Is “Attrition” the Magic Bullet or the Final Cope?

Copers refuge, psychopath's joy.

Here comes the “zio” AE to slay the last cope?

On day 38 of the war the Russians finished their retreat from Kiev making Donbas their sole offensive focus. That was 67 days ago.

During these 67 days the Russians advanced just 25 km and even that only on some sectors of the Donbass front. (Izyum, Popasna, Lyman.)

When the Russians withdrew from the north and telegraphed the start of renewed and refocused Donbass offensive I laid out a range of possibilities of what could happen next and what each would mean.

I told Mike Whitney that given the forces involved that if the Russians managed to cut off and capture large numbers of the enemy in Donbass (which was then the expectation of all the Russia-leaning pundits) that this would constitute Russian success.

But that if the Ukrainians could only be pushed out of Donbass gradually in protracted trench warfare that this would count as a success for the Ukrainians. 

Setting parameters like this in advance is a good way of keeping yourself honest and prevents you from shifting goalposts later.

Ukrainians are the weaker force and were always going to be losing ground. Everybody but the most delusional Ukraine supporter understood that. The most the Ukrainians could hope for was to successfully trade space for time.

So far they have traded 25 kilometers for 67 additional days in which to mobilize and train more forces before the war moves outside Donbass. They are “losing” in the sense of being on the backfoot, but they are successful in the parameters of what was possible for them to accomplish.

If Ukraine’s objective was to concede as little ground as possible while buying itself time in which to generate new forces and grow stronger — the Russian objective was the opposite. Not merely to take ground, but to win the kind of victory that leaves the foe with a weaker fighting force.

That means inflicting lopsided losses, taking out more (and better) forces than the foe is generating. As a rule that is accomplished by encirclements that net large numbers of POWs.

Indeed that was the expectation of Russia sympathizers at the time. That the Russian side would cut off the Ukrainian salient in a deep encirclement where pincers from Izyum in the north and Ugledar in the south met somewhere around Pokrovsk (some other possibilities were also mentioned, including more ambitious ones like a southern pincer from Gulyapole to Pavlograd). (Strelkov who correctly predicted that Russia would only be capable of a shallow encirclement, if at all, was derided by them on a daily basis as a “doomer” “defeatist” “annoying” and what not…)

In 67 days no such encirclements have materialized. Indeed the Russian attempt to develop a deep encirclement from Izyum has been abandoned. Now only a much shallower encirclement of only the tip of the salient is being attempted, and even that one is proceeding at a snail’s pace with most days resulting in no gains at all.

This could be cause for worry.

Maybe for some, but not for the Anglophone “pro-Russian” media. The Russia-favoring alt-media has shifted the goalpost once again. Now, albeit “Kiev was a feint” and “Donbass was the real goal all along,” the glacial pace of advance in Donbass that falls far short of their expectations 67 days ago is not a problem whatsoever because “attrition”.

That’s the new buzzword. Supposedly the lack of encirclements or even just territorial gains is not a problem because Russia is nonetheless able to inflict incredibly heavy and lopsided losses on Ukraine. (But why these incredibly lopsided and heavy losses aren’t resulting in ground gained is a mystery.)

That Russian MoD hasn’t updated its death tally since March 25 allows many people the space to imagine that Russian losses are now low to the point of non-existence. Ukrainian losses meanwhile are commonly imagined as running into several hundred dead per day. For some the imagine total Ukrainian military dead now exceeds 60,000 or 18,000 dead every month.

What is the evidence for this extraordinary claim? Well there is no evidence.

And it is an extraordinary claim indeed.

What is the number of Ukrainians in theater? Together with the Donbas Republics the Russians have under 200,000 men in the theater from Kherson to Kharkov. Ukrainian numbers are similar (they’re outnumbered in Donbass, but have the numeric advantage at Kherson and Kharkov).

18,000 dead per month would mean that without replacements the entire Ukrainian force in the theater would be 100% dead in under a year.

The Germans started 1942 with 2.8 million men on the Eastern Front and lost 550,000 dead. That is 20 percent. They started 1943 with 3.1 million in the east and lost 800,000 dead. That is 26 percent. They started 1944 with 2.6 million in the East and lost 1.5 million dead. That’s 58 percent.

18,000 monthly Ukrainian deaths require us to buy that Ukrainians are losing men at twice the rate of the Germans in the disastrous year of 1944 (or higher) — but without Russian territorial gains to show for it. How does that work?

It’s actually more incredible than that. According to some the Russians are inflicting these disastrous, unsustainable losses while barely being scratched themselves. At the extreme, you find people who profess that the Russians are suffering under 30 dead per day while inflicting 600.

So then the Russians have then stumbled into this incredible form of warfare where they are able to 1.) preserve their force almost entirely, 2) inflict massive, unsustainable losses, but unfortunately 3) aren’t able to progress territorially at all.

And what does this revolutionary form of warfare consist of? In the imagination of the proponents of these numbers, it consists of the Russians standing around, firing shells at the enemy all day long. Throughout history best warfare has always consisted of using a combination of pressures. A one-dimensional pressure can be adapted to and mitigated. Facing a combination of threats is different. Artillery is at its most devastating when the enemy is forced by other means to do something that makes it vulnerable to slow heavy guns (such as concentrate). Conversely, artillery is best at forcing the enemy to take steps that make it vulnerable to other (, close-quarter,) threats.

Well apparently, all that can all be dispensed with now. No need for combined arms anymore. Just leave it to the artillery to kill everyone on the other side, and win the war on its own.

But the reality is that the Russian military isn’t artillery-heavy because artillery can win wars on its own, but because Russian military thinking has always known that artillery can do no such thing. The Soviets swore by artillery and built record numbers of it, but their shell expenditure was often lower than that of the Germans. Why is that so?

Because the Soviets studied WW1 and determined that extended multi-day barrages were far less useful than assumed. Artillery was useful for suppression and for inflicting casualties in the initial stage of the bombardment. But once the enemy took cover casualties would be low. As a result, the Soviets sought to deliver devastating initial bombardments, for which purpose they built numerous tubes and heavily centralized their artillery. The idea was to deliver the maximum number of shells in the first 30 to 120 minutes of bombardment, but after which their interest in further bombardment of same positions quickly vaned. 

For the Soviets, artillery is amassed then unleashed all at once to help create a breach to pour through. It is important because it is what makes movement possible. Not as a replacement for it.

So we’re literally in a situation where discredited WW1 desperation practices are now being presented as cutting-edge.

Admittedly camera drones have made artillery far deadlier. But artillery just by itself remains a one-dimensional threat and a good zigzag trench still requires a direct hit.

Moreover, if the Ukrainians aren’t being pressured on the ground then they can afford to lightly man their forward positions presenting few targets for enemy artillery to start with. Inflicting 600 dead and the corresponding wounded every day isn’t a very easy feat if the enemy is entrenched, spread out, and happy to keep its head down.

Moreover, if artillery is the decisive weapon now, why should losses be so lopsided? Ukrainians have arty too. Sure the Russians have more tubes, but the Ukrainian ones operate in a more target-rich environment. It is the Russians who are on the offensive who have to leave their trenches.

One thing that stands out about the Ukrainian way of war so far is how conservative and cautious it has been. In 1941 the Soviets ran the Red Army into the ground with unrealistic orders. They ordered counter-attacks when defense would have been difficult enough. They ordered defense when the situation really called for a withdrawal. They ordered breakthroughs from pockets causing only their speedy collapse and elimination.

The Ukrainians have done very little of this. They’ve had a few failed counter-attacks but these were actions that didn’t last longer than a day or two. Nothing that would produce casualties in the thousands.

It is difficult to inflict hugely lopsided losses against a near-peer enemy that is conservative and does not take risks.

Unless we’re talking material disparity where you’re mowing down the Fuzzy-Wuzzy with a Maxim then greatly lopsided losses require the enemy to commit (or be lured into) a mistake.

In 1992 the Bosnian Serbs, who had inherited the entire arsenal and structure of the Yugoslav army on the territory of Bosnia, fought a foe that was entirely without heavy weapons. They were so materially dominant that they forced the Bosnian Muslims and Croats into an alliance despite their many unresolved issues. Even so, in just the first nine months of the war, the Bosnian Serbs took control over every area where they were a majority, significant minority, or that was of strategic importance to them (“the Corridor”), and also encircled the enemy capital for good measure. They were so successful in the first year of the war that having taken everything they wanted they were henceforth contented to sit back and watch the Muslim-Croat war that inevitably sprang up when the two no longer had a reason to cooperate against (ultimately unstoppable) Serb offensives. Well, in these 9 months of triumphant artillery and tank-aided warfare against a foe that only had small arms what was their loss ratio?

They suffered 8900 military deaths themselves and inflicted 14400. A mere 1:1.6 ratio. Surely the Russian military is more professional than the Bosnian Serb army, but I repeat the latter were fighting a foe that did not have any artillery or tanks.

There is no way to prove that Russians have not inflicted 60,000 dead on the enemy so far. Or that they are not inflicting 20X or 5X or even 3X greater losses than they are sustaining. You can not prove a negative. I have no such proof. Maybe they are. But it is a very incredible and unlikely claim. One that would require firm proof. And one — that I suspect — many will look very stupid for echoing.

It’s a long front but the vast majority of the fighting takes place along the narrow section of the Ukrainian salient. It stands to reason that if the Russians were actually killing 18,000 men monthly that this salient would have long been blown out of existence.

If all that you knew about a conflict between Yinians and Xanians, was that in the last 67 days there has been a territorial standstill except in a few sectors where the Xanians advanced 25 km….how likely is it that from this you would conclude that Xanians were surely inflicting hugely lopsided and heavy, unsustainable losses on the Yinians?

Given that the Russians are advancing without numerical superiority it follows that they are tactically and materially dominant and inflicting higher losses than they are taking. This is also evident from the much greater number of combat refusals and soldiers’ protests on the Ukrainian side. They are clearly under greater strain than the other side. However, the slow Russian progress also points to them being able to create the overmatch necessary for advances only with great difficulty. That does not at all point to them being able to kill anything like 18,000 on the other side (10%) a month.

My prediction is that ultimately Ukrainian losses will turn out to be closer to Zelensky’s figure of 60-100 dead per day (which refers only to the east), than the 400 or 600 posited by cheerleaders. Just as I believe that the Russian official number of 1351 dead by March 25 will turn out to be much closer to the truth than anything the Ukrainian side has to say about the Russian dead. No matter how much a side lies about its own losses it will always lie about the other side’s losses even more. Learning about one side’s losses from their enemies is silly.

Nice imagination

Moreover, I would caution against interpreting even heavy Ukrainian losses as “unsustainable” or favoring the Russian side. What exactly is “unsustainable”? Who shall be the judge of that? 4 million Bosnia could “sustain” 60,000 military dead in the 1990s. And those were light losses by WW2 standards. How many can a 40-million Ukraine sustain? 200,000?? 400,000?? Even if Russia is able to inflict such losses, is it even willing to? These aren’t Martians we’re talking about.

And also keep in mind that Ukraine is continuously mobilizing, but Russia won’t even use serving conscripts. If Russia persists in waging this as a “special operation” it is not at all clear that war of attrition favors Russia.

Russia has the larger population on paper but can only generate volunteer replacements. Ukraine can simply conscript them. In these circumstances, Russia could conceivably inflict twice the losses it sustains but still find itself facing a growing Ukrainian numerical superiority on the battlefield.

I do still recall that the US with double the population of Russia ran into a recruitment crisis during an Iraq war that was far less bloody than the one in Ukraine. But perhaps the Russians will prove more willing to die for Odessa than the Americans were for Ramadi? Perhaps. But it is one thing to participate in a national mobilization (or lottery) where all take part and the risk is spread among many. And another thing to volunteer to be one of the few to ship out while the Moscow hipsters stay behind finishing their studies, keeping their limbs, and hitting on your increasingly lonely gf.

Perhaps that is the reason volunteers in Tula are advertised the salary of 397 thousand rubles (an absolute fortune) and benefits on top. However, the admission criteria are also very “stringent” — one must be under 50 years of age, pass a medical, and have 9 years of education.

Russia can win the war in Ukraine or lose it. I have said that is entirely up to Russia alone. But I will also say:

1) That evidence that Russia is on pace to win *through attrition* is slim to non-existent.

2) That Russia can win through attrition without conscripts and partial mobilization is doubtful.

3) That winning through “attrition” when you are fighting against your own people isn’t much of a “win”. It is the least desirable way to win, equal to a national tragedy.

4) That a responsible leadership that chose to escalate a fraternal war must do everything possible to forestall a war of attrition and attain goals in some other way. (Such as giving the military enough mass to unlock a war of movement.) Anything else borders on the criminal.

It’s not just that “attrition” is almost certainly a cope. It’s that it shouldn’t even be a cope to anyone but a psychopath. What kind of a deranged personality thinks the war will be resolved by “attrition” and decides to feel good about that? In a war literally between the Rus-ski and the Rus-ini?

Until 1900 or so the rural folk in Ukraine would refer to themselves as “Rusyn”, or “Rusyni” for the plural — pronounced as “Rusin” or “Rusini”. This is a word that includes the root Rus and the suffix -in which creates a noun.

Ethnic Russians meanwhile refer to themselves as Russkiy — pronounced Russki — which combines the root Rus with the suffix -ski which creates an adjective.

So it’s the very same meaning, the difference is merely that one is a noun and the other an adjective, same as the difference between Briton and British.

It’s literally a slaughter between Briton (Rus-in) and British (Rus-ski) and “attrition” is supposed to make us happy, or else you don’t love the Rus(ski) enough. Interesting times. Also, are you insane?


Polish map from 1927 sees Rusini and Bialo-Rusini
  1. Agarwal says

    In my opinion this is your best piece which I have read. It lays out your position very clearly and logically, and I can’t really find any fault with it. It would be a shame if it didn’t get widely read in the (small) pro-Russian English language alt-media world.

    This is just a quibble, but Zelenski’s 100 people killed a day figure is almost certainly an underestimate. No national leader of a country under siege and invasion would admit to the true casualty rate. I suppose it doesn’t include regional defense forces, foreign fighters, and/or nationalist battalions. Wouldn’t 150 or 200 people killed a day then actually be a high causality figure considering the number of soldiers under arms? Also, we seem to legitimately be hearing much less about Russian casualties from even very pro-Ukrainian osint sources, which does also suggest significantly lower Russian casualties now than before. Maybe Russian drone assisted artillery after a huge increase in drone numbers and 3 months of real world practice is just very deadly.

    1. Abraham Lincoln says

      This is pro empire propaganda and this site likes to censor anti empire voices.

      Together with the Donbas Republics the Russians have under 200,000 men in the theater from Kherson to Kharkov. Wrong!!!!

      No Russia now has about 400k contract soldiers in Ukraine adding trained volunteers and allowing those over 40 who recently left the Russian armed forces to sign up. The rapidly rising Ukrainian death and defeat count shows this along with increased Russian actions in the Kharkov and Khearson areas.

      So your Zio nazi empire is losing. You lose pro empire.

      1. Nomon says

        Absolute b*llocks. This piece is brilliantly incisive.

        1. Abraham Lincoln says

          This article is total propaganda garbage and is now refuted by another article from this very website as the readers see pro empire for what it is. This site has now lost all credibility. This pro empire site can now only be believed when they confess to their lies for the empire.

        2. Abraham Lincoln says

          Hello This article is total propaganda garbage and is now refuted by another article from this very website as the readers see pro empire for what it is. This site has now lost all credibility. This pro empire site can now only be believed when they confess to their lies for the empire.

  2. Agarwal says

    If I had to guess what the Russian general staff is thinking, it would be that they have turned very conservative since taking heavy losses in the first mobile phase of the war, and then humiliatingly evacuating most of their hard-fought for gains afterward.

    Maybe they are now trying to minimize Russian losses, and bleed the Ukrainians, through very heavy and protracted fire, before using what they themselves surely know are an insufficient number of infantry to them go occupy land. Ukrainians also helpfully keep reinforcing their positions, and with new nato weaponry in dribs and drabs not able to make a significant difference. Over time Ukraine loses its well-trained soldiers and replaces them with low-morale conscripts who rightfully think they are being used as cannon fodder, and nato realizes that actually its weapons stocks are not infinite but rather getting so low as to damage the war readiness of their own militaries. Not to mention various economic pressures, sky-high energy prices not only for European households but also European manufacturers in competition with Chinese who conversely now enjoy energy price discounts. With a similar process playing out in Japan & South Korea.

    Given political restraints from the top about mobilization, this would be a rational strategy for Russian commanders, no? The idea being that in a conveyor belt of destruction, sooner or later the Ukrainian side would break from morale and from a winding down of nato support.

  3. paul bryce says

    Andrei Martyanov’s reaction is a case in point:

    Or, if you wish with “We told you so” titles. I wrote so much about US “intel” and how it is not really an intel that I don’t have time to list all those occasions. But numbers of VSU (Nazi) losses during SMO which begin to circulate now give an impression on the progress of Russian operation in 404. Of course, all this info has a massive geopolitical impact, especially on the United States which, as always, came up with absolute BS narrative which is collapsing really fast.

    Well, NYT decided to start steering clear of this whole Russia “lost in Ukraine” BS it promoted together with neocon crazies, and begins this ever familiar tune of the “intel failure”. Right. . . .

    Hm, how about I put it bluntly–the U.S. never had clear picture on anything, especially on Russia, or, as a private case, SMO and completely bought into Ukie propaganda, which shows a complete incompetence of the “intel” in the US.

    1. paul bryce says

      No it was not incompetence. IT WAS THE CIA RUNNING THE WHOLE UKRAINE OPERATION. THE MSM WAS FED TALKING POINTS BY THEM AND ITS ALL A BIG MOVIE SET FOR THE CONSUMPTION OF THE WORLDS SHEEPLE. Just like the “White Helmets” in Syria. It would be nice if we could actually get some TRUTH on this website.

      1. Nomon says

        Sounds about right.

  4. YakovKedmi says

    Since April 20 we have seen what the Russian Expeditionary Force is capable of accomplishing in Ukraine. No more excuses, they did what they were able to. So did the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

    Pro-Ukrainian propaganda is ready to accept the loss of Severodonetsk and Lyzichansk, and a formation of a new front-line from Donetsk city to Izyum city. After that they are hoping to prevent any Russian advance, especially a march to Dnipro.
    They hope-dream that by August there will be a Ukrainian Army that is able to defeat the Expeditionary Force.

    Donetsk Mihaylov
    would be happy if the Special Operation stopped, Moskva signed a treaty —taking from Ukraine Luhansk kingdom and Donetsk kingdom and the north shore of Azov; giving back Kershon city and promising not to disturb Harkov. (this would prevent Ukraine from developing the natural-gas fields between the two rivers, and competing with Russian gas domination) But he expects NATO to continue with the economic strangulation of Russia.

    one of the problems)
    no one from the city of Moscow or from the Principality of Muscovy is dying on the Donetsk battle-fields (this should be rectified in the third phase of Special Operation)

    another problem)
    the leadership in Moscow are NOT nationalists, they don’t have the interests of the nation at heart, they couldn’t care less about the fodder, especially from the provinces
    the leadership in Kiev are not nationalists (many of them are the children of left-behind hebrews of Halych), they don’t care about the fodder

    If we take the words of Donetsk Mihaylov, NATO is the real leadership of Ukraine. If we take the words of Nurse-Rached Matvienko, this NATO leadership prevented Mordor Zelensky from signing a treaty with V.V. Putin in early March.

    The fate of Ukraine is in the hands of NATO. The fate of Putin Russia is in the hands of NATO. NATO lured-suckered Putin into this cluster operation —everything is according to plan

    (in Afghanistan NATO bled Russia for six years before they gave Taliban enough Stingers to shoot down every tank and helicopter twice. Brezhnev Russia went into Afghanistan to de-Nazify and to de-militarize it. Brezhnev died before it was over, the Union fell apart shortly after)

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      “They hope-dream that by August there will be a Ukrainian Army that is able to defeat the Expeditionary Force.”

      So I take it, you are skeptical about that?

      “The fate of Ukraine is in the hands of NATO. The fate of Putin Russia is in the hands of NATO. NATO lured-suckered Putin into this cluster operation —everything is according to plan”

      Did NATO deliberately lure Russia into Ukraine? Or did NATO assume that it could bring Ukraine into NATO by the back door and Russia would not materially impede the scheme?

      There were indicators in spring 2021 when the “false alarm” of impending war took place that suggested to me that we were deliberately trying to provoke Russia. But did we (i.e., the Pentagon) really anticipate a highly favorable outcome from a Russian invasion? I am doubtful.

      I have wondered about that question.

      1. YakovKedmi says

        Without a new element how would progress on the battle-field be different ?

        What we have seen since May 5 is a) the Ukrainians are not able to repel the Expeditionary Force (and certainly not able to counter-attack); b) the Expeditionary Force is only able to take a few acres a day. NATO likes this predicament muchly.

        The pro-Ukrainian propaganda says it will be a new army —equipped with the recently-arrived heavy weaponry. Strelkov Girkin’s bosom-friend, President Mihaylov, also says it will be a new army with the heavy equipment.

        How will the Expeditionary Force respond to this new element ? How will the Ukrainians use this new element ?

        NATO made the decision for a war in Ukraine. They decided that the leaders of Russia should get in their heads that a war against Ukraine was a good idea, and a do-able idea. In 2014 Obama crew gave Putin crew the opportunity & excuse to take Crimea. In 2021 the Biden crew gave Putin the excuse & opportunity to take Ukraine. The preparation for the Special Operation started in earnest on day following Biden’s induction into the White House. My theory is, a) the Biden crew gave Putin crew the understanding that the US/NATO response won’t be anything more than what followed the taking of Crimea —this would explain the galactically stupid decisions, like leaving the war-chest in NATO banks; b) the Russian spy-network reported (it had to be on purpose, they cannot be this stupid and still have a job) that the Army of Ukraine would stand down —this would explain other galactically stupid decisions, like sending marching bands and traffic-cops to Kiev

        Putin and crew fell for the long-con, swallowed the bait, marched into Ukraine.

        No, it wasn’t ‘accident,’ ‘incompetence,’ ‘arrogance,’ ‘mistakes,’ ‘pushing-it-too-far,’ on the part of the West. It was deliberate planning & luring —cold-hard calculation. Now Russia is bleeding. Bleeding generates tension. How long can Russia bleed ? How much tension can Russia tolerate ?

        What would the Pentagon consider “favorable outcome” ? Many dead, many wounded, much destruction, discontent, upheaval, uprising, revolution, regime-change, dissolution

    2. YakovKedmi says

      Wouldn’t it be lovely to find out whether the Ukrainian generals who stood down on February 24 and 25, were Rusins or Russians ? and the “Ukrainian” officers who prevented the stand-down in other parts of the country were hebrews born in Ukraine ?

      We have heard that many jews born in Ukraine travelled to Israel, joined the army, did their tour and received their training, then returned to Ukraine, put on nationalist insignias and organized Azov Brigades.

  5. Oscar Peterson says

    Ultimately, we’ll just have to watch the results unfold.

    There are so many variables that are nebulous or for which we have limited data that we can only observe if the Russians continue to make progress or if there is some indication that they have fully culminated due to manpower shortages.

  6. aa3 says

    The Ukrainians as they amass troops through the summer will begin launching offensives along the front lines, from Mykolaiv towards Kherson.. coming South from Dnepropetrovsk towards Zaporizhia, and SE from Kharkov. The offensives will go on for months most likely and add man power as they finish training.

    And then the usual battle in the Donbas/cauldron areas they will keep reinforcing.

    Ukraine has millions and millions of men between ages 20-50 in the areas the government of Ukraine controls. And basically unlimited money to pay for them to be trained and active duty as long as needed from NATO.

    Then there is the flow of weaponry from NATO to Ukraine.. and Ukraine is going to be ramping up its own military equipment production with unlimited funding.

    That is why I believe it is unlikely the Russians will hold on over time.

  7. Dan Farrand says

    Good article although it seems a little bit like pleading Ukraines case.

    In this age of collapsing demographics the ability of nations to mount efforts like we saw in WW2 are gone. The Article mentions Ukraine as having a population base of 40 million to draw on. However, 1/2 that population is either Russian speakers or under Russian control. So now your mobilization base is 20 million. 6 million people have left Ukraine since the start of the war. Although Ukraine is trying to prevent military aged men from leaving I’m guessing that demographic is the group most motivated to leave. So now you are down to 14 million. 1/2 of that number is female so now it’s 7 million. Perhaps 1/2 of that 7 million is potential military age people 3.5 million. Perhaps 10% of those can be successfully mobilized 350,000. And that assumes the rest of society will keep functioning in some way.

    Lots of big assumptions of course, but it seems to me that the age of mass armies in the west are over.

    As for your other points, I think many are valid. However, I see no evidence of Ukraine building a new army in the west. I do agree that is the AFU is allowed to retreat out of donbass intact that will represent a serious defeat for the Russians.

    This war seems very much characterized by a low density of forces. During WW2 43-45, the Germans had what 900k people in the general area of Ukraine and the Russians 1.5 – 2 million ?

    I imagine there is nothing like a continuous front in most of the combat areas.

    The thing that does surprise me is that Russia is not able to completely suppress Ukrainian artillery. I guess it just shows that contested airspaces will limit the impact of airpower.

  8. Les7 says

    How is it you know the Russian objective? – to then say they failed.

    In Syria the rah rag Russia crowd chafed at the slow pace of the Russia directed Syrian military campaign.

    They had their reasons then, and they have them now. A little reflection on their goals in Syria would make clear their goals here.

    Syria is still not resolved. Who says Ukraine will ever be ‘ resolved?’ Syria prevented and continues to prevent a Russian Civil War- ISIS was to be deployed in the stans.

    Ukraine, long and drawn out, prevents and will continue to prevent another form of civil defeat planned for Russia.

    If you can’t see it you are willfully blind

    1. Panos says

      OK,Russia has interest in prolonging the war in Syria.Let’s accept this.What could be russia’s interest in prolonging war in Ukraine?

      Because,and this is my point of view and i think antiempire’s as well,prolonging the ukrainian conflict is not only detrimental to whatever russian interests anyone could think, but even worse it severely endangers the russian society and state’s stability.In fact this is imo the reason that the West collectively seeks to prolong the ukrainian war.

  9. Pink Unicorne says

    Most US “pro”-Russia commentators are just dimwits.

    I still consider Scott Ritter to be a premium model among them.

    When did artillery shells become the end-all-be-all of military innovations?

    First of all, it’s unguided. The picture itself is worth a thousand words. Are you trying to hit the road? How many shells have you spent to accomplish just that? And more importantly, how do you KNOW you’ve hit it after you’ve hit it so you can maybe use your 152mm to hit something, ANYTHING else?

    Secondly, artillery shells are mostly steel, just a TINY filling of explosives, because otherwise it’s just gonna explode INSIDE the damn tube. What it generates is a small shockwave and a small number of shrapnels. No levelling reinforced concrete buildings with that! It’s pretty awesome if you’re 10ft away. But if you’re so much as 100ft away…meh. There’s a reason it’s the Allies’ AERIAL BOMBARDMENT to truly strike terror into the hearts and minds of Germans. No amount of artillery will do that! Of course, if our “pro”-Russian friends are just a TINY bit less illiterate, all this should’ve been self-evident, and they wouldn’t mistake WWI for the bleeding edge.

    Thirdly, if we’re to believe that the Ukrainians took massive losses, the Russian’s barely scratched, and that the latter didn’t advance at all, can we just have a come-to-Jesus moment and realize that IT’S THE LAND DEFENDING ITSELF? I heavily recommend this narrative to become the newest “everything is according to plan” narrative. If this is true, then Russians need less artillery and more of that Patriotic Eastern Slavo-Orthodoxy sanctioned supernatural power, for example, more sprinkling of holy water on those 152mms would be a good start. Of course, sending more priests to the frontline to exorcise those vile anti-Russian supernatural creatures would be the real solution here.

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