Russia Suffers a Hat-Trick of Black Sea Humiliations

Does lethargic Moscow deserve to win this war?

Does lethargic Moscow deserve to win this war?

More luck than sense — the railway part is still up

First, in April, Ukraine hit and sank the Russian cruiser Moskva. Russian MoD countered by saying that Ukrainians were lying and that the cruiser actually caught fire and sank by itself. (Masterful 5D by RUMOD there.)

Then the next month Russia was forced into a symbolic withdrawal from Snake Island after the Ukrainians repeatedly obliterated the rock (now without Moskva’s air defense umbrella) from the air. The tiny Russian garrison suffered painful losses on the island, trying to reinforce the island, and even during the island’s evacuation.

RUMOD countered by saying that after the Russians left the Ukrainians landed on the rock and were themselves decimated by the Russians. Trouble is that where the Ukrainians released numerous videos backing their claims, RUMOD had exactly zero video material to share. (And not because it is above providing gory combat footage which it does daily.)

Now, the Ukrainians have found a way to strike and collapse a portion of the Crimea bridge to the Russian mainland. By the looks of it, the main damage is to the road section of the bridge, which is good news for the Russians because rail is much more critical to their long-range military logistics.

Nonetheless, this fits into a pattern where the Russians are constantly allowing themselves to be caught by surprise by Ukrainian capabilities, ingenuity, and determination, and suffering humiliating setbacks in turn.

Twitter’s favorite hypothesis at the moment is an ANFO truck bomb in the style of Beirut and Oklahoma City

The Ukrainians were not supposed to be able to sink the Moskva. That is why the Russian ship had been sailing in predictable patterns for weeks. Yet Ukraine (with US intel aid of course) was able to somehow leverage its extremely limited anti-ship capabilities (whole country had six anti-ship missile launchers and 72 missiles) to surprise the Black Sea admirals.

Kiev was then able to leverage cheapish, expendable Turkey-made drones into another morale-boosting victory on Snake Island, at a time when its forces were still everywhere on the back foot. (Albeit at the cost of not putting them to perhaps more tactically-significant use in the east.)

Now, Ukraine has been able to strike at the Crimea bridge in what appears to be another asymmetrical attack. This is all the more significant when you consider that Ukraine controls many more juicy bridge targets than does Russia.

Ukraine holds a dozen Dnieper bridges and half-a-dozen dam locks over the river. And yet Russia with all its might and far greater capabilities has not found the will or the way to target and eliminate any of them. (I hold that whether the bridges stand is increasingly a moot point, but early in the war denying Ukraine the use of crossing points especially in the south would have been very helpful.)

Russia meanwhile controls just two crossing points across the Dnieper both of which are being relentlessly HIMARS-ed.

The third Russian-controlled bridge in the theater that has strategic value, the Crimea bridge, was thought to be outside Ukrainian missile range (it is), yet the Ukrainians once again somehow found a way to get around that.

Ironically it is the side that has far less firepower to conduct a war on bridges that is conducting it with more determination and far more results.

At this point, the question arises does Russia deserve to win this war? Moscow presents itself as the East Slavic capital that will be the better custodian of places like Nikolayev and Odessa than Kiev — which is too Nazi or too transgender, or too whatever — has been.

But what we see in practice, over and over again, is Moscow that is lethargic and indecisive, and Kiev that is brimming with vitality and determination.

Why is it that Ukrainians who have far more bridges to lose, are schooling the Russians in how you blow them up?

However it is that the Ukrainians collapsed the Crimea bridge, why is it that the Russians weren’t able to come up with the same (or a different) plan seven months ago to use against the equally strategic Dnieper bridges?

And it’s not just that the Russian effort has been half-assed and half-hearted. It is also that because the Russian decision-makers are lethargic they expect the enemy to also be lethargic, and are then surprised and humiliated when that is not the case.

Moskva, Snake Island, and Crimea bridge can all be discounted as PR victories. That to an extent is true. If the railway section is still up none of this actually influences the course of the war materially. But if these are mere “PR victories” then where are Russia’s equivalents? Where is an example of the Russians having surprised, shocked and terrified NATO with a feat of ingenuity, determination, or fanaticism of their own in this war? Is it when they proclaimed Liman part of the Russian state only to lose it the very next day?

Kremlin can narrate a story where Kiev is a nest of sellouts to the US, where in Moscow are the last true Slavs. But what you see in practice is the exact opposite. You see the Ukrainians fighting like they’re the Soviets reincarnated, and you see the Russians led by a confused, disillusioned ex-Westernizer who didn’t realize the other side (in Kiev and DC both) possesses the single-minded clarity that he so sorely lacks.

It is true that Ukrainians (Little Russians) are receiving Western aid but they are also leveraging that aid to great and disproportionate effect.

Imagine if Kiev didn’t have at its disposal the pittance that West provides it with, but instead the full firepower of Russia — imagine how much more could Zelensky and Zaluzhny do with that than has Moscow. Put them in the Kremlin and by now Russian armies would not be bogged down in no-name villages of Donentsk but making the West tremble on the borders of Germany.

I jest but only a little. Discounting the means, a Russian-Ukrainian union can not be anything but a good thing. A larger East Slav entity is likelier to enjoy a free, independent development than a smaller one. But for seven months straight now Putin has been providing us with arguments why it would be advantageous if such a union was led from Kiev, by people who are a lot more like Zelensky (whom he has made to look like a ruthless and effective Georgiy Zhukov) and a lot less than him.

  1. Agarwal says

    I mean you are calling a suicide bombing as a sign of vitality. I agree with your general point about Moscow being incomprehensibly weak and half-assed, the security on one side of the bridge seemed to be pretty perfunctory. Lot of 90s disfunction left in Russia, that’s what this war taught me. But I wouldn’t want to be part of a “based” Ukraine that assassinates daughters of unconnected philosophers in Moscow, kills its own people left and right for collaboration, and now engages in state-sponsored suicide bombing

    1. SteveK9 says

      Remote detonation, not suicide?

  2. Blackledge says

    Russia’s leaders [sic] gambled on this war and lost. No amount of mobilization will change this truth. RF has had 14 years since Georgia to modernize, upgrade, and reform its armed forces, but failed to do so. How much money has been spent of the national defense? Where did all of that money go? Where are all of the uniforms, the modern body armor, the helmets, the optics, the NVGs? Why are there no drones? Why are T-62s and ASU-85s being pulled out of storage and sent to the front – where have thousands of tanks gone? Russian military failure is looking more and more like Tsushima tier.

    This war-not-a-war ends in one of two ways: another February Revolution and the end of the United Russia/V.V. Putin clique, or it escalates into a nuclear exchange.

    1. peterinanz says

      I am sure that contacts have been up for some time to remove Putin and replace him with some member of the current elite.
      The problem for the possible replacement(s) is, of course, would the deal hold? Can they really trust the West to follow up as agreed? Or, soon after Putin is gone it will be their turn? Milosevic did all they wanted. Hussein was their player for some time. Gadaffi too. If the same people you are cutting a deal with are treating their former President as they are….can you really trust them?
      There is a third option too and most likely IMHO. Splintering of the RF and the current clique retaining control of a rump failed state.

      1. Blackledge says

        Excellent points, all.

      2. Panos says

        Dealing with West is guaranteed suicide.VVP’s,Medvedev’s and generally the top dogs will simply not be enough,they want to “decolonise” Russia,i.e. total victory and Ostplan mk2.The only way for the russians to go forward is to get their acts together and win this war.The iranian drones and especially the mobilisation have solved two of the most glaring deficiencies,there are others but overall ukraine and the west doesn’t have a decisive advantage,or one that is unsolvable with the available means.RF can win,and because this is an existential struggle,will win.

    2. Never Trust a Wizard says

      Russian military failure is looking more and more like Tsushima tier. 

      What failure? What exactly were their goals?

  3. YakovKedmi says

    The first thing General Strelkov Girkin said was “I told you so” —-I warned you in August you have six weeks to get off the peninsula —-what a birth-day fireworks for V.V. !!

    When kicked in the ass, the leadership in Moskva, for a short while, come alive and are motivated to do something:

    Can hardly for the next episode of Vecher TV

    >>>>> “(Little Russians)”
    Oh yes; we own you ! ye are ours ! —just as we own the Croats, the Macedonians & everyone in-between; and we will govern you even if we have to kill you first

    1. Nicholas R. Jeelvy says

      It is precisely this dismissive attitude towards Ukrainians as “little Russians” that’s going to destroy the criminal gang in the Kremlin. It’s not that they underestimated an enemy – they haven’t even thought of the Ukrainians as enemies.

    2. YakovKedmi says

      Why was a fuel-train parked on a bridge ? especially a bridge in danger of enemy attack
      What ignited the fuel-train ? the fire-ball shown in the clip didn’t (if the truck was loaded with explosives, why would there be a fire-ball)
      Why none of the fuel-tanks on the train exploded ?
      The 18-wheeler explodes, the road segment goes into the water (as if someone had cut the rebars)

      The explosion happened at 6:30; at 8:00 the two clips from the security cameras started to circulate. Why would the ministry of investigation release those two clips so soon ? Why would the ministry of investigation spread the notion at 8:00 in the morning —before the train-tracks and the concrete had time to cool down— that it was a suicide truck-driver, facilitated by negligent bridge-guards, who demolished a section of the bridge ?

      1. Blackledge says

        Excellent questions.

        What do you think the answers, are?

        1. peterinanz says

          RM Poole, Dorset.

          1. Blackledge says

            Thank you, friend.

  4. John says

    What a silly article! You’d better keep in mind the broad picture instead of despairing at trivial tactical setbacks or rejoicing at same trivial tactical abvances.
    À war is won when the political objectives pursued through war have been met. This is when your enemy is broken.
    The political objectives of Russia have been clearly articulated by President Putin and fully endorsed by China, Iran, India and the vast majority of the planet. The rape and killing by the West of the whole world that has been ongoing over the last 400 years must come to an end. Russia has thrown down the gauntlet and is leading the way in this gigantic struggle against the empire of lies that the west has become.
    The slow pace of military operations in Ukraine serves different purposes. We can mention a few of the most notables ones. First is the slow motion collapse of the west financial and industrial sectors. Ukraine needs at least 5 billion usd a month just to pay its bills, then we have the military expenses which presently run at around 50 billion usd and keep on increasing, reaching the annual defence budget of Russia itself. All this has to be financed by the west with no reasonable chance of ever being reimbursed. Time is on the side of Russia.
    Secondly, by taking such care in preserving civil infrastructure and the life of civilians caught in this war, Russia is demonstrating convincingly to rest of the planet how barbarian and wicked are the ways of the west. The longer it goes, the most desperate measures are taken by the empire of lies, the more people around the world rise up against the tyrant in support of a Russia and the dawn of a better world. Just look at what is happening right now in Africa with mass demonstrations in support of Russia and against the colonisers. France is losing one country after another, Mali, ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, soon Niger… Do you think that a blitzkrieg of a few weeks would have produced the same awakening?
    Look also at the recent OPEC decision to reduce production by 2 million barrel a day! What a slap in the face for the USA… coming from its oldest ally, Saudi Arabia, on which the dollar hegemony is resting! Time is indeed on the side of Russia.
    Now we are entering into Winter with the west facing double digit inflation and the collapse of what remains of their industries. The German people are finally realising who their real enemies are, who are leading them to oblivion. The other people of Europe are also slowly coming to the realisation that they are doomed under their present elites. Time is indeed on the side of Russia.

    1. Jonathan says

      I pretty much read this site now for the handful of those with good sense on it. Thank you, John.

      1. Dianthus says

        Yes me too. He is to much on point and is more unbiased and open to new things then these 5D-noobs that are sharing for corrupt Putin. Lmao…both sides are murderers & idiots! So choose yourself before any of these two sides, bc all the other sides does is kill you for nothing really…

  5. Traveller says

    West showing openly now their proclivity for using terrorism. Soon everyone will understand clearly who is behind most terror atracks in the world for the past 30 years
    The bridge itself is unimportant militarily, Russia since March has direct land connection with Crimea.

    So, as much as the guy who writes all those silly pro-empire articles tries desperately to sow defeatism here, this terorist bombing only shows that degenerate West is falling apart.

    Winning the war by sucide-bombing militarily unimportant bridge ? Really?

    1. Ndims says

      It’s not hard to look on a map an see “some” military value.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.