178 Days of the War That Was “Won in the First 3 Days”

Source: Substack

Nearly 6 months into the Russian-Ukrainian war Ukraine still holds a part of Donbass. More than that, Ukraine still holds a part of the old 2014-2022 contact line. Including in the immediate vicinity of Donetsk city.

Not only has Russia not yet completed the capture of Donbass, in some places it has yet to advance a single yard.

From Marinka to Gorlivka the front has barely moved or not at all. This is the section of the front that is directly opposite the rebel capital od Donetsk city.

Who could have predicted this?

On February 24 when the war kicked off where did you think that Russia would be 6 months later?

Did you think it would still be struggling just to take Donbass?

Yet 178 days later here we are.

Does this look like a war that was “won in the first 3 days” to you? (A constant refrain of the lemmings in February and March was “stop criticizing, this is a war that was won in the first 3 days.”)

Moreover, with each passing month the pace of advance has been slowing down further to where it is now best described as ‘glacial’.

One month of “gains”

At this pace how long is it going to take for Russia to achieve its two other stated goals of the invasion (besides Donbass) — the “denazification” and the “demilitarization” of Ukraine.

Would 6 centuries do the trick?

“The war is really over for the Ukrainians. They have been ground into bits, there is no question about that…” — Douglas Macgregor to Tucker Carlson, March 8, 2022.

  1. YakovKedmi says

    The charlatans and morons of the conspiracy industry demonstrated and flaunted their ignorance in February and March —it is/was merely a reflection on how dumb and detached from reality they are.

    >>>> “Did you think it would still be struggling just to take Donbass ?”
    In March I commented here that by August V.V. Putin would have met an untimely end —here we are, August 21, he is still around.

    >>> “Who could have predicted this ?”
    General Strelkov Girkin clearly and loudly stated in March (and every week since) that the Expeditionary Force is not large & good enough to carry out the task —especially not the task internet warriors assigned to it.

    >>>> “At this pace how long is it going to take”
    760 days to reach Dniepropetrovsk (if it happened, it would be success and completion of the special operation)

    Antony Empire, April 13, 2022:
    Your daytime fantasy about a Kramatorsk Pocket and 60,000 encircled Ukrainian soldiers didn’t materialize (not even close). Kramatorsk and 35% of Donetsk Republic is still under Ukrainian control. The Expeditionary Force conquered an area that used to produce 40% of Ukraine’s GDP —perhaps, it is a good-enough achievement for Putin & crew.
    You should post a progress-map with black and red lines, from May 10 to August 20 —it might be more indicative of the abilities of the Expeditionary Force, and more pleasing to the eye.

    Could it be that the mighty Red Army was never as mighty and powerful as advertised and believed ?
    Could it be that Russian officers and soldiers were suffering from self-delusion ? The non-elite infantry-men at the Kiev airport didn’t know the elite paratroopers were invincible —in their ingnorance they administered a reality-check, and now the elite unit only exist in name.
    May be, the Russian Army is only as powerful as the Expeditionary Force demonstrated it since May 10.


    Are Putin & friends waiting for cracks in the European unified front ? Are they hoping that sanctions will produce enough discontent to change the leaders’ mind about supporting war and Kiev government ?

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      You’re as crazy as Marko–obsessed with what people on the internet believe instead of with what is actually going on.

      Who cares what you said in March?

      Yes, maybe the Russian Army was overrated or overrated itself. That’s certainly a common occurrence with armies.

      You and Marko seem content to make the same point again and again.


    2. YakovKedmi says

      >>> “Who cares …”
      You do. Your day-dreams vanished on March 15, like morning mist.

      On the other hand:
      V.V. Putin and the Expeditionary Force performed better than was expected in March when the government in Moscow declared a second phase. —they are still here

      >>> “Why ?”
      It appears, when Antony Empire opens the window, he is wiling to smell the roses (you are not).
      He is mocking the subhumans who in February and March were making baseless claims for money, or for the purpose of flaunting their ignorance.

    3. Abraham Lincoln says

      Hello pro empire. The war was won by Russia in the first 3 days. Same as Germany lost world war 2 in the battle of the Kursk. Still 2 years of fighting left but no doubt Russia would win.

      Russia is fighting it now to do as much damage to NATO as possible and the USSA while having as little damage to Russia as possible and its working

      What a bunch of pro empire lies. It is Zio NATO and the USSA who has shocking loses in material. Russia wants to disarm NATO and ti is happening by allowing stupid NATO to send all its equipment to Ukraine where it can be destroyed by Russia. Russia is losing very little in the way of material and men compared to Ukraine and NATO about 50 to 1 in men.

      NATO has lost so much they can’t fight Russia for more then 2 weeks before surrendering to Russia.

      Soon Russia will break through the last fortified Ukraine lines of defense in the Donbass and then will proceed to Odessa and Kharkov as the EU economy totally collapses resulting in regime change for your bosses “pro empire”

    4. YakovKedmi says

      To add insult to Putin groupies, Minister of War Shoigu acknowledged on August 24, that the Expeditionary Force deliberately slowed down the pace of progress because they are not able to advance any faster.

  2. Oscar Peterson says

    Jesus, Marko, this is what you have to say?

    The same old “Russia is going so slow!”? The same old complaints about McGregor and other minor internet figures?

    Why do you bother? We can read a map as well as you.

    It’s the same basic theme you have been hammering all the way along.

    I’m not arguing with you on the basic facts, but what does it mean going forward? What is Putin’s plan? Does he think he is being successful? When Putin said, “Well, what can I say–let them try,” he sounded confident. Was that just bluster? Will the Russian Army collapse at some point? Is the recruiting of the 85 battalions from around the RF succeeding at replenishing Russian strength? Is Putin a delusional fool? Is that what you are saying? Does Russia simply lack the capacity to maintain itself as at least a second-rank power? Will it go down before the Empire you loath?

    Try to go beyond the same point you’ve been making for six months. It’s not that it’s wrong. It’s that it doesn’t say anything you haven’t said before. What end state do you see–if you seen one?

    1. Agarwal says

      He doesn’t know. He is a Russian doomer from Serbia writing in English, like a translator for Strelkov. Which is fine, Strelkov has been proven right about a lot of things.

      You are right, Putin does sound confident. I have a feeling he is fine with a slow grind, and who knows, he might be transitioning to a bigger version of Syria, a medium-intensity conflict that can last years. Economically Russia is doing fine, better than virtually anyone expected when this started. They can keep this up basically forever and wait for Ukraine and/or Western Europe to cry uncle.

      Not what anyone expected when this started, but it is what it is.

      1. Oscar Peterson says

        I tend to agree with you.

        As long as Russia grinds forward, the Ukrainian “counteroffensive” does not materialize, and we don’t provide the Ukrainians with loads of HIMARS and munitions, I think we can only assume Russia is on a success vector with the proviso that if they truly do run out of troops or munitions, then that assumption goes away. I don’t have enough information to estimate the likelihood of that happening.

        Interesting that the US seems to have no idea what to do. We don’t want the humiliation for us of a Russian victory and are unwilling to force Ukraine into negotiations that will result in the loss of more land. We have no intention of actually fighting Russia directly. And we aren’t inclined to give Ukraine the masses of artillery and rockets that might have a decisive effect. So it’s hard to see how Moscow loses the initiative at this point.

        We wished away the Russian invasion scenario and so were utterly unprepared for it psychologically when it actually arrived, even though all the warning signs have been blinking since at least 2014–and arguably since 2008.

        How do you see the longer-term impact of this war on India’s strategic stance?

        1. Agarwal says

          I think India wants to maintain neutrality, and America thinks it is important enough not to push too hard. The entire non-western world was frightening and caught off guard by the western confiscation of Russian reserves and unprecedented sanctions. Indians remember the very negative Western reactions to their actions in Kashmir in 2019, and understand that if sanctions against Russia work, the West will be emboldened to try them against other countries as well. I think this is felt even more keenly in Saudi Arabia. If a putative price cap on Russian oil works, what’s to stop the West from doing the same to Saudi Arabia?

          Russia is keep on bringing about a rapprochement between China and India, to create a grand rising power coalition, but I don’t think this will happen. China at least finally woke up from its arrogance with this whole Pelosi in Taiwan affair, and is taking relations with Russia and for that matter India more seriously.

          I tend to agree with Marko that this has not been Putin’s finest hour, to put it kindly. What success Russia has had against the western coalition has been because Europe has been stupid enough to apply the kind of sanctions to itself that Putin would never have done. Germany’s economic pain is entirely self-inflicted. Putin would have been happy to keep selling gas & oil to Europe like nothing had happened, while they provided weapons (and just as crucially, 24/7 intelligence) to the Ukrainian side to kill Russian soldiers.

          I also have no idea what the military game plan is for Russia. I don’t think Putin is literally delusional or low IQ, so he (and he is the only one who’s opinion matters in Russia) has some plan. At this rate they cannot take back even the Donbas, forget about Odessa etc. My guess is he will be forced to do a broader mobilization and start retaliatory strikes on Ukrainian centers that thus far have lived almost as if there is no war. But we are not there yet.

  3. Emmet John Sweeney says

    Even Amnesty International admitted recently that the Ukrainian Army has been using civilians as human shields from the very beginning. Yes, the Russians could carpet-bomb Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov, and the towns occupied by the Ukrainians along the Donetsk line, but that would mean killing hundreds of thousands of civilians – including vast numbers who are ethnically Russian. You cannot simply ignore this element.

  4. padre says

    I find it very interesting, how everyone, from “inteligence” to “experts” “analysts” is assuming that he knows, what the Russia plans and thoughts are, even after all their previous assumptions were dead wrong!

  5. Jasonovich says

    Russia isn’t the USA, they don’t do ‘Collateral damage’, they need to win the hearts and minds of Eastern Ukrainians, however, in view of the most recent events, the alleged murderer of Dugina, Ukraine national Natalia Vovk, has found refuge in Estonia. If any other country in the collective west, particularly the US or their sister brethren Israel, were to harbour a terrorists, carte blanche is set for that country to be razed to the ground, civilian causalities are immaterial.

    We are living in the Wild West, the US or any other so called democracies have no moral high ground to preach to the rest of the world community. Not since Iraq, Not since Yugoslavia, Not since Libya, Not Ever.

    I can’t read Putin’s mind but if I was allowed to possess his body, I would first smoke Kiev so it’s charred remains is a reminder to NATO not to mess with the Russians and secondly, I would give the sternest ultimatum to that odious Russian hating Baltic state, that they would receive the same treatment as Kiev if they fail to handover the terrorist.

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      “Russia isn’t the USA, they don’t do ‘Collateral damage’,”

      Everybody does collateral damage, and the Russians have done at least as much as others in the past. See what Grozny looked like in the late 90s and early 00s.

      I agree that in this particular case, they have tried to limit the damage they cause, but there is still a good deal of it.

      If you are fighting in an area where civilians have not evacuated, it’s unavoidable.

  6. Dianthus says

    Russia army is also a joke. Here some Russians of that army themselves:

    Intel from Russian soldiers on the battlefield and how it is going there:

    Are more parts to this. In the end of part 1 you will see 2,…

    *This is reflected in the despairing tone of many of the published intercepted Russian phone calls. (Note that these are not necessarily representative of the entire army, but likely reflect the experiences of some of the worst affected units.) https://twitter.com/ChrisO_wiki/status/1555817656854499328

    I noticed that your analyses rely a lot on transcripts from intercepted calls. I’ve always wondered how reliable we can consider these transcripts. This is war, there is propaganda on both sides and these transcripts are very easy to falsify or manipulate the context
    I have been observing social media posting by diaspora Russians (those living outside of Russia).
    The voluntary disclosings by those civilians match up to the kind of information and Russian attitude on the transcripts.

    Not enough evidence, but points in a direction.

    👉 https://twitter.com/ChrisO_wiki/status/1560023915040317444
    35/ He concluded that “the Russian army is in a madhouse and everything is for show”, despite some people still wanting to make something good of it. He blames middle-ranking career officers “who do not want to lose it all (they are the ones who keep
    the rotten system)”.


    “I understand that I can be put in jail for all this information,” he says. “Not even for the fact that I did all this shit in Ukraine. But for the information [about the commanders]. I just want to confess everything and explain what’s going on in our country. I think it would be better if this war hadn’t happened at all.”

  7. RegretLeft says

    I almost reluctantly suggest that the entire post-Westphalian mindset (evidenced here) is an encumbrance to accurately understanding our plight at this point. The notion that there are sovereign nations pursuing interests and forming alignments with other nations and then seeking to prevail over contending sovereign nations may simply be false – utterly so. And those red and black lines in the map above are simply a diversion to conceal the fact that the notion is false and no longer operative.

    In the West, THIS is what is happening:

    “… we are on the cusp of something …with ramifications that no one has ever seen before. Western governments … are intentionally trying to lower economic activity to meet the intentional drop in energy production [and importation] … There is no precedent for this. Never before in the history of industrialized nations has any government intentionally tried to lower its economic activity.”


    And we can add in – as this author does not – a population cull gathering momentum also for which there is no precedent. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of excess deaths per quarter among working age productive adults will soon manifest in unfathomable social and economic impacts.

    I say we re-convene in a year; those red and black lines may not even exist; and if they do we may ache to return to a world in which they mattered. I, for one, already ache!

    1. YakovKedmi says

      >>>> “a population cull”
      10 million people left Ukraine —with hardly any intention of ever returning. How is that for population cull ? Poland (5million), Hungary (1million) experienced (suffered) a population increase this year like never before.

      On the Russian side, (1.8 million people moved to Russia from Ukraine) Luhansk kingdom suffered a much larger culling than any triple-vaccination has caused anywhere. Recruiting gangs kidnapped the male population from the streets and from dwelling places, and with a Mauser and a helmet sent them to the front. The same thing happened in the liberated areas of Donetsk kingdom. 30,000 of them died and now you can’t find working-age males in those kingdoms. (even if you could restart the Mariupol steel-mill, there would be no one to work there).

      If the vaccines cause a culling in western Europe, they cause a culling in Empire Russia, too; Putin’s vaccine is just as safe & effective as Trump’s.

      Whatever the vaccines may cause, the population of Europe and England is increasing this year. The funeral homes might be working more than usual, but the flotilla is much busier. In England alone 500 new arrivals show up every day (that is a lot more than any access death).

      Are Biden & Putin tag-team partners, as Vladimir Soloviev suggests, in this destruction of white people ?

  8. peterinanz says

    Compliments, again, for an accurate assessment of what’s going on the frontlines of that debacle.
    Personally, haven’t been paying much attention. Boring, actually.

    What is NOT boring are some other developments I am hoping to read a bit more about here. As that assassination (attempt) on Dugin, for example.

    And, re RegretLeft’s comment here, correct, that’s much more interesting for several reasons.
    Some people call that The Great Reset.
    Something along these lines:

  9. Fitz says

    I’ve been following various channels on Telegram and though I’m mindful that they may be not entirely truthful in all that they write but they do post a lot of videos that look pretty realistic to me. The reason the operation is going slowly I think is not just about trying to keep civilian casualties as low as possible but also to keep Russian losses low too. It would appear that maybe in the first month Russia did indeed lose more troops than they Perhaps anticipate they would. However, I think they learned from that and have adjusted their tactics. Bear in mind, the Ukraine Army has built up an extensive network of fortifications that whilst not impossible to breach, don’t collapse under the first artillery strikes or all the other weapons deployed. I’ve seen videos of all the trenches and bunkers that have been built and it seems they are present in every small settlement as well as nearby areas. The weapons coming from the West now seem to be dwindling that, without them Ukraine can’t win.

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