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Will Vuhledar be Russia’s bloodiest offensive? Away from Bakhmut, Putin faces a mutiny

A Ukrainian trench on the Vuhledar front line (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A Ukrainian trench on the Vuhledar front line (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


March 8, 2023   5 mins

The car struggles up the road, drifting through a sea of thick black mud towards a Ukrainian drone base a mile from the frontline. The Nissan Patrol has seen better days: half its windows were shattered by a shell strike the day before, and its doors are puckered with shrapnel marks. “Don’t worry,” Dymtro, the local commander in the driving seat, said as we set off, pointing at the fragments of glass scattered across his ride. “They will not go in your ass.”

Suddenly, there’s an explosion to the left. A patch of boggy woodland a few metres away erupts with a soft thump. A standard 82mm Soviet high explosive mortar round can kill from 30 metres away, but, somehow, the tiny bits of jagged metal fly past us.

Such near misses are a feature of daily life for the Ukrainian men and women holding the line against the better-equipped and more numerous Russian forces. But around the town of Vuhledar, in southern Donetsk, there is a more urgent threat: the never-ending waves of failed tank and infantry assaults. As the world’s attention has been focused on the “meat grinder” fortress city of Bakhmut 100 miles to the northeast, another giant offensive is playing out here. Six weeks after Russia launched its largest assault on Vuhledar, this once relatively prosperous coal-mining town of 15,000 people — the name translates roughly as “the gift of coal” — is now a wasteland.

The reason for Russia’s relentless stream of attacks in Vuhledar is straightforward. For Ukrainian forces, the area around the town is a strategic gem, allowing its drone and artillery teams to target Russian supply lines. For Russia’s army, it is equally important. If it can take control of the town and surrounding area, it will gain access to key tarmac roads and railways that lead both north to Bakhmut and east towards Crimea. Seizing it would effectively cut Ukraine’s southern flank wide open.

One of the key units charged with preventing this is the 68th Jaegers, an anti-tank brigade formed at the start of the war. Armed with Browning 50-calibre machine guns, handheld drones and old Soviet anti-tank guns, they have spent the past month guarding cratered farms and bleak woodlands against the Russian advances. The closest section of the front line is just 70 metres away from enemy positions; the constant thud of artillery duels echoes across the plains and ruined hamlets. The Russians lob artillery over every 40 seconds, and the Ukrainians try to send something back. “It’s like badminton,” explains Dymtro.

In the past three weeks, Dymtro’s unit has repelled more than half a dozen offensives as the Kremlin seeks to gain the initiative after months of wintery stalemate. The ensuing battle has turned into the largest tank engagement since the war started. “The Russian offensive tactics are always the same,” he says. “First, they fire artillery. Then tanks and BMPs [armoured infantry fighting vehicles] go in. Next are the infantrymen. But we fire back at them and they usually run away. When we hit their BMPs, they run away immediately.” Dymtro describes one recent Russian attack, when the 68th Jaegers fought off 12 tanks and four armed vehicles. “We destroyed two tanks and two armoured vehicles. We killed a lot of infantry.” “We have not given them any ground,” adds his commander.

Certainly, Russian progress in Vuhledar can be measured in metres, rather than miles. But the Kremlin knows this battle can be won with persistence. “They send them, wave after wave, group after group, towards Ukrainian positions,” explains Yigal Levin, a former Israeli military officer now training Ukrainian troops. “Of course, they are getting killed. But they send more and more until Ukrainians run out of ammunition. This is why it’s so important that ammunition is supplied from the West. We often see that in the Wagner Group’s advances in the East. They are making advances in Bakhmut because Ukrainian units are simply broken. They ran out of ammunition, or they simply couldn’t resist the pressure of these ‘human waves’ anymore.”

Commander Dmytro from the 68th Brigade drives near Vuhledar. (Ed Ram)

Yet around Vuhledar, the Russian soldiers are not the released convict riffraff favoured by the Wagner Group. Here, Ukrainian troops are facing elite Russian units — the 155th Marine Brigade and the 40th Motorised Brigade. “They are well-trained,” Dymtro explains. “When the marines see one of our drones with a grenade, they don’t run. They just wait for the grenade to fall down. After that, they just step aside behind a tree, wait for the explosion, step back and keep fighting.”

Perhaps this is to be expected from the 155th, a brigade which has played host to some of Russia’s finest troops since the 18th century. But the reality is less black and white: despite their reputation, the 155th has become one of the outstanding wartime symbols of Moscow’s incompetence. Over the last few weeks, dozens of videos from military drones have emerged showing Russian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles driving across open plains around Vuhledar. In almost farcical succession, they inevitably hit mines and go up in smoke, turning the fields into graveyards of scrap metal. Ukraine’s military claims that the Kremlin has lost at least 130 armoured personnel carriers and tanks in the battle for the town. In recent weeks, officials estimate that the 155th lost roughly 5,000 troops trying to capture Vuhledar; last month, up to 300 marines in the brigade were killed every day. None of these figures have been independently verified, but it is clear the Ukrainian defensive manoeuvres have been devastating: only yesterday, it was reported that senior Russian officers in Vuhledar staged a mutiny after being told to continue their attacks.

One reason for their senseless failure, Levin explains, stems from a key difference between the Ukrainian and Russian leadership. “We can see that the higher commanders in Ukraine’s army are often young people,” he says. “If we look at the war commanders in Russia and Ukraine, in Ukraine they are all 10-20 years younger, which means that they don’t have a Soviet way of thinking. They were raised during the Nineties, so they have a new approach to all this. Ukraine is also a democratic country; subordinate soldiers have less fear of their command, which leads to more flexible actions and admittance of mistakes without being afraid of fierce repercussions.” Ukrainian military leaders, he implies, would never rely on interminable waves of cannon fodder like the Russians in Vuhledar.

Commander Dmytro from the 68th Brigade with ‘Taxi Driver’ (Ed Ram)

After several minutes of driving, the commander stops next to what looks like a fallen tree. When he starts calling softly, a thickset Ukrainian soldier tentatively emerges from a dugout covered in leaves, Kalashnikov in hand. His call sign is “Taxi-man”, an allusion to his job before the mass invasion started a year ago. Today, his job is to hold the line, sitting there for hours with only a few blankets and a pack of cigarettes for comfort, just in case any Russian troops try to slip past. “Sometimes it’s quiet. Sometimes it’s hot. This morning, the Russians fired at us with grad rockets,” he says casually.

Before he can continue, a shell whistles above and crashes down several hundred metres away. Across the field, burning hot white phosphorus starts to shower down around the area where the car had just been a few minutes before. The Russians are either trying to mark their artillery for future bombardments or think someone might be hiding there in the cold bushes. Either way, it’s time to go. “Slava,” Taxi-man says in a parting goodbye as he descends back into his hole.

A mile or so down the road, Russian armoured personnel carriers and infantry are rushing Ukrainian positions, jumping into fortified trenches. Two Ukrainian soldiers have been hit in the neck. “Evacuation impossible,” the radio crackles. Another Russian offensive has been launched — and in Vuhledar, it won’t be the last.

Will Brown’s reporting was supported by the Cecil King Memorial Foundation


Will Brown is a foreign correspondent based in London. Previously he was the Telegraph’s Africa bureau chief in Nairobi and The Economist’s West Africa Correspondent in Dakar.

_Will_Brown

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A Spetzari
A Spetzari
1 year ago

Great article.
Might seem like a minor point – but the details in this article matter and really add to the credibility. A lot of journalists don’t have a clue what they’re talking about and it shows. Even just knowing the difference between an IFV and a tank is quite a minor thing – but precious few journalists seem to know.
This is refreshing

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Welcome back!

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
1 year ago

Thanks 🙂 Good to be back

A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
1 year ago

Thanks 🙂 Good to be back

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Welcome back!

A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
1 year ago

Great article.
Might seem like a minor point – but the details in this article matter and really add to the credibility. A lot of journalists don’t have a clue what they’re talking about and it shows. Even just knowing the difference between an IFV and a tank is quite a minor thing – but precious few journalists seem to know.
This is refreshing

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago

The Russian character is why Russia lost this war.
People like Putin and Patrushev don’t think about winning. They think about inflicting pain on people they hate and fear, even if it harms them more.
Putin was doubtless offered a choice by the less senior military to either destroy Ukraine’s transport system, or destroy its energy grid. The former would stop all supplies to the front. The latter would freeze most Ukrainians.
Putin chose attacks on civilians.
Which haven’t worked.
And it will be always thus. At the start of this war Putin dreamt about how taking Ukraine was going to freeze all of Europe, and starve a good part of the world. Neither has happened.
The prospect of inflicting pain on others blinded him to the fact that he was unlikely to get away with it.
But he wont change. He’ll keep doubling down, killing 100s of thousands of his own people in the process.
He is too stupid to think of anything else.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Russians are winning

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

That’s why they haven’t taken anything in 7 months.
Too much winning…

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Martin, It’s now an artillery war of attrition, I’d say 90% of the KIA on both sides have been killed by artillery

The Russians are firing up to 20K shells a day, the Ukraine less than 6K, based on that I don’t see how the Ukrainians could be winning

You will probably tell us the Russians can’t shoot straight, and the Ukrainians never miss, but that would be pure BS

Last edited 1 year ago by D Walsh
martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

The problem is:
The Ukrainians are in things called “defences” designed to protect them against artillery. Infantry advancing in the open are extremely vulnerable to small arms and arty fire, particularly when spotted by drones. That’s why Russians die in droves.
No cover and concealment, and you die.
Moreover, the Ukrainians have dug defences all the way back to Kramatorsk.
Of course, nobody dares tell Putin this. So it will continue until he loses every last Russian.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Oh yes, its true the Ukrainians have spent years pouring concrete and building fortifications. And while this has slowed the Russians it hasn’t stopped them, have you forgotten Mariupol, they had underground tunnels and old mines to hide from airstrikes and artillery, but Mariupol still fell, and so too will Bakhmut. then on they move to the next town, slow and steady wins the race

Last edited 1 year ago by D Walsh
martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Er, Mariupol was SURROUNDED, in a SIEGE, cut off from all supplies.
A siege is far different from a head on battle.
But if MacGregor predicted Kyiv would fall in Mar 24, and April 24, and May 24, and 24 June…
I guess it must fall…eventually.
A broken clock is right at least twice a day.

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

unfortunately the russians have time on their side and the Ukrainians cannot take the fight into russian territory. Plus the west will eventually run out of ‘spare’ ammo allowing the russian infantry ‘waves’ to do their thing . So, as per usual, BOTH D Walsh AND M Logan are correct – Logan for the short to med term, and Walsh for the longer term . DAMMIT !!!!!

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Western manufacturing capacity is far greater than Russia’s.
Russia is sending untrained troops in 60 year old tanks to blunder into minefields.
The Russians will run out of tanks before we run out of mines.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Western manufacturing capacity is far greater than Russia’s.
Russia is sending untrained troops in 60 year old tanks to blunder into minefields.
The Russians will run out of tanks before we run out of mines.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Er, Mariupol was SURROUNDED, in a SIEGE, cut off from all supplies.
A siege is far different from a head on battle.
But if MacGregor predicted Kyiv would fall in Mar 24, and April 24, and May 24, and 24 June…
I guess it must fall…eventually.
A broken clock is right at least twice a day.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

unfortunately the russians have time on their side and the Ukrainians cannot take the fight into russian territory. Plus the west will eventually run out of ‘spare’ ammo allowing the russian infantry ‘waves’ to do their thing . So, as per usual, BOTH D Walsh AND M Logan are correct – Logan for the short to med term, and Walsh for the longer term . DAMMIT !!!!!

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Oh yes, its true the Ukrainians have spent years pouring concrete and building fortifications. And while this has slowed the Russians it hasn’t stopped them, have you forgotten Mariupol, they had underground tunnels and old mines to hide from airstrikes and artillery, but Mariupol still fell, and so too will Bakhmut. then on they move to the next town, slow and steady wins the race

Last edited 1 year ago by D Walsh
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

The problem is:
The Ukrainians are in things called “defences” designed to protect them against artillery. Infantry advancing in the open are extremely vulnerable to small arms and arty fire, particularly when spotted by drones. That’s why Russians die in droves.
No cover and concealment, and you die.
Moreover, the Ukrainians have dug defences all the way back to Kramatorsk.
Of course, nobody dares tell Putin this. So it will continue until he loses every last Russian.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Martin, It’s now an artillery war of attrition, I’d say 90% of the KIA on both sides have been killed by artillery

The Russians are firing up to 20K shells a day, the Ukraine less than 6K, based on that I don’t see how the Ukrainians could be winning

You will probably tell us the Russians can’t shoot straight, and the Ukrainians never miss, but that would be pure BS

Last edited 1 year ago by D Walsh
Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Is that why they’re welding 80 year old naval gun turrets on 70 year old MTLBs? Where are the Armatas that don’t work?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

That IS the Armata–the best tank in the world!
Just like the “Tsar Pushka” is the best cannon in the world.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

That IS the Armata–the best tank in the world!
Just like the “Tsar Pushka” is the best cannon in the world.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

If 100k casualties just to hold a slither more land than you held a year ago before the invasion started is winning I’d hate to see a defeat

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Unfortunatey 100k casualties means absolutely nothing to putin and therefore is irrelevant to his long term plan – and the outcome of the war – he has unlimited time on his side cos the Ukrainians cant invade and scare the crap out of the civilians who would then demand peace and/or putins head. Maybe the Ukrainians should cross the line – after all they have nothing to lose…………..

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

It means nothing to Putin, but if it means he has to conscript more civilians to bolster numbers then it will start to cause unrest in Russia which he wouldn’t want

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

It means nothing to Putin, but if it means he has to conscript more civilians to bolster numbers then it will start to cause unrest in Russia which he wouldn’t want

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Unfortunatey 100k casualties means absolutely nothing to putin and therefore is irrelevant to his long term plan – and the outcome of the war – he has unlimited time on his side cos the Ukrainians cant invade and scare the crap out of the civilians who would then demand peace and/or putins head. Maybe the Ukrainians should cross the line – after all they have nothing to lose…………..

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

bo11ocks

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I admire your ‘French’ Sir!

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Thanks for all your evidence-based replies!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

My pleasure.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

My pleasure.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Thanks for all your evidence-based replies!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I admire your ‘French’ Sir!

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

That’s why they haven’t taken anything in 7 months.
Too much winning…

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Is that why they’re welding 80 year old naval gun turrets on 70 year old MTLBs? Where are the Armatas that don’t work?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

If 100k casualties just to hold a slither more land than you held a year ago before the invasion started is winning I’d hate to see a defeat

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
Richard Craven
RC
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

bo11ocks

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Russians are winning

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

The Russian character is why Russia lost this war.
People like Putin and Patrushev don’t think about winning. They think about inflicting pain on people they hate and fear, even if it harms them more.
Putin was doubtless offered a choice by the less senior military to either destroy Ukraine’s transport system, or destroy its energy grid. The former would stop all supplies to the front. The latter would freeze most Ukrainians.
Putin chose attacks on civilians.
Which haven’t worked.
And it will be always thus. At the start of this war Putin dreamt about how taking Ukraine was going to freeze all of Europe, and starve a good part of the world. Neither has happened.
The prospect of inflicting pain on others blinded him to the fact that he was unlikely to get away with it.
But he wont change. He’ll keep doubling down, killing 100s of thousands of his own people in the process.
He is too stupid to think of anything else.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
1 year ago

Everyone describes every Russian section as an “elite unit”, presumably as some way of denigrating the Russians. The corps that attacked Vuldeghar were reserves with no combat experience and actually seemed to perform very well at squad level considering the errors in the implementation of the strategy employed.
There is no doubt about it, Vuldeghar was a mess because of the leadership it would seem. The expert opinion was they should have taken the coal mines to the East as a staging point. It would seem to me it makes no difference. It was always going to be a difficult attack with the high-rise blocks having a full view of the surrounding country.
It would seem to me that the old Russian weakness of weak recon was the key problem. They brought the mine sweepers but then it seems mistook one BMP being struck by a mine as artillery and scattered across the minefield. This was the key problem. The marines actually took all the initial objectives to the south and Spetnaz were actually in Vuldeghar, but the bulk of the attack was blunted by their inaccurate knowledge of the locations of the minefields and the subsequent scattering.
The biggest issue for me was, why Vuldeghar now? It was always going to be a very risky assault. There was no easy solution to the problem. Regardless, I’m not even sure this is a setback considering it would not have changed anything either way.

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
1 year ago

Everyone describes every Russian section as an “elite unit”, presumably as some way of denigrating the Russians. The corps that attacked Vuldeghar were reserves with no combat experience and actually seemed to perform very well at squad level considering the errors in the implementation of the strategy employed.
There is no doubt about it, Vuldeghar was a mess because of the leadership it would seem. The expert opinion was they should have taken the coal mines to the East as a staging point. It would seem to me it makes no difference. It was always going to be a difficult attack with the high-rise blocks having a full view of the surrounding country.
It would seem to me that the old Russian weakness of weak recon was the key problem. They brought the mine sweepers but then it seems mistook one BMP being struck by a mine as artillery and scattered across the minefield. This was the key problem. The marines actually took all the initial objectives to the south and Spetnaz were actually in Vuldeghar, but the bulk of the attack was blunted by their inaccurate knowledge of the locations of the minefields and the subsequent scattering.
The biggest issue for me was, why Vuldeghar now? It was always going to be a very risky assault. There was no easy solution to the problem. Regardless, I’m not even sure this is a setback considering it would not have changed anything either way.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

This war is beginning to remind one of what Helmuth von Moltke is reputed to have said about the American Civil War: –

“two armed mobs chasing each other around the country, from which nothing could be learned.”

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

This war is beginning to remind one of what Helmuth von Moltke is reputed to have said about the American Civil War: –

“two armed mobs chasing each other around the country, from which nothing could be learned.”

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago

The problem for Putin is that the Russian speakers in the south and east elected Zelensky. That’s where his support came from.
But when Putin claimed he wasn’t going to invade right up to 24 Feb, well, when he did, how could they not feel betrayed by both Putin and every Russian?
Putin is nothing less than the Father of Ukraine.
Without him, they could never have achieved what they have so far.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago

The problem for Putin is that the Russian speakers in the south and east elected Zelensky. That’s where his support came from.
But when Putin claimed he wasn’t going to invade right up to 24 Feb, well, when he did, how could they not feel betrayed by both Putin and every Russian?
Putin is nothing less than the Father of Ukraine.
Without him, they could never have achieved what they have so far.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Yea, well, I like Col MacGregor to get the other side – an Actual Military Expert – an actual Combat expert – And expert on Ukraine and Russia.

Col. Macgregor: UKRAINE WILL BE WIPED OUT
He makes a good point. Ukraine had 42 million. 2million were working overseas before and stayed. 10 million are refugees in the West, 8 million are in Russian speaking parts and not on Zalenskie’s side. and half a million are dead or disabled, and 2 million are in Russia as refugees (from memory – just to give an idea, not quoted)

18 Million are on Zalenski’s side, That is it!. That against 150 Million in Russia!!!!!!!… and so on….

If you want the other side from the Zalenski Glee Club I recommend you watch some of this Col MacGregor. Just search his name on Youtube and you will get the Iraq Weapon Inspector of the old Insane Iraq War saying the same thing as well – (Scott Ritter)

Anyway – watch this guy – it is vital you see the other side as well – one side does not make the story…I promise if you watch this interview you will look at the story above differently, and not from a pro American side…..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsPSuQAE1to

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Zelensky is a native Russian speaker, what makes you think all Russian speakers will automatically side with Putin?
Whilst Russia has a larger population, generally to attack you need 3-4x the amount of people compared to defensive positions. Also how many of those can Putin call up before it causes unrest in Russia? It’s one thing conscripting prisoners and peasants from Siberia and the Caucuses, it’s quite another mobilising the middle classes from Moscow and St Petersburg.
I’m not saying I think Ukraine is strong enough to dislodge Russia from all its sovereign territory, however I don’t believe Russia is strong enough to advance much beyond what it currently controls either

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If one listens to most of the Western MSM (whether US or UK) one gets the impression that the Russians are losing badly, getting nowhere, and losing hundreds of thousands of troops. If one listens to some alternative perspectives, one gets a different view point. I suspect the truth lies in the middle. From my own personal observation related to past events (e..g. Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan), I suspect that things are actually not going nearly as well as is made out for the Ukrainians. And I say this because Ukraine is falling off the front pages of the MSM news or any pages for that matter. If things were going well for Ukraine, this would be splattered all over the front pages of the MSM.
Ultimately, the outcome will depend upon who wants this more: the Russians or the West. The West will soon tire, run out of money and military supplies. The Russians have a real stake in the game as do the Ukrainians, but not all of Ukraine is on the side of Western Ukraine, especially in the Donbass. And when it comes to Crimea, the overwhelming majority are pro-Russian.
One of the things, I believe, is important in assessing the situation of the Ukrainians, is that Western Ukraine is not defending a western, liberal democratic country, but a highly corrupt oligarchy. So this is a war between two equally bad sides, as opposed to a righteous side and an unrighteous one.

Last edited 1 year ago by Johann Strauss
Jeff Watkins
JW
Jeff Watkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Spot on assessment. This is a civil war between two very corrupt countries with two very corrupt leaders Putin and Zelensky(see Pandora papers) Admittedly on the corruption scale Putin is even more corrupt than Zelensky. My thoughts are with the Ukranian people who have unnecessarily suffered in this proxy war as Elliot rightly points out.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

“A civil war between two very corrupt countries”
Might want to read up on the definition of what a civil war is there champ!

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

No. It is an invasion of one country by another.
If you can’t grasp this basic fact you should be quiet, to avoid making a fool of yourself.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

“A civil war between two very corrupt countries”
Might want to read up on the definition of what a civil war is there champ!

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

No. It is an invasion of one country by another.
If you can’t grasp this basic fact you should be quiet, to avoid making a fool of yourself.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Whatever the corruption level in Ukraine, the bottom line is that Ukraine borders half a dozen NATO states.
If Putin doesn’t lose decisively, all of Europe loses. And they know it.
…BTW, when will Russia finally lose the 15,000 you predicted at the beginning of the war?
That wouldn’t be good for Putin.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I agree. Ukraine is not doing very well now and the key point about the Russian strategy is making defensible gains and not trying to rush it as time is the main enemy for Ukraine and its supporters. Russia had 12 million shells remaining in October and has used 7 million in the last year. Even without any production, Russia has just enough to keep going for two years whilst the West’s supplies are already dwindling.
The Russian soldiers are actually performing very well. There are numerous successful assaults every day that go unreported. Recon seems to be their main weakness and I think there still needs to be a sorting out in the higher ranks and a complete shakeup of the General Staff. I get the impression Putin is using Wagner to help undermine key personnel and to try and introduce a less Soviet mentality in the Army.
Taking into account the comparatively light casualties Russia is suffering, there is no doubt in my mind, they are a deadly serious force that the US now knows that NATO would struggle against.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Hirst

You don’t suffer “light casualties” in head-on infantry assaults in built up areas.
That’s why the Germans lost at Stalingrad.
Indeed, Prigozhin’s claim that, without Vagner, the whole front would collapse, is probably nearer to the truth.
As for Putin, by now he is beyond delusional.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Hirst

Comedy gold.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Hirst

You don’t suffer “light casualties” in head-on infantry assaults in built up areas.
That’s why the Germans lost at Stalingrad.
Indeed, Prigozhin’s claim that, without Vagner, the whole front would collapse, is probably nearer to the truth.
As for Putin, by now he is beyond delusional.

Tom Graham
TG
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Hirst

Comedy gold.

Jeff Watkins
Jeff Watkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Spot on assessment. This is a civil war between two very corrupt countries with two very corrupt leaders Putin and Zelensky(see Pandora papers) Admittedly on the corruption scale Putin is even more corrupt than Zelensky. My thoughts are with the Ukranian people who have unnecessarily suffered in this proxy war as Elliot rightly points out.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Whatever the corruption level in Ukraine, the bottom line is that Ukraine borders half a dozen NATO states.
If Putin doesn’t lose decisively, all of Europe loses. And they know it.
…BTW, when will Russia finally lose the 15,000 you predicted at the beginning of the war?
That wouldn’t be good for Putin.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I agree. Ukraine is not doing very well now and the key point about the Russian strategy is making defensible gains and not trying to rush it as time is the main enemy for Ukraine and its supporters. Russia had 12 million shells remaining in October and has used 7 million in the last year. Even without any production, Russia has just enough to keep going for two years whilst the West’s supplies are already dwindling.
The Russian soldiers are actually performing very well. There are numerous successful assaults every day that go unreported. Recon seems to be their main weakness and I think there still needs to be a sorting out in the higher ranks and a complete shakeup of the General Staff. I get the impression Putin is using Wagner to help undermine key personnel and to try and introduce a less Soviet mentality in the Army.
Taking into account the comparatively light casualties Russia is suffering, there is no doubt in my mind, they are a deadly serious force that the US now knows that NATO would struggle against.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If one listens to most of the Western MSM (whether US or UK) one gets the impression that the Russians are losing badly, getting nowhere, and losing hundreds of thousands of troops. If one listens to some alternative perspectives, one gets a different view point. I suspect the truth lies in the middle. From my own personal observation related to past events (e..g. Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan), I suspect that things are actually not going nearly as well as is made out for the Ukrainians. And I say this because Ukraine is falling off the front pages of the MSM news or any pages for that matter. If things were going well for Ukraine, this would be splattered all over the front pages of the MSM.
Ultimately, the outcome will depend upon who wants this more: the Russians or the West. The West will soon tire, run out of money and military supplies. The Russians have a real stake in the game as do the Ukrainians, but not all of Ukraine is on the side of Western Ukraine, especially in the Donbass. And when it comes to Crimea, the overwhelming majority are pro-Russian.
One of the things, I believe, is important in assessing the situation of the Ukrainians, is that Western Ukraine is not defending a western, liberal democratic country, but a highly corrupt oligarchy. So this is a war between two equally bad sides, as opposed to a righteous side and an unrighteous one.

Last edited 1 year ago by Johann Strauss
A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

How he seems to think Russia will “wipe out” Ukraine is low in detail and high in grand assertions. The same tired old assertions many like him have been making since day 1 of the war.
You’d think that over 370 days into Russia’s 3 day ‘Special Military Operation’ such an expert might adjust his opinion somewhat given the overwhelming body of evidence to the contrary.
Whilst I agree a degree of scepticism towards any attempts to lionise Zelensky and Western aid to Ukraine is healthy, stating the opposite repeatedly like a binary child makes me question how much of a military “expert” he is I’m afraid.
I haven’t got time right now to go through his entire back catalogue – but how does he think that Russia will suddenly regain the initiative? Where will the resources, manpower and equipment come from? Why has Russia taken over a year to make such modest gains? And if they’re so imminently victorious, and so much so the more powerful nation, why have they chosen to waste so much time, money, manpower, equipment and political capital just toying with Ukraine?
Or is it more likely that it’s not going so well for them and they cannot move back or forwards? I know what my money’s on.

Last edited 1 year ago by A Spetzari
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Nobody expects the Siberian Ski Troops!
MacGregor once saw them in a WW2 documentary, so they must still be part of the Russian army.

A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Did a bit more research on Col MacGregor – to which I promote him to the rank of Cl (Clown) MacGregor.
“Predicting” Ukraine was on verge of collapse in Feb 2022
“Predicting” Ukraine was on the verge of collapse in Jun 2022
“Predicting” Ukraine was on the verge of collapse in Sep 2022
“Predicting” Ukraine was on the verge of collapse in Nov 2022

Our man is relentless in his predictions and the “inevitability” of Russia’s imminent victory.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Nobody expects the Siberian Ski Troops!
MacGregor once saw them in a WW2 documentary, so they must still be part of the Russian army.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
1 year ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Did a bit more research on Col MacGregor – to which I promote him to the rank of Cl (Clown) MacGregor.
“Predicting” Ukraine was on verge of collapse in Feb 2022
“Predicting” Ukraine was on the verge of collapse in Jun 2022
“Predicting” Ukraine was on the verge of collapse in Sep 2022
“Predicting” Ukraine was on the verge of collapse in Nov 2022

Our man is relentless in his predictions and the “inevitability” of Russia’s imminent victory.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Funny how Col Strelkov of Donbas fame is far less sanguine than Col MacGregor. He considers Russia’s leadership idiots:
https://t.me/s/strelkovii
You can use various translate software.
But I suppose if one reaches the august rank of “colonel” in the US army (like literally 10s of thousands of others) MacGregor must be a military “genius.” Don’t even need to know anything about Russia.
MacGregor doesn’t mention, of course, that nations of similar or even smaller size (Vietnam, Afghanistan) have defeated far more numerous foes–and foes who actually still had a draft.
Nor does MacGregor mention that he has predicted Kyiv’s imminent fall since…28 Feb 2022. He’s predicted it every month or so since then.
IOW, he’s been so off the mark that he has to keep hoping that someday his idiotic predictions will come true.
Fact is, Russia is now forced to use 60-year old tanks (if they can get them). They shot off all their cruise missiles (designed for war with NATO) on idiotic attacks against Russian infrastructure. Putin is terrified of calling another draft. Russia has made zero gains in 7 months.
Not very good, is it?

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
Steve Farrell
BR
Steve Farrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

YouTube vids with lots of capitals, exclamation marks & typos in the title generally aren’t too reliable. And Scott Ritter’s “THE RUSSIANS ARE TREMENDOUS!!!!!” act reeks of a man with a ton of kompromat keeping him awake at night.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

“Never attribute malice to that which can be more readily explained by stupidity.”

Richard Craven
RC
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Hanlon’s Razor.

Richard Craven
RC
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Hanlon’s Razor.

A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

Given the number of time McGregor has appeared on RT perhaps we’re being too harsh
Gotta pay his bills somehow i suppose….

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

“Never attribute malice to that which can be more readily explained by stupidity.”

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

Given the number of time McGregor has appeared on RT perhaps we’re being too harsh
Gotta pay his bills somehow i suppose….

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

MacGregor keeps predicting a large attack from the Russians but so far it hasn’t come, maybe it will soon. but anyway there is an interesting blogger called Simplicius on Substack, and he makes a very good point that large attacks by either side in this war are a bad idea because the other side always see it coming well in advance, due to satellites/AWACs ect, and its just an easy target to hit

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

The Russians have been pretty sloppy. Moreover, the Kharkiv offensive took them by surprise.
But we’ll soon find out how good Russian recon is.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

The Russians have been pretty sloppy. Moreover, the Kharkiv offensive took them by surprise.
But we’ll soon find out how good Russian recon is.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

The expectation that the Russian speakers in Ukraine would welcome the invasion was, perhaps, the first of Putin’s miscalculation. It is no longer easily accessible, but a while back the BBC carried a retrospective about the defense in the first days of the invasion of a town in southern Ukraine led by its Russian-speaking, and formerly pro-Russian, mayor and an old veteran of the Soviet suppression of the Prague spring. The airfield was to get the same treatment as Homstel (had that part of the Russian plan worked) and become an air bridge for the Russian invaders. The old veteran knew this was likely and organized parking every available vehicle on the airfield. Sure enough a big Russian transport, escorted by two MIGs arrived, and had to turn back for lack a landing field. Then they parked giant mining trucks on on the roads coming up from Crimea. A Russian tank column was stopped, and the regular Ukrainian military came in, destroying the lead tank and the trailing tank from the air, after which the crews of the remaining tanks fled back to Russian lines.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Zelensky is a native Russian speaker, what makes you think all Russian speakers will automatically side with Putin?
Whilst Russia has a larger population, generally to attack you need 3-4x the amount of people compared to defensive positions. Also how many of those can Putin call up before it causes unrest in Russia? It’s one thing conscripting prisoners and peasants from Siberia and the Caucuses, it’s quite another mobilising the middle classes from Moscow and St Petersburg.
I’m not saying I think Ukraine is strong enough to dislodge Russia from all its sovereign territory, however I don’t believe Russia is strong enough to advance much beyond what it currently controls either

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

How he seems to think Russia will “wipe out” Ukraine is low in detail and high in grand assertions. The same tired old assertions many like him have been making since day 1 of the war.
You’d think that over 370 days into Russia’s 3 day ‘Special Military Operation’ such an expert might adjust his opinion somewhat given the overwhelming body of evidence to the contrary.
Whilst I agree a degree of scepticism towards any attempts to lionise Zelensky and Western aid to Ukraine is healthy, stating the opposite repeatedly like a binary child makes me question how much of a military “expert” he is I’m afraid.
I haven’t got time right now to go through his entire back catalogue – but how does he think that Russia will suddenly regain the initiative? Where will the resources, manpower and equipment come from? Why has Russia taken over a year to make such modest gains? And if they’re so imminently victorious, and so much so the more powerful nation, why have they chosen to waste so much time, money, manpower, equipment and political capital just toying with Ukraine?
Or is it more likely that it’s not going so well for them and they cannot move back or forwards? I know what my money’s on.

Last edited 1 year ago by A Spetzari
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Funny how Col Strelkov of Donbas fame is far less sanguine than Col MacGregor. He considers Russia’s leadership idiots:
https://t.me/s/strelkovii
You can use various translate software.
But I suppose if one reaches the august rank of “colonel” in the US army (like literally 10s of thousands of others) MacGregor must be a military “genius.” Don’t even need to know anything about Russia.
MacGregor doesn’t mention, of course, that nations of similar or even smaller size (Vietnam, Afghanistan) have defeated far more numerous foes–and foes who actually still had a draft.
Nor does MacGregor mention that he has predicted Kyiv’s imminent fall since…28 Feb 2022. He’s predicted it every month or so since then.
IOW, he’s been so off the mark that he has to keep hoping that someday his idiotic predictions will come true.
Fact is, Russia is now forced to use 60-year old tanks (if they can get them). They shot off all their cruise missiles (designed for war with NATO) on idiotic attacks against Russian infrastructure. Putin is terrified of calling another draft. Russia has made zero gains in 7 months.
Not very good, is it?

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

YouTube vids with lots of capitals, exclamation marks & typos in the title generally aren’t too reliable. And Scott Ritter’s “THE RUSSIANS ARE TREMENDOUS!!!!!” act reeks of a man with a ton of kompromat keeping him awake at night.

D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

MacGregor keeps predicting a large attack from the Russians but so far it hasn’t come, maybe it will soon. but anyway there is an interesting blogger called Simplicius on Substack, and he makes a very good point that large attacks by either side in this war are a bad idea because the other side always see it coming well in advance, due to satellites/AWACs ect, and its just an easy target to hit

David Yetter
DY
David Yetter
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

The expectation that the Russian speakers in Ukraine would welcome the invasion was, perhaps, the first of Putin’s miscalculation. It is no longer easily accessible, but a while back the BBC carried a retrospective about the defense in the first days of the invasion of a town in southern Ukraine led by its Russian-speaking, and formerly pro-Russian, mayor and an old veteran of the Soviet suppression of the Prague spring. The airfield was to get the same treatment as Homstel (had that part of the Russian plan worked) and become an air bridge for the Russian invaders. The old veteran knew this was likely and organized parking every available vehicle on the airfield. Sure enough a big Russian transport, escorted by two MIGs arrived, and had to turn back for lack a landing field. Then they parked giant mining trucks on on the roads coming up from Crimea. A Russian tank column was stopped, and the regular Ukrainian military came in, destroying the lead tank and the trailing tank from the air, after which the crews of the remaining tanks fled back to Russian lines.

Elliott Bjorn
EB
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Yea, well, I like Col MacGregor to get the other side – an Actual Military Expert – an actual Combat expert – And expert on Ukraine and Russia.

Col. Macgregor: UKRAINE WILL BE WIPED OUT
He makes a good point. Ukraine had 42 million. 2million were working overseas before and stayed. 10 million are refugees in the West, 8 million are in Russian speaking parts and not on Zalenskie’s side. and half a million are dead or disabled, and 2 million are in Russia as refugees (from memory – just to give an idea, not quoted)

18 Million are on Zalenski’s side, That is it!. That against 150 Million in Russia!!!!!!!… and so on….

If you want the other side from the Zalenski Glee Club I recommend you watch some of this Col MacGregor. Just search his name on Youtube and you will get the Iraq Weapon Inspector of the old Insane Iraq War saying the same thing as well – (Scott Ritter)

Anyway – watch this guy – it is vital you see the other side as well – one side does not make the story…I promise if you watch this interview you will look at the story above differently, and not from a pro American side…..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsPSuQAE1to