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The Embassy

Russia Seems Destined to Lose the War in Ukraine

Russian T-90 Tank
Image: Creative Commons.

In mid-September, Russian President Vladimir Putin faced his toughest choice of the war. Ukraine had recently reconquered a large chunk of Russia’s hard-won gains in the country’s east, pushing the war’s course into the mainstream of Russian public discourse and forcing a choice on escalation.

The war is not very popular at home. Putin had generally kept it at a distance from the Russian middle class. There was no conscription. Besides the regular army, Russia had been deploying a grab bag of mercenaries and foreign fighters to fill in holes at the front. Russian media did not even refer to conflict as a ‘war’ but as a ‘special military operation.’ This curious locution was to pretend that this was a minor engagement on the periphery of Russian life (much as the American administrations of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson tried to frame Vietnam as a minor brushfire not a major war).

This spin on the war has fallen apart. Putin can no longer cover up that Russia is losing. Russia expended enormous amounts of ammunition and degraded its forces over the summer fighting a brutal war of attrition to fully capture the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. That enormous effort was substantially undone by Ukraine in just a week. Russia has already committed its best units and weapons. It is now dredging up increasingly old stocks of equipment and reckoning with an inability to build very modern weapons due to the sanctions cut-off its access to high technology from the West and Asia.

Putin Ties His Fate to the War

Putin faced a choice: escalate or negotiate. Negotiation would involve humiliation. Putin would have to admit he could not win. Angry nationalists at home would accuse him of betrayal. He would appear weak in a dictatorial system premised on his personal toughness. Ukraine would make few concessions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted he will drive out the invaders completely, and Ukrainian polling returns strong support for this position. But a negotiated peace would at least end the war which has seen Russia heavily sanctioned and increasingly globally isolated. If the war drags on, the Russian economy will contract significantly, and its ‘junior partner’ status vis-à-vis China will be undeniable.

Escalation had its own threats. A draft or conscription would demand that the Russian population finally be mobilized behind the war. This would risk domestic unrest, capital flight, and insider discontent if it did not work. And most importantly, it would tie Putin’s personal and political fate to the war. If the war goes badly after a substantial escalation, Putin would almost certainly face challenges at home.

In democracies, war losers fall out of power. President Johnson famously did not want to be the first US president to lose a war and so lost the possibility of a second term as the Vietnam War went afoul. When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld lost control of the Iraq War, President George W. Bush forced him to resign. In a closed, autocratic system like Russia though, Putin would more likely face mass street protest and/or a palace coup, resulting in his exile or even imprisonment. So Putin is risking his all now, by announcing this week’s partial mobilization.

It Probably Won’t Make Any Difference

The irony is that this major call up of Russian reservists – on the order of 300,000 soldiers – probably will not alter the eventual outcome of the war. Although Russia now badly needs manpower for the fight, its primary problems to date have been ‘soft’ issues like poor logistics, low morale, poor leadership, and general disorganization. More soldiers can stem future Ukrainian advances, likely into next year. But they do not solve the larger problems of the operation.

For example, Russia’s logistical failures in the war – not enough trucks, dated food and ammunition, corrupt procurement, shoddy equipment – have been well-documented. And there is little evidence that Russia is adapting or evolving to rectify this issue, at least on the scale required to deploy new units and keep them well-supported in the field.

Similarly, these new units will likely suffer from the same or worse command problems, as Russia’s best officers are already committed. And well-established morale problems will not likely improve either. These reservists are being coerced into fighting, while the Ukrainians want to fight and are highly mobilized.

But even in a best-case scenario – where these new units achieve major battlefield successes – they are still unlikely to change the ultimate outcome of the war: Russian exhaustion and withdrawal. Even if Ukraine were badly defeated on the battlefield by these new troops, it would fall back on an insurgency – which was the original plan for the war back in February. And then the war would drag on yet further. But it would not end.

Russia

Russian TOS-1 firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

These new units are unlikely to change the Ukrainian population’s commitment to the war. They will extend the war. It will be longer and more violent. But more of the same – more sullen, poorly equipped and supported Russian units flailing against a hardened, high morale Ukrainian army equipped with superior Western kit – does not alter the likely strategic outcome – a long-term Russian defeat. All this mobilization does is delay the inevitable.

Expert Biography: Dr. Robert E. Kelly (@Robert_E_KellyRoberEdwinKelly.com) is a professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science at Pusan National University and 19FortyFive Contributing Editor.

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. 

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. 403Forbidden

    September 24, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Win or lose, doesn’t matter much to russia in this ukraine conflict.

    Ukraine is biden’s war directly against putin with ukrainians as dispensable chips or sacrificial fodder.

    Win or lose, the gist of the matter is will kyiv still be in one piece after all the smoke has cleared. I gather not.

    Ukraine will end up like somalia or syria or yemen or libya, a failed state where CIA operatives, DoD agents and foreign security contractors come and go as they like.

  2. abraham lincoln

    September 24, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    There is another possibility. Putin has basically entirely destroyed his military at this point. Ukraine may soon have enough combat power to (theoretically) invade Russia with little resistance. They will not do that but Russia has to deeply fear that it will be able to run roughshod over parts of Russia after Ukraine has destroyed the army in Ukraine.
    So – Putin needs to get a new army in place, simply to be able to keep Russia from being invaded by whoever desires to do so. This could be Ukraine, China, or any of the neighboring countries. The purpose of this mobilization is therefore two fold – 1) to rebuild the now destroyed Russian army and create the basis for a continuing Russian army of self defense and 2) Mollify Putin’s opponents on the right, who are pressing him to throw all of Russias combat power against Ukraine rather than allow a defeat. This second part is very important. They probably were about to launch a coup to get rid of Putin, with mobilization, they have less reason to do so, and this buys Putin more time.
    Of course, Putin may be entirely mental and decide to kill the newly mobilized guys by throwing them as cannon fodder against Ukraine. But he probably has several goals in mind here.

  3. Yrral

    September 24, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    5400 hundred Ukrainain soldiers are dying and getting injured on the battlefield month according to Zelensky Iran and Israel vowed enemies do not support Ukraine, Iran is aiding Russian,Israel will not give in to Zelensky begging for Israel military support of Ukraine Google Israel Zelensky

  4. Mr. Gray

    September 24, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    The premise of this article may be true, I don’t know. But I do know one thing – if Putin believes that Russia is on the verge of an embarrassing loss to Ukraine he will probably declare the true extent of Russia’s gold reserves, China would be forced to follow, thus destroying the US Dollar. The future of global commerce is in commodities, especially gold and silver. The United States theoretically holds over 8000 tons of gold but nobody believes it. There has been too much price manipulation and too much overselling of gold/silver paper contracts for way too long. The gold that’s supposed to be in Fort Knox right now could very well actually be sitting in Russian or Chinese vaults.

  5. Vlad, deadman walking

    September 24, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    Saw a picture of a rusty Kalashnikov issued to a new conscript. Just think of the damage a weapon like that could inflict on Ukraine soldiers…not by shooting, but scratching them and giving them tetanus.

  6. Goran

    September 24, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    Prolonged war benefits very few and hurts many. However, Germany will figure out how to cope without Russian gas and once that decoupling finally takes place over this coming winter, the European market will remain closed for Russian companies for a very long time to come. Selling fossil fuels at half the price to India and China is not a long term strategy, it’s called being bent over a barrel and it cannot sustain Russian bureaucracy.

    The reality is that Putin already lost this war; kidnapping people off the street, handing them an ill-fitting uniform, a rusted Kalashnikov and sending them to a foreign land will not change much.

  7. Jack

    September 24, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Many people severely underestimated the intelligence and perseverance of the Ukrainian people.

    Putin will be removed before Ukraine falls.

    The fighting age people of Russia want no part of Putin’s war

  8. Yrral

    September 24, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    Jack, people like you under estimate the corruption of the Ukrainian government

  9. Russia, back to the stone age

    September 24, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Yrral, You’re a Russian fool trying desperately to push Putin’s propaganda. Like the Russian army, it isn’t working.

  10. Jacksonian Libertarian

    September 24, 2022 at 11:49 pm

    American/Western smart weapons are effortlessly destroying Russia’s entire military, and on the cheap. For about the cost of $5 billion/month in mostly outdated smart weapons, the West has reduced the Russian military by 1/2, and buried no troops to do it (give some love to the Ukrainian Stalwarts).

    Combat Power rule of thumb: 1 smart weapon = 500 dumb weapons

  11. Steven

    September 25, 2022 at 12:06 am

    Yrrl…more corrupt than Russia? LOL

  12. Dutch

    September 25, 2022 at 12:26 am

    People tend to forget the Russian economy is about the size of that of the Netherlands. In addition it is facing a demographic crisis. Young educated people are seeking a future elsewhere. This war accelerates its demise. Russia can not sustain this bureaucracy and army. That is the real lesson Putin is learning. A lesson Gorbachev learned thirty years ago. Putin is a great manipulator, but he clearly is not the strategist he believes himself to be.

  13. CRS, DrPH

    September 25, 2022 at 2:04 am

    The flower of Russian youth is heading for the exits. Putin has not only destroyed the Russian military, but any long-term hopes for prosperity. I’ve worked with Soviet/Russian engineers & scientists, they tended to be brilliant! Now they are in Turkey, Cyprus, anyplace but Russia.

    I don’t see how we can avoid seeing Putin drop a nuke someplace, in all honesty.

  14. John

    September 25, 2022 at 3:37 am

    Russia may go nuclear to win the war. This smells like the movie ‘ the day after’ except Russia has 20+ times the tactical nuclear weapons we do. Oops.
    Mitt Romney was right about Putin and our elites and the media and Trumpski for that matter failed catastrophically.
    This war would have been prevented had we be in a position of nuclear strength. New Start is dead and Russia breaking out from it sending 100 megaton nuclear torpedo carrying subs to our shores. Do we know where these subs are?
    Why is Biden still clinging to New Start and where is the full version of the 2021 Nuclear Posture Review?

  15. Gary Jacobs

    September 25, 2022 at 10:54 am

    Yrral:

    The irony of you mentioning Israel in this context is that it actually undermines your purpose as a Putin Troll. There are close to 200,000 Jews in Russia. Putin is basically holding them hostage to make sure Israel does not provide support for Ukraine. That’s who Putin is, a hostage taking terrorist.

    Since you are so fond of Googling, try looking up the threat Russia made about closing the Jewish Agency activities in Russia. It took high level negotiations to get past it. As well, since any person with a Jewish grandparent is eligible to move to Israel, there are close to 500,000 Russians who are eligible to move to Israel… and since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine more than 20,000 have moved to Israel…making them the single largest immigrant group in the past year, by far…and that happened in 6 months.

    Furthermore, Russian troops are in Syria just over Israel’s northern border… including with S400s at close enough range to fire on civilian flights in Israel…which considering how absurd Russian brutality is… such a thing is not beneath them and must be taken into consideration by Israel. The Russians have done it before, and quite recently in fact. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014 by Russian made Buk SAM system. Of course they never took responsibility for it… but every person with half a bit of common sense knows it was Russia. Those of us who have non-Putin sources of information have seen the torture chambers and mass graves left in Ukraine, not to mention the wanton destruction of civilian homes and infrastructure. Russia is going through a particularly brutal phase right now, like a wounded animal lashing out as it nears the death of Putin’s regime.

    Israel has every reason to be concerned that Russia would dish out exactly the same level of brutality on Israel as it is doing in Ukraine.

    Bottom line: You pretending that Israel not aiding Ukraine has something to do with Zelensky is the height of absurdity, and a complete inversion of reality. You really should stop pretending to know what you are talking about. It isnt a good look for you.

  16. Serhio

    September 26, 2022 at 5:08 am

    I look at the mobilization of Russian troops from the other side: if they have recaptured about 20% of the territory of Ukraine with very limited forces, then doubling the number of troops will only strengthen the onslaught. Moreover, until recently, the Russians practically did not strike at the critical infrastructure of Ukraine (most likely because they were saving it for use after the end of the conflict). Recent strikes on power plants have shown that, if desired, Russia can completely return Ukraine to the Stone Age. And Ukrainians will only be able to read about electricity in physics textbooks. As far as I understand, it was a warning. If rail and road bridges are destroyed by missiles, the delivery of weapons supplied by NATO and the transfer of troops will be significantly complicated. Therefore, the one who speaks with delight about the impending defeat of the Russians is in a hurry. A battle won does not mean a war won.

  17. Gary Jacobs

    September 26, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Serhio,

    Sorry, but the Ukrainians had the power back on in less than 24hours, and the Russians are expending their “precisions” strike missiles at an high rate. They have to keep some in store in case of wider war with NATO. The ones they do have are accurate less than %50 of the time, and now they are using S300 SAM missiles in land attack mode.

    Thats why they are now using Iranian drones, which are more accurate but less powerful. At the rate they are using their missiles and Iranian drones, they will run out of precision weapons long before Ukraine runs out of the will to resist. Russian and Iranian industry does not have the capacity to outmatch Ukraine and its support from the west. And China has been unwilling to help for fear of sanctions.

    Have a nice day.

  18. Bertram

    September 26, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Russia is being bled white.
    Wonderful.
    Thank you Mr Putin. This will be your legacy.

  19. Pa l

    September 26, 2022 at 11:58 am

    Fools or propagandists write this drivel. So far Russia has used “kid gloves” tactics to Ukraine. Their loses in soldiers are 1/10 of Ukraine’s. If Ukraine persists after the referendum makes these regions part of Russia….those gloves come off.

  20. Ken H

    September 26, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    Why are untrained Russian civilians almost literally being loaded into busses off the streets of Moscow in order to replace the nearly untrained motley crew that they apparently are already sending into the fight?

  21. Bertram

    September 26, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    “Why are untrained Russian civilians being loaded onto busses to send to Ukraine?”

    Russian army is running out of bullet catchers.

    and Pa L.
    As far as the gloves go, Russia has run out of gloves.
    Winter is coming and Russian fingers are going to freeze and turn black. Russia has shown itself to be weak, and nothing but threats and bluster. No one cares what it thinks anymore. Soon Ukraine will have long range missiles to light up Moscow.
    Putin will son be doing an impression of Benito Mussolini hanging from a pole by his feet.

  22. Gary Jacobs

    September 26, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Ukrainian military appears to be coming out of their op pause in the north east, and are advancing rapidly northward along the east bank of the Oskil River toward Kupyansk from Oskil, etc. Pisky-Rad’kivs’ki is fully-controlled and Borova is less than 10 km away. Several other towns in the area have also been liberated. Expect more soon.

    Defensive lines of the Russians appear to be collapsing in the remaining part of Kharkiv region they occupy. With Ukrainians Swinging north of Lyman to cut it off from resupply. And the next goal in the area as Svatove. When they bring Starobilsk in HIMARS range, the Russian resupply from Belgorod to Luhansk is just about completely cut.

    As well, roughly 20,000 Russian troops are in a technical encirclement in Kherson west of the Dnipro. NY Times reports that Russian Military in the region know they are losing, and asked permission of their commanders to retreat to the other side of the Dnipro. Putin himself refused, and sent in Chechen terror squads to kill local commanders who requested retreat as a message to the rest.

    Ukrainian military appears content to win in a death by 1000 cuts manner with precision strikes by MLRS, M777 and some ground units, they are not ordering massive ground maneuvers for the sake of it. They take opportunities when they present themselves. Keeping Russian troops pinned down in a turkey shoot as the Ukrainians have fire control over the entire area, and continue to destroy all efforts to rebuild the bridges across the Dnipro thereby denying the Russians major resupply. Ukraine is experiencing some loses as the Russians lash out like the wounded animals they are. But time is not on their side. Many Russians died of frostbite last winter. Expect more of the same this winter if they dont fold before then.

    A Russian milblogger reported Ukrainians made a breakthrough in Vuhledar headed south towards Mariupol. If that gets confirmed, the Russians are in serious trouble in the South, and could get squeezed from 3 sides from there all the way to Kherson.

    Bottom line: Russian Trolls on this site should prepare for the distinct possibility of a lot more losing coming soon to an unprovoked invasion near you. Take the L, fold up your pathetic nuke threats, and go home. Let Ukraine be free of your bully BS.

  23. Todd

    September 26, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    Lose?

    They will grind everyone down and then when they leave, they will keep the ground that they intended to in the first place.

    Russia has ALREADY *won*. They just need the right time tom implement the in-place exit strategy.

  24. YS

    September 26, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    I would not easily discount commitment of pro-russian population of eastern and southern Ukraine that easily… Russian (mercenary) army is complemented 1:1 or better with local volunteers. And they are as dedicated to victory as any people having 8 years of bloody conflict.

    So called “high morale Ukrainian army” is fighting to rid lands of any “national policy dissent”. The lands were granted by communist government during promotion of national identities in former empire, and communists rejected idea of national borders BTW. They are brandishing Nazi Germany insignia and crosses on vehicles… in the area of strong memory of WW2. That is a mistake on top of a mistake. Even with horrible atrocities of both sides, which are commonplace in wars, there is no surprise majority would rather join Russia.

    It reminds me of story I heard of people hiding in the basement of Mariupol after hearing “Allah Akbar” (presumably by Chechen fighters) saying “Now it’s safe to come out – friendly force is here”. Where else Christians and Muslims are fighting side-by-side against nationalists?

    Please, watch Oliver Stone or RT documentaries – unstaged interviews with regular people, granted, collected with prejudice, not cheap propaganda (which there is plenty as well).

  25. Serhio

    September 26, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    Gary Jacobs

    “Sorry, but the Ukrainians had the power back on in less than 24hours, and the Russians are expending their “precisions” strike missiles at an high rate.”
    The fact that Ukrainians restored the power supply in less than 24 hours does not indicate that they restored the work of the destroyed stations. This only means that in the general energy system of Ukraine there have been switches to other sources that are still functioning. The fewer such sources remain, the more problems there will be. It is impossible to restore destroyed dams and thermal power plants in a short time. In particular, because the units of such stations are manufactured for several months and they cannot simply be bought in a store, like a package of cookies. And the Kharkov turbine plant has already been bombed and it is unknown whether it will be able to produce something more complicated than a nail in the near future.
    The fact that the Allies are running out of missiles is known only from the mouths of Western propagandists who brazenly lie that the Russians take out parts from dishwashers and washing machines to put them on their missiles. It’s amazing how stupid they think their citizens are. Only a complete idiot in electrical engineering can believe this. Russians don’t make “commercial microchips” because it’s not profitable and China will make it cheaper anyway. But Russian factories produce a full line of microchips necessary for the war. These are not the most modern microchips, but there is no need to chase after reduced heat generation and increased speed in military products, and these microchips are quite enough for Russian weapons. Moreover, all these years the Russians have been preparing not to fight with Ukraine, but to restrain Nato in a full-fledged conflict. And they have the appropriate stocks of weapons. To wipe Berlin and London, Warsaw and Paris, Washington and New York off the face of the earth. It is not necessary to compare missile strikes on bridges and drone strikes on armored vehicles. These are completely different tasks and they are solved by completely different means. Both an axe and a surgical scalpel can cut. But no one performs heart surgery with an axe or cuts wood with a scalpel. The shock baspilotnik is cheap. Either he will successfully make a strike and cause an injury, or he will be shot down by an expensive air defense missile (ten times more expensive than a drone). If indeed Iran has begun to massively supply Russia with attack drones, then after a while the Ukrainian air defense will begin to lack missiles to protect its skies. And if the Russians stop fighting in white gloves and finally destroy railway bridges, then it will not work to bring weapons from Poland.

    “Putin himself refused, and sent in Chechen terror squads to kill local commanders who requested retreat as a message to the rest.”

    Is that what Putin personally told you? Or is this a wonderful example of false Western propaganda? Putin could have sent Chechens, but in order to kill as many Ukrainians as possible. When you lie, then do it at least plausibly.

  26. Tamerlane

    September 26, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    The Ukrainian trolls are active here today. Yikes. Where to begin responding to their feverish imaginations.

    Lincoln: no serious military observer believes this is so, or that Russia has spent anywhere close to its full combat power.their primary weakness has been in lack of mechanized infantry. Ukraine on the other hand, has vastly more limited resources and capacity to tolerate casualties. Moreover, the vast majority of its industrial base is in Russian hands. The longer the war goes, the greater the Russian advantage.

    Goran: you seek to make the exception the rule. The reality is, for every protestor “conscripted”, ten have volunteered in Russia. Sure, they’ll use conscripts—but their supply is easily in the millions. Why would we not expect the Russians to take the winter to equip, outfit, and train in combined mechanized arms an ever greater force? Of course they will, they know they can bleed Ukraine dry. It’s math. As some other Russian said: the death of one is a tragedy, the death of a million, a statistic. It’s naïveté in the extreme to believe Russia is not committed to victory here.

    Gary: I believe you are substantively incorrect here. Russia has a reservoir far deeper than the West when it comes to ability to coherently equip and re-equip forces. With a 5:1 ratio built up along their front, what does military science predict here? Himars or no. Ukraine is taking 20,000 casualties a month. They can’t maintain this—not even into the near future. Russia will escalate all the way as necessary to prevent Ukraine from entering an anti-Russian military alliance on their doorstep. What part of this is unclear to you? This isn’t about punching a bully in the nose—they’ll go all the way.

    Bertram: your neoconservative wet dreams of a new regime change war, but this time in the largest country on earth—which coincidentally also has one of the largest population pain tolerances for casualties and hardship as well as the largest inventory of nuclear weapons with the most capable delivery systems—won’t work. Have you Cheney shills literally learned nothing in the last 20 years of our failed wars to “make the world safe for democracy”? No thanks to yet another “regime change” war of choice abroad thank you very much.

  27. Helen Kuiper

    September 26, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    I totally agree. These conscripts are not military going into war, but civilians in some sort of pathetic military garb being put into the Frontline. They don’t even have food so they’re not expected to live long. But I’m wondering what will happen when the death notices come in for actual Russian men, not men from the remote provinces. And you can’t hide their deaths because their phones will go quiet. And hasn’t Putin lost total control of the narrative. Yet again he failed to grasp the modern world social media. And isn’t the rush for the border fascinating, after all that Russian propaganda. And good old Russian corruption. The Russian border officers will let them into Georgia for 130 Euros cash

  28. Maarek

    September 27, 2022 at 5:00 am

    Reading about Ukraine’s future victory here is a sheer delight. Especially against the background of the current annexation to Russia of the four richest regions of the former Ukraine. No doubt Putin is desperate. What will he do now? Well, only the annexation of Nikolayev and Odessa can comfort him a little. After that, Russia’s defeat will be obvious to everyone.

  29. Gary Jacobs

    September 27, 2022 at 10:30 am

    Serhio,

    LoL… you carrying Putin’s water pretending that they are not running out of precision missiles makes me laugh. The remnants of S300 Missiles used in ground attack mode are in geolocated pictures all over the place. That is not the act of an Army that is well supplied with precision missiles.

    As for the power and the dams, of course it will take time for Ukraine to rebuild their infrastructure…after they win. For now temporary solutions are fine. There is close to $500 Billion in frozen Russian funds around the western banking system that Ukraine should be able to litigate the transfer of for the purpose of rebuilding.

    I could go on for days dissecting your Putin Troll Routine, but for now I digress.

  30. Roger Bacon

    September 27, 2022 at 10:42 am

    “Fools or propagandists write this drivel. So far Russia has used “kid gloves” tactics to Ukraine. Their loses in soldiers are 1/10 of Ukraine’s. ”
    I’d love to see your source on this. I have not been able to find numbers on Ukrainian casualties. I’d take even the obviously inflated Russian sources (and then divide by 4 or 6).

  31. Gary Jacobs

    September 27, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Tamerlane –

    Haha… you are projecting your troll routine onto others. The idea that Ukraine is taking 20,000 casualties a month makes me laugh. They had one month of just under 6,000 dead soldiers when the Russians were forced to withdraw from Kiev, Sumy, and most of the rest of the north after Ukraine defeated them there. When they finally concentrated their fire in an area of the east, they were killing about 200 Ukrainians per day. That lasted about 6 weeks. Then Ukraine stopped the Russians cold at Soledar and Bakhmut, which for quite some time was the main Russian advance in the east. After Lysychansk, the Russians have advanced about 10km in 6weeks while the Ukrainians inflicted massive casualties on them.

    The Ukrainians used the higher ground west of Lysychansk to near perfection. And That’s right about the time HIMARS started wreaking havoc on the Russians, which also gave the Ukrainians time to get other troops trained on new equipment, rotate fresh forces in, and take the initiative on two fronts at the same time.

    Since then the casualty count for Ukraine has dropped dramatically. And you can see the corresponding effect from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System [aka FIRMS]…showing the massive decrease in Russian artillery fire since HIMARS began obliterating their ammo depots. As well, Russia appears to have largely exhausted their supply of thermobaric shells for the TOS1 as well….and the Ukrainian strategy has forced the Russians to spread their fire across a wide front rather than allow them to concentrate in one area. That has allowed the Ukrainians to pick and choose their spots to strike at Russian weak points to take back territory even while holding the Russians at bay where the Russians are the strongest

    It really isnt that hard to connect the dots on all those events as Ukraine stopped the advance of the Russians in multiple places and then completely turned the tide. You really should extricate yourself from Putin’s fantasy world and get yourself better sources of information. That will prepare you to better wrap your head around the fact that the Russians will continue losing.

    Another thought exercise… Ukraine is a country of 40 Million people. The vast majority support the fight against Russia. Losing 20,000 per month is a drop in the bucket as they defend themselves

  32. Tamerlane

    September 27, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    Gary, Ukraine is not a country of 40,000,000. They have had massive attrition and emigration. Moreover, yes, 6,000 dead is about right for 20,000 casualties per month—and we aren’t exactly getting accurate figures from the good Vlad.

    “Completely turned the tide”? What are smoking? You must be in California because you’re high as a damn kite if you think that the tide has turned. I’m ok with sacrificing every single Ukrainian, but I’m not interested in being drawn into putting the U.S. into another penny’s worth of debt, much less a nuclear exchange killing a billion people over a non-ally non-national interest like Ukraine.

    Projecting? No, as an American, and someone who has served in command positions within our military, it is amazing to me to read you trolls literally parroting various pro-Ukrainian YouTube and Telegram channel snippets. Look, I understand why you want us to come there and save you, but we aren’t interested in a nuclear exchange with Russia, and they are willing to go that far to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and becoming an existential threat to their own security. Our neoconservative wars to make the world safe for democracy and to enact “regime change” for the past 20 years were self-evidently doomed from the get-go, in 2002 and 2003 respectively, and intelligent minds always opposed those imbecilic adventures which cost our taxpayers trillions and tens of thousands of my fellow servicemen’s familes agony. Liz Cheney is a relic, a well deserved relic of past negative history which weakened the United States, and we don’t wish to repeat those misadventures.

  33. Serhio

    September 27, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    Gary Jacobs

    “The remnants of S300 Missiles used in ground attack mode are in geolocated pictures all over the place. That is not the act of an Army that is well supplied with precision missiles.”

    I don’t know enough about missiles to be able to tell the difference between the Russian s-300 and the Ukrainian one from the photos. Both sides are using this weapon. Fragments of missiles shot down or rejected by the electronic warfare system fall to the ground and explode. These photos prove nothing, even if they are not fake. It is impossible to fully trust the materials received from Ukraine and from Russia. Both sides want to highlight the facts that are beneficial to them and silence those that characterize them poorly. Or they can openly lie. The information war in all its unsightly beauty

    “As for the power and the dams, of course it will take time for Ukraine to rebuild their infrastructure…after they win.”

    Undoubtedly, if Ukraine wins, they will be able to rebuild the damaged stations. However, despite your assurances that Russia is running out of missiles, I am almost 100% sure that the Russians have a couple of dozen missiles in stock. This is enough to destroy several more of the largest power plants in Ukraine. And in order to win, Ukraine will first have to survive the upcoming winter. And it will be very difficult. As for the money that Western countries have stolen from Russia, it will not bring them happiness. Calculate how much the countries of Europe have lost from the rise in prices for gas, oil and metals. This is many times more than what they stole. And they will lose even more. Already, the largest European plants for the production of fertilizers, aluminum, glass, petrochemicals are closing. Any production that intensively uses gas, oil or electricity in the current conditions is doomed to be unprofitable. The closure of these plants will not only leave a lot of people out of work, but will also affect those plants that use their products. Guess from three attempts what will people who have loans and who want to eat and heat their homes do, but there is no money for it? Maybe they will sit in the park and smell the roses? Maybe they will go traveling? Or will they take to the streets and protest against those governments that have provided them with such a “sweet” life? From those governments that imposed sanctions against Russia, the governments in Italy, Great Britain, Bulgaria and Estonia have already left. In Sweden and France, the opponents of the current leaders won the parliament. In the United States, a Republican victory in the November elections is very likely. In Germany, Scholz, in order not to fall out of the chair, it’s time to tie himself with a rope. And this is just the beginning. Thousands of people are holding rallies in Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Austria. The euro, the Yen, and the British Pound have fallen to their lowest values in many years. And the Russian ruble, on the contrary, strengthened, by the way. The stock market is in a fever. People’s savings and retirement money turn into steam. Welcome to hell. Europe will forget about supporting Ukraine by Christmas. And in the US, Republicans will ask Biden for every dollar spent on Ukraine.

  34. Serhio

    September 27, 2022 at 11:43 pm

    Gary Jacobs

    “Another thought exercise… Ukraine is a country of 40 Million people. The vast majority support the fight against Russia. Losing 20,000 per month is a drop in the bucket as they defend themselves”

    Not everything is so wonderful in your exercises.
    Since the last census of the population of Ukraine was conducted 20 years ago, there are no recent official data on the numerical composition of the population. 40 million is the maximum bar. According to Ukrainian data, at the end of 2021, the presence of the population in the country was estimated at 32-35 million. Such a big difference is explained by the fact that no one specifically counted and the figures are estimated. The rest left the country to earn money, because Ukraine is not only the most corrupt country in Europe, but also one of the poorest. I don’t believe that they returned to fight en masse.
    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees gives figures of 7 million refugees in Europe, 2.6 in Russia and Belarus and about 300 thousand in other countries around the world. Total minus 10 million.
    It is also necessary to count the population remaining in the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine, which in a few days will become part of Russia. There are no exact data, but various sources say about 6-8 million people. These people are not only lost to Ukraine, but some of them are either already fighting or will be mobilized into the Russian army. The same 40 million people also include residents of the Crimea about 2.5 million people. This means that about 14-17 million remain at the disposal of the Nazis.

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