Putin Is Waging a Halfway War and It’s Showing

A lot is being asked of 30K troops who are being placed in unenviable positions

Putin wasn’t kidding when he said he was launching a “special military operation”. Relative to what the Russian military brought to the border this is not yet all-out war.

I would say about 30,000 Russian troops have crossed over into Ukraine so far. A small portion of the force assembled.

Moreover, the Russians are (so far) waging the war in a way that keeps civilian losses to a minimum and even trying to minimally disrupt civilian life.

The Russian operation could have opened with strikes against power plants and the electric grid (both bombed by US in Yugoslavia) that left civilians in shock and without power, and with ballistic and cruise missile strikes on Ukrainian army barracks.

Instead, the Russian enterprise is so far conducted in a way that limits not just Ukrainian civilian, but even Ukrainian military losses. The Russians have barely used their artillery.

It’s as if so far Putin is trying to conduct less a war, and more a 1968-style policing action.

Kiev’s approach has been just the opposite, to distribute weapons to civilians. To ask them to “make Molotov cocktails” and to film and publish Russian troop movements.

It’s a competition. Kiev is trying to induct the populace into a people’s war and give Moscow the kind of war it does not want. And Moscow is doing everything it can from its side to not have that happen but to instead wage a minimally disruptive regime-change.

Russia wants the populace passive, Ukraine wants it as mobilized as possible. Thus there is good reason for Russia to refrain from using all the firepower it has, but it has made the life of its troops more difficult.

This economy-of-force approach is actually typical of how Russia operates. It will try something limited and small-scale first then escalate into something bigger when that hits a wall and so on.

There are good reasons to do it the Russian way, but there is also good reason not to. Certainly on the negative side is that it means asking a lot of their troops.

The brazen helicopter assault on Gostromel Airport was the most dramatic example of this, but really all Russian troops that have been committed are being asked to do brazen stuff with not much cover.

Small units of 800 men are being told to drive along a road 50 kilometers into the enemy’s rear and to go around major cities.

It has been less Ogarkov and more Tukhachevsky. Less the long-range fires apocalypse of non-contact warfare and more the deep battle of columns racing for the rear and fighting fights that are very much contact, sometimes after driving into an ambush or running into Ukrainians head-on.

The troops themselves have done rather well actually, but of course there is a limit to how far 30K troops can go.

I leave you with commentary by two other observers. You don’t have to take their word as gospel, but something worth considering.

Michael Kofman (perhaps the number one authority on the Russian military outside of Russia):

Some very early impressions of the last two days. It’s an operation with maximalist war aims, and Moscow’s thinking on this war seems to have been colored by war optimism. It looked as though Russian forces were expecting a quicker Ukrainian military collapse and easier gains.

Early campaign to knock out Ukrainian air defenses and air force had mixed results, Russian aerospace forces aren’t particularly practiced at suppresion or destruction of air defenses. Most of the strikes in the opening phase were via cruise missiles. Ukrainian air force still has some aircraft up.

A brazen heliborne assault to take Hostomel airport with a small airborne element was a puzzling move. I doubt the goal was to land more airborne at a contested airport easily covered by artillery and MLRS. Likely they expected to hold out for ground reinforcements.

So far we’ve seen only a fraction of the Russian force arrayed for the operation. Unclear if Russian forces reached initial objectives, but best estimate is they expected more rapid gains and less resistance.

Russian forces seem to be avoiding use of massed fires, except maybe around Kharkiv, focusing on trying to make a speedy advance. Expect they will revert to much larger use of fires when frustrated. Not seeing much in the way of cyber and less electronic warfare effects than many anticipated.

Russian forces are mainly sticking to the road network (as in 2014-2015). Early advances made by recon troops, but driving along roads left support units open to ambushes. Already signs of urban warfare and firefights in cities.

There has been heavy fighting around Kharkiv and in Sumy. Russian forces tried to advance past Okhtyrka, and it looks like they’re attempting to go around Kharkiv. There is also an advance west of Sumy to Konotop. This is a very incomplete picture.

Russian forces entered from Belarus and went through Chernobyl exclusion zone to Dymer. Early signs of fighting on outskirts of Kyiv in Obolonskyi distict today. They’re clearly going for the capital.

Main breakout appears to be in the south from Crimea. Russian forces pushed to Kherson, and Melitopol. There’s sustained fighting for Kherson still and around Antonovsky bridge. Some early signs they may have entered Mykolaiv, but probably just a recon element.

Russian forces retain significant quantitative and qualitative superiority. Ukrainian forces have demonstrated resolve and resilience. Russian conventional overmatch, such as it is, may not translate into attaining their maximalist political aims. This is just the opening of the war.

We should take care making assumptions on how this war will progress based on the opening 24-48 hours. The Russian military clearly tried something. I think it at best yielded mixed results for them. They will adjust.

What’s clear is that is that if Moscow had hopes of quick and easy gains, they were terribly optimistic.

My main concern is that over time the Russian military may revert to heavy use of firepower, and this will result in immense destruction, and large civilian casualties.

Andrei Zhukov (a random Twitterer but to an extent he is on to something):

Russia is bombing fuel and ammunition depots, but the Russian army does not bomb the places where Ukrainian armored vehicles and personnel gather. Why? Because they still hope that their fairy tales about friendship, peace and the international will work.

Due to the fact that the night of February 24 did not strike the barracks of the AFU, the Russian army is now suffering losses

Russian troops are moving quickly in small columns from one city to another, without even getting a foothold in it and not clearing it from the partisans. The logistics support that goes after them comes under fire from the Ukrainian army.

The Russian army currently does not control a single city – they just drive by, leaving the cities in the rear. The Ukrainian military calmly enter these cities and try to strike, so it was in Sumy.

Russian planes are not at work – they simply do not bomb the columns of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, still hoping for desertion and the transition to the Russian side. Again, THIS DOES NOT WORK, a tolerant attitude towards the Ukrainian military has led to losses, prisoners.

For example. Rosgvardia and OMON are going together with the military to “take Kiev”(!). Internal troops should follow the military AFTER the army destroys the Ukrainian army in a given sector. This did not happen. They just go ahead into Kiev blindly.

The Ukrainian army will still be destroyed, but the Russian army is suffering unjustified losses that could have been avoided

Not bad for 30K troops and 48 hours — would have been further along if more of the assembled forces and fires were committed from the onset
  1. Hungary Guy says

    Hope Russia amasses all Evidence of War Crimes perpetrated by thouse Ukronazis, placing MLRS into civilian urban areas.
    As well as a Legal Case to UN, Hague Tribunal documenting Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing Crimes Against Humanity in Donbas, Odessa, Kiev since 2013.
    And also implicating BuildCrackBetter Joe and his Bastard Son & Co. as main Masterminds.

    1. jim says

      Kool. So who exactly is going to hear this case? Answer…..Nobody.

      1. Hungary Guy says

        Russia chairs UN Security Council Presidency.

  2. Cap960 says

    No one said Keeping this war clean is going to be easy.

  3. julian says

    Anti-Empire: why do you keep posting the uninformed articles from this Marjanovic? I’ve stopped coming here because I find his witterings valueless.

    1. Dr Ignacy Nowopolski says

      Because it is his site. And what you do not like about his info? It is consistent with other independent sources to include reliable video footage.

      You certainly do not have to visit this site, but I would advise you to start thinking anyway. It does help!

      1. Jerôme says

        Polak uses title,Dr…It does not makes you wiser! Still you are heavily judaised Turista Koshelowi, or Turista Trenkowi…

      2. Eddy says

        The video footage is NOT reliable.

      3. Mr Reynard says

        Yupp.. Reliable like those one ?

        Well no luck since this brave Bernie Gores is already dead, “executed” by the evil Taliban in 2021. Always on CNN which shows, in addition to his ignominy, his stupidity: Not even able to change the name and the photo…


        1. Thomas Malthaus says

          I was watching George Galloway today and he was remarking how Bernie has died twice the last few years.

    2. Guillermo Fregozo says

      If you don’t like it, get out of here. Obviously you been reading all of it. Now eat it..

  4. GMC says

    Good synopsis A E. Much of the Ukie Force { I’ll assume} has been trained by the same US/Nato Israelis that trained alQaeda, Isis, and the other Proxies in the Mid East. They will hide amongst the populace and set up their rockets, mortars, and such inside villages, towns and cities.
    But Russia can sidestep many of these places and head to Kiev. All those towns cities along the Dniepr R. are all Russian speaking anyways and Russia doesn’t need to fight in them. Kiev is now speaking 50/50 Russian/Ukrainian and that is where the Nazis and gangs hang out.

    Rumor says Kadyrov and 5 to 10,000 Chechnyans just ” walked” into Crimea and are heading into the action. That should help out. I’ll also assume that they will be headed towards the Azov battalions near Mariupol. Just a wild guess tho.

    1. Commenter says

      tired of the BS claim the US trains the innocent mvslims. They are capable of fighting killing murdering all on their own. US giving them weapons is no different from saudi giving them weapons. special skills provided by US did not magically turn them into terrorists. Their religion did that.
      mid east and muslims all over who came to mid east got their ideas from izlam. US just took advantage of that. They are not comparable to Russia defending itself

  5. padre says

    Oh, it’s Marajanović, thank god, I thought it was from someone serious!

  6. EstibenDelMar says

    dont you know russians dont care for their men down but only getting the job done? And if they have to die so civilians dont get killed, then be it. We saw what they did in Chechnya with obsolete weapons and now putin is being asked to do the same even though he’s got the finest arsenal any country has ever had in history.

  7. ken says

    Russia is trying to wage a war like they are in Syria where they are dealing with terrorists and trying not to kill civilians or destroy too much infrastructure. Hell,,, the power is still on in most parts of Ukraine. Russia the same problem in Ukraine that it has in Syria. Terrorism,,, trained, armed, and funded by the largest terrorist in the world.

    The USA has trained the Ukies to set up in heavily populated areas knowing how adverse Russia is to killing civilians. The civilians don’t mind because they think they are being patriotic. Russia does not have a fight with the Ukrainians themselves, only the government/military/intelligence which they claim [truthfully] is nazified. This is going to make it very hard for victory. They are fighting with one hand tied behind their back.

    If they change tactics media – including so called alternative media- will be all over them as murderers. The West has the bullhorn. Nothing Russia says will be heard or believed. The US and West populations are so stupid they still believe the injections are vaccines. Australia is going on four shots, Israel five and most are still bobble heads. It will be little problem bullshitting them.

    If Ukraine isn’t settled quick the West will start funneling in weapons and Russia will have another Afghanistan on their hands which is what the US wanted in the first place.

    1. Drapetomaniac says

      Thank God.

      Instead of three+blind+ posters commenting on what Russia is doing we have one poster that “sees” what Russia is dealing with: the Alpha-psychopaths of the western governments.

    2. Commenter says

      tired of the BS claim the US trains the innocent mvslims. They are capable of fighting killing murdering all on their own. US giving them weapons is no different from saudi giving them weapons. special skills provided by US did not magically turn them into terrorists. Their religion did that.
      Same with Ukraine nazis. They were helped by US but already knew how to fight. Their people are just as responsible for allowing NATO to manipulate them and force Russia into defence.
      No way is Russia comparable to mid east countries that actively work to impose arab religion and control.

  8. guest says

    >>>> “drive along a road 50 kilometers into the enemy’s rear and to go around major cities.”

    As we all know, entering into large cities is asking for large number of casualties on both sides. Vladimir doesn’t need train-loads of body-bags coming home.

    You cannot liberate Kiev the way you liberated Berlin !

  9. Hujciwdupe says

    History is being repeat of the War on Ukraine is a Hungary 2.0 Invasion of November 14, 1956 a Czechoslovakia 2.0 of August 20, 1968, a Poland Invasion2.0 repeat of September 17, 1939, Russian Invasion 2.0 of the Finland, and the Baltic States.
    The Ukrainian should never Forgive nor Forget the Russian Thirst for Expanding the Russian Empire

    1. Michael Arnold says

      Thirst for Empire? Really? What place has Russia taken other than the Crimea which acceded to Russia? Is Russia across an ocean trying to regime change in the ussa? Maybe, it would be a good idea that you that you should study some history or go to you tube and the history of Russia, learn about your foe! There is another side of the coin. Remember we are liars, cheaters and thieves and were taught to do it. Read the CIA’s motto!

      1. Michael Arnold says

        And make no mistake this is CIA run.

  10. Hujciwdupe says

    This site is supposed to be Anti-Empire yet it supports Putin’s desire genocidal plans to Expand the Russian Empire at the cost of its neighbors. Russia is a vast and unsettled Country and should have repatriated the Russian minority to Russia which as a Demographic problem as Russians are not replacing themselves.
    Not only Russia should repatriate Russians from Ukraine but also from the Baltic States to insure peace in Europe. Germany, Hungary, Poland are repatriating they citizens why can not the Russians do the same?

  11. XSFRGR says

    Regarding the Russian BMP-2 that was allegedly knocked out by the brave Ukies: Bullshit. Russian armor never operates alone, there was no battle damage on the vehicle, and the thing was still running.

  12. Jerôme says

    The Truth and God is on Russian side! Intelligent people knows why!!!

    1. Michael Arnold says

      Hear, hear! Give them props for being so patient!

  13. Hujciwdupe says

    Putin as Jew from his mother’s side task is to facilitate “Holdomor 2.0” of 2022 to complete the Genocide of Ukrainians that his Jewish Bolshevik started in 1932 to 1933 where Murdered 14 Million Ukrainians that perished at the hands of the Jewish Bolsheviks at the same time as a Russian from his Russian father’s side to expand the Realm of the Russian Empire. You could say he is Killing two Birds with one stone.
    Putin is a Killer,Mass Murderer and War Criminal. Pray for the Ukrainian people and help them to prepare Molotov Cocktails to Welcome Putin’s Russian Henchmen.

    1. Michael Arnold says

      Proof of this?

  14. Dale says

    Didn’t it take the US and its numerous allies three weeks to reach Baghdad ?

  15. Mr Reynard says

    Have a look at this ?

    As according to main shit merdia , those bio-labs were researching for a cure against Cancer ??

  16. Hujciwdupe says

    This is a call to all to all Brave Ukrainians that desire to live with their Head held up High as Free Proud Ukrainians instead of being Slaves of Putin take up Arms as Ukrainian partisans to fight for Freedom and Justice for Free Ukraine from Russian Domination. Help Putin’s Russian Henchmen return to Russia with Molotov Cocktails in one hand and a gun in the other with Battle Cry for Liberty and Justice for the Ukrainian People.

    1. nenad says

      Sta pricas gluposti.zelenski,klicko,porosenko,kolomoiski su jevreji,jevreji vladaju ukrajinom i hoce da se slovenski narodi medjusobno poubijaju i istrebe.Tuzno je i tragicno sto su Ukrajinci dopustili ih da jevreji-hazari i nacisti iz azova koriste kao topovsko meso u borbi protiv Rusa.

  17. Adam says

    Putin is not a real leader, he lives on hope, calling the west our partners while they are killing Russians and destroying Russia. All the problems of Russia is due to Putin’s psychological weakness and internalised inferiority complex towards being accepted and invited by the west. He is not a states man and Russian patriot and I think that is a trait of all Russians and eastern Europeans, they want to be accepted by the west. That is how they validate their identity and self worth. The only real leader and defender that the Russians have had in recent memory is Stalin. If he was in charge this would have been over already 8 years ago when it started in 2014. He would not be pussying around like Putin wanting to negotiate with his partners. He is weak and needs to got rid off and a leader with steel for blood in his veins to defend the existence of Russia.

    1. jim says

      Absolutely. Putin should be fired and replaced by a MAN that will fight back at every single provocation from gringo. I mean really this Putin arzehole is still sending oil and gas to his **partners** Somebody needs to get rid of Putin. He is useless. He will not take off the gloves. All he does is talk and then REFUSES to do something. I do not see any retaliation for being kicked out of swift. Hello Vladmir…… Hello….

  18. jim says

    Putin STILL refuses to take the gloves off and FIGHT. Why is he not keeping his word and doing something? He is still sending oil and gas to nato for F sake. WTF is the matter with this idiot? Why is he letting them win after all this? He is allowing ukraines to kill his men. HE REFUSES TO RETALIATE. When is Putin going to do this right?

  19. feng says

    cheque “The Saker” for a more realistic picture of the Russian strategy.

  20. Dale says

    Is it possible that Putin has held the bulk of his troops on the off-chance that NATO gets actively involved ?

  21. defender says

    All Russians here are deluded, if we only fight gently, Ukrainians will see how generous we are and lay down their arms and join mother Russia, NOT. We need to escalate to nuclear to remove pootin and the Russians in donbass.

    1. Dale says

      Yeah, that’ll work.

  22. DannyWhite says

    Oh dear …
    Yep the old “Peace Keeper Trap”
    You cant win a war if you dont fight a war.
    I dont understand how Putin got suckered into a peace keeper trap.
    As I said long before this started.
    The only way for Russia to Fight a war in the Ukrain is for Russia to nuke every city on the USA mainland

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.