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New Year's Sitrep: The End of the Tunnel?
Is the war across the sea?
Is the war behind the sky?
Have you each and all gone blind:
Is the war inside your mind?
All the world knows the score
But no man can find the war
No Man Can Find the War
Moon of Alabama has published a really great article by Bernhard on the recent artillery battles in the Ukraine. The Russians have at least 10 times the available firepower and endless ammunition. The UAF is still struggling to make up what it lost in the first couple of weeks of the war.
Still, as we saw with the recent HIMARS missile strike that wiped out a Russian company in Makeyevka the UAF has the occasional success.
Light at the end of the tunnel—or just another tunnel?
Where is the Russian Offensive?
I had thought the offensive the Russians are obviously preparing for would begin earlier but… it hasn’t. B. at MoA has an excellent article on that, too.
The unusually warm weather that has prevented the ground from freezing as early as expected could be one reason.
There are other reasons.
A large-scale offensive is complex, hard to plan, a lot can go wrong, and you have to seek out and destroy the enemy, putting your own troops at risk. Scott Ritter makes the point that a large push would increase the “frontage” of defense lines. He is, of course, thinking in standard American /Marine Corps terms of war for territory, as opposed to mobility warfare aimed at destroying the enemy, as was Grant’s strategy in the American Civil War.
To take territory in a country as large as Ukraine, the Russians would need to also take control of railroads for transport as Dima says. Dima thinks they are preparing to do this, but it would be no small task. And even if you have the tracks and Russia’s specialized units trained to get the working, it will not be easy and take time.
Keep in mind also that Russia really doesn’t want “Ukrainian” Ukraine — the West, especially Galicia, which Putin regards as territory imposed on Russia by Lenin — to the cost of Russia, like a gift from your mother-in-law.
Western Ukraine is the poorest part of the Ukraine as a whole and has little to offer.
The offensive when it comes will likely not be the kind that many would like to see— one aimed at taking all of Russian Ukraine, perhaps even Kiev and Lviv.
For the time being. all along the contact line, you have an enemy that just comes to you begging to be killed. That’s the lesson of Bakhmut and previously of Kherson and Krasny Liman.
Bakhmut has gotten the most press.
At first, the Western media, relying on Kiev, claimed this now depopulated town was a “strategic” asset, just like Kherson City. For the UAF, Kherson turned out to be a liability rather than an asset and they have pretty much abandoned it, losing scores of men due to shelling and drone strikes from across the river. The Russians had previously occupied Kherson City with elite troops. These are now relocated to other areas where they are more useful. In other words, the Russian “retreat” was a victory. And UAF “success” was failure.
Now, with massive Ukrainian losses all along the contact line and inland as well, thanks to daily missile strikes, and the destruction of Ukrainian energy systems, Zelensky is downplaying Bakhmut’s significance. Not such as big deal, he now seems to be saying.
Alex Mercouris has rightfully asked if Bakhmut is not important now — why sacrifice up to 1000 men a day for it? Col Andrew Milburn, no friend of the Russians and who was in “that horrible and miserable place” says:
Ukraine is a "corrupt, fucked-up society" run by "fucked-up people" Ukrainian soldiers "kill dudes who surrendered," commit "atrocities".
Col. Andrew Milburn
Zelensky is not even a good comedian. Bakhmut is his worst joke ever.
Is the War inside your mind?
For Volo’ a story that sells is all that matters. Brave Ukrainians sacrificing themselves for their country against evil invaders? Heroic deaths? Cry “Freedom”? All good stuff. But the audience has to be drunk or braindead to appreciate it.
As a military strategist, Zelensky is a fuckup. A venal fuckup. He is not fighting to win. He is fighting to keep the cash flowing.
He’s a billionaire now. And when this gig ends, he will move on to another. Ukraine can lose but he won’t. He will be doing lines of coke in Beverly Hills.
The Western Media cheer him on. Netflix will make a series.
It doesn’t matter that Bakhmut was a Russian town called Artemovsk and it is the Western Ukrainians who are the invaders. It doesn’t matter that the men dying in Bakhmut are poorly trained conscripts forced to fight. It doesn’t matter the same thing is happening all along the contact line.
Our commander told us, when were on the battlefield: if you start retreating, we will shoot you, also behind you are barrier troops, which will be shooting those running away"
Dmitry Tarasyuk, 95th assault brigade, UAF
“Bakhmut” is a media event—as is the whole Ukrainian “war”. Entertainment for the public. And massive profits for American weapons companies.
The Russians see it differently. For them, this conflict is existential — and moral, if not spiritual.
Just about every Russian has had people in their family who died in the war against the Nazis. Now, they see this as another war against fascism. The Nazis in the Ukraine. Fascists in Europe and the US. Public opinion now wholeheartedly supports even stronger measures against the West. Just as in WWII, the Russian people are coming together, willing to make sacrifices.
The recent HIMARS strike on temporary housing for Russian troops early on January 1 mentioned earlier cost the lives of 89 Russian soldiers, perhaps more and is much celebrated in the West, by the New York Times, for example as evidence that Ukraine is “winning”. Russian news on the event has been transparent and accurate. The Russian public and parliament are outraged, calling for inquiries, for heads to roll — and for retaliatory measures.
On the other hand, Russia carries out successful strikes like this on their Ukrainian counterparts almost every day as SouthFront makes clear. And you don’t see the same uproar in the Ukraine. The Ukrainian press — what is left of it — doesn’t tell you much about the huge losses.
But then Russia is a democracy, with an informed, literate, skeptical public. And Zelensky’s Ukraine is a Neo-Nazi State.
The end of the Ukraine War will in fact be more conflict. The tunnel at the end of the tunnel, I mentioned. For, as a proxy war, the Ukraine is just one battlefield. And the Russia that is evolving now is something different — stronger, more unified, more powerful and more independent.
I am 76. Yes, I know—my profile picture, which is recent, looks younger. There is a reason my book is called "Ageing Young-- You're Never Too Old To Rock and Roll", the title given to me by David Bowie's lead guitarist and songwriter, Mark Pritchett.
In Canada, I have to carry a passport to prove I am over 60. You could do that too. If course, it helps to “on the spectrum”, like 90% of centenarians with the DrD4 R7 alleles gene. Sadly, the mortality rate for people with this gene set is LOWER on average, due to high-risk behaviors. BUT if you survive to 70 and are healthy you can on …and on….
I write mostly about health issues, ageing successfully, cognitive issues like ASD—and… umm…genius. (Oh, I wish! But I will have to learn to tie my shoes first). I am pretty much “dys” everything. You will notice lots of typos. Dyslexia. Correct me please.
But recently, I have turned to geopolitical issues. People like me — and likely YOU— if you are subscriber—tend to see things differently. Not “I think therefore I am” But “I see therefore I think there I am”. First you must see with your own eyes.
So I gave up my Fulbright for PhD work at Harvard, which was about “thinking” not “seeing” to work as I was a stringer in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Then I was in Korea. And after that in Japan where I studied martial arts and Buddhism and did a lot of things: union organizer, writer, broadcaster, media analyst, beer and pizza. That’s the “spectrum” fer yah.
ASD is not one thing. There are a zillion variations. And in human evolution these were survival characteristics. People with them tend to “see”. They make connections. They are contrarian. They question. Is that YOU? Very likely you don’t consider yourself “left” or “right” or even in the “middle”. You are just you. Cognitively ambidextrous.
Most people are knockoffs. But each of YOU is an original.