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The Battle for Donbas Will Be a Tough Fight for Ukraine

Russian Tanks
Russian T-80 tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Why the Battle for Donbas will be very different: While the world nervously awaits the opening salvo of the Battle of Donbas, many in the West are optimistic. Others believe that the exceptional military performance demonstrated by the Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) in repelling – and then driving out – Russian forces around Kyiv, will reprise their effort and again blunt Russia’s offensive in the Donbas and eventually outright win the war.

A careful – and honest – assessment of the situation on the ground in Ukraine, however, should dispel such notions.

The longer Kyiv and its Western backers persist in maintaining the belief that Ukraine can win the Battle of Donbas and eventually the war, the more bitter the result if the UAF eventually proves incapable of driving the Russians from the field.

It should be said right upfront, however, that the task for Kyiv isn’t wholly impossible, but it is exceedingly difficult. There is a chance that the Ukrainian troops and civilian defenders could exact such a high price in blood and iron on Russia’s Donbas attack that after some extended amount of time, Russian troops withdraw on their own.

To support that path, however, requires Ukraine to understand two key realities: 1) for that strategy to successfully result in an eventual Russian withdrawal, it would take a year or more of fighting that will leave tens of thousands of additional Ukrainians dead – possibly more – and 2) there is a much greater probability that UAF troops won’t win the Battle of Donbas and will be forced to submit to a negotiated settlement on worse terms than are presently available. Here’s why.

Why Ukraine Won Phase I of the War

When Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, they chose to try and overwhelm the country’s leadership mentally by driving four separate axes of advance into Ukraine. Moscow’s likely intent was the hope that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would be paralyzed with fear and conclude he had no chance of success, and thus immediately sue for peace. That was a huge gamble on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s part, and one that backfired dramatically.

Not only did Zelensky and his fellow citizens refuse to surrender, they fought with a ferocity and courage that shocked most of the world and all of Russia. Because Putin had divided up his relatively small force into four axes, he ensured that Ukrainian defenders were able to absorb the initial blows, and especially west and north of Kyiv, stopped the Russian advance. Putin’s error filled the Ukrainians with great confidence and enthusiasm.

The primary reasons Russia’s advance into Kyiv failed are that, first, they had too few troops devoted to that axis, their logistics were spread out over hundreds of kilometers from bases in Russia, and the Ukrainian defenders were able to make expert use of the urban terrain. Ukrainians could approach Russia’s armored vehicles undetected from around buildings and often attack at point-blank range.

Ukrainian defenders could fire at Russian armor from the windows of high-rise buildings, where turreted gunners often can’t see. And the defenders could make use of cellars and other parts of buildings that made it nearly impossible for Russian gunners to see or engage them. Moreover, as described in more detail below, virtually all of Russian training over the previous decade had been in conducting maneuver warfare in open terrain – almost none in the confines of major cities.

After suffering egregious equipment and personnel losses in Kyiv’s outskirts, Russia attempted to hold their original forward positions and hope for a breakthrough from the other axes so they could resume a multi-pronged attack into Kyiv.  That never happened, as the other three axes also ran into fierce resistance and suffered from lack of massed combat power. After a month of battle, it became clear to Putin that his initial plan had utterly failed.


Russian tank firing main gun. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The Russian president was faced with a major dilemma: keep all his forces holding all the territory they had captured north of Kyiv and try to bring up new units to resume the drive to capture the city, or focus on the Donbas – with the objective of encircling and potentially destroying a pocket of up to 40,000 Ukrainian troops – and completely withdraw up to 70,000 Russian troops north of Kyiv, surrendering all the terrain they had captured.

We now know Putin chose the latter. He no doubt recognized – from his experience in Grozny two decades earlier – that to try and capture a city of nearly three million citizens would take several hundred thousand troops at least, and even then offer no guarantees. But there was something else that likely influenced his decision: a recognition that changing course and elevating capture of the Donbas as the primary objective would reverse many of the conditions that sabotaged his effort in Kyiv, giving Russian troops a major advantage and putting the Ukrainians at a disadvantage.

Why Conditions Favor Russia in Phase II

In the decade prior to the opening of the Russo-Ukraine War, Moscow had spent considerable sums in reorganizing and reforming its military. They went away from a conscript-dominated, infantry-focused army to one based on firepower and maneuver, manned by a cadre of professional soldiers and equipped with more modern technology. Though they could not hope to match the development and technological evolution of the U.S. Armed Forces, Russia could nevertheless make meaningful improvements in its military forces.

In addition to reorganizing how its tank and mechanized infantry formations arrayed for battle, Russia spent considerable time and effort reforming how it conducted field training for its forces. Each year the Ministry of Defense would conduct at least one major capstone training event that would simulate a large force-on-force engagement spread across hundreds of kilometers of terrain. Key objectives were to improve its ability to fight at the small unit level, improve interservice cooperation, and increase its ability to coordinate actions at the highest command levels.

In an unclassified NATO report, for example, the Vostok 2018 exercise featured, “operations by two opposing sides, with the Central Military District and Northern Fleet forces playing the adversary role against Eastern Military District and Pacific Fleet Forces.” This capacity, the NATO report continued, “would have marked another significant evolution in the complexity and training value of the strategic exercises.”


Russian tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

In the Zapad 2021 exercises – conducted just five months before Moscow’s invasion – Russian expert Michael Kofman wrote in War on the Rocks that Putin’s forces were planning large scale exercises that included, “a maneuver defense, degrading offensive forces and drawing them into fire cauldrons or pockets, before then conducting a counteroffensive.” Russian strategic deterrence forces, he explained, “will simulate strikes against critical targets in theater, as well as on infrastructure in opposing states.”

Among the many strategic and tactical errors which plagued Russia’s phase I operations, all of the tasks mentioned as objectives for Zapad 2021 were among the key things Putin’s troops did well. Heading into the Donbas fight, Russia’s situation will be significantly improved from its disastrous opening.

For the Kyiv axis in February, Russia’s supply lines were dangerously stretched, requiring trips of hundreds of kilometers to keep the frontline troops supplied with sufficient food, fuel, and ammunition. For the Donbas fight, Russia has very short logistics lines, as nearly all the resupply comes directly from Russia and through friendly territory.

In Kyiv, Russia had too few troops to take a major city and the troops they did have were not trained or prepared to conduct intensive urban warfare. In the Donbas fight, Russia has more than doubled the number of troops it originally had for that axis, and these troops have considerable experience in a field training exercises at precisely the type of maneuver warfare that will be needed in the Battle of Donbas.

In the Kyiv fight, Russia was at a constant disadvantage of having enemy forces in and amongst them, firing often from very close range, and frequently from behind, to the flanks, or from above them. In the Donbas fight, the terrain is mostly open meadows which makes it difficult for Ukrainian troops to close with their enemy and plays to the advantage of Russian gunners who can engage at a much greater range with precision fire control systems that UAF troops can’t match with shoulder-fired missiles.


NLAW missile. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Lastly, Russia has had some time to stockpile more adequate stocks of fuel, ammunition, food and water for its maneuver forces, and have had critical time to conduct pre-combat maintenance before starting the battle. Fundamentally, Russia is in a much better position to succeed in the Donbas fight than they were heading into the Kyiv battle.

Why Conditions Handicap Ukraine in Phase II

On the other side of the ledger, Ukraine will not enjoy the same level of advantages it did in its capital city.

In the Kyiv fight, there was little requirement for UAF troops to conduct coordinated maneuvers. Their primary task was to use small unit detachments that could move discreetly throughout the city, hitting Russian armor in the rear and flanks and then disappearing back into the urban terrain. Their objective was to destroy Russian armor, which they did with remarkable effectiveness.

In the Donbas fight, however, they won’t have high-rise buildings from which to fire down on the tanks, they won’t be able to engage from point-blank range, and it will be much more difficult to catch Russian units unawares.

To have any chance of defeating Russia’s attack on the Donbas, the Ukrainian troops must be able to conduct mobile counterattacks against Russian penetrations, once they occur. That is a much more complex operation than anything required of the UAF in Kyiv and requires substantial familiarity with coordinating actions on the fly, under fire, and with little time to plan.

In the Kyiv fight, Ukrainian troops were able to get regularly resupplied, as Russia was never able to cut off the southern or eastern side of Kyiv, and supplies were readily available. In the Donbas fight, it is ironically the UAF has extended logistic lines. But Zelensky’s troops have additional difficulty in getting supplies to its troops: Russia has been very successful in attacking UAF supply lines throughout the support zone between Kyiv and Donbas.


NLAW anti-tank weapon. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia has been increasing its use of airpower, attack helicopters, hunter/killer drones, precision missiles, and increasing use of rocket and heavy artillery fires. It has had a devastating effect on limiting Ukraine’s ability to get ammunition and especially getting fuel to their troops in the Donbas. On the plus side, Zelensky has recognized the criticality of the Battle of Donbas and has sent reinforcements to aid his existing forces. But without an adequate supply of fuel and tank and cannon ammunition, UAF will be severely constrained in their ability to counter Russian penetrations into the Donbas pocket.

Lastly, we must consider the state of Ukraine’s forces heading into the Donbas fight. Though Western media is saturated with reports of Russian failures and their immense equipment and personnel casualties, there has been a virtual embargo on any mention of UAF losses. But we must recognize the damage done to Ukrainian forces has been substantial, and possible equivalent to the Russian losses. The problem is, the UAF doesn’t have the capacity to replace their losses in either personnel or equipment to the extent Russia does.

Moreover, Ukraine troops have had eight years of combat experience in the Donbas, but that has been almost exclusively static, trench warfare-type engagements featuring sporadic artillery duels and sniper fire. They have no experience with the type of massive artillery bombardment that is surely coming. Zelensky’s troops also have limited experience at maneuver warfare, even in training, and will have a hard time conducting effective counterattacks against Russian armored thrusts when they occur.

Ukraine has reportedly mobilized tens of thousands of reservists and they have many foreign fighters who have answered Zelensky’s call to come help in the fight, but it is important to recognize that having large numbers of minimally trained infantry troops is going to be of limited value in an armored battle of the nature we’re likely to see in the Battle of Donbas. Ukraine’s ability to muster sufficient numbers of trained, armored troops will be crucial in giving Kyiv a chance to blunt Russia’s attack.

How Battle of Donbas Might Play Out

Ukrainian troops have thus far performed far above what almost anyone expected of them, demonstrating tenacity and courage that is rarely seen in war. That was enough to stave off Russia’s capture of their capital, but that likely won’t be enough to win a war.

China White Phosphorous

Russian T-90 tank firing its main gun. Image Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense.

Especially for the Donbas phase that is likely to start any day, Ukraine will need trained, experienced troops in mechanized units that know how to fight maneuver warfare over large distances. Conscripts or mobilized reservists have little to no understanding of how to fight such battles and are unlikely to defeat an enemy that has at least conducted years of maneuver field training to scale.

I assess the most likely course of action is that Russia will open with a massive artillery and rocket preparation along with multiple areas of the Ukrainian lines, in order to destroy as much physical equipment as possible and weaken the morale of the defenders. Russia will strike at multiple points so as to disguise the point they intend to seek a breakthrough. Their objective will be to penetrate the UAF defenses at key points, send armored formations racing into Ukrainian rear areas, destroy command and control, logistics hubs, and supply troops.

Overall, Russia will seek to isolate sections of the UAF defense and prevent them from mutually reinforcing each other, methodically destroying each pocket. If Russia can force a big enough gap in the Ukrainian lines, they will likely send infiltration units pouring through the gap in an attempt to flank a large battlegroup from the rear. If Russia can successfully close the pocket around the 40,000 Ukrainian forces defending along the line in the Donbas, they can slowly squeeze the UAF into smaller and more isolated groups, while cutting off all resupply.

That’s how Russia attacked the defenders in Mariupol: first they surrounded them, depriving the defenders of ammunition, food, or water resupply, then methodically closed the circle around the defenders until they either surrendered or were destroyed. Russia will attempt to do the same thing on a larger scale in the Donbas.

Ukraine’s primary hope will be to use its limited armor and fuel to prioritize select units within the pocket so that when Russian armor makes initial penetrations, the UAF will be able to cut off the Russian units and then surround and destroy them.


Russian tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Overall, Ukraine doesn’t have sufficient numbers of troops or the right kind of equipment to go on an offensive that would drive Russian attackers back. What they can do, however, is get as many shoulder-fired missiles – and especially attack drones – into the most defendable parts of the Donbas, make themselves into a fortress, and seek to prevent Russia from completing a total encirclement of its Donbas force, inflicting as much of a bloody cost on Russia as possible.

To succeed, Ukraine must survive the initial onslaught and ensure that at least one major resupply route remains open outside of Russian control. If all avenues of logistics are ever completely cut off, it will only be a matter of time before the force runs out of the supplies it needs to live and fight, and the UAF in the Donbas pocket will eventually be eliminated.

If, on the other hand, Ukraine is able to prevent total encirclement, continue to get fresh troops and sufficient supplies coming in, they will have a chance to impose a high enough cost on Putin’s forces over time, that the Russian leader will eventually agree to a negotiated end to the war on terms acceptable to Zelensky.

But we have to be honest and recognize the chances of success for the Ukrainian side is not very high. Not impossible, but more challenging than many recognize. For Ukraine to have any chance of an eventual military victory, they will have to “survive” this battle of Donbas over many months, and then reconstitute their armed forces over another six to nine months to even have a chance at moving to the offensive.


Only the people of Ukraine and their president can decide what the best course of action is for Ukraine. They can choose to try and continue the war and fight for eventual victory, but they will have to acknowledge they are taking a major risk that they could suffer a military defeat instead. Even an eventual victory would come at a profoundly high cost to the Ukrainian population and cities.

A negotiated settlement could end the fighting in the near term but come at the cost of the loss of some eastern territory. There are no easy choices here, and whatever Zelensky and the people of Ukraine decide, they are going to pay a heavy price; there’s just no way around that ugly fact.

Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.



  1. Rich

    April 16, 2022 at 12:23 pm

    The author does a respectable job in sizing up the impending Donbas campaign. However, it fails to address the likely long term aspects of what is likely to become a drawn out conflict in the region. First of all, Russia will likely be successful in driving regular Ukrainian forces out of the region. However, the price will be steep and the Russians will pay dearly in blood and equipment. Unlike Hitler and Paulus at Stalingrad, the primary task for Ukraine, besides raising the price of victory for Russia, will be to avoid getting encircled and cut off. These forces will be crucial to application of power after the initial Donbas drawback and strategic retreat is complete. In the long term, the ceded territory will become an open vein for the Russian military as substantial resources will be required to hold said territory. Ukraine, bolstered by western weapons including long range artillery and air defense systems will make the price of occupation quite steep indeed. In order to stem this bleeding, Russia will be forced to carry out attacks to the west guaranteeing a prolonged and bloody conflict with mounting losses. Russia does not possess the force required to pacify Ukraine outside of Donbas and thus is signing up for what will amount to a bleeding ulcer for the foreseeable future.

  2. Abraham Lincoln

    April 16, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Good analysis. MThe problem Russia faces is it must get the war over with soon. In a long drawn out war, Russia faces bankruptcy, a faltering economy that cannot support troops in the field, and growing Russian anger over a losing war. Add in the fact that the truth about the war is bound to begin getting through to the Russian people, and they will be horrified by what Russia has done. The Russians have become the Nazis in many respects, and although Russians will refuse to believe this at first, over time, many will come to see it is true.

    I believe this is why Putin seems to have established May 9th as the day he will declare victory and cease all offensive operations, hoping that Ukraine will let him keep Donbas. This will allow him to declare a victory, at least in the Russian press. The problem is that the sanctions will continue to be in place, probably for years. Putin has really messed up.


    April 16, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    The people in donbass will at last be freed of the pro-NATO warmongers led by zelenskiyy.

    But washington will surely adopt a vindictive stance and squeeze them for all its worth.

  4. William Craddock

    April 16, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    Again, as I’ve commented before in these same articles, In light of the inhumane destruction and mass Murder atrocities borne by her people, Ukraine has proven itself both exceedingly brave and worthy enough to receive far more than simply piecemeal defensive aid from a timid and risk averse U.S. President/Allies thereof. Fully justified by major worldwide economic impact upon wheat production and neon for solid state chip fabrication, would’ve been timely and clandestine B2/F-35 Stealth interdictions of Putin’s invading air and ground assets within days, if not hours of the start of his unjustified rampage upon Ukraine’s people. Conducted via tactics similar to Operation Anaconda, by which the Taliban warriors were swiftly toppled by the Northern Alliance. This, from outset this would’ve spared Ukraine’s cities from Russia’s rampage and vicious atrocities upon her Citizens. We just need a President/Pentagon that isn’t constantly and spinelessly hamstrung focusing on worst case scenarios, over the loss of another friendly Country and American Embassy to tyranny.

  5. Commentar

    April 16, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    This whole drama (actual drama re-living 1914-era period in Europe) would have been avoided had the DEMS not chosen Biden as candidate in 2020 election or the deep state apparatus NOT used the postal vote stuffing deluge in the November fling.

    But too late now for regrets, as people of ukraine have been thrown under the bus by Biden and his sidekicks, stoltenberg and zelenskiyy.

  6. Slack

    April 16, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    Today, the world, specifically the western world, has no diplomat with the guile, skills and intelligence of Henry Kissinger, who signed peace accords for nam.

    Instead, we have everybody who is somebody in the west rah-rahhing for confrontation and war. As is war is nothing more than a arm-wrestling contest for bored people.

    The world, led by US & NATO, is returning to the days of ancient Rome where people enjoyed the ‘raw stuff’s for entertainment and interest.

    Thanks to the great carpophorus of our 21st century, we are all back to the colliseum days or era of glorious Rome ! ! !

  7. Alex

    April 16, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    What we know so far is that Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine will be completed. Donbass, like Crimea, will forever be part of Russia. Any attempts by the West to interfere will only provoke a nuclear war in which there will be no winners, but there will not be some countries not just on the map, but physically – Britain will go under water and there is a high probability of the Canadian-Mexico Strait. All you need is a nuclear missile to hit a volcano. In any case, the American old man has nothing to lose, but the people of the United States and the countries of Europe have something to lose.

  8. Him

    April 17, 2022 at 1:54 am

    Alex-Troll, consider this.

    An aggressive nuclear-armed regime has the brutality to attack and take land belonging to another nation, and threatens all others: if they intervene, they will get nuked. That way, the regime uses its nukes to intimidate others to gain territory. This regime knows, if they use nukes, its own people will risk getting totally destroyed.

    There are at least three ‘regimes’ who can potentially do this – Russia, China and the United States.

    In reality, only Russia and China will do this.

    The United States will never do this.

    The reason is, Russia and China are Totalitarian regimes that do not care about their own people. Hence, Russia and China are very willing to risk their countries being nuked, because they know the United States cares more for its people and will be more unwilling to take that risk.

    Despite everything you’ve written, it boils down to the United States caring for its people, whereas Putin and Xi are gladly willing to gamble with the lives of the people.

    That is the type of country you were bred in, and your mind and morals have been formed in that Totalitarian environment. Hence, you cannot see how other nations think differently.

    e.g. you automatically assume the country with the bigger army is a bigger threat. You don’t understand that Western nations primarily see armies as defensive, not for offense.

    You find that funny, but each one of us, including yourself, will stand before Almighty God one day where every evil sin in a person’s heart will be revealed.

    2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

    Because of your Totalitarian breeding, you probably do not believe you will answer to the Lord Jesus Christ one day. But see how it affects your behaviour. Because you think there are no consequences for evil, it means Russia can go ahead and do evil, and think there are no repercussions. This explains how people, who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, think they have greater leeway to do evil, because they think nothing will happen back to them.

  9. Slack

    April 17, 2022 at 3:12 am

    Hmm, book says the ‘meek will inherit the world.’ But clearly, NATO & US don’t fall into that category.

    Today, in EUROPE, like just before in Afghanistan, US & NATO behave like cavemen, cheering at the spilling of blood and gore, and now Mr Zelenskiyy has hinted UK’s Johnson and turkey and Italy are in ‘preparation at readiness’ for (tactical nuke fighting).

    It is ‘Okinawa missiles of October’ once more, as eager beaver men prep tactical nuke triggers.Thanks, Biden.

  10. Alex

    April 17, 2022 at 3:13 am

    Bandera Nazi, you mixed up everything in your stupid head:
    Russia and China have never used nuclear weapons.
    The United States wiped out two cities with civilians with nuclear weapons.

    You can’t rewrite history, and stick your assumptions up your ass.
    For you, the blasphemer, let me remind you: in the Ukrainian propaganda video, the Bandera whore says the following: “you woke up our” god “who was sleeping in the depths of the Dnieper.” If you are such a fool, I will explain to you: when there was no Christianity in Russia, people worshiped different gods, and so the very “god” who sleeps in the black depths of the Dnieper is an analogue of the devil and very bad people worshiped him, while others worshiped the gods of Light . So, Bandera Nazi, God is helping the Slavs now – Ukrainians and Russians, and you bastards will continue to be with your devil from the darkness of the Dnieper.

  11. CK

    April 17, 2022 at 6:30 am

    lol, Alex seems a bit het up today. What’s wrong buddy, were one of the three generals killed over the past 48 hours related? Or maybe you knew someone on the Moskva?

    It is pointless to argue with him, he talks of river gods, satanists and other made up enemies to justify his illiterate world view. I wonder what it’s like to be in his head. He clearly has access to the internet (unfiltered) his compatriots do not, do you think he knows his worldview is wrong, but pretends not to because he is paid? Or that he is legitimately this self deluded?

    The sad part is it could be either way. Just look at conspiracy theorists, Trumpers, and other extreme rightwingers. You guys don’t even need anyone to brainwah you, you are happy to do it yourselves, in a free world, with free access to the facts. Imagine poor Alex, living in Russia. Guy never stood a chance.

    As for the article, it is a sobering assessment and one which I unfortunately share. It will be a gigantic undertaking for Ukraine. Let us hope they can hold out, and bleed Russia for everything they are worth.

  12. Abraham Lincoln

    April 17, 2022 at 10:53 am

    Alex is hurting bad today, probably because he knows his lover, who served aboard the Moskva, is sleeping with the fishes.

  13. Jacksonian Libertarian

    April 17, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    This analysis is as bad as the previous predictions of:
    “The Russians will win in 72 hrs”,
    “The Russian Air Force will get Air Superiority soon”,
    “The Russians are just regrouping and they will come back stronger”,
    “The Russian logistical problems will get solved soon”,
    “It’s not a rout, it’s just repositioning for an offensive in the East”,

    This will NOT be a “War of Attrition”.

    Here’s my Prediction: As the Russian formations were routed in the North, they lost 30%-50% of their men and material, and combat stressed everything that made it back. These are broken demoralized forces that will require months of regrouping, maintenance, and resupply before what’s left will be Combat capable. The Ukrainians on the other hand are well supplied with smart missiles from the 1st World’s high tech deep pockets, and the Victorious Missilemen in the North will reinforce the Stalwart Ukrainian forces repulsing the failing Russian attacks on the Eastern and Southern fronts. Deep attacks by the Ukrainians into Russian territory like the one on a Belgorod fuel dump, and the sinking of the Moscow Flagship will continue. The Russians know they have lost the Logistics war, and are making threats about the 1st World reloading for Ukraine. They can see better than anyone that they will lose soon if nothing changes.

  14. drkskyes

    April 17, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    It’s pretty bad when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is considered the leader of the free world.

  15. RV

    April 17, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    Based on Western MainStream Media news on Russia running out of food, fuel, ammunition, etc., and now running out of generals who are being killed (supposedly) on a daily basis, we should expect to see Ukrainian troops in Moscow any day now, shouldn’t we?

    Oh wait. The Uke Nazis are surrounded in Azovstal factory and about to be annihilated. This is proof that Russia is losing the war, and Ukraine is winning!

    Even such a biased military writer as this clueless Colonel Davis acknowledges that Russia will prevail in the battle of the Donbass. Therefore, it proves that Ukraine is winning, doesn’t it? Elementary, my dear Watson. So obvious that Ukraine is winning!

  16. mind4usa

    April 17, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    This analysis is half baked at best, compare and contrast the arguments regarding Kiev and then Mariupol. First the Rus lose as they are fighting in cities with no experience of combined operations infantry and armor, I disagree, see first and second Chechen wars. Two he then merrily skips over the urban fight in Mariupol with nary a mention of its urban landscape and the complete crushing of it. I root for no force but the truth. Understand the truth of the Rus reaction to being surrounded by Nato. That said, this author skips over the massive tech improvements of the Rus forces, Kinzhal anyone? EW warfare anyone? Donbass cauldron will be made an example of very shortly, you will see massive lines of surrendered UAF or massive body counts, its up to the UAF. Best see if Colonel McGregor is available next time.

  17. mind4usa

    April 17, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    No truth huh… I let Bracken know his link is worthless…

  18. Bob

    April 17, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    This downright silly article gets so many things completely wrong. It’s almost like the author is biased, and needs no actual evidence.
    I’ll mention only 2 areas.
    First, there was no “urban fighting in Kyiv”. None.
    Has the writer actually been paying attention to what’s been going on? Has he seen any of the many videos of farmers using tractors to tow tanks away? Must be a hell of a lot of urban farming in Kyiv!
    In fact, the only truly urban combat has been in Mariupol.

    Next, the author praises Russian “improvements” in recent years, involving small unit tactics and combined arms integration.
    Are you kidding me?! This is simply delusional. This area has been a hallmark of Russian tactical incompetence since the beginning. Again, this article ignores all the evidence we have seen.

    Again, the author doesn’t seem to have paid any attention to what’s been actually happening. I could go on, but I don’t have time.

    This guy has been pumping out his preconceived, biased notions since day 1, and nothing looks like it’s going to change that one bit.

  19. Alex

    April 17, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    American military analyst Scott Ritter:
    “The most important holiday in Russia is Victory Day. They died in that war with Nazi Germany from 20 to 30 million. In every city, in every village there are monuments to people who died. Every family lost a relative, two, three, four, ten, twenty in that war! That’s what Russia is today! And you order them to sit and watch the ideology of Nazism revive in Ukraine and not interfere?
    What is happening is not a war, but a special military operation. Moscow is conducting a cautious and measured military campaign aimed at achieving a limited set of goals, unlike Ukraine, which is waging an all-out war against Russia.”
    There are more and more independent journalists, experts and analysts all over the world telling the truth. And they can’t be stopped. The world sees everything. And see even more.

  20. Morty

    April 18, 2022 at 4:42 am

    Of ythe over 4 million refugees from Ukraiane, not a single one says they have escaped from Bandera nazi ot any other nazi. Many witnesses, Alex….

  21. Alex

    April 18, 2022 at 4:48 am

    My full name is Alex. Not Alexei, not Alexander, or anyone else. Find out what children are called in Poland.
    And I agree – refugees in Europe are Bandera Nazis, who are either beggars from pigsties or in cars that cost more than 50,000 euros. They behave here like the last cattle. They drink, they attack everyone, they shout their slogans. These are pigs and they have no place in our Europe.

  22. Morty

    April 18, 2022 at 7:22 am

    Wow, 4.5 million Bandera Nazi regugees in cars that cost more than 50k Euroes. Impressive

    Have you considered a career as a comedian?

  23. SurfBird

    April 18, 2022 at 8:33 am

    No one knows how this will go but the author doesn’t make his case very well.

    For instance, how does Russia conducting a large maneuver defense exercise help it attack? It’s Ukraine doing the defending.

    Next, anti-tank weapons fired down from buildings are a waste since they have to fly a certain distance before they even arm themselves.

    Yes. Russia diluted it’s forces attacking on multiple axis but that also forced the smaller Ukrainian army to spread out as well. Now Russia is concentrating it’s army which allows Ukraine to also concentrate theirs. That works to the smaller side’s advantage if they are defending.

    Regarding logistics, Ukraine has been supplying the Donbas front all along so only the scale changes to supply the larger force. This isn’t a new front for them. Shouldn’t be a problem unless Russia manages to interdict the rail lines and bridges. For Russia, I see a better road and rail network around the now abandoned northern front than around Donbas. I think Russia will find it difficult to supply a large force there unless they build new roads and railways which takes longer than Putin is likely willing to wait.

    My guess is that if Russia quits pretending this isn’t a war and mobilizes their country they will eventually win. If they try to win without that the best they can hope for is a stalemate which kills thousands on both sides.

  24. Lance Benson

    April 18, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    The problem with the settlement scenario is, as Zelensky has said, who would believe that the Russians would keep the peace? For Ukrainians, the choice is resist or be crushed.

    What Ukrainian could be happy allowing the underwear poisoner to determine which Ukrainians were and which were not “Nazis” to be eliminated? Only propagandists at this point assert that “Nazi” in this context is anything other than a Russian term for Ukrainians who oppose Russian intentions.

  25. CK

    April 18, 2022 at 1:51 pm


    I hope you are right. The ISW take on it was that it will indeed be a challenge for Russia, more so than Ukraine. I don’t think Russia can “afford” full mobilisation because then the people will see first hand what is going on In Ukraine, and what this “glorious” war is about. And of course, the ethnic white Russian body bags will start to return home.

    I mention the ethnic thing, because have you noticed most of the units being sent to the front are from the minority republics composed mostly of the ethnic minorities in Russia? Look at the squad that was involved in the Bucha massacres. Then they try and recruit 30,000 Syrians, then Wagner (which has also opened up to foreigners) and now a full mobilisation in the Donbass, which has proved extremely unpopular. There were even reports of gunfights between Donbass militias and the Russian army.

    This is all because Russia cannot afford to lose any more of the men it has, and by men, I mean “ethnic” white Russian men. Without them, Russia ceases to exist as these nationalists understand it, and it is a demographic problem that has been ongoing for decades now. There are reports that up to 120,000 Ukrainian children that have been forcibly taken to Russia have been sent to Russian orphanages. Begs the question, why?

    I think if this offensive fails, it’s curtains for Russia. They’ll get salty, and blow a nuke somehwere in Ukraine, and then of course, blame Ukraine.

    As for what happens after that… who knows, WW3 probably. It’s a lose-lose unless Russians come to their senses.

    But have you see the average Russian? Look at Alex over here. If that is what reason depends on, we are all doomed.

  26. James Longstreet

    April 18, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    If the Russian army improved their equipment and technology prior to this war, the proof is sorely lacking on the battlefield. Likewise, their superior training has also not been much in evidence. On the contrary, the Russians have been fighting the war with equipment a that is defective or ineffective to a significant degree. That equipment has been seriously degraded in combat to date. Also, the Russians are using barely trained conscripts with low morale — they are not the Czar’s Imperial Guard from Borodino.

    In any event, if Dunbas is likely to be the grave yard of the UAF, why on earth would the UAF fight in Dunbas? They may conduct a fighting withdrawal (very difficult of course) while luring the Russians farther and farther from their supplies and depleting their manpower and equipment while the UAF draws nearer and nearer to its own base of supplies while gaining more men and materiel including NATO weapons. The UAF could also engage in preemptive spoiling attacks against Russian forces and supply bases before the Russians launch their main attack. In that case, the battle of the Donbas could very well resemble the Battle of Kyiv including the outcome — a victory for the UAF.

  27. Thomas Paine

    April 18, 2022 at 3:40 pm

    The Russians have and continue to have certain advantages in this conflict. These are largely material and to a degree training. The terrain favors an open field conflict that Russia is better suited to fighting. However, the main Russian disadvantages persist. They’ve never been great at war, and their command and control structures are essentially unchanged. The restructuring of their military is just a matter of material. When problems are encountered on the battlefield, the Ukrainians will have the upper hand in coming up with solutions, as well as motivation to do so. The lag in Russian response and motivation will mean that Ukraine’s chances are not easy to estimate. For Ukraine, the problem is the reactive, as opposed to proactive, nature of their allies–very frustrating!

  28. CK

    April 18, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    @James indeed, so much for the modernisation efforts. Looks like all that money went to yachts and top tier lifestyles in Europe. Where even is any of the new equipment they supposedly have?

    I agree with your assessment. It wouldn’t make sense for UAF to change the way it has conducted the war thus far, which has been very successful. Only thing is it’s likely Russia will “call it” once they have all of Donbas, and say that was the military aim all along. So does Ukraine then try and get it back, or sacrifice it?

    I also wonder how many casualties they themselves have suffered, and how much of a difference the dripfeed of heavy western weaponry (tanks, IFVs, etc) will make for this campaign.

    Also, as @thomas has pointed out, Russia has certain advantages. Unfortunately, one thing they do a lot, and do well, is throw overwhelming numbers at a concentrated target. They did not do that on the opening stages of the war, but the Donbas is a far more focused target.

    Let’s see how this plays out.

  29. Alex

    April 19, 2022 at 4:09 am

    Spit on Russia and Ukraine. Just facts: pigs from Ukraine burn cars in Germany, poop right on the road. They are just pigs.

  30. CK

    April 19, 2022 at 4:24 am

    Alex, what are you doing here? You aren’t allowed out unsupervised! Now now, come on, let’s get you some valium and warm milk. Back to the old people’s home with you.

  31. Alex

    April 19, 2022 at 10:32 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.

  32. from Russia with love

    April 20, 2022 at 4:20 am

    it looks like you broke the script of the bot CK. he began to write the same thing everywhere. 🙂

  33. CK

    April 20, 2022 at 6:58 am

    I mean, why should I write differently when your friend bot does the same?

    There is only so much one can reply to the same nonsense. Also, unlike you guys, I don’t get paid to be here. Some of us have lives. You should try it sometime, though I hear that is increasingly difficult in Russia these days, as it always has been.

  34. from Russia with love

    April 20, 2022 at 7:35 am

    it looks like this joker received an article instead of an order, and most likely on the top bar 😉 there is no video on the DPR website to which the article refers.
    if you are not aware, then there is a criminal punishment for such symbols. you can cry about him, I won’t 🙂
    the difference between us and you is that we are punished for this, you welcome it.

  35. Alex

    April 20, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    from Russia with love: the Bandera Nazi created several nicknames and after drinking cheap alcohol he doesn’t understand what he writes about 🙂

  36. CK

    April 21, 2022 at 12:00 am

    I think you’ll find I’m perfectly able to dismantle your deluded arguments with just the one account, thank you very much. Unlike you lot, I don’t need an echo chamber.

    Also, rich of you to speak of cheap alcohol. How’s the old liver? 😀

  37. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 2:29 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 🙂

  38. CK

    April 26, 2022 at 7:19 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.

  39. Alex

    April 29, 2022 at 9:39 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.

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