I Am in Awe of the Sheer Ruthlessness of Russia’s Withdrawals

Hard choices are being made with totality and ease

Went in on Feb 24 with a rose-tinted plan that tolerated no trade-offs at all. What a turnaround in just a month. Now hard choices are being made with totality and ease

Here to read:


It’s easy to build on success. What is much more difficult is to try something, have it fail, and not be a prisoner to sunk cost. To pull back from what wasn’t working and start again fresh. The Russians have ran through this circle in just a month.

  1. guest says

    Somewhat of a hopeful article that Empire Russia will survive this cluster-fook that Putin & Cheka got the people of Russia into.

    Kiev is NOT 300km from the border, and the Russian Army did not advance 300km; if they had they would be near Moldova. It is a short drive from the border with White Russia. White Russia is a full participant in this undeclared war against the people of Ukraine. In White Russia there are staging areas, supply depots, &c, etc. The supply lines of the Army Group assigned to encircle Kiev were not 300km, only 50km with roads and railways. Yet, somehow, they managed to run out of steam.

    It was also claimed that there were supply line problems in Harkov, 10km from the border with Mother Russia.
    Anyhow the whole Army of 150,000 is now relocating to the Donetsk basin and tries to secure Luhansk, Donetsk (republics) and the north shores of the Azov see. They have to do it by May 8.

    At the same time there are already characters in Russia who are sharpening their long knives (even on Vladimir Soloviev’s TV show). Because just to just secure Donetsk and Luhansk, or even the left bank of the Dnieper river, is not good enough for them.

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      “At the same time there are already characters in Russia who are sharpening their long knives (even on Vladimir Soloviev’s TV show). Because just to just secure Donetsk and Luhansk, or even the left bank of the Dnieper river, is not good enough for them.”

      Who is “sharpening the knives”? Name some names.

      Given the general tenor of Russian opinion, I can’t see someone from the ultra-national right having much room to run here in the event of Putin’s effort being deemed a failure. Seems like some sort of Navalny clone would end up as the beneficiary.

  2. Oscar Peterson says

    Good laydown.

    “It is difficult to know who is more delusional. Conventional Westerners who fail to see that early Russian setbacks and headaches were due to them temporarily abandoning their doctrine and every military commandment but that they have now adjusted. Or the contrarian Westerners who take all the insane and shitshow-causing mistakes of the original plan *that the Russian military has since moved away from* and proclaim them nothing less than 5D brilliance.”

    I agree with you here, but I think it’s possible to over-make the point. The truth is that many people who are deeply alienated by the evolution of US power in the world were and are heavily invested psychologically in Russian success in sustaining its strategic autonomy. No doubt many have allowed that investment to translate into analysis as wish-fulfillment. You are right to make the correction, but I, at least, have some sympathy for B at Moon of Alabama and others who did delude themselves. (Most of them don’t really understand military operations anyway which has been part of the problem.)

    So was the early seizure of Kherson a good move by the Russians or did it dilute the effort against Marianupol? Kherson is the one city that Russia took with ease, presumably since the GoU (government of Ukraine) a low priority compared to Kiev, the northeast and the Donbas. And it gives them the an established crossing over the lower Dneipr.

    Also, what of Mikolayev and Odessa?

    Seems like the long-term Russian goals might be served by a Gaza-like control of the exterior of Ukraine (clockwise: Belarus, Russia, Russian controls of the Above/Black Sea Coast, Transneistria). In this analogy, the crossings from Poland are the tunnels from the Sinai into Gaza.

    With a sustained reconnaissance-strike-complex capability over of the routes into Ukraine from Poland and the seeming reluctance of Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania to be used as supply and support routes, that might give Russia long-term leverage over what a Ukrainian government would do in terms of NATO and NATO-by-the-back-door.

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      I’m going to have to remember that there is no edit function here.

      “Above/Black Sea Coast” should read “Azov/Black Sea Coast.”

  3. Oscar Peterson says

    Which is the more daunting challenge–Russia’s campaign in Ukraine or Anti-Empire’s operation against Pakistani combined-arms spam armies?

  4. Eric the Red says

    How many standing well-equipped troops did Ukraine have two months ago?
    Answer: somewhere around 250,000
    How large was the Russian incursion?
    Answer: from 150,000 to 200,000
    How large should an invading force be to make minimal inroads?
    Answer: classic doctrine says at least three times the defensive force, so in Russia’s case, it should have been 750,000 troops.

    At this point, it would be excessively foolish for anyone to say that Ukraine is not defeated.
    Conclusion: whatever the original reason for Russia surrounding Kiev, and whatever the reason now for redeploying said troops, it has nothing to do with whatever strategic doctrine you assume. I don’t think the Russians are playing 5D chess, but I do think they know exactly what they’re doing, AND YOU DON’T !

    1. Dario says

      >>>I don’t think the Russians are playing 5D chess, but I think they know exactly what they are doing….<<<

      Sure, they wanted the current sanctions to get them.

  5. SteveK9 says

    No doubling down, we could learn something there.

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