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The West Isn’t Scared of Ukraine Beating Russia Anymore

M777 Artillery
Soldiers serving with Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Division, shoot a round down range from their M777A2 howitzer on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. The round was part of a shoot to register, or zero, the howitzers, which had just arrived on KAF from Forward Operating Base Pasab. The shoot also provided training for a fire support team from 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, 4th Inf. Div.

Has the West lost its fear of a Ukrainian victory? – The collective West has long hesitated to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons that might appear to be escalatory to the Russian aggressor and precipitate a nuclear strike.

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The dilemma here is that the effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear threats in producing Western vacillation and self-deterrence (understandable given possible dire consequences) incentivizes Moscow to repeat its threats. Thus Western policy has vacillated between offering Ukraine just enough military aid to avoid defeat and intentions to provide aid sufficient to achieve an outright victory. The overriding Western fear was that a notable Ukrainian victory, such as the anticipated liberation of Crimea, might provoke a nuclear strike.  Accordingly, the West could not formulate clear objectives and a logical response to Russia’s aggression.

Ramstein-9 and Ukraine

However, a tectonic shift in Western thinking has evidently emerged from the January 20 meeting of the Ramstein-9 Ukraine Defense Contact Group of fifty-one countries. The Group came out for supplying Ukraine with heavy offensive weapons in quantities sufficient for an Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) victory, to be understood as the liberation of all Russian-occupied territories back to the internationally recognized borders of 1991. A number of Western experts now believe the likelihood of a Russian nuclear strike to be quite small. China and India have spoken against a nuclear strike, and a worldwide economic embargo against Russia would stay the Kremlin’s hand, not to mention military actions that the US or NATO countries might take.

Political opinion has changed the most in Germany, which, once having been the country most reluctant to send military aid, has now become one of the main providers. However, Germany has not agreed to allow allied states that had purchased stocks of its Leopard 2 tanks to transfer these tanks to Ukraine. The Leopards are the most readily available in large numbers and are the most suited to Ukrainian conditions. Several of the thirteen countries having the Leopard have offered to contribute some tanks; Poland is ready to send 100 or more immediately. The German government remains reluctant to approve transfers despite the latest Russian missile terror strike on a Ukrainian apartment building, this time in the city of Dnipro, where at least 44 civilians were killed and a larger number injured.

After impressive advances in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions in September and October, the AFU was unable to pursue further because of insufficient equipment and logistical capacity, rainy weather, and the successful Russian tactic of throwing masses of barely trained or untrained amnestied convicts and other social marginals against the AFU lines. This tactic, along with Western vacillation, allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold out to his army and public the prospect of ultimate Russian victory.

While the AFU’s advances were stalled, relentless Russian attacks on the Donbas towns of Bakhmut and Soledar in the east, though very costly and gaining little territory, succeeded in holding the AFU from launching offensives in the south. This also gave the Russians a breathing space to train more reserves. The Kremlin has projected an initial mobilization of 300,000 men, possibly growing to 500,000 or even more by the spring or summer, to be added to the approximately 150,000 or 200,000 already in Ukraine. A Ukrainian offensive in the spring will now be more difficult and costly than one would have been earlier.

Yet back in December, the top AFU general, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, had declared that in order to launch a major offensive, the AFU needed the order of 300 additional main battle tanks, 500 modern artillery pieces, and 600 or more armored combat vehicles. The Ramstein-9 meeting has gone a long way toward meeting Zaluzhnyi’s request, and seems to mark a turning point in Western policy.

The Ramstein-9 meeting is heavy with political significance. For the first time, the West is sending equipment that is explicitly offensive, and the quantities are large. The West seems to have overcome its fear of a Ukrainian victory and has made a commitment to support Ukraine that is probably irreversible.

The military significance is that the AFU will likely be able to reach the Azov Sea coast, thereby blocking the Russian land corridor to Crimea. The Russian strategic position in Ukraine’s south is inherently poor, inasmuch as the Russian army is stretched over a front that is long and narrow. The AFU will attempt to find a weak point in the front; and, if successful, will cut the Russian army in half, with Russian forces west of the point, and south in Crimea, isolated from supplies from the east.

The Russians are aware of this possibility.  Consequently it appears that their attempts to fortify Melitopol in the west and Crimea to the south are only half-hearted.  The main Russian efforts are likely to be in the Donbas, a political objective of Putin’s long standing, and further north, in the Kharkiv and Chernihiv regions, which border Russia and offer favorable logistics.

But after nearly a year of the war, the Russian army is severely degraded. It has lost almost all of its initial complement of modern tanks and armored vehicles. Free-for-all artillery barrages have caused the artillery barrels to be badly worn and inaccurate. Many of the better junior officers and large parts of the professional army have been lost.  It seems that the Russians are limited to three strategies. One strategy will be continued missile terror attacks on Ukrainian civilian areas. These attacks will occur particularly because Ukraine will have no defense against the supersonic Kh-22 missile for several months until a few Patriot anti-missile systems are installed and personnel trained for these. The second strategy is to take out of storage and refurbish old Soviet-era tanks and artillery equipment, but this might be technically difficult.

The third – main – strategy will be to throw masses of infantry against the AFU lines and to overcome these lines through sheer weight of numbers. This very costly tactic showed some success in Bakhmut and Soledar – success in the sense that the Russian infantry proved its ability to keep pressing despite phenomenal human losses. The Russian political and military commands are able to use this tactic because they are utterly indifferent to losses. Much of the fighting and dying until now has been done by non-Russians from the east, such as Buryats and Udmurts, and from the south, such as Dagestanis, Ingushetians, and Kadyrovite Chechens. These are supplemented by Russian social marginals from prisons and from the poverty-stricken peripheries of Russia, along with soldiers from the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk Republics and by collaborators and civilians forcibly conscripted from other Ukrainian areas of occupation. Therefore the ethnic-Russian middle class of the large cities has been relatively untouched by mobilization, and the Kremlin has been able to manage any incipient anti-war sentiment.

What Happens Next? 

In sum, the stage is set for major bloodbaths this spring. There are some important imponderables. On the Ukrainian side, the list is shorter. The Ukrainians are fighting for their survival against explicit genocide by Russia, so for the Ukrainians, submission is not an option. Their determination to fight remains high, and their morale and capacity are improved by the latest tranche of offensive weapons. The Ukrainians are neither surprised nor intimidated by the ongoing Russian mobilizations, and some Ukrainian military experts think that steel will prevail over flesh, as was the usual historical pattern. The main imponderable could be Western fatigue over the longer term, though Ramstein-9 has indicated that fatigue is not an issue for the present.

The list of imponderables is longer on the Russian side. First, it is not certain that recruitment will be successful and that the army will be able to provide the soldiers adequately with personal equipment, vehicles, and weapons. A related question is whether Russia will be able to ramp up its war industries in view of sanctions on components and the general decline of the economy.  Another factor is that ammunition stocks are considerably depleted and might not be replaceable.

A final, and perhaps key, imponderable on the Russian side is a political one concerning the conduct of the war itself. If the AFU blocks the Russian land bridge to Crimea, this will mean that, after a year of heavy fighting and expense, the Putin regime shall have gained almost nothing.  At the least, this will cause recrimination within the Russian public, army, and government. Putin’s authority will inevitably decline, though by how much remains to be seen.

More: Should Joe Biden Qut? 

More: How to Save Joe Biden? 

More: Nikki Haley for President? Nope.

But overall, it appears that Ramstein-9 has started to make a complete Ukrainian military victory both thinkable and plausible. 

Dennis Soltys is a retired Canadian professor of comparative politics living in Almaty.

Written By

Dennis Soltys is a retired Canadian professor of comparative politics living in Almaty.



  1. Gary Jacobs

    January 22, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Denis has his cause and effect backwards.

    The Russians’ “professional army” has been so thoroughly degraded that they have been forced to define success down drastically. Now all they can do is focus their remaining offensive forces into this tiny little area of Bakhmut and Soledar. Everything else they are doing is defensive.

    As well, In reality it is the Ukrainians that have the Russians pinned in this area.

    Ukrainian forces have previously employed a similar gradual attrition model to compel Russian operations in certain areas to culminate after months of suffering high personnel and equipment losses in pursuit of marginal tactical gains. Russian troops spent months attempting to grind through effective Ukrainian defenses in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in the early summer of 2022 and captured Lysychansk only after a controlled Ukrainian withdrawal from the area.

    The capture of Lysychansk and the Luhansk Oblast administrative border, however, quickly proved to be operationally insignificant for Russian forces, and the ultimate result of the Ukrainian defense of the area was the forced culmination of the Russian offensive in Luhansk Oblast, leading to the overall stagnation of Russian offensive operations in Donbas in the summer and fall of 2022.

    Ukrainian defense of Bakhmut will likely contribute to a similar result: Russian forces have been funneling manpower and equipment into the area since May 2022 and have yet to achieve any operationally significant advances that seriously threaten the Ukrainian defense of the area.

    Ukrainian forces are effectively pinning Russian troops, equipment, and overall operational focus on Bakhmut, thus inhibiting Russia’s ability to pursue offensives elsewhere in the theater.

    While this season’s weird weather with the rain/mud coming early and the freeze coming late is the largest contributing factor to Ukraine not having made further large gains in recent weeks…The West has contributed to Ukraine’s inability to take full advantage of having pinned Russian forces in Bakhmut by slow rolling or withholding weapons systems and supplies essential for large scale counteroffensive operations.

    This has started to change in recent days with major announcements of Bradleys, Strykers, CV 90, Challengers, GLSDB, and more… and Poland appears to be willing to send Leopards without German approval.

    Some reports have it that the US will backfill Abrams tanks for any country sending Leopards to Ukraine.

    If that happens, Germany will not only have lost major PR gains it has made with all its other contributions to Ukraine…it will lose most of its tank customers in Europe to the US.

  2. Jim

    January 22, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    If anybody thinks this is not a propaganda war, in part, then they’re willfully blind.

    The Ukraine War is as much a propaganda war as it is a war of steel, guns, bombs and morale, esprit de corps, if you will. This has been called 5th generation war.

    Fifth generation warfare has been described as a war of “information and perception”.

    The present author makes an assessment/opinion based on a best case scenario… based on… how should I characterize this… the Ukraine information ministry/New York Times… party line.

    An honest assessment can not be made by simply regurgitating the Western line of so-called “information” as it is part of the psyops, half of the war effort… keeping the public “onside” in a hail of dubious claims.

    One-sided analysis brings up the computer programming adage, “garbage in, garbage out.”

    Here’s the problem… in a hall of mirrors, self deception is always around the corner, if not staring you in the face… and you don’t even know it.

    The present author provides a rosy picture… I wonder if the author has been claiming since day one of the war that “Ukraine is winning” and Russia will be put down hard.

    The truth… this war will be decided on the battlefield… not by Madison Avenue ad campaigns or propaganda blitzes.

    At some point, Russian military assessment will conclude the Ukrainian army to be hollowed out to a point where a Donbas offensive will collapse Ukrainian resistance in the theater.

    When will that happen? Late March – early April (with favorable weather conditions… which is unknown at this point).

    Russia won’t be goaded into an early offensive… but will go when both their readiness and Ukraine degradation are both at relative peak with each other.

    There is Ukraine propaganda (regurgitated by the author) and there is Russian propaganda… and somewhere in the middle exists a rough approximation of reality.

    ** Important note… there is an actual reality… propaganda is not the reality.

    A key way to think about this: the map is not the territory… claims of having the best map are always subject to challenge because maps are always subject to bias & prejudice… In this Age (the Age of Lying), statements of interested parties must always be challenged…

    It’s beyond “trust, but verify” and now is “verify, verify, verify.”

    If you think the Ukraine ministry of truth and the New York Times is providing the bare-bones reality… I got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

  3. Johnny Ray

    January 22, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    Donbas is a low priority. Resources should be allocated accordingly.

    It’s beginning to sound like sufficient weaponry is headed to Ukraine for as an assault…towards…Crimea. Even the tanks. It will take brilliant minds and a more brilliant strategy to retake any part of that area. I’d like to …hope… Ukraine can pull it off. Everything would need to happen just right. IF so, the fall of Crimea would also be the end of the war, and maybe the fall of the Russian Federation itself. It’s a most worthy prize. Worth a 100% commitment by the allies. I am not convinced that level has been achieved, yet.

    As an aside, it’s time to quit playing games with troop disbursements. Let the willing countries send whatever personnel they are willing. That could make a huge difference. Even behind the front lines running artillery and missile batteries, special ops troops, support roles, medical support, etc. Let them go. And, KEEP QUIET about it.

  4. pagar

    January 22, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    A ukraine victory holds just as much water as a hitler victory.

    The current US-NATO war in europe will end up as a total disaster for the dreaded globalists as russia is finally forced to step up a gear and confront the one-world conquistadors.

    The deluge of weapons to the ukro neo-nazis will be met head-on by tactical nukes sooner or later.

    Let’s see how exactly the globalists are going to react when the first mushroom clouds pop up over the fascist places. Run away and show up at the white house cellar, the main washroom or biden’s bedroom ? ? ?

  5. Gary Jacobs

    January 22, 2023 at 5:38 pm


    LoL, You are one of the worst offenders at peddling propaganda. To hear you project your notions of it onto others makes me laugh. You are simply trying to bring others down to your level. And epically failing at it.

    Case in point is your notion that ‘Russia wont be goaded into early offensives.’

    Proving once again you have absolutely no idea what is actually going on.

    Russia tried to go on the offensive in Pavlivka just after their withdrawal from Kherson, and it failed miserably in a similar way to what is happening in Soledar. Ukraine inflicted heavy casualties on the Russians, Russians employed more and more scorched earth and Zerg banzai attack charges with human waves. Ukraine conducted a controlled fighting retreat to the higher ground in Vuhledar which overlooks Pavlivka. The Russians could not overcome their tactical disadvantage and gave up further advances in that area.

    Rinse and repeat in Soledar. Ukraine now overlooks Soledar from the bluffs to the north which is the high ground. And there is a series of similar ridges for them to fight back to if Russia somehow overcomes this one.

    Pavlivka and Soledar are textbook definitions of Pyrrhic victories that have zero strategic effect. In the case of Soledar, that is especially true since Ukraine liberated Lyman and Izyum. See my detailed breakdown above on Ukraine using the fighting to pin them down and inflict major casualties on them, which began with Lysychansk.

    As previously stated on other threads, it’s essentially a rope-a-dope strategy…with Russia helpfully playing the part of dope.

    And here you are pretending they have anything resembling a coherent strategy. Nothing could be further from the truth. But then again that is a consistent feature of almost everything you ever post.

    Meanwhile, in the actual strategic locations of Kreminna and Svatove…it’s Ukraine making advances. They’ve gained a foothold in Kreminna, and have taken several towns in the area of both Kreminna and Svatove that make for great springboards for future advances.

    More reports indicate that Russian forces have fled western Kuzemivka without being able to regroup in the immediate area. We’ll see if this proves to hold, and there is no Russian counter. If Ukraine holds it, it removes an important obstacle as this town has been blocking access to the road that leads into Svatove from the north, and there’s not another location along the route for 7km.

    Ukraine also appears to have taken the high ground at Novoselivske. That’s right next to Kuzemivka. Holding that high ground threatens additional Russian positions in the area, leaving the entire Russian presence untenable.

    Odds are good that if Russia can’t dislodge the Ukrainian position at Novoselivske in the next 7-10 days that they will retreat to their next set of defensive positions. It does them no good to sit pinned down under relentless artillery barrage. But then again the Russians have proven capable of completely wasting a massive amount of their own men and equipment so they could try to prove my point about retreat wrong.

    And if that retreat scenario holds, It opens up the approach to the northeast, toward Nauholne and Nyzhnia Duvanka 18 kilometers away (or around 11 miles).

    Ukraine needs to move up that route in order to cut off Svatove’s northern supply route, and to help surround Svatove from the north.

    As Russian ultra nationalist war correspondent WarGonzo noted, “This is a dangerous direction for Russian troops. There are no settlements beyond this village, a fairly open area. Quite a convenient way to Svatovo from the northwest.”

    You also have Russian Ultranationalist correspondent Rybar acknowledging Russian losses in the area “The AFU reached the railway station, and is currently waiting for reinforcements to continue the offensive on Kuzemivka from the NW.”

    One does not have to just read pro-Ukrainian news to get an idea of what is going on. Listening to Russian nationalists complain about their side’s losses helps to cross check and confirm what the Ukrainians are saying. In fact quite often the Russians will complain about their losses before Ukrainians confirm liberation of many previously Russian occupied areas.

    Bottom line: your notion of what is propaganda and who is peddling it is pure fiction. The old saying of ‘those who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stones’ has your name written all over it.

    Have a liberating day.

  6. Jim

    January 22, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    Funny, Gary, you don’t dispute this is a propaganda/military war, but insist your version is correct.

    I rarely see daylight between you and the New York Times… more like an echo chamber.

    You’re too nervous… and carry on ad nauseam… as if you protest too much.

    Even when I simply lay out the “lay of the land” regarding propaganda, so to speak, you feel compelled to drone on… about how Jim is so wrong and so forth.

    Let’s stipulate all the weapons are made available.

    Behind the scenes, the Americans are telling the Ukrainian leadership… adequate training must be had before the weapons are released to the contact line or in theater.

    That takes time… and it doesn’t teach coordinated action… no, how to steer & shoot the machine… but there is way more to effective utilization of the weapons than simply “pulling the trigger.”

    Ukraine has burned through so many weapons… they’re working on their 3rd army.

    The first, that had eight years of preparation.

    The second, for the Kharkiv & Kherson offensives.

    The third, over the last severals days… with the contact “group.”

    Good luck making that new army a coherent fighting force… any more than they already have… which has been trench warfare fodder… in a slow, but deliberate strangulation of the Ukraine army.

    Attrition… grinding force.

    You and your fellow cohorts don’t acknowledge the casualties the Ukrainian army has suffered.

    That’s an example of using a flimflam of mirrors.

    Your non-existent objectivity is well known.

    This will all come out in the wash over time I’m sure.

  7. ATM

    January 22, 2023 at 8:48 pm

    The goal is indefinite stalemate or at least until Russia is much weaker. Aparente NATO escalation is no more than an attempt to keep it that way as long as possible. Overly optimistic reading of events fails to acknowledge the US stated mission as articulated by the president.

  8. The Al U Know

    January 22, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    A military official in Biden Admin., in anonymity:
    “Ukraine needs to refocus.
    Instead of expending so many soldiers and so much ammunition on a strategically unimportant target[Bakhmut], the United States is advising Ukraine to take those forces out for refit and join US-led training programs aimed at forming a more sophisticated and heavily armed force able to launch an offensive in the south.” -France 24, AFP

    Are they doing it for kills? I thought they weren’t animals and were just looking to take back Ukrainian territory to what it was in 1991.
    Perhaps the hatred runs deep. Enough to cloud rational, strategic thinking.

    Ergo, strategically important targets. Like in the south. Not Bakhmut, Soledar, nor Kreminna.

    I hear maybe, that is what could happen. I have to backtrack but I hear AFU needs all the new kit and armor, because there is already buildup at Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Get the stuff first whilst training. Then territory.

    But the Ukraine needs to get its messaging right.

    “Oleksii Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council, warned that Russia may try to intensify its attacks in the south and in the east and to cut supply channels of Western weapons”
    -CTV , AP

    So, are they both gearing up for assaults. The result will be more deadlock. This is where Dennis Soltys 1945’s author comes in.
    “A Ukrainian offensive in the spring will now be more difficult and costly than one would have been earlier.”
    It lines up in certain ways, for a deadlock, in the short term. Say, sympathetically till the summer. Training for the Leos can be cut from 2 years to 1 year. But the numbers are not enough. One Leo company (10-15 tanks) and one challenger are not enough to pay for a victory, when you initially said you need 700 tanks among other things.

    Also, this Biden official. Do they have real time info that shows Ukraine, or Russia is “expending so many soldiers”?

    Zellensky: 13K AFU have died.

    Valeriy Zaluzhniy, Ukrainian DoD: 9K have died from the AFU.

    Come on, Ukrainian government, get you numbers right.
    They can’t even get the money to the right places.

    One domestic Minister caught taking $400,000 dollars in bribes.
    Food for soldiers bought at 3 times normal civ prices.
    This is just this week.
    And to think, $28B of that $47B package is going to pay for government officials. Big pockets, hidden vaults, black markets and parachutes.

    Do you trust the General with more eyes in the sky than God?
    General Mark Milley:
    “You’re looking at well over 100,000 Russian soldiers killed and wounded,” Gen Milley said. “Same thing probably on the Ukrainian side.” -BBC, Nov. 22 So the count for both is higher now.
    EU Prez Ursula von der Leyen echoed this number.

    Ah, but MSM/NYT says that of the Russians, 10K have died magnified by 2/3 Ergo 30K have died. They, I thought, had the Ukrainian’s backs. I thought.

    Unless there is a literal accounting, bodies dug from under the dirt and listed in morgues numbers will be hard to calculate. Ones not underestimated by the need for propaganda, or inflated to show that you are losing men and therefore need more equipment.

    -The Al U know

  9. H.R. Holm

    January 22, 2023 at 11:55 pm

    What I cannot figure out is why Russia does not put its focus on interdicting and destroying the shipments of major Western military armaments into Ukraine, within Ukrainian territory. Every possible Russian air asset—-every Blackjack bomber, every Backfire bomber, every remaining SU-24 Fencer attack aircraft and whatever other combat planes that could be pressed into service towards that end. Not to mention every cruise or other missiles that could be realistically employed in such targeting. Surely Russia still has the intel assets—satellite, aerial recon, electronic, HUMINT—-to be able to determine stockpiling/transfer points and shipment routes for major weapons flowing into the Ukraine. Longer-range fighter and other ground-attack aircraft could be used for cover, and in anti-air defense roles. Instead they stupidly attack Ukrainian civil infrastructure assets, which for one thing has only made them look–and be—all the more villianous. If they had conducted this seriously as a real war instead, they may well have forced the Ukrainian hand by now. Focusing on a ground campaign slugfest that goes nowhere has gotten them little, although they do hold tenaciously onto some Ukrainian territory. But take those weapons shipments out and the Ukrainian resistance effort would dry up over at least the medium term, if not a shorter one. Now, as for losing fear of Russian nuclear threats, do Western honchos really want to emboldendly risk playing outright Russian roulette with that political revolver? Cheez, I sure hope not. And that is what Russian air force success at turning Western military aid into so much scrap metal littering Ukrainian roads and rail lines would eventually discourage. Unless NATO wants to finally up the ante enough to then actively commit its forces to the conflict. Naaaahhh—-hopefully, still!

  10. dave

    January 23, 2023 at 1:32 am

    The west has known it`s over for quite a while.

  11. Serhio

    January 23, 2023 at 2:51 am

    Gary Jacobs
    “Pavlivka and Soledar are textbook definitions of Pyrrhic victories that have zero strategic effect. In the case of Soledar, that is especially true since Ukraine liberated Lyman and Izyum. See my detailed breakdown above on Ukraine using the fighting to pin them down and inflict major casualties on them, which began with Lysychansk.”

    These are all your dreams. Which can’t come true for two months. Now it is much more realistic that after the capture of Soledar, the Russians will advance in the direction of Fedorovka and Seversk. After Seversk, a blow in the direction of Dibrov. Given that the Russians have stepped up offensive actions on the previously calm Zaporozhye front (and Ukraine has transferred part of its forces from there to Bakhmut), Ukrainians will have to decide where to transfer additional reserves: to the Zaporozhye front, to Bakhmut or to Kremennaya. If the Russians have success with the offensive in Zaporozhye, then Kremennaya will clearly not be a priority.

  12. John

    January 23, 2023 at 3:17 am

    The West is failing as it is not mobilizing munition production. By choice it is 2 steps behind Russia. The root of this is our nuclear weakness. We need to pay more attention to strengthening our nuclear forces including adding at least 1000 nonstrategic nuclear hypersonic missiles. Since Biden part of an ideological anti-US nuclear cabale, Britain and France need to step up.
    The worst: the GOP is suddenly talking about cutting defense, whereas our defence budget needs to increase by 10%.
    An irresponsible bunch who needs to voted out as does Biden

  13. Harmen Breedeveld

    January 23, 2023 at 6:15 am

    An interesting article. I am not sure, but I feel that the three Russian approaches that the author discusses – 1.) missile attacks, 2.) refurbishing old equipment for use at the front, and 3.) relying on mass nummbers of soldiers for attacks – are more operational choices than strategic choices.

    I am no expert on strategy, but I have explored and used the idea somewhat over the years. Let’s start with a basic definition. For this I simply use the first lines of text on Wikipedia’s page on strategy: “Strategy … is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty.”

    So, strategy is about the general plan to achieve one’s overall goals.

    Let’s begin with the overall Russian goal(s). What was it or what were they? This used to be clear: to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a pro-Russian government. Perhaps also to annex more of Ukraine. Perhaps Putin & Co. even had dreams of annexing all of Ukraine outright. My best guess is that the Russian leadership wanted to turn Ukraine into a second Belarus: a fully controlled client state with a pliant dictator in charge.

    The general plan was also clear: use the best elements of the Russian army for a rapid strike at Kiev and other main cities, to occupy them and take over the most important bits of the country.

    This whole goal and accompanying plan has gone down in flames, to say the least.

    So, what is Russia’s goal now?

    Frankly, I am not sure. I would not be surprised if even Putin himself is not sure of what the goal is now.

    Is it still to overthrow the Ukrainian government, somehow, sometime? Is it to force Ukraine and its western backers to somehow recognize Russian control of parts of Eastern Ukraine? Or is the real goal – completely unspoken – to find an exit – some exit – which feels enough like a victory to protect the Russian leaders behind the war, an exit which can help them salvage some sort of peace which gives key figures in senior Russian senior leadership something to help them maintain their position?

    My best guess is that actually the current goal is “a little bit of everything”, and that this goal is fluent, its composition slowly changing over time, as Russia’s leadership understanding of the war and of Russia’s position – both internally (political scene, economics) and externally – changes.

    Or to put it more bluntly: my best guess is that Russia no longer has a clear goal that everyone in the senior leadership aims for. Some people may still be aiming for overthrowing the Ukrainian government, perhaps even annexing Ukraine. Others may be aiming for somehow holding on to what Russia has conquered so far and for avoiding an outright Russian defeat. Others may already have forgotten about holding on to most of Ukraine, and are more focused on the days after the war, when there may be changes in Russia’s senior leadership.

    If there are indeed various different goals, many of them unspoken, vague, officially “not existing”, and all of them drifting and morphing over time, then there would be no way for Russia’s senior leadership to choose make clear plans to achieve these goals.

    Or to put it otherwise: if you don’t know where you are going, you cannot plan your journey.

    And this is what I guess is happening in Russia right now. Its planning is suffering from a grievous lack of clear ultimate goals.

    They are somewhat planning for overthrowing the Kiev government. Think massive mobilizations, expanding the army, planning renewed offensives somehow winning against Ukraine and its allies no matter the cost, preparing the Russian public for a long and grinding war – hence the ever more shrill propaganda.

    They are somewhat planning for holding on what they have. Think building fortifications, building up Russian forces in these areas, seeking to increase the cost for Ukraine and its western backers by fighting on, missile attacks and the like. The hope here is that somewhere down the line, somehow, Ukraine and especially its western backers will get tired of it all and settle for a compromise peace.

    Some in the Russian senior leadership may already be planning for the days after the war. Will Putin fall from power if Russia somehow loses the war? What will the financial and business elites want? How best to position yourself for that time? It feels to me that people like Prigozjin (the head of Wagner) and Kadyrov (Putin’s man in Chechnya) see the war also as a chance to build up their personal political power, not just for now, but also for when Putin is gone.

    Such people will seek to build up their personal power base, cultivating allies and political prestige.

    If what I write is true – or at least somewhat near the truth – then we will see a continued shifting of the goals (both outspoken and unspoken) in the coming year, depending on developments both in Ukraine and in Russia itself.

    It would also mean that we are in essence waiting for Russian leadership to internally make a decision on what its overall goal now will be: victory at all cost? That would mean endless war. A politically acceptable peace? That would mean some sort of deal, somehow, maybe this year or the next. Or getting on top of the internal Russian power struggle that is somehow playing out? That would mean that the war will drag on and we will have to wait to see who eventually wins, and what this person or these persons then decide to be their goal(s).

  14. TheDon

    January 23, 2023 at 7:06 am

    No end in sight.
    Families on both sides will much to worry about loved ones for an insignificant amount of land.

  15. Vitaliy

    January 23, 2023 at 8:22 am

    Washington is unleashing a war in Europe. The United States hopes to sit out overseas, nothing will come of it. Will arrive in the USA too. Meanwhile, China is breathing down the back of the United States.

  16. jack johnson

    January 23, 2023 at 10:04 am

    I do enjoy coming to ‘1945’ for my daily chuckle. Between the articles and the comments my knee gets sore from the slapping from laughter. Ukraine is getting destroyed by Russia, they are hemorrhaging manpower, weapons and cash. Zelenskyy’s inner circle is collapsing.

    Anyone that believes Ukraine is winning or can win this conflict is truly delusional. What scares the west and NATO the most is they are losing also….and trust me, that is not being lost by other countries that wish to do the west harm in the future.

    The US is placing its own military in a precarious position. It’s sending Ukraine 1.2 million rounds of 155mm ammo. With a yearly production of 93,000 rounds that could maybe maxed out to 250,000 rounds, you are still looking at years and years to rebuild this stockpile. This is a military clown car act by the US/NATO and Ukraine. Thanks for the laughs though.

  17. Sam Smith

    January 23, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    Why does Putin get to call all the shots and threaten anything the west does will start a World War? Biden needs to grow a pair as the leader of the free world and start doing what is right.. appeasement is appeasement. Send F35 jets, M1 tanks, Kamikaze drones, CIA Special Ops teams and train their troops, use contract fighters Academi -Blackwater Security, CACI International Inc., Triple Canopy Inc., at a minimum.

  18. TG

    January 23, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    There is so much propaganda, and the western corporate press is so utterly corrupt and dishonest, that I have no clue as to what is really going on in the Ukraine.


    I’m not afraid of Ukraine beating Russia. But I am afraid of “The West” not being afraid of Ukraine beating Russia.

  19. Sam Smith

    January 23, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Some of the comments are pure Russian…
    Is that you Boris Badenov?
    Where is Natasha?

  20. I. Martin

    January 23, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    The West would be crazy not to fully back Ukraine! It would be a lost opportunity to neutralize a Russia that is on its last legs. What the Russians want is unacceptable. The West is not weak, it simply doesn’t wish to wage war (What’s to be gained?), but the Russians keep asking for it. They’ll eventually get it. Afterwards, they’ll be insignificant for a long time. All preventable, sadly enough.

  21. I. Martin

    January 23, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    To Jack Johnson:

    Your calculations omit a major factor. The U.S. won the Cold War by simply pushing the Soviets in an Arms Race. Eventually, we exhausted them. We’re doing it again now. The Ukrainians are hemorrhaging many things, but the West is replenishing those things. The Russians don’t have that. There is the danger that the West goes too easy on the Russians. So far that’s exactly what they’ve done. Now is the crucial time though, to push the tanks and the planes next.
    Don’t get me wrong, the Ukrainians have paid a terrible price, but if the West hangs strong, they will win. Europe will rebuild Ukraine. Russia will be isolated for decades.

  22. Paul

    January 23, 2023 at 5:49 pm


    Many commentators in here are russians, most of them have adopted western names. But you can tell by their outlandish clames that Russian army is actually kicking AFU ass, just dont look like it. They have their own sources, probably from the credible Russian TV news. Anything they dont like is a threath an a provocation that puts you and your country on a short list for beeing nuked. In their minds Ukraine is really novorossia and Ukranians dont really exist. They are in reality Russians that have been brainwashed by the evil west into believing they are Ukranians. Furtunately Putin is going to remind them of their real nationality by redusing their cities to rubble, murder their civilians and slaughter their soldiers. When all is well and done the Ukranians, I mean Russians from novorossia, well, not proper Russians obviously, more like «little russians» or second rate russians, will be welcomed in to the glorious «russki mir». Where they will take their place among the family of other happy members at gunpoint. In worst case if Russia looses the war they reserve the right to nuke Ukraine/novorossia, good riddance, since they are just second rate «little russians» that needs to know their place anyway.

  23. dave

    January 24, 2023 at 2:28 am

    Why should they be scared of a Ukrainian victory that 100% will not happen, lol!

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