As Enemy Tanks Overrun His Outgunned Cops “5D Master” Putin Is Overseeing Pretend-War Games in Asia
Best 5D ever.
Source: Anti-Empire Substack
The long-anticipated Ukrainian offensive kicked off in the Kherson region last week. The Russians were ready and it didn’t go particularly well. It hit fortified, reinforced positions backed by large concentrations of artillery that was already zeroed in on the points of the front Ukraine was likeliest to attack. The push took some ground, including several small settlements, but at a steep cost in men that wasn’t really worth it.
❗️Some TG channels report that UA took of the village of Vysokopole. The picture is reportedly from the village pic.twitter.com/S3KiUHuTIv
— ДражаМ (@DrazaM33) September 4, 2022
But the Ukrainians staggered the Kherson operation with a smaller, 3-brigade push far to the east in the Kharkov region. Here the Russians were not prepared and the first line of defense was overwhelmed quickly.*
Ukrainians selected a section of the front to press against that was manned by Donbass militias and Russia’s paramilitary Rosgvard police — specifically SOBR (SWAT) units from Samara and Ufa. While they themselves attacked with mechanized units and saturated the area with air defenses.
The situation as they say is “fluid”. So far the Ukrainians have advanced up to 30 kilometers in 2 days along a section of the front 40 kilometers wide. This is a speed of advance that the Russians have not been able to demonstrate for months. Since their late-May breakthrough at Popasna.
— MilitaryLand.net (@Militarylandnet) September 7, 2022
It’s no good to fall for the recency bias and overestimate what such an advance means for a battlefield that stretches for over 1000 kilometers.
At the same time, there is the inescapable fact that over 7 months the Russian war has devolved from a war of lightning-quick Russian advances, to ever slower ones, to the situation now where just repelling Ukrainian blows is considered a success.
But this article is not about that.
This article is about the following. On the eve of the Ukrainian offensive Vladimir Putin was overseeing substantial wargames on the Pacific Coast (Vostok-2022) with Shoigu and Gerasimov. That’s rights. Days, before his outnumbered Rosgvards would be overrun by enemy armor VVP, found substantial military resources to devote to a pretend war on the other side of the world.**
Wouldn’t his energies, and the guns he was overseeing, been better used to back up the embattled policemen in Kharkov?
It’s very simple really. Either Russia still has vast military potential available to her. Such that the Vostok drills are no drain at all. In which case it is absolutely criminal that militias and police were left to defend 40 kilometers of the front unsupported.
Or else the Russian war machine really doesn’t have much left with which to help the militias and cops manning the front — in which case what the hell is VVP doing occupying what little is left for a showcase exercise??
Either case, something is rotten.
This map shows claimed advances by Ukrainain forces towards Kupiansk, in the Kharkiv countryside. Not all of these claims have been visually verified.
A breakthrough in this area puts serious stress on Russian positions in Izyum and Lyman as Kupiansk is a key supply node. pic.twitter.com/0IQmyuA0W4
— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) September 8, 2022
Personally, I think there is good evidence to suggest that within the parameters of a “Special Military Operation” there are no substantial reserves left and that the Russian military is already fighting at its maximal sustainable potential.
The Russian Armed Forces have an authorized strength of just over 1 million, but just 85-90% of the positions are filled. Of these under 400,000 are in the various land combat arms (army, marines, airborne, special forces). And of this 400K, one third are conscripts which VVP has made undeployable. — That is precisely why vulnerable sections of the front are manned by miners and cops in the first place.
Rather than acknowledge the seriousness of this situation, Putin pretends that the war in Ukraine is so under-control (or so low-stakes) that he can continue to afford to hold the biennial maneuvers even as the “Special Operation” is being waged — by SWAT teams having to face tanks.
— Julian Röpcke🇺🇦 (@JulianRoepcke) September 7, 2022
*In practice, the Russians who struggle to cover the 1000-kilometer front line with under 200,000 men live and die by artillery. What gains they make are accomplished by concentrating vast amounts of artillery in a tiny locality. Военное обозрение:
At the moment, Russia is using the tactics of concentrating a huge number of MLRS in one of the directions in order to create a total advantage. It works, the goals are achieved, but this can only be done in one area, while the rest will be weakened.
The same is true for defense. In Kherson where the attack was anticipated and artillery was prepositioned to meet it, it was blunted. In Kharkov where such steps were not taken the result was different. (Of course, artillery can only be concentrated in so many places along a 1000-kilometer front.)
Another Ru account says they are only fighting at partial strength and that the Russian state must be fully mobilized. They question why capabilities are being shown at Vostok 2022 when Russian soldiers lack artillery and aviation. “We have a long and difficult fight ahead of us” pic.twitter.com/bFH9JSBGCu
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) September 7, 2022
**An argument could be made that the Vostok war game will help increase training levels of troops that will eventually be (re)sent to Ukraine and thus isn’t a waste. I disagree. From my reading on Soviet military history (Glantz, Reese) I know that large-scale exercises sometimes proved useful for command to test doctrinal concepts, but the units involved turned out to have benefited surprisingly little. Basic soldiering skills are best developed in small-scale drills at the level of platoon, company and battalion. These are logistically easier to pull off and involve much less empty time (transport, waiting around, setup) and can be much more intense. In a time of great need large-scale maneuvers simply detract from time that could be spent in much more intensive training. — Which does not matter to Kremlin because the (shrunken) Vostok is not held for utility to SMO but for its utility in maintaining the facade of normalcy.
PS.: The Ukrainians already staged a similar operation in May. They identified the Russian right flank in the vicinity of Kharkov as a weak point (it had been weakened in favor of the Russian attempt on Lisichansk) manned by ill-equipped Lugansk militias and hit them with a mix of armor, artillery and infantry, resulting in a speedy advance:
Later on a portion of those gains was reversed by the Russians, but at a much slower pace and at a cost in energies and men.
❗Fighting in Balakliya. Especially for those who say that the city "surrendered without a fight." We've seen enough of the Hollywood action movies, and if they didn't hear a shot in a five-second video, then there were no fights. And where did the losses come from on both sides? pic.twitter.com/gwQ0Ihh2lj
— ДражаМ (@DrazaM33) September 8, 2022