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Ukraine’s Twin Offensives Buy Ukraine Time, but May Not be Enough to Beat Russia

HIMARS
HIMARS. Image Credit: British Army.

What Happens Next in the War in Ukraine? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took a significant risk by ordering two counteroffensives earlier this month, one in the Kherson Oblast and one in the Kharkiv Oblast. As discussed in Part I of this analysis (you can read here), conditions were trending against Zelensky and left him with little choice. The Kherson strike group has thus far failed to achieve its objectives. The force that made the attack in the Kharkiv direction caught Russia completely unprepared and provided a dramatic success.

(Author Ret. LT. COL. Daniel Davis discussing the situation in Ukraine on Fox News) 

It is essential, however, to understand why the Kherson operation failed, why the Kharkiv attack succeeded, and what the results indicate as the war enters its first winter. Key to ascertaining what comes next will be to examine the likely responses Russia makes, especially to the success in the Kharkiv Oblast.

Prelude to Launching the Attacks

In a mid-May analysis of the then three-month-old war, I explained on these pages the strategy Russia adopted following its withdrawal from Kyiv. I also looked at Ukrainian responses, dispositions, and options for future offensive actions. In it, I explained what Russia was doing in the Kharkiv and Kherson fronts, and what potential vulnerabilities their course of action levied on them. In part, I wrote:

Russia appears to have chosen to simultaneously conduct what’s called economy-of-force missions near Kharkiv in the north and in the Kherson region in the south. The idea behind an economy-of-force mission is that an army will use as few troops as possible to accomplish a supporting task so that it may apply the majority of its combat power to achieve the main objective.

In this case, that means having enough Russian troops in the Kharkiv and Kherson areas to hold the Ukrainian troops defending the respective regions in place so they are unable to either attack Russian flanks on the Donbas’ northern or southern shoulders or to reinforce the Ukrainian lines on its side of the Donbas. Either outcome would put Russia’s battle plan at risk.

On the Ukrainian side, I explained how they might frustrate Russia’s plans:

Kyiv appears to be pursuing a strategy in the Kharkiv/Donbas fight that has the potential to either upend the Russian plan – or play right into it. If Ukraine troops are able to continue the counterattack and destroy the three Russian BTGs, it is possible they could then pivot south towards the Russian attack on the northern shoulder of the Donbas, forcing the Kremlin to either pull forces from elsewhere to stop the UAF drive, or the Ukrainians could send that combat power to aid its troops on their side of the fight to make Russia’s battle much more difficult. 

As is now becoming clear, that is very nearly exactly how events unfolded. As the months passed and Russia continued putting the vast majority of its energy into slowly grinding the Ukrainian troops in the Donbas, they paid less and less attention to their thin forces on both the northern and southern fronts. Zelensky made a risky, but so far successful, move by exploiting Russia’s go-slow action in the Donbas by building combat power out of contact and preparing to hit Russia’s comparatively thin lines in Kharkiv and Kherson.

For understandable reasons, the Western media has virtually ignored the results of Ukraine’s first offensive, which started in the Kherson front on August 29. As I had been warning in the weeks before that operation, Ukrainian troops would have to cross the open Steppe, exposing their troops to the strength of the Russian force, their artillery, rockets, and air power. When Zelensky’s troops did pull out of their defensive positions and came into the open, they did suffer heavy casualties.

It is painfully difficult to get accurate battlefield information in this war that is chocked full of misinformation and outright disinformation, peddled by both sides and their many supporters. One source that has proven the most accurate has been Austrian Col. Markus Reisner. He has posted numerous official video assessments of the fighting almost from the start of the war, and his detailed descriptions of progress or failures of each side have stood the test of time as being accurate.

On Wednesday, he posted an analysis of Ukraine’s twin offensives of both Kherson and Kharkiv and confirmed that the Kherson operation was nearly a complete failure, as the Ukrainian troops suffered heavy casualties from Russian artillery, rockets, and air strikes, and as a result, did not appear to have accomplished any of their territorial gains, and the lines are remarkably nearly unchanged from before. In the Kharkiv direction, however, the Ukrainians were much more successful.

Russian Tank Ukraine

A Russian tank destroyed by what is most likely a ‘Jack in the Box’ effect.

As I noted in my May 2022 assessment, the Russians had initially staffed the Kharkiv front with minimal numbers of troops. Over time it appears the Russian leadership got sloppy or overconfident, and believed that Ukraine would not attack in that sector and pulled some of the troops out of their positions to join in the Donbas or to reinforce their troops in the Kherson direction. Before Ukraine’s attack, most of the remaining Russian troops were volunteers who had little, if any, combat experience.

Russia also suffered from an egregious failure of intelligence. As Col. Reisner pointed out, Ukraine did an outstanding job of covertly building combat power in preparation for the northern attack. There were some rumors of a looming attack, but apparently, the Russian commanders ignored it. In any case, they made no preparations and were completely surprised when the Ukrainian hammer fell.

As I have covered in detail in other analyses, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) have lost considerable equipment to Russian attacks over the past six months, and the sum total of all equipment provided or promised by the West is not a fraction of what’s needed to conduct a theater-level offensive operation capable of driving Russia out of Ukraine. It has been, however, enough to conduct a local counterattack if the equipment were to be concentrated in limited geographic locations.

Kyiv concentrated the best of the Western equipment it has received, including T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic and Poland, self-propelled howitzers from Germany, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) from Great Britain, and armored personnel carriers and M777 howitzers from the U.S.  Ukraine concentrated the best of its equipment and most trained troops into two counterattack groups: Kherson and Kharkiv.

The Ukrainian Strike at Kherson

Zelensky ordered the first blow to fall in the Kherson region against the relatively thin line of Russian defenders. Repeated Ukrainian missile attacks against Russian ammunition depots and bridges spanning the Dnipro River in the weeks before launching the assault made the Russian defenders weaker, as they could not get sufficient reinforcements or supplies over the damaged bridges.

The long-range fires, however, limited Russian resupply but did not stop it. As feared, when the UAF left its defensive positions opposite Kherson and crossed into the open steppe, they became vulnerable to Russian fires. No amount of kit, no matter how modern, can withstand the significant volumes of artillery, rockets, and missiles the Russians dropped on Zelensky’s forces near Kherson. Moreover, owing to the months of public vows of a Kherson offensive, Russia was more than ready for this attack and had reinforced their troops.

PT-91 Ukraine

PT-91 tank from Poland heading to Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Though reliable information is still challenging to find, a growing consensus of sources reveals that the Ukrainian attack at Kherson made only limited advances along three axes, suffering heavy casualties in the process. The UAF made some penetrations against the Russian line in the center, but generally, the Russians held their ground. On Wednesday and Thursday, Russian airstrikes destroyed two dams along the Inhulets River, reportedly swamping the UAF bridgehead over the river, and cutting off their main source of supply. If the Russian troops succeed in destroying the bridgehead at Andriivka, the UAF will have been driven back to their start point, having suffered heavy casualties while gaining no ground. The results on the Kharkiv front, however, had a dramatically different result.

UAF Drives Russia Back in Kharkiv

In the north, in contrast, Russia was not expecting an attack, had thinned out its troop strength, and the Ukrainian side was able to enter through some forested terrain that made it difficult to detect and target. The results were highly successful for Ukraine, as the Russian troops were taken totally by surprise and were quickly faced with the options to fight to the death or conduct a fighting withdrawal. The Ukrainian side had chosen the former in Mariupol and Severodonetsk and suffered major troop losses as a result (as well as the territorial loss). Russia chose the latter, and in doing so limited the scale of its losses.

Austrian Army Col. Reisner pointed out that Ukrainian troops used battlefield deception masterfully, by racing ahead with initial penetration units, knowing that the Russian defenses were sparse, and planted Ukrainian flags on buildings in towns far to the rear of the starting lines. They then blasted these images out on social media, knowing the Russians would be watching, giving the impression that they had made major penetrations with large forces into the Russian rear. It appears at least some of Moscow’s troops believed the videos and hastened their withdrawal to the east.

It was here, however, that Putin’s troops started stabilizing the situation. Russian tactical commanders identified the best natural barrier that could stop an assaulting force, and selected the Oskil River, which runs north-and-south and would provide a strong natural barrier. Showing some dexterity, Russian forces started flying in reserve troops and heavy equipment via heavy transport Mi-26 helicopters, staging them on the far side of the Oskil, forming a new line of defense, while rapidly withdrawing its troops west of the river to ensure they didn’t get cut off and destroyed.

Because there were so few Russian troops in the Kharkiv front to begin with, after the bulk of Moscow’s forces had been withdrawn beyond the Oskil, the Russian command had little choice but to completely withdraw all of the troops north of Kharkiv, some fleeing across the Russian border. The result was that Ukraine regained control of a massive swath of land, reported to be upwards of 6,000 square kilometers. While that is a major accomplishment, it is necessary to keep things in perspective, especially in terms of what it means for the rest of the theater and future of the war.

Ukraine Russia

Russian T-90 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

What it Means for the War

The impression many have is that Ukraine drove a major Russian force out of a massive part of the country and imposed a major strategic defeat on Russia, possibly signaling Ukraine may be on track to win the war. The truth, however, is that while the Kharkiv operation was a very well crafted, effectively executed, operation that succeeded beyond Kyiv’s expectations, it involved relatively small numbers of Russian soldiers. Even in this victory, the Ukraine side reportedly suffered significant casualties and combat gear.

The true measure of the Ukrainian offensive capacity and potential to drive Russia out will come when they take on Russians in strength. For example, can the UAF conduct an offensive to push the Russians any distance from current positions in the Donbas? If so, that would represent a genuine, major accomplishment. Battlefield ‘math,’ however, would seem to indicate the balance of power is still in Russia’s favor.

Following the Ramstein meeting of Western defense ministers, headlines across the West trumpeted the commitment of nearly $3 billion in new aid for Ukraine. Under the massive dollar figure, however, was the revelation that the only new combat platforms included in the package was a curiously a single platoon’s worth (four cannons) of the smallest howitzers with the shortest range in the U.S. inventory, 105mm towed guns.

When combined with the list of all other combat platforms provided or promised to date, it strongly implies the Ukraine Army massed a significant majority of all its modern gear for the two offensives in Kherson and Kharkiv. Meaning, it is unlikely there are even enough tanks, armored personnel carriers, and self-propelled artillery pieces to prevent Russia from continuing its westward drive in the Donbas, and could mean Ukraine has insufficient current strength in either the Kherson or Kharkiv to defend against a concerted Russian counterattack. The big question: how much striking power does Russia have?

However many casualties the UAF suffered in their two offensive drives, they certainly inflicted considerable losses in personnel and equipment on the Russians as well. Yet there continue to be reports (presently uncorroborated via Western media) that Russia has been moving large numbers of armored vehicles, including their most modern T90 tanks, into occupied Ukrainian territory. The next real indication for where the war is finding out how Putin responds to these attacks.

Evidence is increasing that the Russian troops in Kherson have contained the Ukraine offensive and have largely held the lines. After the Ukrainian troops drove Russia out of the Kharkiv region past Izyum, the Russians have generally reestablished a stable line near Krasny Leman and along the Oskil River. The Russians continue attacking west in the Donbas, continuing to make incremental progress towards Bahkmut and Soledar.

Ukraine

Russian Su-25s. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The big questions right now: will Putin attempt a signature response and escalate the scale and scope of his attacks in Ukraine? Has he been covertly building armored combat power out of contact, as Zelensky did in the weeks prior to launching the Kharkiv attack, and will there be the sudden appearance of Russian tanks at an unexpected part of the Ukraine line? At this point no one knows, but based on his history, it seems more likely as not that Putin will not passively take the humiliation he suffered when Zelensky drove his troops out of Kharkiv region. Some sort of retaliatory strike or counterattack seems likely.

An equally big question: will the West, led by the United States, provide Ukraine with the type and number of heavy weapons Zelensky has been requesting for months? For Ukraine to have a chance to hold their ground and later have even the potential to drive Russia out of their country, Western countries are going to have to surrender hundreds of modern tanks, rocket launchers, armored personnel carriers, and self-propelled howitzers, including many hundreds of each – all of which must come from their primary stocks and will necessarily weaken their own capacity to provide for their own defense. It is unclear whether any Western nation will agree to make such a sacrifice.

Lastly, there is the looming issue of increasing economic cost on Western populations as sanctions on Russian oil, gas, and agricultural products continues to have cascading consequences across the globe. Already there are grave dangers that there may not be enough gas in Europe to heat homes and power business. Additionally, there is real risk of recession, both in the U.S. and Europe. Whether and how much the West will continue providing Kyiv with combat platforms and financial support is unknown.

The bottom line: there is a great deal of uncertainty on the course of the war, and in the near term, neither side can claim to be winning. The longer the war goes on, however, the more likely that Russia comes out on top, if only because they have the most resources and personnel, which in the history of warfare frequently determines the victor.

Stinger Missile

Stinger missile being fired. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Conclusion

In wrapping up this analysis, I harken again back to my May 2022 assessment, because the fundamentals are little changed. Despite the significant number of tactical wounds inflicted by one side or the other since this war started – Russia’s capture of Mariupol, Severodonetsk, and Lysychansk; Ukraine’s sinking of the Moskva, introduction of the HIMARs, and the success in the Kharkiv region – the trend of the war remains surprisingly steady.

What I published in May is still valid:

War is a very dynamic, unpredictable affair, and what appears to be momentum by one side can often be reversed a short time later by the opponent. Up to this point, the strategy the Russians appear to be using in their attempt to capture the Donbas and destroy the UAF defenders there is making progress. However, it remains possible that the Ukrainian counterattacks in the Kharkiv region could derail the Russian plans. Yet…the most likely outcome of this fight is that Russia will prevail in the Donbas.

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.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. xheavy

    September 16, 2022 at 10:21 am

    Its not enough to beat Russia.

    However, it has rendered tank armies Hors De Combat and that will take 10 years to replace. New tanks by the thousands, People to train by the tens of thousands and all of the kit that goes with such a organization.

    Bill Putin for that mess. His hamfisted invasion is the original mess. He was the aggressor breaking into UKR’s house and then trashing the place. Serves RU right to have their fangs and claws broken off.

  2. Gary Jacobs

    September 16, 2022 at 10:48 am

    LoL, Davis continues to pull at the thinnest of threads and cherry picked information to claim Ukraine is losing, or cant win, in some way, shape, or form.

    He completely ignores the north eastern axis of the Kherson offensive because that has seen Ukraine compress the front line south by dozens of KMs. Paying any attention to that would, at least in part, defeat his premise of failure in Kherson. As well, Progress has been made on both the center and western axes, with the Ukrainians taking most of the western coast and some reports have them turning west at what is essentially the Cape of Kherson to now be contesting Sofiivka directly west of Kherson city on the t1501 highway. Satellite images confirm The Russians have also abandoned Kyselivka, which is about 10km north from the Kherson Airport.

    The Kherson offensive was always going to be a longer fight than just about any other region because it is not only a steppe [as he finally admits] but it is agricultural land that has irrigation trenches built in. The Russians didnt even have to do any work to have defensive lines ready for them to use. The best analogy I have heard so far is that it is akin to an island hopping campaign with the very small towns as islands and the open agriculture fields as the ocean where the defenders can see you coming from miles away.

    By contrast the terrain in Kharkiv favors Ukraine. Even without thinned out Russian forces. In the Donbas, Davis continues to ignore the fact that the Ukrainians conducted a planned staged retreat from Lysychansk and have basically stopped the Russians cold at Bakhmut and Soledar in part because the terrain favors their much more defensible positions in those areas. The Russians continue to employ stupid tactics sending people out to conduct offensive missions, only to get creamed by the Ukrainians… then the Russians rinse and repeat. That is part of what has made the Russian force so combat depleted. The Russian way of using artillery has also degraded their equipment. With some images appearing of Russian artillery barrels splitting like a banana peel from overuse.

    Bottom Line: while it’s nice to see Davis finally acknowledge some Ukrainian victories, the attempt at spin to salvage some of his Ukraine cant win/is losing narrative is like watching a contortionist at a 3rd rate circus.

  3. doja dog

    September 16, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Now he’s trying to claim credit for predicting this….what a crock. And the collapse of the Russian forces including the abandonment of huge amounts of military hardware buys the lie to his attempt to downgrade Kiev’s achievement. The Ukrainians routed the Russians who continue to demonstrate that they are on the edge of collapse.

  4. Jack Clifford

    September 16, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Hey Daniel,

    While there is no doubt that the Ukrainians suffered heavy casualties on the Kherson front – there is no evidence that they suffered significantly more than the Russians, who have ~20,000+ troops themselves in the vicinity. Furthermore, it’s misleading to claim the Kherson offensive has accomplished nothing: It has overcome the most fortified bastions on Russia’s first line of defense. What is halting it now is the massive artillery park outside Chornoblaivka.

    You’re also wrong to minimize Russian losses on the Kharkiv front. There were at least ~10,000 Russians around Izyum alone. They left a huge amount of DOCUMENTED heavy equipment and arms. No propaganda. Geolocated, confirmed pictures, put it at enough to equip an entire division.

    The most reliable estimate of Ukrainian losses on the Kharkiv front, is that they’ve suffered a tiny fraction of Russian losses, except around Lyman. The ISW puts it at 10 to 1 in favor of the Ukrainians.

    In Kherson, it’s probably 1 to 1.5 or 2 in favor of the Russians.

  5. TheDon

    September 16, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    Generals,
    End Putins dream and help your people.
    There is no EU threat or they wouldn’t have so blindly relied on Russian energy.

    The EU is opening borders and commerce..why not try it and improve your peoples lives?

    With improved living conditions, Russian demographics will improve, standard of living.

    Multinational support means security, as is evident.

  6. Michael Droy

    September 16, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    @ Jack Clifford

    So how, even in Kharkov area, would Ukraine manage to kill as many Russians as they suffer their own dead. There was no close combat. Many Ukrainians faced few Russian national guards or LPR/DPR forces who (no doubt according to long term instructions) backed away quickly.

    The deaths – like almost all deaths in this operation – come from heavy shelling and long distance strikes. Russia has a 10 to 1 advantage in shelling and a 25:1 advantage in long distance strikes.
    Those advantages plus the enormous numbers from kiev in the battle field make it easy for Russia to lose while wiping out 3k Ukrainians dead – as Russia claims.

    This was a silly “victory” by Zelensky. Huge personnel losses, zero equipment gains except of ancient stock, new tactics and new weapons exposed to Russian analysts, and largely empty land gained.

    Easy to spin this for PR purposes but I’m pretty sure Col. Davis would be a lot more critical of the adventure in private.

  7. Yrral

    September 16, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    American,are too dumb too know what the official policy of the US,The state department policy really is Russia can inflict as much pain on Ukrainain,as they can bear until they are willing to negotiate,even the US do not have an endgame,it either Ukraine will defeat Russia or live with the prospect of being at war with Russia and their is nothing to salvage in Ukraine,like in Syria,why would American support this scenario

  8. aldol11

    September 16, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    Putin’s troll is back

  9. Gary Jacobs

    September 16, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    Yrral,

    You are still pushing your silly surrender/lost cause narrative. How about you start taking your own advice and realize that it’s actually what you are pushing is a lost cause, and you should surrender?

  10. Enfield

    September 16, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    There is a very big difference between Ukraine and Russia military personnel on the ground. Ukraine has thrown in almost everything they have while Russia still relies on contract soldiers. Russia’s president confirmed this on the Russian side today.

    Will Russia make changes? or not?, no one knows for sure at the moment.

  11. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    September 16, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Russia still has the resources to win this conflict but do they have the commanders and do their conscripts possess the will to fight? I think not.

  12. Jack

    September 16, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    That article was too long so I just went straight to these comments to read them

  13. Yrral

    September 16, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Have the US ever turn a whore into a housewife,why would they think Ukraine was ever a democratic government,when the principal of their system of government is,based on the system of government from Russia

  14. Freeborn John

    September 16, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    Time to pull Daniel Davis from this site. He has lost all credibility when he can’t explain why his previous predictions have not come to pass and simply retreats into a fantasy world where Russia is winning.

    I called this a Ukrainian victory on February 28 when Russia’s blitzkrieg plan to knockout Kiev had failed. Dan can’t see it 6 months later.

  15. Gary Jacobs

    September 16, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Yrral – LoL…easy answer: Japan, South Korea, Germany, and most of the rest of the Eastern European countries formerly dominated by the Soviet Union. All used to be some form of dictatorship and are now vibrant democracies. Ukraine has as good a chance as any if it can be free of Russian aggression and corruption.

    You continue to push phony narratives about surrender or lost cause that are themselves lost causes. You really should stop that. It isnt a good look for you.

  16. Freeborn John

    September 16, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    This is where Daniel is dead wrong: “The longer the war goes on, however, the more likely that Russia comes out on top, if only because they have the most resources and personnel, which in the history of warfare frequently determines the victor.”

    The West can outspend Russia 20:1 and has every incentive to do so as if Putin is not fighting in Ukraine he would be attacking somewhere else.

  17. Goran

    September 16, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Davis in July parroting Russian ultimatum:

    “Today Kyiv still controls Kharkiv, Odessa, and still large portions of the Donetsk region. If the fighting continues, however, it is possible that by the end of the summer, some or all of those territories could fall to Russia. As anguishing as it may be for Kyiv to negotiate with Russia from its current disadvantaged position, it could well prove to be the best chance Ukraine has to maintain control over the majority of its territory over the long term.”

    That’s been your message since February. Well, you chose the wrong group of people to call to surrender. Their response, after a thorough and thoughtful contemplation is to take Kherson back by winter and tell you to suck on it.

  18. Bender

    September 16, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    What a surprise, another misguided defeatist article from Mr. Davis.

  19. June

    September 16, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Again, the author exaggerated the failure of the Ukraine army and downplayed the significance of Ukraine’s success. Russia does not have modern weapons to fight a modern war. Considering the weakness of Russia for the next decade, it is sensible for NATO to use this opportunity to weaken Russia to the point of no more aggression. Russians will be fed up with this senseless war and Putin will prove Russia cannot win even a proxy war against NATO. I believe supplying weapons is the best way to achieve the goal of NATO. It was already clearly stated by the US in the beginning of this war and I would say the war has progressed according to the plan (of the US and NATO). Russia can start general mobilization but the US and NATO will provide more modern weapons to counter the Russian strength (powerful drones, western tanks, long range missiles, more mobile artillery, and air defence systems). On the other hand, Russia has to use a limited number of Iranian drones to counter these modern weapons. So, there will be no significant gain from general mobilization. Russia does not have the resources to win this war. This is a modern hybrid (informational, economical, technical) war and Russia has shown it was not prepared for this modern war. Without a constant supply of modern weapons, it is difficult to win this war. Unfortunately, the Washinton and the Brussel do not want to humiliate Putin with military war. Winning the economic war is the best way. A war is very expensive. This war has already bankrupted Ukraine and will bankrupt Russia in the near future. We already see the sign of economic cost in Russia. Although winning an Afghan war is a lost cause, the US stayed there for 20 years. Once Russia runs out of long range missiles and the Ukraine air defence system is operational, the US can support this war for the next 20 years. Since the US does not want to humiliate Putin, the progress of war will be very slow (by limiting the amount of weapon supply). The number of casualties are acceptable for both sides. Although we are concerned about the cost of war, future generations of Ukraines may think this is the best decision their ancestors made.

  20. David Chang

    September 16, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    One of Putin’s strategy of Ukraine war is to destroy the military around Mariupol steel plant, so Russia blast the garrison in southeastern Ukraine. Even if Ukraine get more weapons, they can only barely compete with Russia.

    However, after Rep. Pelosi provoke CCP, U.S. military have insufficient troops to defend two-and-one-half. With the nuclear weapon negotiation of socialism Iran, democratic party must push people in republic China to fill up their military more faster.

    But we should remember the lessons of socialism war in Vietnam and Afghan and admit the cause. According to combat theory, it is not that socialism army is good at maneuver tactics, or our soldier is not good at maneuver tactics or guerrilla, but we don’t believe righteous constitution thought.

    Also, because of wrong defense policy of the president elected by Ukraine people, we pay for it, so that cause more big CPI and inflation.

    Moreover, the ancient cause is the wrong of democratic-republican party. In World War II, democratic party say that the D-Day is overlord operation, but Eisenhower say D-Day is the mission to fulfill the covenant between God and people. Perhaps Eisenhower don’t believe socialism and evolution.

    After World War II, Eisenhower remind us that U.S. is not empire and we people should worship God to oppose socialism and evolution. Therefore, people in Europe and Asia should also oppose socialism parties in future election.

    Perhaps before Christmas Eve, Russia and Ukraine end socialism warfare and prepare for Manger Accords. Or Ukraine can only maintain stalemate with Russia.

    So people in the world will determine the result of Russia-Ukraine war by future elections. If socialism parties represented by Biden remain in power, U.S. military have to refuse the socialism policies of Vietnam and Afghan war, and reaffirm that U.S. military’s mission under God is to protect people in America. Let people thinking seriously about the meaning of self-sacrificing: the respect, the power, the lives and the capabilities that they hold in the present all come from Creator.

    God bless America.

  21. CRS, DrPH

    September 17, 2022 at 12:33 am

    Big deal, I predicted the sinking of the Russian navy’s sole Slava-class cruiser (Moskva) a few weeks before it happened. I knew that Ukraine had anti-ship missiles and that the Black Sea fleet was being foolish. (I didn’t foresee using the Bayraktar TB2 drone to distract the onboard radar operators, that was brilliant!)

    The big prize is Crimea. Everything is else is to bleed Russia of troop strength, resolve and resources. When Russia is sufficiently softened, the Kerch Strait Bridge will be destroyed by Ukrainian special forces. Crimean Russians are already fleeing as quickly as they can, seeing the obvious. Slava Ukraini!

  22. Jai

    September 17, 2022 at 6:03 am

    The war keeps going exactly the way Davis says it won’t, and he has the gall to pretend he predicted it.

    The guy has an agenda and it is not one that should be given oxygen.

  23. Neil Ross Hutchings

    September 17, 2022 at 8:08 am

    A good link for battlefield assessments, something lacking in msm. Thanks.

  24. Yrral

    September 17, 2022 at 8:41 am

    Operation Lost Cause is preceding as plan,30 percent of Ukrainain infrastructure has been destroyed,60 will be destroyed by Christmas,if the is no end to this dysfunctional war, Daddy Warbucks has pumped another 1.5 billion dollars of your tax dollars in the Russian Influence Corrupt Organization of Zelensky see how the lost cause is presented in Ukraine media Google Ukrinform

  25. KB

    September 17, 2022 at 9:11 am

    Maybe Ukraine can drive Russian forces out, maybe it can’t, but the mass graves found in Bucha and Izyum, and will likely be found in other places Ukraine liberates, show that Ukraine has no choice but to try. The consequences of giving in are horrendous. Fortunately, Ukraine’s task is made easier by the fact that Russia is not the superpower it has pretended to be for the last 30 years.

  26. abraham lincoln

    September 17, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Let’s just call Daniel Davis “Baghdad Bob”

  27. Gary Jacobs

    September 17, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Yrral,

    I see you are continuing with your own lost cause…being a Putin lackey blaming Ukraine for everything…including the atrocities Russia commits against Ukraine.

    Russia bombed the dam in Zelensky’s hometown. Ukraine plugged it in one day. Russia wasted millions of dollars launching cruise missiles, and Ukraine was able to plug the dam and restore water service to the city in about 24hours. How sustainable is that cost/benefit scenario for Russia?

    Similar thing happened with the bombing of civilian power grid in Kharkiv… except over there the Russians had already connected parts of Kharkiv to the grid in Russia, so the stupid Russians not only knocked out power in Ukraine, they knocked out power in several areas of Russia also. Sounds like a very Russian thing to do at this point.

  28. Eric

    September 17, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    I’m curious to know Davis’s motivation for continuing to write defeatist articles like this.

    The offensive toward Kiev was a failed offensive and then the Russians pulled back. This offensive by the Ukrainians in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions are successful either partly or fully. Ukraine has taken the initiative and made a decisive victory on the battlefield and Davis can’t seem to see that through his defeatist-tinted glasses.

  29. davidgmillsatty

    September 17, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Russia is obviously trying to fight this war with the absolute minimum number of men and without any real attempts to take out the grid or the government in Kiev. Ritter says they need about 200,000 more than they have committed so far. He expects them to get the volunteers over the next few months and have them trained for a spring offensive.

  30. Yrral

    September 17, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Ukrainain are on life support,they are waiting for some angels to provide them with their last rites

  31. Gary Jacobs

    September 18, 2022 at 10:36 am

    Yrral, your defeatist troll routine is on life support. Ready to be unplugged with a DNR. If you had been around in WWII you would have counseled surrender to the Nazis as well. Thankfully there are brave people willing to fight for freedom who march right past people like you.

  32. Neil Ross Hutchings

    September 18, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    The U.S. is again importing Venezuelan oil, so much for regime change in Caracas. Political expediency by the United States. If the U.S. needed Russian oil as much as Europe needed Russian oil and gas this conflict wouldn’t be happening; a diplomatic solution would have been found long ago. Headlines in the U.S. are now full of stories about reactivated weapons production lines; jobs just in time for the mid-terms. Draw your own conclusions. Davis remains one of the most knowledgable commentators on this conflict, not a cheerleader for either side. And guess what, he is not always correct in his predictions. Who ever is?

  33. Publius Naso

    September 19, 2022 at 11:19 pm

    Colonel Davis states that the Russian army successfully established a defensive line along the Oskil river:

    “It was here, however, that Putin’s troops started stabilizing the situation. Russian tactical commanders identified the best natural barrier that could stop an assaulting force, and selected the Oskil River, which runs north-and-south and would provide a strong natural barrier.”

    However, according to The Wall Street Journal, the Ukrainians are already on the east side of the Oskil river, at least in some areas.

  34. Altex

    September 19, 2022 at 11:36 pm

    Never tired of being wrong? The Kherson has not failed, it’s in progress and going quite well for Ukraine and not so well for your buddies. There are about 20K russians about to be put down or flee leaving behind another $600M of estimated material.

  35. Wesser

    September 20, 2022 at 4:07 pm

    Now its pretty obvious to the even the most casual observer that Davis is a Putin-Troll

    Even if you disregard his obvious bias Then what to make of statements such as “Zelenskys troops” other than a very obvious attempt to slander the ukrainians?

    His only asset is that he’s put out such a volume of words that he’ll always be able pull some earlier quote out of context to make it seem like he predicted events. Sadly the internet doesnt forget and his many many entirely wrong predictions are for all to see

    But Then again. He’s been handed a script by the Kremlin that he has to transcribe to the real world

    It aint easy

  36. Eric

    September 20, 2022 at 11:00 pm

    This article I think is just filled with errors but I will point out three MAJOR errors:

    “It is unclear whether any Western nation will agree to make such a sacrifice.” FALSE, Alexander Motyl, Anne Applebaum, and many others have given good reasons why Western nations should support Ukraine.

    “Already there are grave dangers that there may not be enough gas in Europe to heat homes and power business.” FALSE, European countries have deep pockets to pay for what they need even if it’s more expensive. They are already doing this with floating LNG import terminals.

    “The longer the war goes on, however, the more likely that Russia comes out on top, if only because they have the most resources and personnel, which in the history of warfare frequently determines the victor.” FALSE, Ukraine is able to mobilize more personnel; Ukraine has so many volunteers they have to wait for training; Ukraine likely already has the personnel advantage and that will continue to tip in Ukraine’s favor. Russia could declare war and general mobilization but that could be politically untenable in Russia and would take months to reconstitute trained personnel. Russia has the material advantage in quantity but not in quality, and they are unable to constitute new material at the rate Western nations can. Also, Russia lost hundreds of tanks, artillery pieces, armored personnel carriers, and trucks CAPTURED by Ukraine in the Kharkiv region just in the last offensive. The material balance is also gradually tipping in Ukraine’s favor.

    If you want to see a better analysis of how things are going, check out Perun on Youtube.

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