 at 8:16 am

    Are there any concerns that, just as Russia has turned out to be less than the figment of imagination of the army to be feared, could it be the same for NATO – but in perhaps different ways?

    Already, the reports are that, after just 2 months, the United States has depleted a third of its Javelin missiles, and it’ll take several slow years to manufacture that high-tech replacements. So if this Ukraine proxy war dragged on for 2 years, that’s clearly not enough Javelins for the U.S. to keep sharing with Ukraine, not to mention if China later on attacks Taiwan after all parties fighting in Europe have depleted the United States arsenal.

    What if NATO is a paper tiger in that, when Article 5 is put to the test, the will to implement might be watered down by various partner nations opting for a soft approach?

    After all, when one nation is attacked, usually the initial response is a soft touch. So if NATO is deemed to have been collectively attacked, even then, perhaps the initial collective response would also be a soft touch?

    i.e. if Putin wins in Donbas, he might take a chance at some NATO small-try.

    It’s one thing for Ukrainians to fight like lions to defend their Ukrainian soil. But do you see French soldiers giving their life to defend Romanian or Slovenian soil. Or Italian soldiers giving their blood to defend Polish soil – at least with the same bravery as the Ukrainians?

    And even if NATO triggers Article 5, who are the bulwarks of NATO? Particularly if the United States were to be depleted and distracted by a WW3 scenario of China attacking Taiwan? Germany, with its decades-long low-budget military?

    It’s one thing to have an Article 5, but it’s quite another to actually take action. For instance, didn’t Ukraine have the Budapest Memorandum which has amounted to zip – or was re-interpreted to mean: Ukraine, you fight, and we’ll send conventional weapons. (I somehow assume that when Ukraine gave up its nukes, the rationale was to rest safe in the nukes owned by U.S. and U.K. to give the same deterrent. No?

    Can a NATO Treaty, where most countries are in it selfishly solely for protection rather than fighting, what really happens if Article 5 is called into play?

    You can well imagine this scenario. Let’s say Sweden and Finland join NATO. Russia does not mount a full scale invasion but slices off a very tiny portion of Finland, and part of the so-called Russian regions of the Baltic States. i.e. the 2014 strategy used in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.

    Rather than Article 5 instantly triggering the rolling out of NATO’s grand armee – as social media taunts the Russian trolls – what if France urges diplomacy, Hungary baulks, Poland and Czechia rattle sabres, a lot of NATO members remonstrating that they joined for protection rather than fighting – and, aside from NATO sending troops to line the borders, nothing happens.

    Just because Article 5 deems that an attack on one is an attack on the rest, it doesn’t mean that the NATO armies come charging out. Instead, consider what happens when there is an attack on one, NATO’s response could be exactly what we see NATO doing with Ukraine.

  2. Alex

    April 19, 2022 at 9:17 am

    Nothing will happen, Robert. Donbass, like Crimea, will forever become a territory of the Russian Federation. Do you understand that the Anglo-Saxons crap? The main thing now is to take Poland, Romania, Slovakia their territories, which were illegally taken away by the communists. The United States failed the plan to deploy weapons on the territory of Ukraine.

  3. Vladolph Putler

    April 19, 2022 at 10:09 am

    Nice alley oop, but that’s some pretty solid wishful thinking. Russia’s army is much like Saddam’s army. Lots of tanks (same ones actually) and lots of legacy aircraft.

    The US military of decades ago cut through that army like butter with very VERY low casualties. Even elite Fedayeen forces who started with good morale.

    China was so shocked at this, they decided to remake their military.

    Iraq tipped the hand of the US so everyone saw that the US military was disproportionately formidable. Russia has done the absolute OPPOSITE.

    Any further wishful thinking should remember that the will of the people get a vote. A really BIG vote. As seen in Afghanistan for the USSR as well as USA.

    But I doubt at this point, that Russia can win anything more than it has. The question really, is how much damage will be done to Russia, and will Ukraine take its territory BACK? If so, they probably intend to bleed Russia for years first.

    Russians have consistently lied, and always seem to. Ukraine has been remarkably candid. Zelensky said they would hold Kiev and fight. Few believed it possible, but here we are. Now they say they will take back all territory, and Russia’s much balleyhooed tank offensive so fare has achieved merely a *single* breakthrough (Zarichne) of tanks who are now boxed in and being lit up by artillery.

    But if you believe hard enough, you probably will believe. XD

  4. CK

    April 19, 2022 at 10:48 am

    At this point, the sport of engaging with Alex is almost completely gone. It’s like arguing with someone with Alzheimers, or a three year old child with cerebral palsy. They live in their own made up realities and can’t rationalise the real world. It’s sad, and if you do, you feel you are taking advantage of them. He called himself a Pole in another thread, and now wants Russia to “take it back” … riiiight.

    Anyway. I think Russia will not put NATO’s resolve to the test, especially after the fiasco in Ukraine. As mentioned above, they have lost all battlefield credibility. As for would NATO actually come in the defense of an aggressed nation, yes, I believe they would. The entire premise of it is that they would. How is it “selfish” to want to join an alliance whose sole purpose is to protect you?

    And I think countries and countries populations’ support depends of course, in the reason they are getting involved. Italy and Hungary and whatnot would probably not be too chuffed about a pre-emptive war against Russia, but that calculus changes if Russia is say, attacking Finland, or Estonia (or Ukraine) … you see in most European countries, the population wants Europe to help Ukraine MORE, not less, including famously recalcitrant Germany.

    Slow as it is, look at everything they are doing for Ukraine, and they are not even in the alliance. Never in a hundred years, did I think the US, EU, NATO (Germany!) would send weapons to them, and yet here we are. You bet your ass NATO would get involved if one of their own was attacked.

    • Old Desert Coyote

      April 21, 2022 at 2:23 pm

      I think it might be helpful to check out the Military exercise Rapid Trident that was held in eastern Europe in September and October of 2021. In fact the Ukrainian Army has benefited from training with and on NATO equipment for about 8 years. Also the Ukraine has been receiving US military aid since 2014. Before this latest maggot wrestle the Ukrainian army had received about $1.2 billion of Military aid over the last few years.

  5. Him

    April 19, 2022 at 10:56 am

    CK, point taken.

  6. Vladolph Putler

    April 19, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Oh, I realize the sport with Mr. Alex is quite tired. But it is an opportunity to play sport with Russian misinformation. Which I think is good to check.

    As to assistance to Ukraine, I have to admit I am surprised at the level of support. Historically these things have played out with proxy insurgencies. Ukraine’s regulars have performed shockingly well. But support was virtually guaranteed at some level- old playbook. My personal impression (of questionable value ;)) is that the Ukrainian regular forces success caught Europe and the US off guard. They were not prepared for Ukrainian conventional forces to survive- let alone PREVAIL. It changes the game substantially.

    I guess Ukraine has been very lucky that the Russians are not only arrogant and incompetent, but also pretty delusional.

  7. Andrew M. Winter

    April 19, 2022 at 12:10 pm


    All of you have completely forgotten, or more likely have never ever heard of The “Rasputitsa”. You really really need to understand this “horror”.

    MUD. Tens of Thousand, maybe tens of MILLIONS of square miles of MUD! From Minsk in Belarus all down through the Pripyat Marches to just North of Kyiv all the way down both the Don and Dnieper Basins it is MUD SEASON, in all CAPS. NOTHING moves! Even the ROADS turn to SOUP!
    Google the following and switch to “Images”, “Stuck in the Mud in Ukraine” without the quotes. You can find pictures of TANKS literally swallowed whole by MUD, even on ROADS.

    This offensive is a “hurry up” Offensive by Russia right into the middle of the FLAT Donbas. It is FLAT that means that the all that snow and ice melt goes NOWHERE. It sits in the ground til JUNE an makes SOUP. It does not drain for squat.

  8. greenman

    April 19, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Putin cannot win, unless he has a magic wand.
    Putin has already lost according to the Pareto, principle wherein the original invasion force of 150,000, has been reduced to three Pareto.points of military effectiveness, 20%, then 4%, then 0.8%.
    If the recent reported Russian deaths of 20,500 are accurate and applying the multiple of 3 x for wounded, total Russian casualties are 20,500 x 4= 82,000. This leaves 68,000 Russian troops who are probably suffering from shell shock or some other neurological condition of warfare, sorry special operation.

    Maybe Putin has a lucky rabbit foot, not so lucky for the rabbit?

  9. Commentar

    April 19, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Putin will only be denied victory if the big guy a.k.a. the chairman decides to intervene militarily in Donbass.

    This conflict wouldn’t have arisen now if deep state nexus hadn’t employed the mail-in votes shenanigan in Nov 2020.

  10. CK

    April 19, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    @Vladolph yeah, I think after the heroic Ukrainian resistance, Europe realised this could actually be done. Still, I really wish Germany would step up its game. Now Scholz says he can’t afford to give any more because it would deplete their NATO contribution stocks, which is hilarious, because they never gave a crap about NATO contributions before. Does anyone seriously think Russia would even reach Berlin these days unless they used nukes and started WW3? With this military? They can’t even get to Kyiv, never mind Warsaw or Berlin. Even Denmark and Finland, who arguably has FAR more to lose than Germany by giving away its hardware, is doing better. Sad really.

    I do hope the rasputitsa bogs them down, let’s see.

    And to finish, I really don’t understand why Putin is so scared of his people having access to free information. As you can see, people are perfectly capable of brainwashing themselves, with full access to facts and the internet, and without the government having to force them. Incredible really!

  11. Bertram

    April 19, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Time to bring Finland and Sweden into NATO while Putin is bogged down in the Ukraine morass.

    Those countries would basically mean that the Russian Navy couldn’t even leave port in Kaliningrad during hostilities without NATO missiles in Sweden sending them to the bottom of the Baltic Sea within hours.

    The Baltic States in NATO were always a questionable proposition as they could be overwhelmed within hours, but Sweden in tight cooperation with NATO is a different story. The opportunity is ripe to take Russia down several notches and defang them.

  12. Alex

    April 19, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    And now it becomes very interesting. The devil shows his face. Bandera Nazis helped the United States in monstrous experiments.

    Russia submitted to the UN Security Council new documents on US biological laboratories in Ukraine.

    Evidence of military-biological activities on the territory of Ukraine in violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons is accumulating. Russia has circulated the relevant new materials as an official document of the Security Council.

    The commission is conducting a study of disease outbreaks that occurred on Ukrainian territory. It is obvious that Ukraine has become a laboratory of inhuman experiments for the Pentagon.

    Documents obtained during the Russian investigation confirm the close cooperation between Ukraine and Western countries in biological research on especially dangerous infections. The work was carried out despite the risks of a biological catastrophe in Europe.
    In the period from 2019 to 2021, American scientists tested potentially dangerous biological drugs on patients in a Kharkiv psychiatric hospital. In mid-March, documents from 2015 were released confirming the participation of the Pentagon in financing military biological projects in Ukraine.

    It was noted that a network of more than 30 biological laboratories has been formed in the country. In addition, the documents show Kyiv’s plans to use drones to spray deadly substances.

    Moscow will insist on reviewing the situation with biolaboratories in Ukraine within the framework of the United Nations Security Council and the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons.

    Documents released in 2015 confirming the participation of the Pentagon in the financing of military biological projects in Ukraine

    Lies and propaganda only work for the first time, and then the truth comes to light. Once upon a time, on the territory of modern Ukraine, the Third Reich conducted experiments on Ukrainians and the Third Reich was helped by Bandera Nazis. History is cyclical. Now there will be a new sweep of the bastards.

  13. Alexis's family got smoked today

    April 20, 2022 at 1:08 am

    @him, you should research POMCUS. The US has enough gear stored in Europe to anhilate russia twice. Given the T72 failers, Id say 3 times. This little pootin game allows us to test the POMCUS concept.

    The Javelins came from prepositioned stock already in theater. As well as from US stocks.

  14. Alexis's family got smoked today

    April 20, 2022 at 1:15 am

    The problem with Alexis, she lacks the 3 brain cells to put a thought together is, russia will never survive an insurgency. Didnt work in Syria. Certainly won’t work where people are fluent in their own language. Russian invaders will be fired upon by teenage girls and old women. How long will a worthless untrained conscript prevail against children shooting at them?

  15. Moderator

    April 20, 2022 at 1:50 am

    Alex… Go away with your story that could come straight from a comic book.

    Anyway, what is the point of a moderator checking posts if dudes like Alex are allowed to troll around and spread unfounded kremlin propaganda?

  16. MHJ

    April 20, 2022 at 5:23 am

    This war started i Ukraine and will end in Moscow….

  17. CK

    April 20, 2022 at 7:06 am

    Same reply everywhere huh, Alex? You are playing the part of the loose marbled geriatric nut-case very well, I have to say. Always saying the same thing.

    Go to sleep grandpa.

  18. edward gallagher

    April 20, 2022 at 10:30 am

    Putin is in the unenviable position of having only partially swallowed a porcupine. He can’t cough it up and trying to pass it will destroy him.

  19. Zae Balo

    April 20, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Russian tanks will have to stick to roads, this is mud season, so no off-roading for them. All tank advantages gone. Russians lack wheeled armor, Ukrainians have more which will prove devastating for conditions on the ground. Advantage: Ukraine.

  20. Tim aaron

    April 20, 2022 at 11:32 am

    According to the Western media Ukraine is about to take Moscow and it’s army on the way to Vladivostok in the Pacific.

    Reality. Russia will take parts of the Eastern Ukraine and incorporate them into the Russian nation. They will also hold onto Crimea forever.

    Cheerleading has not helped the Ukrainian people. Ukraines infrastructure is being decimated and it will never be a member of NATO. Western nations keep telling a scrawny Ukraine to keep punching a bully in the nose as if it’s going to make some difference. This isn’t a Disney movie where the scrawny kid suddenly develops some superpower and wins the fight.

    Moral support is nice but obfuscating the military situation on the ground is not journalism and it’s not helping Ukrainians. Americans will be watching NBA and NHL playoffs…such hardship but ‘go get em Zelensky’.

  21. CK

    April 20, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Great analogy, now that I think about it. ^^

  22. CK

    April 20, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    Referring to Edward, not the above regarding the analogy.

    No one in the west or its media is saying Ukraine will take Moscow. Classic reductio ad absurdum. You may still be right about them taking parts of Ukraine like they did in 2014, but neither will Ukraine roll over like Russia predicted it would. As for not being a member of NATO… yeah, maybe de jure, but de facto, is basically is, especially if western weapons keep flowing.

    Unlike Russia, it has (currently) the entire Western world backing it, with funds and weapons, which Russia doesn’t have (unless it starts prostituting itself to China…) so if the conflict continues without end, Russia will likely start losing ground.

    Speculation to be sure, but one can never stand behind the argument its the “west” that is prolonguing Ukraine’s suffering by giving them weapons and “hope”. No, it’s the Russians bombing and attacking them. Ball will always be in their court.

  23. Duke

    April 20, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    Popular support for Ukraine in North America and NATO countries translates (with some delay) into political, economic and military support simply because politicians who want to stick around simply have to follow the electorate on major issues like this one.
    Whether Russia can take and hold parts of the Donbass is still an open question. What it can actually do with its devastated cities and infrastructure is another thing to ponder.
    NATO will bleed Russia of men and weaponry for as long as possible, because it is easier to explain away military expenditures than body bags. So, brave Ukrainian soldiers armed with high-tech American weapons will continue to chip away at the Russian armoured slug.
    Russia will be diminished for a generation and untrusted for ever. It may have to sell its gas, oil and soul to China at a discount for a long time and will be the junior partner in that relationship.
    Pretty certain that this is not what Putin had in mind.

  24. Lance Benson

    April 20, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    And Alex totes out the “Nazi” charge again. At this point it’s clear that in this context, the only thing “Nazi” means is someone who opposes Russian interests.

  25. Alex

    April 20, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    I like how the Banderko Nazi has already created a dozen nicknames and his ass is on fire – it’s great. And now some truth:
    The Russian army hit more than a thousand military facilities in Ukraine in a day.
    “The missile forces and artillery of Russia carried out strikes on 1,053 objects of the Ukrainian military infrastructure. Among them, 31 command posts, six warehouses of fuel and lubricants, 910 strongholds and enemy manpower concentration areas, as well as 106 artillery firing positions were destroyed.

    In turn, the operational-tactical and army aviation of the Aerospace Forces hit 73 military facilities during the night, including four command posts, 57 places of accumulation of manpower and Ukrainian military equipment, seven strongholds and four ammunition depots. Six tanks, nine armored vehicles and a battery of 152mm Msta-B howitzers were also destroyed.

    In addition, Russian air defense systems shot down two Tochka-U tactical missiles and six drones.
    In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed: 140 aircraft, 496 unmanned aerial vehicles, 253 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2388 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 256 multiple rocket launchers, 1029 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 2232 special military units automotive technology.

    These numbers are encouraging. The agony of the Bandera Nazis is getting brighter.

  26. CK

    April 21, 2022 at 12:07 am

    89% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    Exhibit A – the post above. It’s all just noise at this point. Classic Internet Research Agency tactic, fill the air with noise, not necessarily just untruths (although here Alex has been very generous) but so many views and numbers it becomes impossible to ascertain the truth.

    Though again even here, Alex is incapable of following simple instructions. His arguments and numbers are just so outlandish and r fetched they invite only ridicule.

  27. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 12:32 am

    You can claim anything. Like a Bandera Nazi who writes about 20-50-70.000 dead Russians. However, when foreign intelligence indicates intelligence close to Russian data, everything becomes clear. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to the Averikan, German, Chinese and other independent journalists who document all the facts about the real losses of the parties and the war crimes of the Bandera Nazis. Soon their materials will have an effect greater than any nuclear bomb on earth. Thanks to Russia for once again clearing the world of Bandera scum.

  28. CK

    April 21, 2022 at 4:20 am

    Dude, are you losing track of your threads? You’re posting the same shit over and over again.

    Do you have diarrhea or something? Do us all a favour and go and clog Sveta’s toilet, far far away from here.

  29. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 5:45 am

    Great news:
    Russia will not sacrifice its soldiers to storm the Azov plant, but will simply block it. Now the Bandera Nazis will face an inglorious death – they will either crawl out on their knees or eat each other.

  30. CK

    April 21, 2022 at 8:47 am

    Alternatively, for those with a brain – Russia runs out of food, ammo and cannon fodder to throw at defenses, so gives up.

    Classic Russia.

  31. Old Desert Coyote

    April 21, 2022 at 11:14 am

    There is an old Military adage; “Armies win battles, Economies win wars!” Russia has a GDP smaller than the state of TEXAS. Also you must remember that TEXAS does not fund an ARMY, a AIR FORCE, nor a NAVY (Ok they got the battleship TEXAS!) Any way the Entire GDP of RUSSIA is about $1.5 Trillion Dollars. Ukraine on the other hand is about $1.55 billion Dollars. So on the face of it the Russian Economy is about 10 times higher than the Ukrainian GDP.

    So now that we have raw numbers let us break it down a little farther. Russia gets most of it’s foreign currency with the export of Oil, Weapons, and Agricultural products; in that Order. Russia has a population of about 145 million to Ukraine’s population is about 45 million. So Russia has a population advantage of 3.2 to 1.

    Both countries have about the same life expectancy of 72.5 years with women out living men by about 10 years. Both countries as the population ages it has a greater population of older single women. (Which consume state resources as they must be supported by the state)

    Now here is where the numbers get interesting Russia has about 8 million men of military age (18-30). Ukraine has about 3.5 million men of military age so now the numbers are Russia can field 2 men to every one of the Ukraine with about the same negative effects on the production of goods and services.

    Now here is where the size and the environment rear’s its ugly head. Russia because of its huge size and harsh environment requires a much greater proportion of it’s military age man power to maintain essential civil services; Railroads, water systems, Sewage systems, road networks, government bureaucrats etc,. Now lets throw in the Internal Security forces, (that whole apparatus for the keeping track of anti government elements, free speech advocates, Censors etc. After all Russia is still a police state!) Also because Russia is much more industrialized than the Ukraine it requires a much larger proportion of men to work in the factories that produce the products that Russia needs to export to get Foreign currencies.

    This reduces the number of troops that Russia can field down to about 1.6 to one for Ukraine.

    One other factor that is over looked is Russia has about 4 million Drug addicts. This reduces the manpower available for military service down to about 6 million. That is not to say that Ukraine does not have it’s own Drug and Alcohol problems but it is not as severe as the Russian problem. (now you know why both Russian and Ukrainian men hardly ever live beyond 66 years of age.

    So when you boil it all down Russia has the ability to put only 1.3 men into the field to every 1 man of the Ukrainian military.

    Last but not least lets look at the quality soldiers in each military. Russia has moved to a all voluntary military with each member serving two years. (Training takes up to about 4 months of that time frame so the average person serving will serve about 20 months In the last three years Russia has implemented a system similar to the United States with most Officers being commissioned out of ROTC in institutions of higher education. Russia has also formulated volunteer reserve forces made up of former soldiers that have fulfilled their initial two year contract and not serve as part time soldiers in their home towns. However these unites are not considered stand Autonomous units but rather as round out units of existing military formations of the regular Russian Military forces.

    The Ukrainian military is a mixture of Volunteer and conscription. All males are subject to the draft and draftees server 18 months. Enlistments are for a period of 3 year. Non Commissioned officers term of re-enlistment is for 5 years. THIS MEANS THAT THE UKRAINIAN army has very experienced corps of sergeants in their combat units.

    So to finalize the above While Russia has a much larger military advantage ON PAPER when it comes down to boots on the ground pulling triggers. The number of men the Russians and the Ukrainians can put in the field with the Ukrainian army being of a much more capable force.

  32. Jacksonian Libertarian

    April 21, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    The assumption that if this Russian offensive fails the war is at a stalemate is never justified by the article.

    This isn’t a war of the trenches.

    The fronts are mostly road based, and cover large territories which Ukrainian Missilemen can infiltrate and target from long range. One hit is all a Missileman needs to kill any armored target including tanks from kilometers (Javelin-4.5 km range) away.

    The logistical demands of Russia’s armored forces in combat are a nightmare, giving Ukraine a logistical nightmare as well with armored forces is stupid. The logistical demands on the 1st world and Ukraine of supplying smart missiles (you only need one per target) is at least 1,000 times less.

    When this most recent Russian assault fails, and the Ukrainians counterattack with Missilemen combat power, the Russians stand to lose the Donbass, the Crimean, and perhaps more (just for the negotiating power). The end might be in sight a few weeks from now.

    The Russian mercenary group “The Wagner Group” reports they’ve lost 40% (3,200) of their force of 8,000 in Ukraine. Russian forces are losing that much or more (the Ukrainian numbers look good). What will the Russians have to fight with after they’ve spent their best combat forces in Ukraine?

  33. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    According to statistics on April 21, since the beginning of the operation, Russia has destroyed Ukrainian equipment: 99% of tanks and other armored vehicles of Ukraine (2410 out of 2416 vehicles that were in Ukrainian troops on February 24), 92% of military aircraft (140 out of 152), 71% of the fleet helicopters (106 out of 149), 48% of MLRS installations (262 out of 535) and so on. This does not take into account the equipment that may have entered the Ukrainian troops after the start of the special operation, but in any case, the Air Force and Air Defense of Ukraine were practically destroyed, and the Navy ceased to exist.

  34. CK

    April 22, 2022 at 4:59 am

    Imagine losing a Flagship in a land war to a country without a navy… it’ svery strange to me Alex, if those stats are right, how come you haven’t taken over the entire country yet?

    @Jacksonian Libertarian – I have also noticed this in many articles. That premise only holds true if Ukraine is similarly degraded militarily on the front, and then both sides reach a stalemate because both are too weak to continue.

    But if Russia is degraded and Ukraine isn’t, or both are, but Ukraine is able to rebuild after a period due to continuing shipment of Western equipment (while Russia’s dries out, unless they start getting military aid from China or elsewhere) then surely the initiative returns to Ukraine?

  35. Bennett

    April 22, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    I’m kind of new reading this site and its comments. Is this guy Alex for real? Are these comments vetted at all?

  36. CK

    April 22, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    Unfortunately not, only the first few are “moderated” but I believe it is automated. After your first few posts, you can then post at will.

    And the end result is… what you see above, sadly.

  37. Alex

    April 23, 2022 at 8:59 am

    Everything did not go according to plan for the United States and Britain: Russia takes its lands from Ukraine and, in addition to hysteria and lies, the West cannot do anything.

  38. CK

    April 23, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    Weird, just the other day you were blaming the US and Orion for sinking the Moskva, so which one is it? West provoking Russia and sinking its Flagship, or West doing nothing?

    Pick a lie and stick to it at least.

  39. Stefan Stackhouse

    April 23, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    If one actually looks at a map, one will see that after 2 months, Russia has occupied a continuous swath of territory from Kharkiv and curving around to just outside Odesa. For a “loser”, those are pretty impressive results. Since the Plan A “Hail Mary” pass of sudden regime change didn’t work, they have now moved on to Plan B. The objective of Plan B is the conquest of “Novorossiya”. They are already about halfway there. They still need to encircle the Ukrainian main forces opposite the Donbas front, and that will be no mean feat. Putin would like to accomplish that before May 9th, but my guess is that his army will have to wait for the mud to dry up in the summer before they can make their big push. Meanwhile, they are likely to start using their missiles and aircraft to interdict supply lines in the west, preventing much of the NATO weapons from reaching the Donbas region.

    I also fear that Kharkiv, Odesa, and Dnipro are facing much the same fate as Mariupol. The Russians have learned that this is the only way for them to deal with cities. If he gets desperate enough, Putin might even pull some nukes out of his bag of tricks. He isn’t going to go down without letting some of those fly first.

    Sorry, I hate writing these things. But I’m a realist, and reality looks pretty dismal these days.

    • CK

      April 24, 2022 at 6:01 am

      Hmmn, I disagree slightly here. The “continuous” swath of territory is actually fairly thin, and was acquired when Russia was at the top of its strength, fighting an enemy that possessed less advanced weaponry than it possesses today, and will possess tomorrow.

      The Mariupol “strategy” is straight from the handbook of the Butcher of Aleppo, and general Russian strategy when dealing with cities (see Grozny) – level it, then deal with it. Artillery ammo is cheaper than soldiers, so why not just raze them to the ground?

      I doubt Russia will have the personnel and inventory to continue to push beyond the Donbas, if they keep losing the same at this rate of attrition. This relies on a pretty big IF on my part though, which is that we don’t really know how many Ukrainian servicemen have been lost. Russia might win just because they have more troops on the ground, but assuming Russia has lost 2-3x times more men, it’s hard to see how they can accomplish anything more with less equipment, against a better armed adversary and potentially more men, unless they resort to mass conscription.

  40. Alex

    April 24, 2022 at 4:27 am

    So who is losing? Obviously not Russia.

    American Colonel Martin spoke about Biden’s failure in Ukraine.

    US President Joe Biden has failed in his policy towards Ukraine. This opinion was expressed in a column on The Washington Post website by retired American Colonel Wes Martin.

    The head of the White House, as noted in the material, tried to prevent the Ukrainian conflict by diplomatic measures – and could not. The author referred to the statement of the former acting. CIA Director Michael Morell, who expressed the opinion that Biden’s attacks on Russian leader Vladimir Putin only “rallied the beleaguered Russian elite.” “Not a single citizen of Russia will put up with the fact that the main enemy of his state inspires him what kind of power in his country can be and what is not,” Martin quoted Morell as saying.

    “Proving once again that he is nowhere near Reagan, Biden publicly called Putin a ‘butcher’ and a ‘war criminal.’ through Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin,” the author of the material noted.
    Ukraine and Afghanistan are far from the only reasons why Biden’s ratings have slipped to an all-time low of 42 percent. People, Martin notes, are unimpressed by his foreign policy experience. Do not add popularity and record inflation of 8.5 percent and a sharp rise in energy prices – the harbingers of a recession.

    At the end of March, NBC News published the results of a poll, according to which 53 percent of Americans believe that the country will begin a long-term recession, which will lead to the loss of American leadership in the world. When answering the question about Biden’s ability to correctly respond to the situation around Ukraine, only 12 percent of respondents expressed complete confidence in the actions of the head of administration.

    CNN, in turn, reported that the confidence rating of US President Joe Biden has reached a record low. According to a generalized analysis of polls published by four organizations last week, the level of confidence in the US president is about 41%, and according to one of them – only 33%. This is a record low compared to all of Biden’s predecessors in the same period of the presidential term.

  41. CK

    April 24, 2022 at 6:02 am

    @Alex – deny, deflect, obfuscate. Seriously, that’s you in a book.

    Don’t look at Putin! Look at Biden! Don’t look at what we’re doing in Ukraine, look at your country! Recession, CNN, political division, look elsewhere, but please, don’t look at what is happening in Russia! Internet Research Agency script in a nutshell.

    Also, poor you man, they are making you work on Orthodox Easter? The night money Sveta brings not enough to keep you guys afloat anymore? Let me know if you need any donations. I’m sure I have a few cents lying around that will be worth a fortune in roubles!

  42. Alex

    April 25, 2022 at 10:52 am

    Yes, Russia has big “problems”:
    There is the Donetsk People’s Republic. There is the Luhansk People’s Republic. Kherson applied to Russia for a referendum to establish the Kherson People’s Republic. God bless the Ukrainians of Donbass!

  43. CK

    April 25, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Yes Alex, and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania also re-applied to join the Russian Federation. In this reality, Putin has conquered his hemorrhoids, and you and Sveta live happily ever after.

    It’s nice to sit back and daydream, isn’t it? ?

  44. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 2:25 am

    Why is Russia with the people’s militia of Donbass taking new territories of Ukraine every day? Let’s figure it out:

    The West failed to turn much of the world against Russia after the military operation in Ukraine began, columnist Howard French wrote in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.
    According to him, many states did not support sanctions against Moscow, including such large countries as India and China.

    “In fact, when counting the population of these countries, it becomes clear that the states representing the majority of humanity have not taken a position in this conflict, seeing in it the familiar echoes of the former rivalry between East and West,” said French .
    According to the observer, the international political system that took shape at the beginning of the twentieth century from the very beginning gave the countries of the “third world” the status of second-class states. As an example, he cited the colonization of Africa by European countries.

    “It was the work of the work and cotton in the people of sugar unpaid smelted and all made of American colonies profitable Europe, and the so- rich for “Old the World” new and millions did ,” the author emphasized.

    French urged not to ignore the heightened sense of justice among the former colonized peoples.

    “The whole world” with Ukraine 🙂

  45. CK

    April 26, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Well Alex, if that is the case, we wish you the best of luck with your new Chinese masters. I hear they are very kind to minorities.

  46. Alex

    April 29, 2022 at 9:36 am

    If someone wants to know the truth about the civil war in the Donbass, about all the atrocities of the Bandera clean-ups and why Russia was forced to intervene, then it is better to watch films by independent journalists. There are already many such journalists who fight for truth and freedom. For example, a documentary by the German journalist Wilhelm Domcke-Schulz.

    A documentary film about the war crimes of the Bandera Nazis during the period of Russia’s special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine is in production. It will be a real information bomb, where the war crimes of Bandera Nazis will be shown and proved.

    The documentary “Remember Odessa” tells how the Bandera Nazis burned Ukrainians alive and other heinous war crimes.

    The documentary “To Live and Die in Donbass” tries to fill this gaping information gap in the West. He looks into the tormented soul of the inhabitants of Donbass, who really want only one thing – to live self-determining according to their own rules and values. Not submitting to foreign forces and ideologies.

    In the east of Ukraine, in the Donbass, a war has been raging since the beginning of 2014. A civil war that claimed more than 15,000 lives over the years, including several hundred children. They had to die, because the national-fascist coup government in Kyiv, funded by the West, trained and militarily heavily armed, would not tolerate any resistance to their illegitimate rule, no matter the cost.

    Therefore, in April 2014, the putschists deployed the Ukrainian army, supported by dozens of right-wing extremist volunteer battalions, and have since bombed city centers, residential areas, schools, hospitals and infrastructure, killing civilians.

    This perennial crime has gone completely unnoticed by the Western public. Politicians and the media avoid this topic and reports about how the devil pours holy water. Because a public discussion about the crimes of the Ukrainian regime would reveal only one thing – with what mass murderers and terrorists the so-called “west of values” in Ukraine has a common language, if only to defend their goals and interests.

    Lend-lease is a commodity loan, and not cheap: for all the ammunition, equipment and food supplied by the United States, many future generations of Ukrainian citizens will pay. Zelensky is driving the country into a debt hole.

  47. CK

    April 29, 2022 at 2:22 pm

    Ah, I see your tactic. You add a little shitty first paragraph so it doesn’t detect your duplicate post. Is this what it has come to now, you just posting the same exact post 2, 3, 4, 5 times per article?

    Wow, did they run out of paper in Russia, Alex? You guys can’t print new material? Literally using the same lines, over and over again, and now in duplicate in every post!

    Are you so defeated you can’t even come up with anything new? How sad. Now the idiot is talking about lend-lease at the end of his post, because he literally just copy + pasted it from another thread, with zero relevance to this one.

    Here’s a reminder:

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

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