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Soledar and Bakhmut about to fall?
Voiceover by Julian Macfarlane
Larry Johnson’s analysis
Larry Johnson has kindly allowed me to repost his superb analyses. Please visit his site and browse. I have reposted one article at the end of my own but there is a lot mor on his site.
Larry’s analyses are fairly short, but he makes some interesting connections others do not.
Larry begins in the article talking about arch neo-cons, Gates and Rice who want the US to supply more “cow bell” — a trillion dollars or so to support the Ukraine.
What would this mean if carried out as they want?
It could trigger a massive Russian retaliation, destroying all US/NATO bases in Europe in an hour or two. It wouldn’t even have to be a nuclear attack, considering the kinetic energy of Russia’s new hypersonic missiles.
The US would be left with few options.
Nuclear suicide? That’s the one that everyone worries about.
The US and Canada are just one big island, almost completely surrounded by waters where threat lurks.
As the Americans are always saying, “We have to fight them over there so we don’t fight them here”. They dimly understand their vulnerability.
If the Russians take out NATO (US) military bases in Europe, the war would suddenly be very much “over here”.
Russia submarines off the coast of Washington DC could launch nuclear or non-nuclear strikes before the US had even begun warming up its missiles in their silos.
A hypersonic missile takes 30 seconds to cover 100 km.
A US nuclear launch takes 15 minutes from the time the President makes his decision. In Biden’s case, it would be longer. He would need a few PowerPoint sessions first and someone to remind him where the nuclear keys are and how to use them.
Unlike the Russians, the US has no credible anti-missile defenses to protect them at home.
How many Americans really want to die for Zelensky?
In my last article. “The Tunnel at the End of the Tunnel” I pointed out that Ukraine is just one battleground in WWIII, a global conflict fought by proxies, mostly economically, not for Zelensky but for the Global One Percent.
I argued that this is one reason the SMO has gone on so long, even though the Russians had the means to end it months ago. If the Ukraine is the US’s proxy against Russia'; it is also Russia’s— against that evilest of evil empires—the Fourth Reich—America.
Putin has no illusions about the US, whose actions since WWII lead many to think it a nation of malign narcissists — systemically psychopathic.
The Banzai War
In the Ukraine you now have a war of attrition, with Zelensky attempting suicidal mass wave attacks. Banzai!
In the “West", WWIII is also “Banzai”. The US is an “adversarial” culture. Always “Us” against “Them”. And like the Japanese in WWII always “winning” until completely defeated.
It’s a perverse form of cultural fascism. The Japanese called it “hakko ichiu”, “eight *cords— one roof. The world under one roof. Unipolarity, in other words. The Japanese thought themselves exceptional too. In fact, they still do.
Americans take that their superiority for granted. "We are the world” is not just a song.
Now Russia is leading a fight against the American version of hakko ichiu—hoping to liberate the slaves.
The Ukrainians had a minor success recently killing 89 Russians in a HIMARS missile attack. The response of the West and its Mainstream Media was…you guessed it! — banzai!
The Russians responded, offering a short ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas — which the Ukrainians rejected shelling civilian settlements.
Once they had finished lighting the Christmas candles, the Russians struck two dormitories in Kramatorsk housing 600 and 700 Ukrainian soldiers in dormitories #28 and #47 respectively. The Russians claimed ‘more than 600 casualties.
The Ukrainians claimed zero. Not even one from this massive missile strike. Not even the janitor. Or his dog.
The Russian claim is based on their own intelligence and of course the assumption that their missiles actually hit the right dormitories when they were occupied.
Video footage from the Ukrainian side show one set of buildings with the windows blown out and the doors boarded up — unoccupied—but still standing. Were these the dormitories targeted? Or just one of the numerous dormitory buildings on site? Or some other kind of building?
Ukrainian media are prohibited from supply casualty figures and the Ukrainians are notorious for lying about…well…everything in this war. So we don’t actually know from their side. Journalists from “friendly” media are being shown a singel windowless building with a crater in front. “See, no bodies”. And no signs indicating what this building was. As in “Dormitory #29”. Or #40. Or whatever.
Just one building apparently in the middle of nowhere.
In law, no body, no crime.
The Ukrainians have a thing about bodies.
They leave their dead behind on the battlefield because then they are not counted as casualties. They dig up graves of civilians they themselves killed and present them the bodies as proof of Russian “atrocities”. Think of the bodies in Bucha. Fresh after supposedly being on the street for weeks and wearing the white bands that signify Russian sympathizers. But Western journalists jumped on the bandwagon, or rather the death cart. Banzai!
Yes, the Russians might have missed.
BUT — if the Russians were using cellphone traffic for targeting—something they have done many times before— and as the Ukrainians appear to have done in Makeevka— the assessment of 600 casualties might be a conservative estimate. Just, the Ukrainians won’t tell you.
The Russians rarely lie. They know that the best propaganda is the truth.
As I said, it could very well be the Russians missed. But since Ukrainian propaganda lies so much, doubts arise. And Kalibr missiles which have been continuously improved since introduction are very accurate.
Retaliation Done Right
All that aside, the number of dead is not the point— which instead is that the Russians have established time and again, that they will retaliate — but never in any knee jerk fashion. Their retaliations are always tactical
At the same time as this missile strike and others elsewhere, the Russians stepped up the war, along the “contact line”. The graphics are courtesy of SouthFront
They have recently taken part of Soledar, as well as Bakhmut and three of the Salt Mines in the area, which Larry correctly suggests are hiding something — most likely munitions. No matter, these mines have only a few portals. They are not as much of a challenge as Azovstal.
If Soledar falls, as seems likely soon, despite Ukrainian retreat to trenches and bunkers, the way will be open for a two-pronged assault on Seversk from the south and east along the highway - and from the West from Lisichansk.
If Bahkmut falls, also likely soon, then assaults are possible west to Konstantinovka, then right to Kramatorsk which will be threatened by a Russian assault directed at Seversk and Slavyansk. Or the Russians can drive straight through to Slavyansk.
My guess is that the Ukrainians have weeks — perhaps just days.
The UAF’s second defense line now is Seversk, Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. If this line falls, as it must, the Russians will be able to dominate all of Eastern Ukraine. Other cities such as Odessa and Zaporizhya will go down quickly. The Russians can take Kharkov.
The Ukrainians will have to think about defending Western Ukraine itself— especially Lviv, threatened by Russian forces in Belarus. Let’s not forget Kiev.
With the ground frozen, the Russians can now deploy armor.
The New Tunnel
This the “Endgame” I talked about. Or — at least— the new Tunnel—which leads to a new direction.
What can the Ukrainians do?
There is “chatter” about them mounting a counteroffensive against Mariupol.
But since this is “talk” you can bet that the Russians are prepared — and such an offensive would end up as a very bloody distraction, further depopulating Western Ukraine, which is quickly becoming a country of ghosts.
Let us keep in mind that the Ukrainians have not mounted even just one successful counteroffensive of any size against determined Russian opposition. Where they have advanced, as in Kharkov or in Kherson City, it is because the Russians withdrew forces to better strategic positions. Each “advance” cost the UAF men and equipment.
You will notice that Zelensky is looking a little chubbier these days. Hitting the bottle, a bit?
Gates and Rice are saying there is no way the West can save Ukraine without a level of support that approximates direct intervention. As we pointed out, that would be the end of the US of A. So that won’t happen.
Instead, you will get more money thrown at the Ukraine, with generous margins for the One Percent.
The equipment offered will be mostly old, or obsolete, or simply too little in quantity. A garage sale for the US military.
The offer of a few old, heavy, thinly armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles won’t do anything as Martyanov points out. Nor will a few old, heavy, thinly armored Marders. Or a few Patriot missiles, with proven problems.
As for tanks, the loading weight restriction on Ukrainian roads and bridges is just 44 tonnes. Russian tanks are 42 to 45 tonnes. The Abrams is 66 tonnes. Which is why, of course, the Abrams tanks will never be sent. If they had been sent in December, they would have just sunk in the mud.
M1s are not totally unusable. Just not usable as intended— in the end a gift to the Russians, who can probably find something to do with them, although they are a bit big to use as paper weights.
IMO, Larry’s article signals the desperation of the West caught in a self-destructive loop.
Bob Gates and Condoleezza Rice Want More Cow Bell, While Russia Pulverizes Ukraine
Now there is a shocker. George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, and his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice are not satisfied with their responsibility for the U.S. debacle in Iraq and are doubling down by pleading in an op-ed to escalate the conflict with Russia. I am still mystified how such well educated people can be so stupid.
They wrote this opinion piece because they see the writing on the wall — i.e. Ukraine is losing and time is on the side of Russia. Gates and Rice repeat the lie that Putin is intent on conquering all of Ukraine and wants to re-constitute the Soviet Empire. Remember, these two are recognized in the United States as experts on all things Russia. Just a reminder that abject ignorance defines their expertise. Here is the salient part of their op-ed:
Absent another major Ukrainian breakthrough and success against Russian forces, Western pressures on Ukraine to negotiate a cease-fire will grow as months of military stalemate pass. Under current circumstances, any negotiated cease-fire would leave Russian forces in a strong position to resume their invasion whenever they are ready. That is unacceptable.
The only way to avoid such a scenario is for the United States and its allies to urgently provide Ukraine with a dramatic increase in military supplies and capability — sufficient to deter a renewed Russian offensive and to enable Ukraine to push back Russian forces in the east and south. Congress has provided enough money to pay for such reinforcement; what is needed now are decisions by the United States and its allies to provide the Ukrainians the additional military equipment they need — above all, mobile armor. The U.S. agreement Thursday to provide Bradley Fighting Vehicles is commendable, if overdue. Because there are serious logistical challenges associated with sending American Abrams heavy tanks, Germany and other allies should fill this need. NATO members also should provide the Ukrainians with longer-range missiles, advanced drones, significant ammunition stocks (including artillery shells), more reconnaissance and surveillance capability, and other equipment. These capabilities are needed in weeks, not months.
That’s right — they want more Cowbell. Just send more stuff to Ukraine and that will solve the problem:
Gates and Rice are pushing a “red herring” and ignoring reality. The West is not holding back on sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. Just the opposite. The United States and NATO have sent Ukraine an unprecedented amount of aid and it has not stopped the Russians. Moreover, the United States and NATO no longer have ample stocks of some key weapon systems and ammunition, especially artillery shells, to send to Ukraine. The military cupboard is bare.
But let us ignore reality and indulge the fantasy that NATO can magically find, “longer-range missiles, advanced drones, significant ammunition stocks (including artillery shells), and more reconnaissance and surveillance capability” to send to Ukraine. Who is going to operate those weapon systems? And the timeline for training Ukrainian troops to operate these systems with some measure of competence is counted in months at a minimum. What Gates and Rice propose is utter nonsense.
Multiple sources now are reporting that Ukraine is suffering catastrophic casualties as they desperately try to hold on the Bakhmut:
Russian forces have ground down their Ukrainian opponents in fierce fighting near Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, with an American mercenary commander recently acknowledging that Ukraine is suffering “extraordinarily high casualties” in that sector, and Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadim Pristaiko, describing his side’s casualties as “huge” and “indigestible.”
Kiev has publicly proclaimed that it plans a major offensive in the spring, but Rice and Gates wrote that Ukraine may have “weeks, not months” to stay in the fight.
Hell even Ukraine’s cherubic President Zelensky acknowledges that, “the bloodiest battles are near Bakhmut (aka Artemovsk) and Soledar. The situation is very grave.”
I am posting the following map so that you can see the road network from Soledar to Bakhmut. It is only 12 to 15 miles depending on your route. It appears that all roads between Soledar and Bakhmut are under fire control by Russia. This means that Ukraine has no easy means to send reinforcements to Soledar.
There is a video of a couple of Ukrainian soldiers talking frankly about their precarious situation:
Ukrainian fighters from various locations in Soledar share their impressions after encountering the Wagner assault force.
“They broke through our defenses. It’s a pity we couldn’t stay longer. There was a heavy assault. We retreated. We are waiting for reinforcements.
In Soledar, fighting continues in the residential areas in the central and northern parts of the city.
The Wagner PMC assault squads, after advancing from the south and north, have taken up positions at Soledar Mine 1-3, as well as on Nosova Street.
While yesterday the Ukrainian propagandist Butusov reported that Soledar was 95% controlled by Ukrainians, by the evening, Arestovich admitted that the situation in the city is difficult, while leaving the city is not in the plans of Ukrainian forces either.
The truth is that Russia is methodically moving forward and Ukraine has been unable to mount a credible counter offense. As noted in the previous section, the Wagner Group is now controlling the entrances to 3 of the Salt mines in Soledar. And Wagner remains active on other fronts:
During the night, the Russian Armed Forces destroyed the enemy in the area of Yakovlevka and seized one of the lines. Advancement along the frontline amounted to 2.5km.
The Wagner PMCs continue their assault operations near Popasna.
As I noted in my previous piece, I believe there is something Ukraine is storing or hiding in the Salt mines that explains why they are willing to allow their army to be pulverized. It is the father of a deceased Azov deputy commander who reports that Ukrainian military leadership is failing the troops:
The father of Denis Dudnikov, deputy commander of the 1st battalion of the Azov regiment (banned in Russia) killed in Mariupol, said that the situation in the second line of defense near Bakhmut is dire, exacerbated by the flight of combatants and brigade commanders
In the northeastern section, RF fighters have dislodged combined units of AFU units from the village of Podgorodne, opening the way to encircle the Bakhmut garrison from the north, and have reached Krasnaya Gora. Artillery units are working tightly in the trenches of the Ukrainian soldiers, while assault units carry out their assigned tasks.
On the outskirts of Bakhmut, due to the onslaught of the bandits, the AFU is forced to pull in more reinforcements to hold several settlements.
Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice got one thing right, Ukraine may only have weeks, not months, before it is overwhelmed.
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.