Simplicius76's Battle Room

Simplicius76's Battle Room
20 Sep 2023 | 7:05 am

1. SITREP 9/20/23: Friction and Turmoil

Because I'm a stickler for getting to the root of things, and will always follow up on important issues as they develop, I wanted to start with a continuation of a previous line. In one of the last reports we talked about the potential mobilizations on both sides, troop numbers, and how that relates to upcoming conflict developments in the medium-term future.

I related how there had been new indication that Russia's newly recruited 300k force would be used to rotate the previously mobilized troops from September-October of 2022.

However State Duma Chairman Andrey Kartapolov has now put speculation to rest with a new decree which states directly that previously mobilized troops will not be "demobilized" as I had thought, and that their term will end only when the SMO itself ends:

"They will return home after completing a special military operation. No rotation is provided. They are entitled to leave for every six months served, and they now go on these vacations, " the deputy said.

However, they are still stating that the newly recruited will be used for ongoing rotations of the normal variety, like wounded people, etc., but simply that the 300k mobilized from last year will not be mass demobilized until the war is over.

This is good news as it means Russia is building up its forces. Interestingly, on this topic, General Milley made a new statement where he referenced that Russia has 200k or "200k plus" troops in Ukraine. Once again we recall that I've repeatedly hammered the point that Russia is using far less troops than people were led to believe. If they have only 200k+ in Ukraine now after mass mobilizations and hundreds of thousands of new enlistments, imagine what they had at the very beginning? That's why I stand by my reporting of Russia only using 70-80k men in the opening stages of the SMO, and not much more than that even by the time of the first year anniversary. Though I should mention that I believe Russia has total 350-450k forces as part of the SMO, but they are not necessarily all in Ukraine or on the frontlines, as a portion is being used for rotation purposes, etc.

Ultimately though there may be some deliberate deception at play from the Russian Duma as they may not want to completely reveal their future war plans. So for all we know they may be building those newly recruited for a huge strike fist while for now downplaying them as reserves of a sort.

Moving on, the other big subject for which we have an update is Ukrainian losses. Yesterday's bombshell came from the head of Poltava region military commissariat:

\🇺🇦⚡️Losses of last year's replenishment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine amounted to 90 percent - military commissar of Poltava

This recognition was made by the acting head of the Poltava Regional TCC, Lieutenant Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Vitaly Berezhnoy.

So, he is saying that upwards of 90% of all soldiers recruited in his entire large region became casualties. As I wrote in the mailbag yesterday, some have done a back-of-napkin calculation to get a theoretical 400k extrapolated figure for the entire AFU:

So if Ukraine mobilized 700,000 people and had an army of 300,000, a total of 1,000,000 You can project losses of about 800,000: - out of which 400,000 would be wounded, roughly half can return - 400,000 killed

There are unverified reports that Zelensky is now "indignant" and demands the dismissal of the Poltava commissar.

What's more is that a Ukrainian fighter posted confirmation of the Poltava figures from his own unit, on his account:

He even says some divisions have even worse casualty figures. How much worse can you get than 80-90% casualty rates?

The fact is that it's becoming increasingly clear that some of the worst, most extreme predictions on Ukrainian losses could in fact be true. This extends to things like POW captures, for instance with yesterday's new report that already 3,500 AFU soldiers had surrendered since the launch of Russia's new project to have a special "surrender frequency" on all radio channels where Ukrainians can dial in and safely surrender to Russian forces:

Since the launch of the Volga project, where the Armed Forces of Ukraine are invited to go to the frequency of 149.200 for surrender, just over 3,500 enemy soldiers and officers have voluntarily surrendered. In fact, a whole brigade of "counter-offensive".

The problem is, this project is only a few months old. That means 3,500 have surrendered just since July or so when I believe it was launched. That would explain the sudden uptick to 18k total POWs, as the new radio channel made it very convenient for AFU to surrender safely—which had classically been one of the main barriers preventing their surrender. They feared by going out into an open field, etc., they would be shot by jumpy snipers or anyone not seeing their makeshift white flag.

But the new channel allows them to fully coordinate the surrender with opposing Russian forces, who give them instructions where and how to do it and then inform all nearby friendlies not to fire on the Ukrainian troops. You can see it in this video from right around the time when the radio channel was launched:

What's interesting is that we have seen a huge increase in videos of "mass" surrenders in that time, in the form of entire groups of troops. Just yesterday and today for instance:

And even as of this writing, a brand new video came in with the specific caption that this party of Ukrainian soldiers used the special 'Volga' channel to surrender to Russian forces:

A new "party" of Ukrainian Armed Forces militants surrendered to the DPR

🔹The footage shows mobilized Ukrainians who are "tired of fighting." They decided to save their lives and stop pointless resistance.

To do this, they used a special open Russian radio channel.

Let us remind you that in mid-July the frequency 149.200 was named: on it, every Ukrainian who decides to surrender can go on the air and call the call sign "Volga".

Sadly, Ukrainian troops are just getting mowed down at this point. We saw a month or two ago they began their shift toward full-blown "meat assault" tactics because their armor had begun to run uncomfortably low. There is now numerous evidence of this in the form of videos showing either Ukrainian troops on foot simply plying through the open fields, or at most using their remaining light mobility vehicles:

Watch the above, see how the AFU troops were huddled in the grassy strips between the fields? Now, watch the video below which shows the ground level view of an AFU soldier staggering through the desolation. This is a must watch video that shows how much the AFU is paying for every square inch of their meat assaults:

There's also this report which seems to underline the drop in armor:

Here is a small but curious piece of news. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have announced the change of name and therefore the transformation of the 92nd Mechanized Brigade into the 92nd Assault Brigade. What does all this mean? Mechanized Brigade is made up of four mechanized companies equipped with heavy armored support vehicles. An Assault Brigade has only two mechanized companies and another two of veteran infantry without armor. This shows that there is actually a significant decline in the availability of armored vehicles on the Ukrainian side.

And here was a good recent description of the new tactic Ukraine has been utilizing in the Rabotino area:

The Ukrainians and their supervisors realized that we are now facing a trench-infantry war, and therefore they are increasingly using cluster munitions. According to my feelings, two cluster munitions are now used for each high-explosive fragmentation munition. Chewing gum blocks are rushing towards Novoprokopovka. 

As a result, their progress looks like this: they iron the trenches with artillery for several days, while they accumulate in small groups in the basements of Rabochino. At the appointed hour, they run to the assault on foot. If the assault on the next opornik (strongpoint) fails, everything is repeated again and so on until the landing is wiped off the face of the earth."

With this corollary as well:

Despite all the criticism, the Surovikin line still fulfills its task. Yes, the Ukrainians reached it in the area of Verbovoye, but stormed it on foot. Armored vehicles did not break through, which means that even after the loss of the first lines, the "dragon teeth" still perform their function.
As armored vehicles became an auxiliary element on the battlefield, infantry, artillery, drones and electronic warfare came to the fore. Whoever builds the correct construction in this square will gain an advantage on the battlefield in the near future.

And as a corollary to that, I thought this statistic was interesting—albeit I'm not certain how true it is:

During the entire Battle of Kursk, the Soviet side used 400 thousand mines. Now, only between Pyatikhatki and Gulyai - Pole - this is mainly the site of Rabochino - Verbovoe-our team has put 480 thousand mines and this figure continues to grow! It is noted that even in their deep rear, the APU, when advancing to the front line, often run into our mines, in which they made passages back in June.

It's likely true though, given the industrial-scale abilities Russia now possesses in laying mines with RAAM and FASCAM auto-minelaying capabilities which scatter hundreds of mines at a time after being fired from tube artillery.

As a last mention on the topic of losses, in yesterday's mailbag I had discussed partisan forces and mercenaries. Now British mercenaries are fleeing Ukraine because they are terrified for their lives due to the recent uptick in mercenaries being extrajudicially killed, or rather assassinated by their own people:

Read what he says above: "I will turn up dead if I continue."

They are getting backlash for bringing to light the recent killings of mercenaries in the rear, such as the other British mercs found dead with their hands tied behind their back.

The above references another mercenary named Macer Gifford, who speaks on it below and also expresses his wishes to leave:

And here's the British news report about the dead mercenaries recently found:

A Polish mercenary likewise reported how mind-boggling the losses on the AFU side are:

So what is Ukraine gaining for all that slaughter? There continues to be virtually no advancement—the settlements they claim to have 'captured' like Klescheyevka in fact remain in the gray zone and neither side can enter them. In fact, astonishingly, even the settlements "captured"—what is effectively now—months ago, like Staryomayorsk and Urozhayne are not even controlled by Ukraine. They continue to be mostly gray zones with small roaming groups entering from the north then getting chased out by artillery.

It's a testament to what Russia said early on—that artillery wars simply leveled all of these places (which includes Klescheyevka, Andreevka, etc.), now allowing either side to occupy them any further because there is simply no objects behind which to take cover anymore.

New drone footage of Klescheyevka refutes Ukraine's claim of controlling it, as it shows a desolate wasteland with no troops from either side occupying it:

Lastly, there are rumors like the following. Though take it with a grain of salt:

General mobilization in exchange for weapons and refusal of elections

An interesting version of Zelensky's plans for a visit to the United States from the people's Deputy Dubinsky was published by the Ukrainian channel ZeRada.

According to the people's deputy, Zelensky will be given weapons and will stop insisting on the mandatory elections next year in exchange for total mobilization and sending everyone to the front - from women and teenagers to the disabled and the elderly.

To the last...

After all, Ukrainian political scientist Serhiy Datsyuk just said in a video days ago that inevitably even all children will be mobilized:


On the other hand, in the Black Sea and Crimea theater, Ukraine has gotten in some licks which allows it to keep its information war afloat. This is not by coincidence of course, but rather that due to its failed offensive, they were forced to reorient resources toward something new which would grant them 'victory points' in the media.

This has resulted in a large-scale new campaign targeting Crimea, which includes the recent raids onto derelict oil platforms which Ukraine is attempting to use as staging areas for DRG units to attempt night-time raids onto Crimean shores. It's claimed these units are also attempting to do surveillance on Crimean defenses, like a Russian S-300 launcher which was allegedly hit in Yevpatoria.

Now they've targeted Sevastopol's shipyards, hitting Russia's Ropucha class landing ship and possibly Kilo class diesel submarine. I say possibly because the photos "leaked" of the submarine appear to be potentially fake as:

  1. they don't quite match the satellite footage

  2. they were first "leaked" / posted by Ukrainian accounts

  3. they are strangely pixelated/censored when the leaked video footage of the ship right next to the sub was clear and uncensored

  4. there's no follow-up / subsequent satellite footage to show clearer destruction when there has been such in every other hit, like on the Il-76, etc.

  5. they also claimed Russian patrol ship Sergey Kotov was hit by naval drones and fully sunk, yet it turned out to be fake, indicating a coordinated information campaign from Ukraine

Many are making a big deal about these strikes, using them to string together a narrative that Ukraine is gaining strength in its strike capabilities, and is "whittling away" Russia's defenses, degrading its ability to protect Crimea, and that this will all lead to Crimea's eventual abandonment and recapture.

But it's a very clever bit of narrative engineering on Ukraine's part. Most of the individual pieces are not correlated. For instance, Yevpatoria's S-300 hit has little to do with Ukraine's ability to hit Sevastopol 70km away given that a radar unit at that distance cannot even see a sea-skimming or low flying target.

Nor are the strikes on Sevastopol's repair facility necessarily indicative of any newfound capabilities. Just like the strikes on Russia's distant Pskov airbase, completely unconnected to the SMO, Ukraine is targeting more vulnerable and potentially neglected areas in order to create a splash.

For instance, nearby in Sevastopol there are entire berths full of the most powerful, expensive, and advanced Russian ships. Why couldn't they target and destroy those? Instead they were forced to hit a repair dock housing two already-out-of-service vessels, which were in fact sitting there defunct for months. It's the same argument I've made before about Russia having entire airfields full of its frontline jets, Ka-52 choppers, etc., and Ukraine has not been able to touch them, instead relying on fanfare-producing sneak attacks on neglected and insignificant areas in the rear.

That being said, though it was only an old landing ship which have no use for the SMO it's still a painful blow, particularly if it's true the submarine was also hit or destroyed. Of course, Russian MOD released an official statement stating both vessels would be repaired, however some experts believe that to be unlikely given the potential damage. We'll have to wait and see—but given that both vessels were already out of order it doesn't exactly detract from Russia's capability in the near term.

The only question will be to see if Russia can tighten the gaps that allowed these (reportedly) 3 Storm Shadows to bypass the net. Russian MOD claimed there were 10 total and 7 were shot down, so it's possible it was a saturation attack which overwhelmed air defenses. It must be remembered that if it was that easy for Ukraine to do, they would repeat it again and knock out all of Russia's ships in Sevastopol. The fact that they were only able to do this once indicates to me a very long planned out action they're only capable of carrying out once every long while.

In general, we can conclude that though these attacks give the appearance of strength and "success" of some sort, they follow a common theme of hitting defunct or derelict objects with little connection to the SMO—which only shows Ukraine's weakness and desperation to create media victories. From striking Moscow skyscrapers to empty transport planes somewhere near the Gulf of Finland, to hitting broken ships sitting in a repair bay—none of these constitute actual decisive or damaging strikes on active Russian military capabilities. That's the most important takeaway and bottom line.

Meanwhile, Shoigu has finished up negotiations with Kim:

And has already swiftly moved onto Iran, to meet with the Iranian defense ministry:

Major things are expected to be signed. The most significant rumor from the North Korean parleys is that Russia has possibly made deals to obtain over 10 million 122mm and 152mm artillery shells from North Korea. If even remotely true, it represents a significant number that represents upwards of 1-3 years' worth of shell useage, depending on intensity. Firing 30k shells a day equals just over 10M per year.

Such a massive shell boost—if true—could give Russia enough to comfortably launch a massive offensive in the future without worrying about dipping into emergency reserve. Recall what I said many times before: one weakness is that Russia always has to maintain a large reserve stock of shells for the contingency that NATO happens to launch some sort of sneak attack, and full scale war breaks out. That means Russia could have several million shells as an emergency reserve it doctrinally cannot touch.

For what it's worth, SBU head Budanov, by the way, said that Russia has already begun receiving the shipments:

There are also talks of potentially acquiring long range North Korean MLRs and artillery systems, but we'll have to see about that.

☄️☄️☄️North Korea will supply the Russian Armed Forces with about 10 million shells of 122 and 155 mm caliber, — political analyst Yuri Baranchik

"A number of sources also report that the DPRK will supply Moscow with such modern and powerful MLRS as the KN-09. Let me remind you that the KN-25 system was introduced by Pyongyang in 2019 and boasts a range of over 400 km. It is a kind of improved version of HIMARS," Baranchik said.☄️☄️☄️


Next I wanted to briefly cover the hectic geopolitical events breaking out at the moment.

Not only have the Nagorno-Karabakh hostilities restarted but a fairly significant UN general assembly is convening where Zelensky has flown to New York to make what could be one of his final big cases for support.

The UN meeting falls under the shadow of ongoing Ukrainian grain escalations, which saw Poland, Hungar, and Slovakia ban Ukraine's grain, initiating a lawsuit from Ukraine itself.

It's now created bad blood, where Poland's patience has run a bit low, such that Poland cancelled its planned meeting with Zelensky at the UN assembly:

And the Polish president bitterly issued this nasty statement about Ukraine:

Polish president "A drowning person is extremely dangerous because he can pull you to the depths. He can drown the rescuer. Ukraine is behaving like a drowning person clinging to everything he can, but we have the right to defend ourselves against harm being done to us."

In fact, Ukraine has been under quite a bit of assault in this make-or-break moment. House Speaker McCarthy is stalling further aid, conditionally demanding to first get a personal audit from Zelensky on where American dollars are going:

Two things about the above video:

First, it's likely just grandstanding for McCarthy to project an image of "putting Americans first" before the proverbial blank check to Ukraine.

But even so, on the off chance the above has even a shred of genuineness, I'll say that this is a perfect illustration of what I meant when I explained in the mailbag series why Ukraine is forced to always go forward, even at the cost of mass slaughter. Because the moment they stop providing their sponsors with the illusion or perception of success and triumph, the representatives in each home country will begin to question "where their money is going" as their own constituents' patience sags.

Beyond that, Zelensky's job is to renew as much arms support as possible, and parallel to that there've been reports of some of the new shipments, which include German Leopard 1s. Unfortunately, there's already trouble in paradise, as a new report claims Ukraine rejected the first batch of Leopards because none of them worked…it's almost too comical to be real:

Three major eye-opening admissions in just this one note above:

1. Recall I had reported for months on how Germany was fast-tracking and expediting a small emergency shipment of the Leopard 1s in July in order to plug gaps in the unforeseen destruction of Ukraine's main armor units during the opening stages of the "counteroffensive". Apparently, according to the above, even that emergency shipment was defunct and useless.

2. They admit that Ukraine has no abilities to repair or even maintain any of this equipment, so I suppose it's a one time use disposable sort of thing, like one of those RPGs you throw away after, or perhaps—to be even more apt—like toilet paper.

3. The reason the above is a huger deal than it sounds is because of the next crazy admission: they state that this current batch of tanks is defunct simply from the exertion experienced during the light training they were used for. Put the two ideas together: on one hand the tanks are unusable and break down after only light use, and on the other hand—Ukraine admits they have zero capability to maintain or repair these tanks whatsoever…

What are you left with?

In short, it's a complete fiasco and just goes to support my assertion that these latest stopgap measures are nothing more than terminal stage propaganda boost attempts of sheer desperation. Same goes for ATACMs, F-16s, etc.

But that doesn't stop Zelensky from not only begging for more, but disingenuously using the fearmongering tactic of claiming that Russia aims to conquer all of Europe. Listen here to his answers when the host asks how much more money will it take?

Furthermore, he states that Ukraine cannot stop the offensive even for Rasputitsa, which is already starting. This is because he fears allies' support will begin to wane, as it already appears to be doing—which is exactly what I've been harping on about:

In light of all this begging, the most recent American package has been noted as 17 times smaller than previous assistance funds:

In the 46th package of military assistance to Ukraine from September 6, the United States included weapons and military equipment worth only $175 million. This is 17 times less than the largest at the moment, the 29th military aid package, which was announced on January 6, 2023.

It is also noteworthy that at the end of the first month of the offensive, the US Armed Forces had to spend more than $2 billion unplanned. After the first significant losses in the Zaporizhia and South Donetsk directions, the Ukrainian Armed Forces needed substantial compensation for the lost military equipment and equipment, for which the United States allocated a total of more than $2 billion in four tranches — on June 13 and 27, and on July 7 and 25. A significant part of these sums was spent on additional supplies of American M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and Stryker armored personnel carriers. (Military chronicle of TG)


I'll likely comment more in full on the Armenia situation another time, as I didn't want this post to get too long after the previous hyper-long one. But for now I'll simply say that the situation is very complex and there are clear provocations happening against Russia on the Armenian side, like the following paid crowd chanting nasty Russian epithets towards Lavrov and Putin:

This one is a DOOZY:

Everyone by now knows that Pashinyan can't be trusted:

It's looking more and more like flare up of the provocations are a deliberately orchestrated campaign by Pashinyan and his CIA handlers to push Russia out of Armenia, after blaming Russia for the collapse of peace. This so U.S. can then sweep in and offer a resolution, then begin a new American stewardship over the region to begin activating this flank against Russia.

This is evident by the fact that even days and weeks prior to today there have been increasing "provocations" against Russian peacekeeping troops, like this one from last week:

Such provocations never happen "organically" but are coordinated efforts from NGOs and intel agencies in every instance.

Now it's clear that the U.S. is trying to "activate" all regions around Russia to destabilize Russia as much as possible as a continuous effort to weaken the Ukraine campaign. This follows other such announcements:

And it further follows increasing attacks on Russian and Russian-allied forces all over the globe, from Syria to Africa. This includes recent attacks which have killed Wagner soldiers after reports that French intel agencies are now training rebels to hit Wagner:

🇲🇱🇫🇷 The connection between Tuareg rebels in Mali and France

Russian channel Rybar got an interesting, but an expected information. Apparently, French foreign intelligence agency DGSE has a close connection to the Azawad movement in northern Mali.

The attack on the town of Bourem was a test of the militia forces and the capabilities of the Malian army and the remaining units of the PMC "Wagner". At the moment, Tuareg rebels under the leadership of French operatives are preparing for an offensive on the city of Gao.

France promised a support to Tuaregs in their attempts to make an independent state and against the jihadist militants.

All this is done to weaken pro-Russian influence in the Sahel and at the same time to motivate other terrorist groups to intensify attacks on Mali's armed forces.

But though the U.S. and allies are desperately trying to set the world on fire to weaken Russia around its peripheries in any way they can, all these efforts are little more than chaff in the wind and will have no effect on the SMO. And as always we must remember that this pales in comparison to Russia's own much more successful hybrid/asymmetric warfare conducted against the Atlanticists in Africa and elsewhere.

I'll end this section with these posts. First RussiansWithAttitudes' thought-provoking post about the Armenia situation which brings up a lot of good points:

One final thought on the Armenia/Karabakh question: a huge percentage of the Armenian people, perhaps the majority, has no desire to defend Karabakh and fight for it. They wished for someone who would rid them of this troublesome problem. They have found this someone: Pashinyan.

They wanted a politician who'd sell out the Armenians in Karabakh, but in a way that wouldn't make the Armenians in Armenia feel bad about it. That is, he would need to create a false narrative in which it's actually Russia's fault. The imaginary "Russian support of Azerbaijan" has been the key political myth in Armenia (and even more so in the diaspora) in recent years.

Armenia is a democracy. They elected a person who would save them from the Karabakh problem. They reelected him after he shamefully lost a war that they had 30 years to prepare for (& didn't dig a single trench). If the people of Armenia were opposed to Pashinyan, they would throw him out. They haven't and won't. Because he is this savior they've been waiting for.

Pashinyan will surrender Karabakh to the Azeris. He will do it in such a way that he can blame it on "the evil Russians who stabbed us in the back". He will do exactly what he was elected to do: to get rid of Karabakh, and save the Armenians in Armenia from the guilt of having betrayed their countrymen.

Currently, the Armenian government & society are working much harder on building a narrative that would explain why it is Moscow's fault that the entire population of Artsakh was raped, tortured and killed with farm instruments than they're working on their military readiness.

They don't want Russia or Iran to protect Karabakh. They don't want to protect Karabakh themselves. They just want a moral excuse for their betrayal of their fellow Armenians. It's a pity, because the people of Artsakh are very brave, and they are ready to fight and die for their land. But Russia cannot help them if Armenia doesn't want to.

From the point of view of geostrategic logic, the only thing that matters to Russia in Armenia right now is the Zangezur corridor that connects to Iran. Russian diplomatic efforts saved Armenia from a complete military catastrophe in 2020. Russian peacekeepers made sure that at least a part of Artsakh would remain Armenian.

But Russia simply cannot commit to the protection of Artsakh if the Armenian state isn't committed to it. The Armenian state hopes that it can sell out its countrymen as Danegeld to the Azeris and keep limping along, perhaps on Western life support. This is wishful thinking, of course. But it's what they've decided. You can't save people against their will. Thus, Russia shouldn't get involved at all, unless to safeguard its own direct interests.

And then what Dmitry Medvedev wrote about Pashinyan today:

One day, one of my colleagues from a fraternal country told me: "Well, I'm a stranger to you, you won't accept me," Dmitry Medvedev said about the Armenian Prime Minister.

"I answered what I had to: "We will judge not by biography, but by deeds." Then he lost the war, but strangely stayed in place. Then he decided to blame Russia for his incompetent defeat.

Then he gave up part of his country's territory. Then he decided to flirt with NATO, and his wife defiantly went to our enemies with cookies. Guess what fate awaits him ..."


A last few sundry and interesting items.

Russia's drone war is heating up. Below is a video showcasing how deadly Russia's FVP drone usage has become—infantry is no longer safe anywhere; the drones chase them into every nook and cranny:

And here's an example of a small Russian boutique drone assembly shop which produces 1000 pieces per month:

More and more the Western narrative is that Russia wants Poland and/or the Baltics next, and that U.S. will have to join the war soon. Not only was that Zelensky's main pleading line in the video I posted earlier, but both Nikki Haley and Mike Pence chose the threat as their campaign's main angle of attack:


Wagner is claimed to be coming back to the frontline sometime soon, though under what banner no one knows:

It was initially claimed that Wagner was somehow going to be involved with Russian Rosgvardia forces but that remains uncertain.

Speaking of Wagner, a crazy episode occurred in Syria. This is a long post I'll paste so those not particularly interested can skip it, but if true, it shows the type of real animosity and hostility that exists between Wagner and the Russian MOD, which led to all the nasty business which transpired this year.

It involves the Russian general Yunus-bek Yevkurov who Prigozhin likewise antagonized when he took over Rostov:

From knyaz_cherkasky:

I apologize in advance to my subscribers if I didn't answer anyone, but words cannot describe what was going on here at night. I don't even know if it's possible to describe it so as not to sow panic (you should ask the stern people with shoulder straps under their jackets), but the Syrians are in shock, and everything was within a hair's breadth of a mess between the Wagners and our Defense Ministry, and according to rumors both in Syria and in Libya, amid of which the so-called. A "march for justice" (Prigozhin's Wagner uprising) would be a child's walk.

Actually, because of this, my transfer of the second group of archaeologists to Palmyra to work in the theater was disrupted, since the passage through T4 to Palmyra was blocked.

But, it seems, everything worked out - Wagner got through to Moscow, the helicopters were canceled on time.

The Syrians talk excitedly and say that everything was like in the film.

In order not to write a separate post and at the same time, answering numerous questions, I will add that half of Syria is already being discussed east of Furukulus.

Yesterday's incident is as follows: Wagner, after being banned from flying through Khmeimim and the cancellation of permits from the Russian Foreign Ministry, agreed with the Syrian Ministry of Defense and arranged flights for rotation to Africa, through the Syrian T4 airbase. As the plane took off, Russian helicopters were raised into the air, and fire trucks were driven onto the runway to prevent it from landing. The Syrians were told that if this plane lands, fire will be opened on it. Moreover, the Syrian soldiers, who had their order to accept the plane, for some time resisted the actions of the Russian Defense Ministry on the runway itself, but when they saw the hovering helicopters, they considered it best to retreat. Since the fuel in the circling plane (a cargo plane from Libya) was running out, the question arose, since it might not make it back to Libya.

At Wagner's place, those who were preparing for the meeting contacted Libya and, according to rumors, they said that if this plane was shot down, then Wagner in Libya would strike the MoD base in response.

But at the last moment, the leadership of the Syrian Wagners got through to Yevkurov and the order was canceled, the plane landed. The funniest thing about this (if it can be funny at all) was that there were 170 Syrians on board, Wagner contractors, who were flying home after a contract in Libya).

The Syrians told me about this excitedly, with their eyes wide open, waving their arms and asking - what is going on there?

It's clear that Russia created a monster with the Wagner group, but it was a necessary one for the time.

On that note, Surovikin was now spotted leading a Russian military delegation to Algeria, which means he's now back in the fold:

In what capacity, though? No one knows yet.


A very strange and interesting incident. Russia released footage of a new variant Lancet-3M drone with extended range, hitting a Ukrainian Mig-29 jet at the Dolgintsevo airfield near Krivoy Rog:

There's a wealth of things to say about this, as it opens up a whole topic for discussion.

Firstly, the good news is it shows that Lancets can now go upwards of 70km+ or more behind enemy lines, which is the distance of the airfield from Russia's side of the Dnieper.

However, it brought up a lot of questions regarding how it's possible that an airfield seemingly full of functional planes can be left unperturbed so close to the frontline, as you can see several other planes in the video. Some have suggested some of them may be mothballed donor planes for parts. Also based on this photo showing a stack of tires, some further suggested that Ukraine was readying to cover the planes with tires as Russia has recently done, or to burn the tires to create concealing smoke, sensing an upcoming attack—which could point to the fact that the planes had only just arrived prior to the hit:

I've covered Ukraine's airfields at length before. The bottomline is that they move their planes around a lot in order to keep Russian strikes guessing. Their remaining few planes jump from airfield to airfield, as well as to ad hoc highway runways and hangars literally built into offramps. Scroll down to the middle of the page here to see my in depth coverage of it:

Nevertheless, it still brings up other questions. 70km from the frontline is well within range of heavy MLRS (Smerch) as well as a variety of other systems (Iskanders, etc.) which could flatten those planes. One thing is we know days ago, Russia announced destroying 5 planes at that very field:

Since we don't know the exact date of the Lancet video, it could have happened before or after that. Which means the Lancet may have very well just been the opening strike after having first reconned the planes there, and the subsequent missile attack followed soon after. This is the most logical explanation.

However, since this has stirred a wider discussion amongst other experts, I'll paste a few of the most cogent ones because I think the debate around why Russia can't just "annihilate" all Ukraine's airfields at once is an important one. To this day, most lay people can't understand this and believe it's easy to just launch a mass "strike" of some sort to wipe out entire airfields making them completely unusable, as well as destroying anything parked there.

But that's not quite how it works. The main reason being some of these Soviet constructed fields like the Starokonstantinovka one are so gargantuan it's difficult to imagine or quite appreciate the size for the average person. There is no type of strike that can completely wipe such a thing out, short of a nuclear one. But I'll allow the following expert to explain:

After another successful raid by Ukrainian Su-24Ms with Storm Shadow missiles, taking off from the Starokonstantinov airbase, they again began to raise the question of "why don't we destroy enemy missiles, aircraft and their bases?" .

The answer, as always, is quite simple and banal: because we can't.

This is not a matter of some behind-the-scenes agreements that many invent to explain what is happening. The fact is that the bases of enemy missiles and bombers are well protected by both shelters and air defense systems, and timely receipt of information from NATO satellite reconnaissance allows them to withdraw their aircraft several hours before the strike, which we have also written about several times.

At the same time, we simply do not use cluster warheads for the Kalibr or X-101 cruise missiles, which could immediately cover entire Ukrainian aviation sites (if it were possible to catch them in the open) or landfills of non-flying specimens that are taken away to spare parts for those still flying. And missiles capable of effectively hitting strong reinforced concrete shelters are few in number and extremely expensive.

On the other hand, as practice shows, our attempt to play passive defense ends with the enemy having the initiative and, having accumulated only a few difficult-to-kill missiles, simply breaking through the air defense in one specific place and causing serious damage that cannot be resisted.

Military Informant


"Why can't we take and destroy Ukrainian airfields, ports and railway junctions?"
A good answer to this question was given by the American military theorist Edward Luttwak in his recent article.

According to him, only for one raid of the British Air Force on Germany during the Second World War, aircraft could drop 2560 tons of ammunition.: This is more than the total tonnage delivered by Russian cruise missiles to targets on Ukrainian territory since the beginning of the CDF.
The nature of the fighting has changed dramatically since then. If then 700 (!) bombers could have participated in one attack, now there is not even such a large number of aircraft and flight personnel. Today, this approach, if the enemy has air defense, will lead to the fact that the already scarce boards will simply run out in a month or two.

Both "Kalibry" and X-101 are effective means of pinpoint destruction. But it is certainly not worth waiting for the fact that a salvo of 10 missiles is capable of demolishing some large Soviet factory that Ukraine has inherited, for objective reasons. And this is true for other similar products, be it Tomahawk or Storm Shadow.
This is clearly seen in the example of the US attack on the Syrian Shayrat airbase in 2017: with the launch of 59 missiles and accurate hits, no "moonscape" happened there, and planes from the airfield began to take off the very next day. (Rybar)

One point the first one brings up is that if Russia had missiles specially designed to hit runways, it could at least do a somewhat better job of potentially negating runways (though they would still be fixed). There are special missiles for this some countries have, for instance France's Matra Durandal:

The Durandal is an anti-runway penetration bomb developed by the French company Matra (now MBDA), designed to destroy airport runways and exported to several countries. A simple crater in a runway could be just filled in, so the Durandal uses two explosions to displace the concrete slabs of a runway, thus making the runway much more difficult to repair.

Russia has bombs that do this, for instance Betab-500ShP but they have to be dropped from a jet, which counts them out. The P-270 Moskit and a few other missiles are said to have secondary anti-runway functions, though I don't think they're specifically tailored to that like the Durandal, with the dual explosion, etc. But I'm not sure if Russia has attempted to use those on runways.

Ultimately, runways can still be fixed and even filled in relatively easily so it's not the hugest deterrent and I'm not sure how good the trade off is between what time you gain versus the cost of the missiles you use. It's good for something like a third world country, where you can disable their only runway, but against a military power like Ukraine it may not create much of a hindrance.

And speaking of that, here's a new photo of a Russian Su-34 in flight with Fab-500M62 UMPK glidebombs attached.


Russia has released a new military ad which seems to "hint" at the future takeover of Kiev and Odessa:


In "everything's going well in Ukraine" news, we have the following report:

🇺🇦🤡 The Ukrainian government proposes that prisoners generate electricity by pedaling bicycles.

Such a bill was registered by People's Deputy Sergei Grivko (Servant of the People).

He proposed allowing prisoners to produce electricity using bicycle generators in exchange for a shorter prison sentence.

"If within a month they comply with the standards determined by the Ministry of Justice, then the term of imprisonment will be reduced by 3 days, but not more than 10 months per year. That is, over the course of a year, a prisoner can reduce the term of imprisonment by 30 days. This will directly affect the savings on his content – up to approximately 8% (up to 200 million in UAH)," writes Grivko.

Interesting, concept. So, prisoners can reduce their sentence by being electricity-generating hamsters.

Only in Ukraine.

Lastly, I'll leave you with this very edifying sampling of Ukrainian vs. Russian populations in the street, as to the question of whether they enjoy the opposing side being bombed. As always, draw your own conclusions:

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
18 Sep 2023 | 9:02 pm

2. Subscriber Mailbag Answers - 9/18/23 [Part 1]

Welcome all, the mailbag answers are finally here, and it's a big one. Many good, incisive questions, even more so than usual, so let's get right to them.

But remember, all subscribers paid and free can leave comments on this open post.


Ok, here is my question, which bothers me for a long time. So, to have a properly functional, integrated army, you need a long time to train not only soldiers but also a cooperations between units, etc. This is what is argued as the problem for the Ukrainian arm forces. But when I am thinking about the Soviet Army, during the WW II, surely there was not this luxury of time. I am missing something, somewhere. And I do appreciate that soldiers also learn via combat. Can you, please, explain? Maybe this is a non-question, but I would like to know why it would be a non-question. I do hope I make sense here. Thank you!

You bring up a very good point which I've harped on in the past. This is that modern Western/American propaganda has led us to believe that untrained "conscript" forces are useless and highly inferior to that of Western "professional" armies. This has always been part and parcel to the same bias regarding the inferiority of anything Russian, whether equipment or tactics like the infamous "top-down" centralized "Soviet style" which is said to be "inferior" to NATO's "maneuver warfare" and small unit independence.

But the truth is more nuanced: conscript forces are no where near as bad as people make them out to be, and that's not just my opinion, there's been some scholarship on it. A large portion of history's biggest wars were fought almost entirely with conscript forces. There isn't quite as much to basic soldiering as people delude themselves into thinking, and you can learn most of the essentials out in the field on the fly; the adage: experience is the greatest teacher is apt here.

There have been numerous anecdotal reports from both sides (Donbass "rebels" and AFU) that newly recruited, untrained "conscripts" take only a matter of days to learn the ropes and become relatively seasoned troops on the frontline.

But don't get too carried away: no one's saying they'll ever be as good as a highly trained professional soldier who's been in the force for several years—but simply that the variance is not as great as people like to pretend, and having contract vs. conscript doesn't give you an instant "win" button.

A unit/formation of conscripts being driven hard by a merciless commander can in some ways end up being even more effective than the so-called "professional" force because the particular unit may exhibit greater fear of their command/er than even dying and will do feats of arms that professional troops would shy away from or consider crazy, like storming trenches head on, which can often lead to success simply by way of the sheer brazen boldness of the action. It's true that fortune favors the bold—despite heavier losses, sometimes such a force will actually be more effective.

There's an illustrative episode in WW2 which can be used to compare to the current conflict in showing the pitfalls of conscript forces. It was Operation Fredericus also known as the Second Battle of Kharkov in 1942. After the victories of the 1941 winter, Stalin got overly confident and thought he could overextend and continue brutally pushing the Germans back. However, many of the new Soviet recruits who took over for those who died in the Battle of Moscow, etc., were fresh conscripts with limited training.

Stalin got cocky, ignored his generals who urged him to dig in defensively instead, and made a big push around Kharkov which formed a 'salient' or bulge that Germany managed to exploit. Due to this massive blunder, three entire army groups of 250k Soviet men were wiped out. However, it was said to be a very educational moment for Stalin, who from that point on began to trust his generals, and many of the subsequent campaigns owed their success to that one tragically edifying moment.

The single most important battlefield trait is morale and Will, which can also be called 'fighting spirit', or what some countries like to call esprit de corps. It's an intangible that can't quite be "taught" no matter what sort of training you have. Yet this trait alone can overcome virtually any other shortcoming or deficiency.

A team of Navy Seals can be destroyed by a group of farmers who are passionately fighting for something they love. The Vietcong had almost nothing compared to the superior American forces. You've likely seen the photos of starved soldiers with one rifle amongst them, huddling in dark tunnels—yet they managed to defeat the U.S. army.

There are many components and "equalizers" in warfare beyond simple "training" and superior firepower. For instance, sheer numbers is another one. If you have numbers and relatively good morale in your troops, almost nothing can stop you. The USSR had huge reserves, and though many of them weren't well-trained, they knew what they were fighting for because the concept of 'Motherland' and a societal people's war was central to the USSR's ethos. Soviet soldiers fought like fanatics because they were fighting an existential battle for their motherland. This led to certain German conclusions. For instance, tank commander Otto Carius, who was one of the few to have fought against the Soviets on the eastern front but also against the Americans on the western front later in the war, remarked in his book Tigers in the Mud that "5 Soviet soldiers are worth more than 30 American ones." Soviet soldiers had much more to fight for than Americans in Europe did.

But you have to consider how many people the USSR lost. There were single battles where more men were wiped out than the total casualties of the current Ukrainian war. USSR had the luxury of total societal mobilization to make mistakes, a luxury no country in the world can currently count on.

But as a last and most important factor, a large part of it is having a rich military heritage and tradition. When you have a very strong "system" with volumes of doctrines proven through trial and error over the course of hundreds of years of successful warfare like Russia had, then it allows you to integrate new men into that system much more quickly. That's because hundreds or even thousands of years worth of martial knowledge are already there embedded in the academies, the training regimens, and the social/collective consciousness of the armed forces. Some will argue Stalin destroyed a lot of that with his "purges", but as with everything related to Stalin or the USSR in general, most of that is vastly exaggerated by libelous Western sources with an axe to grind.

As a last anecdote most people don't know about:

People consider the first Chechen War to be an unequal contest between giant Russia and an incomparably diminutive enclave. But what most don't know is that on the Russian side, most of the troops were young conscripts at the time with very little training while the Chechen side was actually staffed with a huge proportion of old special forces veterans, many of whom served in the Afghan war on the Soviet side. So the first Chechen war is an example of a heavy, untrained conscript force against highly trained veterans to an extent. And while Russia didn't achieve its objectives, the troops acquitted themselves decently well. Much of the legends surrounding the Chechen conflicts were the same type of Western propaganda you see now in the Ukrainian war, invariably aiming to characterize Russia as poor and broken, demonize its armed forces, etc.

Also the Falklands War mostly featured Argentinian conscripts against the most elite British SAS-style forces. And while Britain won, it was a tougher than expected fight with casualty levels that were not overly disproportionate, with official figures showing 255 killed, 775 wounded on the British side and 649 killed, 1,657 wounded on the Argentine side.


The consensus seems to put the number of severely wounded Ukrainians both civilian and military at around 60 000. If that's the case who looks after rehabilitation of these people as well as providing ongoing care and support. Is it left up to individual families and communities on a local level & is it dealt with differently in Russia.

Firstly, let me say that I believe the maimed figure for Ukraine is much higher than the semi-recently reported 60k. That's because last fall there was leaked paperwork which already had shown 60k limbless/maimed soldiers internally. That means by now we can only assume that number is already 150-200k. In fact it's interesting they even chose 60k as the official number recently since that's what was leaked last year. It makes me believe that they simply reported the real number, but a very out of date one.

As for rehabilitation it seems to be all over the place with widespread complaints from family members that the state is not taking care of the soldiers. There are many videos of disabled soldiers who said they have not received a penny from the state. For instance, take this disabled AFU vet in Sumy, begging for scraps last month:

He plainly states he served in the 128th assault brigade but after suffering a disability he was tossed out and now begs for scraps in the street, getting zero from the state.

So for the most part I believe as you said it does come down to the individual and community level in many cases. It's hard to say how many are actually taken care of by the government, and I'm sure there is some percentage. But there's simply too much first hand evidence showing similar things to the above video.

In Russia I'm not sure I've heard of a single case where something like the above has happened. With that said I'm not familiar with the specific benefits offered to maimed/injured, but extrapolating from what's offered to families of killed soldiers we can expect that there's likely good government support.

At the moment the social benefits offered to Russian soldiers in general are second to none in the world. They get very preferential bonuses of all kinds, including free land, super cheap mortgages and various things of that nature. Not to mention Russia has a system of socialized healthcare to begin with, where you can get free or cheap services in general depending where you want to go.


Simplicius, could you please address how much support you think there is for Russia in the non-occupied oblasts, particularly the ones most people think could be likeliest to absorbed into Russia at some point in the future, and how important this could be or how linked it is to Russia's decisions to (or not to) launch a major offensive?

I'd like to imagine that support for Russia is high in Kharkiv, Nikolaev, Odessa, Sumy Regions, etc.., or in the cities of Zaporizhia and Kherson, but that could just be wishful thinking on my part. People in those regions may have brainwashed over the years by the Ukro-nazi propaganda and may have become more culturally attuned to the national ideology coming from Galicia/Volynhia. Seems to me that if there really were high support for Russia in non-occupied Oblasts, and if Russia wanted to occupy that territory eventually, they would create shadow governments and launch insurgencies in eastern Ukraine, but that hasn't happened. It could be that Russia hasn't done that because Russia wants to preserve undamaged the areas they want to occupy later, want to avoid a major escalation that could draw in Nato, or maybe because Russia really doesn't have broad territorial ambitions. But the lack of a Russian offensive could be just because Russia doesn't think they're supported outside the areas they occupy now, so they don't want to launch offensives in territory where the population is hostile.

Firstly, let's state that as of right now the "official" position is that Russia will not absorb any further, as Peskov himself stated Russia's present goal is only to administer the currently annexed regions which are Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye.

However, many of us realize that at the minimum several other key regions may eventually be annexed either way. Like you said, potentially Odessa, Nikolayev, Kharkov and maybe even Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Chernigov, etc.

Let me address the shadow insurgency stuff. There is a lot more of that going on than most people know about. You have to really have your ear to the ground to make note of it, but there is a significant partisan factor going on in exactly the areas you speak of. I've reported on it from time to time, for instance several videos a while back from the Nikolayev region which showed masked partisan members with disguised voices who state that they're carrying out sabotage attacks in the rear.

Last week this video made waves where a Ukrainian soldier said that up to a full battalion of men have been killed in the rear:

If you dig down the rabbit hole of what's happening, there is a lot of information pointing to a strong partisan force that's taking out Ukrainian forces in the rear, sometimes when soldiers are on vacation, or out for a smoke, or a variety of other scenarios.

A recent Kherson partisans transmission:

LordBebo on Telegram did a small deep dive on it, uncovering a lot of such deaths:

As for support, ultimately the only true signifier we have are the now-famous election maps showing vote percentages from previous elections which I'm sure everyone has seen by now:

And those spreads stayed roughly the same from all the way back to Kuchma's time. The only interesting thing is that, when presented with these maps, pro-Ukrainians like to show Zelensky's election and how the spread changed drastically, with much of Donbass even voting for him.

But of course—the alternative was Poroshenko, and Zelensky lied, presenting himself as a uniter of all people. He promised to end the conflict, uphold the Russian language, and various other 'populist' talking points aimed at eastern Ukraine. But as soon as he won he immediately flipped the script.

The other thing you have to consider is that, if and when Russia begins actually approaching those provinces, the anti-Russian segment will presumably flee to western Ukraine/Europe, etc. That means much more of the pro-Russian population will stay and wait for their liberation. That means subsequent referendum votes to join Russia should theoretically privilege all the stay-behinds who are pro-Russian, which would swing those numbers even higher than normal.

Thus I do believe Russia will easily gain a high/favorable referendum percentage in the regions you mentioned, like Nikolayev, Odessa, Kharkov, probably even Sumy, etc.

After all, the percentages for the previous ones were extremely high:

That means even if the subsequent regions are much lower, they will still likely be well into 'majority' territory. It would make no sense that Kherson had nearly 90% and then neighboring Nikolayev would suddenly be below 50%. From surveys I've seen, Odessa, Nikolayev, etc., would likely still fall in at least the 65-75% range if not even much higher. As I said, remember that much of the anti-Russian side would likely flee as the army approached anyway.


Do we know if Ukraine's indigenous arms sector is producing vehicles, artillery pieces, tanks, etc? I understand there were lots of missile strikes, but if I recall Ukraine left the USSR with a fairly large defense plant, including factories for jet engines. I saw an article about them making 152mm shells but do we know if it has all been crippled?

First let me address shells which is the most realistic thing Ukraine could ever potentially even attempt to produce. There were a lot of rumors earlier in the year that Ukraine had begun production of its own 122mm and 155/152mm artillery shells. However most of this is smoke and mirrors.

There was a batch of strange looking shells that reached the front which were identified by UA experts as indigenous production, using less powerful types of explosives and generally not as good as the Soviet counterpart:

These same experts admitted Ukraine had no production capabilities prior to this:

Later, Ukrainian troops themselves admitted on video interviews that the shells were just a small test batch, made in some basement:

Most of it is exaggeration or deliberate misdirection. For instance, here they admit that they simply reload old propellant/primer charges:

Expired shells need to be refurbished and most likely their 'test batch' was just some old expired shells they recoated and changed out the expired explosives. There is no real domestic artillery production of this kind.

As to armor and vehicles, there are some hidden workshops that continue to repair vehicles of course, but production from scratch of any kind? No, that's nonexistent.

Just days ago Russia hit a major Kharkov armored plant of Ukroboronprom:

The official writeup said that Russia had already hit this plant before and most of the workshops were thus already abandoned and empty. There were only one or two remaining workshops where some kind of repair work was being carried out which Russia now hit. This gives an idea of what's happening in this field.

In the first building on Bolshaya Panasovskaya Street, 218, a large ammunition depot was hit: within 20 minutes after the arrival and the start of the fire, shells continued to detonate there with the scattering of fragments.

In the second building at 220 Bolshaya Panasovskaya Street, there was a parking lot for vehicles, mostly trucks. They were also destroyed.
This is the second attack in the vicinity of the enterprise in a day: on the morning of September 16, the Russian Armed Forces accurately hit one of the two workshops of the main production activity at the KHBTZ, and also accurately hit the parking lot of armored vehicles in the building of the reinforced concrete plant.

Both objects were really very important to the enemy. (Rybar)

A recent good article from Sputnik addresses exactly this topic. It states how Ukraine claims they are manufacturing mortar systems and mortar shells—this at least could be possible in small numbers because such a small production could be hidden in basements somewhere. But the article goes on:

"The production sites in Ukraine, which [Russia] periodically detects and destroys, are mainly specialized for the assembly of drones, the manufacture of long-range attack drones," Alexei Leonkov, a military analyst and editor of Arsenal Otechestva (Arsenal of the Fatherland), told Sputnik. "That is, from those components that they receive from abroad, they assemble them. You don't need a lot of space for this. The main thing is to assemble all the main components in disassembled form, take them to the launch site, assemble and launch the drone at the address."

It goes on to note they do have productions for converting things like the Tu-141 drone and S-200 missiles which they have been converting into ground to ground strike complexes. So this type of conversion and refurbishment work does go on, but nothing major is produced from scratch.

You mentioned what Ukraine inherited from the USSR. The above article actually goes into detail with that if you're interested. It states a total of 447 enterprises were inherited, such as localized T-64 tank production, Antonov planes, Luch Design Bureau for rocket artillery, etc.

How much of this remains? The article writes that Russia destroyed 60-70% of it:

"According to various estimates, from 60 to 70% of this [Soviet] heritage has been destroyed," the military analyst said. "Basically, large enterprises, large industrial workshops and so on have been destroyed. But there are still many small ones. In addition, if you look at what Ukraine is doing, then the production of such weapons or modernization can be carried out in any production premises. Therefore, the task of our intelligence is to identify such production facilities and destroy them in every possible way."

The expert quoted in the article even addresses the shell situation and says Ukraine is telling "fibs" in regards to producing shells.


I'll combine these two similar questions:

Was curious about Cypress being a landholder in Ukraine. Assume it's bank holding firms, what are the most likely money interest ?


Supposedly Ukraine has promised land and other assets to the likes of Blackrock, Vanguard, and other Western financial players. Do we know where these assets are located, i.e. are they located in the currently Russian-held/claimed oblasts, and if so, does this play any part in Ukraine being bound to continuing to fight?

The topic of Ukrainian land is a fairly large and complex one, but it's certainly true that Western companies/banks are buying into Ukrainian land, just not as directly as it's claimed in a lot of these shady, alarmist and not-reputable websites.

For instance Orban's statement from just days ago:

💥🌾💥Ukrainian grain is actually American grain

"The so-called Ukrainian grain is actually an American commercial product because it is grown on land that has probably long been owned by companies in the USA," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.

The Hungarian leader added that Brussels was defending American interests by not extending the ban on grain imports to EU countries bordering Ukraine. According to him, if the European Commission does not extend the ban on grain supplies from Ukraine to five Central European countries, Hungary will extend the embargo unilaterally.

Moratorium on the sale of agricultural land, which had been in force in Ukraine for 20 years, was officially lifted in July 2021.

The new law created enough loopholes for foreign companies to indirectly acquire land in Ukraine.

As soon as he took office in 2019, Zelensky immediately ordered the privatization of Ukrainian farmland as one of his first major acts:

However, fact-checkers like this one claim that most of the reporting surrounding this is fake, and that it remains illegal for foreign corporations to directly own Ukrainian land. However, if you read to the bottom of their fact-check, you'll see they admit that major corporations such as Cargill, Dupont, Monsanto, etc., are in fact buying shares of Ukraine's largest agriculture companies. As such, we can assume the plan is to control them from 'within' and own Ukrainian land under the "guise" of it still being Ukrainian-owned.

It should be noted though that thus far their shares still appear to remain low and I haven't yet seen any direct evidence of true 'mass takeovers' of either land, shares, etc., so a lot of that could be phony "conspiracy theory". Cargill, Monsanto, and others do own various seed producing plants and productions in Ukraine, but the total foreign ownership of Ukraine land at least as of these somewhat obsolete figures from 2016 is not particularly high:


That shows 1.6m hectares out of a total of 40+ million in Ukraine.

As for Cyprus, this legal site states that Cyprus has always been one of the top investment vehicles into Ukraine. It lists some of the advantages:

Royalties, dividends and interest paid from Ukraine to Cyprus are not taxed at all. Mergers and acquisitions may be carried out without taxes.

UkrLandFarming which I believe is the largest agriculture company in Ukraine ranks as world's #8 largest in terms of pure acreage of owned land. The company was founded and registered in Cyprus in 2008. Its parent corporation of Avangard Agro Holdings is also Cyprus registered. As you said, it doesn't necessarily mean much as it's a typical tax haven, and much of the info in general surrounding Ukrainian agriculture is mixed up with tons of erroneous stuff from very sketchy websites with no sources, which mainly just use 'assumption'.

In reality, it's difficult to know exactly how compromised Ukraine's farm land is. Most of it appears to be owned by one man, Oleg Bakhmatyuk who is the owner of UkrLandFarming. But particularly since 2014, his businesses have taken major losses due to the ongoing conflict and the loss of much of his farmland in both Donbass and Crimea, which he used to own. That means he's been forced to make backroom "deals" and concessions with foreign companies, so we can safely assume that there is likely a lot of shady things going on with foreign takeovers, as Orban implied. However there is simply no direct data or evidence yet of such large scale takeovers. With that said, the data we do have is fairly old and obsolete so there's a good chance that a lot more of the land has been taken over since then, but simply not reported on due to the ongoing war/crisis.


My question is about red lines. There are always talks about red lines for Russia that Ukraine and the western sponsors cross and do not care about. Are there real red lines for the West that once crossed by Ukraine would cause western sponsors to get really afraid, disown Ukraine and force Zelensky to ask for peace talks? Something like attacks against Moscow with mass casualties? Perhaps a desperate Ukraine might start a bombing campaign against civilian infrastructure in large pre-war russian cities just for the propaganda.

There are many openly stated, implied, and secret red lines for Ukraine from their Western handlers. An example of an open one was how the U.S. reprogrammed its HIMARs rockets to literally not be able to function in Russian territory, as reported by the Wallstreet Journal:

Now Germany too is considering gimping their Taurus missiles before potentially supplying Ukraine:

There's now big hubbub about U.S. allowing strikes on "Russian territory" vis a vis Crimea, but we must recall that U.S. does not officially consider Crimea as Russian but rather as Ukrainian territory. On Russia proper, U.S. reportedly continues to disallow Ukraine from striking with its weapons.

More hidden red lines likely revolve around hitting sensitive sites or using other goading measures to try to get Russia to attack a NATO member, for instance.

The biggest internal red lines would likely be about hitting Russian nuclear assets, whether it's power plants which could cause a Chernobyl-like mass catastrophe, or nuclear triad sites, whether it's ICBMs or nuclear capable planes. Of course, we've already seen Ukraine reportedly attack the latter of these, with an attempted strike on Russian Tu-95s. However that could have been Ukraine's desperate attempt to gain attention from their sponsors and may have resulted in sharp internal censure, which is why we haven't seen even an attempted repeat of such an attack since.

I think your ideas are correct in the types of attacks that could give Western sponsors cold feet or cause them to consider disowning Ukraine, however as I've written about before, Ukraine is not fully reigned in by the West. There are tantrum-like disagreements which I've always predicted would become more and more common the closer Ukraine comes to its inevitable end. That means the more backed into a corner they get the more dangerously will they begin to skirt the redlines in an attempt to provoke their own allies and send a sharp message to them.

I've said before how, as Western support wanes, Zelensky may become so unhinged that he will deliberately attempt to start WW3 by creating the types of strikes that could pull the U.S. or NATO into direct war with Russia. The goal of this would be to scare the West into increasing their financial/weapons support. It's basically "nuclear blackmail," and I believe we'll see more of it as Ukraine gets down to the dregs, which will be a particularly dangerous period—like a feral animal backed into a corner.

This by the way is likely one of the reasons U.S. has withheld certain things like long-range ATACMs missiles or even the upgraded longer range GL-SDBs for the HIMARs. They could be afraid of how Ukraine will utilize them in deliberately provoking a redline that would force the West into the war.

I once wrote that Ukrainian missile/drone strikes on a nuclear power plant like Zaporozhye NPP would not be effective, as smaller projectiles of that sort would likely not even penetrate the containment building. But a huge ATACMS ballistic missile on the other hand could instantaneously create a nuclear catastrophe. A rabid, unhinged Zelensky could perhaps conceive of such a thing once he feels there's "nothing to lose."

Generally the red lines against mass civilian terror events for the West are for practical reasons. The U.S. wants to be able to "sell" the war as a justified one, of an innocent defender against a brutal aggressor. If Ukraine veers too heavily into open terror then Ukraine's sponsors will find it increasingly difficult to sell the war to their own public.

A follow up from a different person:

I'd like to follow up on the previous question in light of Joe Biden's corruption: Can the current U.S. government even afford to withdraw from Ukraine? There must be a lot of incriminating material on Biden on the Ukrainian side. If Biden disappoints the Banderists, they will be able to pass the deals to the U.S. judiciary and the whole Biden family will be busy with trials and jail terms for the rest of their lives. So my question: Can Biden withdraw from Ukraine - even if he wants? And can Biden afford to lose the US elections? Thanks to Biden's corruption, the future for the world as well as the US seems very bleak...

That's a good point, and it's one of the reasons I previously wrote how I believe as Ukraine gets closer and closer to teetering on the brink, Zelensky will become increasingly unhinged, threatening to expose his Western backers' dirty secrets as blackmail for continued support in the war.

So it certainly is a very complicated situation where there are clear incentives for both sides. On one hand to stop the clearly disastrous war, which will look more and more disastrous for the sitting administration as the months go on, but on the other hand, the need to continue it so as not to risk exactly what you outlined.

However, the one trump card they have (no pun intended) is by simply getting rid of Zelensky. You see, in recent months many of Ukraine's top leadership has already been purged, guys like Reznikov and others who have potential dirt. Just today another huge purge occurred: the cabinet of ministers fired all 6 defense ministers of the country:

The final one that remains is Zelensky himself, and there have been increased talks lately that U.S. may end up axing him by the end of the year. They may not even have to do it "messily" because the presidential elections for Ukraine are early next year. Poroshenko and others have already been building themselves up for a return while U.S. officials have placed pressure on Zelensky to have the elections. Lindsay Graham recently posted a video nearly demanding that Zelensky run the election. This could be the U.S.'s "hedge play" where they may intend to replace him early next year with another more amenable candidate, who perhaps can freeze the conflict without exposing any pesky and unnecessary dirt on anyone.

They may let the offensive run its course enough to build up some bad karma on Zelensky and then threw him under the bus with a campaign of blame, so they can get rid of him if need be, should he signal any 'bad intentions' of the blackmail sort.

As for whether Biden can afford to withdraw from Ukraine for his own political career. Well firstly, I don't believe there's any way Biden can conceivably run for re-election. I believe his people are just putting on a show to give an appearance of virility and strength but in reality, I question whether he'll even finish his term.

So as far as Biden's own administration I don't think it matters, as he's a goner politically anyway. However, the failed Ukraine conflict will still look bad on his administration and anyone who supported it in general, which will give huge ammunition to all opposition figures in blaming them. Thus even whoever the democrats choose to replace Biden will likely "inherit" the tarnished reputation from the Ukrainian conflict. This means I agree with your view that—rather than Biden himself—the establishment in general "can't afford" to lose in Ukraine. However, given no choice—if Russia really decisively ups the ante soon—they may have to compromise and try their best at finding a temporary solution in the form of ceasefire that can be sold by loyal media propagandists as a "victory" of some sort.


With the new round of escalations with the U.S. providing the long range missile to Ukraine which, of course will hit Kerch bridge again or Moscow, do you think that Russia will hit the targets on the U.S. soil to wake the Americans up to the danger of what's going on?

Firstly, that missile doesn't have anywhere near the range to hit Moscow. In fact it just barely even has the range to reach Kerch bridge, which means they'd have to fire it from fairly close to the frontline to even reach Kerch, making it dangerous for their own firing unit in getting spotted and destroyed.

But as for Russia hitting targets in the U.S.? No, that won't happen and is not necessary. Of course many Russian ex-generals and politicians are increasingly starting to call for striking NATO assets in Europe, like U.S. bases in Poland or Germany where much of this stuff originates. But that's unlikely to happen as Putin appears to have too much of a 'cool head' to risk starting WW3.

The main reason I don't think it will come to any of that though is because I don't even think the missile, if it's ever even delivered, which is still in great question, will have any effect or even be able to hit any real targets. The ATACMs is a slow ballistic missile which can't be "mass fired" in large saturation salvos like the regular HIMARs. Given that it's much larger and is not hypersonic like Russian ballistic missiles I'd give it a very low chance of being able to penetrate Russian AD nets around any truly valuable asset like Kerch bridge.

The only place it could successfully hit are frontline areas that aren't as well protected by truly anti-ballistic missile capable systems like S-300/400. Local SHORAD systems like Tor/Pantsir aren't made for shooting ballistic missiles and could fail to detect it just owing to its trajectory. Its launch would be much too distant for SHORAD to detect, and its downward ballistic arc would come in "over" the radars, out of their scope of elevation.

So frontline areas could be at risk but important rear areas should be able to block the ATACMS. After all, Russia has already regularly shot down Ukraine's Tochka-U ballistic missile, which actually travels much faster than the ATACMS so we know for a fact Russian enterprise systems can knock these down easily.


My question: I read that Finland sign a treaty where they got land from Russia but they need to stay a neutral country, can you comment on this? Implications? Is it true?

I assume you're referring to the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 which led to the Paasikivi-Kekkonen Doctrine of neutrality. Although the land concessions really happened with the earlier Paris treaty of '47 and Moscow treaty of '40, after the Winter War. It's a bit confusing because Finland had one of the most confusing roles in WW2, however it can be said that Finland did not gain territory but rather lost it. In the first part of the war, they lost territory, then they gained it back by joining Nazi Germany, however in the later treaty, they were returned back to the earlier position. This meant in general, Finland ceded land to Russia rather than the reverse; or another way of saying it was that at the end of WW2, Russia continued to control more Finnish land than before the war.

However it's true that Finland was obligated to stay neutral, neither participating in military blocs with the West nor the USSR. However that treaty expired with the fall of the USSR in 1991 so it became irrelevant anyway.

Though I will say, much of the neutrality had less to do with the treaty per se but more with the political doctrines that the Finnish presidents maintained. The treaty itself expired every 20 years or so and was renewed by those presidents who wanted to maintain the neutrality.

My point in that distinction is that the real power of neutrality was not in the treaty, which was temporary anyway, but in the political will of the leadership. Thus, in the modern era, the political leadership clearly has been compromised to the West's interests and no longer has that same will to stay neutral. So treaty or not, it wouldn't have mattered. Once your country becomes subjugated by the West in such a way, there are no impediments to full vassalization under Anglo-hegemony.

Here is a survey conducted in Finland at the start of the Ukrainian war showing Finnish positions toward joining NATO:

One can see that classically, for the past two decades, over 50% of Finns were against joining NATO while the "pro-NATO" crowd held at round the 20% mark. At the start of the SMO, that suddenly jumped to a massive 60% being for and a tiny percentage against.

Such major leaps in any population are highly unnatural and usually the result of some "tweaking" or major propaganda campaigns, which is likely the case in Finland. You can see that even during the annexation of Crimea and Donbass war of 2014 things didn't shift too much.

As to the implications of this—well, since the treaties were long gone it doesn't really matter in that regard. The only real implication is now Finland will be treated as a hostile country and will have Russian nukes pointed at it, with increased Russian military presence on its borders. NATO is also now using Finnish airspace to conduct surveillance flights and Finland will now likely play a big role in the U.S.'s new 'scramble for the arctic'.

However, most Finnish people are against all of this and I predict that in the future, after the end of the Ukrainian war and grand weakening of NATO, Finland will be one of the first to turn back to the fold, as all of these illegal actions were brought against a reluctant populace.


Here is quick (to ask) question.

With Russia and Russian society more and more on the war footing, with their MIC ramping up, and with the West essentially demonising them and shutting them off, how do you see the whole thing winding down, if at all?

And as a follow up, if it does not wind down, where do you see this going in 5 to 10 years?

At this point in time, I see only escalation options, and this is without even mentioning the Chinese question. It is very easy to start a fire, but sometimes near impossible to put it out.

As you mentioned, Russia is getting stronger by the day, ramping up their industries. They are improving in every military facet, getting better at killing, which will lead to an increasingly larger discrepancy in the losses. There's even been a recent report showing that one of the latest Kondor-FKA recon sats Russia sent to orbit allegedly took immaculately crisp photos of U.S. naval properties in Pearl Harbor, showing how far Russia is coming in every respect.

This is all to say that one of the ways things could end is that in the next year or two, Russia will become so streamlined at destroying the AFU that Ukraine may simply face collapse. The likeliest way such a thing would happen is a military coup to overthrow the presidency and take control of the country, carried out by sympathetic generals who are tired of seeing their men get massacred and know from a military standpoint that no hope remains for any sort of victory.

Russian 'special services' always have their finger on the pulse of such people and there are secret backlines that exist for eventual contact. I.e. once Russia senses the generals are beginning to dither, messages will be sent to explain that amnesty will be offered for full surrender, various deals worked out for surrender and subsequent capitulation, etc. These generals can then proceed to form an interior group of like-minded subordinates who've had enough. They can take control of the country then hand it over to Russia after effecting a mass surrender.

The other possibility is that they hold out forever, continually retreating further west into the interior country of Ukraine, forcing Russia to chase their holdouts for years. This could make the conflict drag out for 5 years if not longer.

Just days ago, Russian State Duma Deputy Chairman Pyotr Tolstoy said that the conflict will go on for years:


"It won't be quick. There is serious resistance, the enemy is tough. We should not underestimate the fact that almost all countries are supplying [Kiev] with weapons and materiel. Ukraine has nothing of its own, it is fighting only with what it has received," the lawmaker stated.

I don't see things in absolutes but only as scales of probability. I do think the highest probability goes to the first option I gave, with Ukraine crumbling and surrendering at some point in mid 2025, though end of 2024 is possible, just not super likely.

The reason is, we can see that Russia may not even start serious offensive options until at least the spring 2024 season, likely spending the winter doing stand-off strikes to whittle down Ukraine's infrastructure. If Russia hypothetically carries out major offensive operations throughout 2024 I can see them bringing the AFU to a dire point, but it will likely be able to last at least another offensive season as it would be on its last gasp. Then 2025 could bring the final killing blow. This is also calculated in terms of Russia's current troop dispositions and enlistment pace. I don't expect a true critical mass of troop numbers to occur until well into 2024 which would mean they would not be fully utilized to their full potential until perhaps 2025.

However, if Ukraine manages to hold on, or Russia's offensive capabilities turn out to be not as effective as we hoped, then it could very well continue grinding out much longer. This could give NATO more time to arm the next placeholder, like Poland, and begin provocations to make Poland the next theater in order to keep stringing Russia along into a forever war to keep Russia continually tied up and weakened.

People have asked me before how such a thing would be possible if the countries surrounding Russia are in NATO, and any such hostilities would trigger Article 5. I've said before that Article 5 is not sacrosanct and does not actually even mean much. I believe the U.S./NATO—if need be—will allow Poland and the Baltics to fight Russia without triggering WW3 level escalations through Article 5. Anything is possible in their quest to plunge Russia—and Europe—into forever war to: 1. weaken all competition and 2. mask the collapse of the Western financial system.

So that's where I see it going on the longer timescale, the continued eventual attempts to bring more countries into the fold while U.S. "leads from behind". Recall that U.S.'s chief tried and true tactic in any great land war is to always let the combatants fight it out and destroy each other for a few years first, then stage a falseflag (Lusitania, Pearl Harbor) to enter the war at the tail end and proclaim themselves the chief victor/savior—while subsequently restructuring the entire global financial system in its favor, after stealing all the wealth.

At the current rate of losses however, and given the fact that the supply of major critical heavy armor, artillery, etc., will by necessity drop to a pittance, I still favor the outcome where Ukraine will be on its last legs by middle/end of 2025. An internal U.S. army Fort Benning report predicted the U.S. would likely have to fight Russia around 2025:

It happens to coincide with when Ukraine will likely be facing total collapse.

I still hope that the upcoming Russian offensive action is decisive enough in its capability to prevent such a clash. However, it remains to be seen if Russia can uproot a truly fortified enemy once Ukraine digs in and goes on the defensive. So far Russia's ISR capabilities haven't needed major flexing because it was the AFU that's gone out in the open for their offensives, exposing themselves to destruction. But in the coming march forward, Russia will have to be able to identify a dug-in enemy in order to inflict enough fire damage on them to keep up similar attrition levels to the present, otherwise Ukraine could last for a long time. So everything will depend on how well Russia does decisive offense in the coming days.


What is the US's end game here with the constant drawing of their own red lines and then constantly stepping right over them. First it was cluster munitions, then DU, and now it's ATACMS....even going back to the Obama and Trump administrations first it was "no lethal aid" and then Stingers, and then after the SMO began it was no HIMARS and then they gave them HIMARS ...so what's next? F-16s w/ nuclear armaments?

They must know that these are increasingly just escalatory tactics, and that Ukraine is running out of cannon fodder to throw into the meat grinder. So there must be some sort of goal other than getting rid of old(ish) weapons so the MIC can sell more. Do they think that with every passing day/week/month that Putin is more likely to face a coup or total collapse in Russian public opinion? Or is the goal more US domestic politics related whereby they want to keep the war raging, with occasional (often delusional) headlines until after the November elections in 2024? Or is it one or both of those AND a suicidal (for the Earth's people) attempt to goad Russia into a major retaliatory action should a ATACMS be used across the border into Donbass or Crimea or even Russia's pre-war mainland so as to "justify" some even more insane action up to and including "tactical" or even real nukes? If there is one country and its leaders in the history of post-atomic humankind who has not only used nukes, but openly expressed the will to do it again and again, it's the USA.

Much of this I answered in the previous question about red lines, but in the second part you bring up a good question.

Many people are wondering where is this all leading? Surely the West must know Ukraine stands no real chance of "winning" in any appreciable way, whether we define victory as completely destroying the Russian army or recapturing all the borders back to pre-2022 or even pre-1991 (Crimea).

I believe they do know this. Thus the ultimate goal is not to win kinetically or militarily, but rather to stretch out the conflict for as long as possible in order to create time and space for them to work the more subversive, under the surface war against the Russian public, elites, government, etc. In short, they want to increase the pressure on Russia's political structures to maximize societal tension and eventually bring about some sort of political turmoil. A coup/maidan-style scenario would of course be ideal for them, even if it's unlikely.

This is what economic sanctions were all about, as well. Not to mention the blocking of SWIFT, the destruction of Russian culture and repressions against their citizens all over the world—whether it's bans from Olympics and other international competitions (chess, etc.), or restrictions like the ones just announced, where Russian cars are being banned from entering Europe, Russian people humiliated by customs inspections, etc.

All of this is meant to generate dissatisfaction and most importantly societal fatigue, such that the people will have "had enough" and begin to agitate against Putin and the elites. The Russian presidential election is coming up in March 2024. One ideal scenario for Western planners would have been for people to have gotten so fed up that they oust Putin by choosing a new candidate who promises to "bring an end to the pointless war, and restore Russia's cherished economic relationships with the West."

The problem is, all the sanctions failed, all the repressions and humiliations have only unified the Russian people with even more solidarity. New poll numbers just this week show Putin's approval rating still sky high at 77% while new economic numbers show Russia again making record profits as oil prices have recently gone up, not to mention Russia began decreasing its 'discounts' to India and others.

So that was the true goal of the West—to make the war last long enough for them to demoralize Russian society into overthrowing or voting out Putin. Though it's clearly failed, they likely believe that given enough time it can still succeed eventually, so they will probably keep trying.

As for the U.S. elections, I said from the beginning of this year that the U.S. elites would give Ukraine until the end of this year and then try to wrap the war up so that it doesn't tarnish the 2024 election cycle, as it will be viewed as a humiliating failure akin to the Afghan withdrawals for the sitting administration. However there are several layers of factions to this war. The most superficial layer of American politicians and technocrats will want to wrap it up, but their higher up controllers—the multinationalists who work for global finance, Rockefeller/Rothschild and the top of the banking pyramid—they certainly want the war to go on in order to mask (and ultimately reset) their collapsing financial system in the same way they did with WW2 during the great depression.

But you're right about one thing, the U.S. is the only country to have used all three of the officially known types of Weapons of Mass Destruction:

1. Nuclear - on Japan
2. Biological - agent orange on Vietnam (not to mention clandestine biowarfare like Covid and many other programs used on the whole world)
3. Chemical - white phosphorous, depleted uranium, etc., on a slew of countries


Any interest in investigating the money trail on building and individual death insurance payouts for 9/11?

I'm interested in reading about it but not investigating it myself. My official stance on the 9/11 stuff is that the actual details of how exactly it transpired aren't really necessary or even particularly interesting to me. Ultimately we know generally who did it and more importantly why.

And for those interested, I went into detail of the true reasons for 9/11 here:

But I do believe that no plan of that scale is ever carried out without having multiple subsidiary facets to it. Because there are always "multiple birds" you can conveniently kill with one stone, so why not do it when you have the chance? That's why I do believe there were many subordinate objectives that were simultaneously fulfilled during the 9/11 false flag attacks. Some of those include the various insurance fraud schemes, like the allegations around Larry Silverstein and co. And also the strange military/IRS records disappearance—i.e. the infamous story of Rumsfeld announcing $2.3 trillion in missing funds literally the day before, on 9/10, and the subsequent destruction of a lot of Pentagon records. There were also the stranger tales of gold vaults beneath the WTC being exfiltrated, and things of that nature.

I'm sure most of it was a coordinated effort to use the event to wet as many beaks as possible so that all parties were "satisfied" in their take for the risk they ventured. But as I said, at the end of the day, the exact details of much of it are not absolutely critical to me as long as we understand the general motivations for why it was done and by whom, which you can find in my article above.


What keeps the Ukrainian soldiers attacking when they're always suffering such high casualties, and is this behavior unprecedented in terms of the casualty rates?

Because they have to continually create the perception of success and advancement in order to keep Western interest float, so that their sponsors continue providing them with arms. If they were to stop attacking even for a month, headlines would flood the world about the Ukrainian army being 'broken' or finally having collapsed and unable to fight. This would lead to very uncomfortable public opinion in European countries that would put heavy pressure on Western leaders to cut down on the funds and arms shipped to Ukraine.

You have to remember that Western/European leaders risked a huge amount in convincing their public that supporting Ukraine was crucial. They told their public for months that they (the public) would have to endure heavy hardships and burdens in the form of not showering, not heating their house, suffering extremely high inflation, etc., all to "defeat Putin". The public bought this because they were under the impression that Ukraine was winning. When you feel that victory is close, you will be able to bear such hardships because it feels worth it.

But as soon as victory no longer looks possible, your morale for bearing hardships will dwindle. European support to Ukraine is hinged on the European public believing that the war is winnable or that Ukraine is actively advancing and is "close to winning" in some way, shape, or form.

If Ukraine stopped attacking it would be construed as an admission of defeat, that they can no longer advance. Why would Europeans want to continue withstanding no heating, no showering, record high inflation and unemployment, etc., if there's no further hope for victory?

So as you can see Ukraine is forced to continue sending waves of men to die just to appease their sponsors and make them believe that some form of progress is being made, all their hardships are not for naught.

As for whether these casualties are unprecedented, it's hard to say. Certainly they're not unprecedented for WW2, but in terms of modern warfare they may be. The Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s had a claimed 200-600k dead on each side, but it lasted 8 years. If we don't count internecine civil wars like the Rwandan Genocide which saw upwards of a million killed in a matter of days/weeks, then the only other war of this casualty scale I can think of is perhaps Vietnam, where it's claimed over 1 million North Vietnamese died, but that too was over the course of what was effectively a 20-year long war.

If the absolute worst of the casualty estimates about Ukraine are true, i.e. 400-500k dead in only a year and a half of war, then it's probably the highest casualty rate of the post-WW2 period that I can think of. Hell, it might even be higher than WW2 when you consider the fact that an estimated ~1.5 million Ukrainian military men died in WW2 over the course of 4-5 years. If it's true that 400-500k have died already in 1.5 years, then they're on course for even beating their WW2 figures.

Of course most still believe Ukraine's casualties are much lower than that. I myself do, or did, but there have been increasingly troubling reports recently that point to the higher end of the casualty list. For instance, yesterday's admission from the head military commissar of Poltava said that the casualty rate for everyone mobilized from his region is upwards of 90%.

As LordBebo calculated on Twitter, this would extrapolate to the entire armed forces as follows:

So if Ukraine mobilized 700,000 people and had an army of 300,000, a total of 1,000,000 You can project losses of about 800,000: - out of which 400,000 would be wounded, roughly half can return - 400,000 killed

If that's even remotely the case, then certainly the casualties dwarf every known conflict, probably even including WW2.


Following up on the "Russian propaganda" issue please point out as specifically as you are able to do it, what are in your considered opinion the major Russian state (hidden/subrosa)propaganda efforts viz the war?

Surely you have had to vet and consider virtually everything out there. Just as surely the Russian state cannot ignore the fact that effective persuasion is an essential arrow required to be in a quiver for modern warfare. We know that real Russian propaganda is out there beyond just RT and standard "our point of view" stuff. What is less obvious? Where is it? What should be avoided. What do you toss out? How effective do you think such efforts are?

Firstly I'll say that to a large extent Russia doesn't need propaganda because the truth is on Russia's side in this conflict, which means that a lot of the people fighting the "information war" on Russia's behalf are doing so simply due to their own internal desire to fight for the righteous cause against those who are doing obvious evil.

The problem for Ukraine is they've badly miscalculated many of their propaganda thrusts, making it almost too easy for Russia. For instance, the way they've doubled down and "leaned into" Ukraine's obvious "Nazi problem" has completely discredited their efforts. Instead of somehow finding a middle solution, admitting the issue is a big one and perhaps launching a campaign to convince the public that such elements have been expunged, they chose instead to outright lie and pretend that it doesn't exist, and anyone claiming that's the case is merely "a Russian propagandist".

The type of behavior like that of this Western mercenary fighting in Ukraine is what I'm talking about:

When you are lacking any self-awareness to that degree, you really make the propaganda war easy for Russia.

But to answer your question more directly of what Russia is doing actively in this sphere, common sense tells us there have to be clandestine efforts to amplify the Russian narrative. But such efforts remain well-hidden because everyone claims Russia has completely "dropped the ball" and given up all control of the narrative.

Also it depends from whose side you want this answer. For instance, according to the U.S. Russia has been engaging in clandestine efforts to spread "propaganda" in the country. They've arrested some Russian nationals in Florida months ago who allegedly had contact with the FSB and were actively agitating in the U.S., or so they claim:


I always cross-reference everything I can in order to avoid what you suggest—being propagandized by one particular source which may potentially be 'compromised'. That's why I don't make any significant 'reads' on a particular given situation unless it's been cross-referenced from a variety of sources to my satisfaction. Not to mention I have my own contacts/sources on the ground that can verify certain things, depending.

Ultimately, Russia's "propaganda" is either extremely powerful and clandestine such that we can't even see it or it's completely hamfisted and/or nonexistent, because I don't really notice overt examples of it anywhere. All the "Russian propaganda" accusations from NAFO/West type of sources are just infantile whinging at people who have no real ties to any official Russian state organs.


Given the horrible casualty rate in the AFU, what are the Ukrainians waiting for to revolt against their government, pardon, dictatorship? Why do not conscripts turn their weapons against their commanders and all the way up to Zelensky? Have they been completely brainwashed and lobotomized by NATO propaganda?

(There are 3 question marks, but the first two questions are really the same and the third is a corollary question).

I mean: if I was a Ukrainian forced to go to the frontline, I would risk my life killing my commander(s) to try to set free my country rather than dying at the front, serving a drug addict and American interests.

Thanks for your time and keep up the good work!

Unfortunately it's how human nature works. When under extreme duress most humans 'freeze up' and cannot act in a way that could save their life. For instance, you may have seen famous videos (like from ISIS, etc.) where a line of people are set to be executed. I've seen such videos where the POWs were not even bound, and were merely being marched to their deaths by one or two captors.

If the POWs wanted to, they could have turned on their attackers and risked their lives with a fairly good chance of overpowering them. But unfortunately human nature seems to freeze us, and instead they typically sit and watch the other guy in front of them get shot first, one by one, and are unable to muster the strength to make a go at the executioners.

Similarly, Ukrainians are going with the flow because they've deluded themselves into the hope that perhaps things will turn out all right. It's a combination of everything from cognitive dissonance to normalcy bias.

But to a great extent, what you said is also correct. They do get actively brainwashed by special Western "psychologists". This is very commonly heard in interrogations with newly captured prisoners, for instance this one from just last week: Video Link. But here are some other semi-recent ones as well, which relate the same thing: Video 1, Video 2.

Also, there were numerous videos of POWs stating that they were strictly taught that Russian captors would do all kinds of atrocities unto them if captured. They said they're taught that Russians cut out their tongues, castrate them, and various other horrors. They are terrified when caught and are shocked to be treated well.

On top of that, information is strictly withheld from a lot of them, and they are taught that they're winning and Russia is close to collapse. I wish I could find the video, though it's somewhere on my channel, but several captured Ukrainians earlier this year spoke about how in their battalion information was so strictly controlled that when they were captured they were shocked to learn that Ukrainian troops were not occupying Belgorod and other major Russian regions. They were told that Ukrainian forces had already captured Belgorod and broke through several regions, and would soon be able to even march on Moscow, etc. This is the type of wild propaganda they are fed.

However, there are many, many cases of Ukrainians already getting violent with their commanders, commissars, etc. For instance: Video Link.

Or this (warning, graphic 18+): Video Link.

And the earlier mentioned "battalion worth" of men dying in the rear, though much of it can be attributed to partisan action, I wouldn't be surprised if much if not most of it is also a result of angry troops killing their commanders, etc.

Ultimately, as I said in an earlier answer, I do foresee a Ukrainian collapse by way of mutiny and eventual military coup as one of the most likely probabilities, so I think we will get to the breaking point you speak of eventually. But for now, Ukraine is enjoying far too many "media victories" for that to happen. It's easy to convince their troops they are doing well and thus keep up a semblance of morale. After all, they are making quantifiable progress on many fronts, even if it's playing into the deliberate Russian tactic of an elastic defense to bleed them dry.


I recall in the first year (or so) of the SMO there were quite a few prisoner exchanges and it was always lopsided: two or three hohols for one Russian because clearly the Russians have, and continue, to capture far more Ukes than the other way around. It seems that the number of prisoner exchanges have dropped of considerably and the hohols are demanding exhorbatent exchange ratios like 10 or more Ukes (often of fairly high rank) for even a single Russian private. That interview you posted recently with that Russian prisoner is evidence of this. Russia clearly just wants to get their guys back and protect them from torture and mistreatment, but what is the Ukrainian game here? Do they just want to basically halt the exchanges to make is slightly less obvious that more and more of their guys are surrendering? Are they desperate and think that maybe the Russians are so concerned to get their guys back that they might really make these lopsided deals? Or am I off base and the exchanges are just still going on and I am not hearing about them?

You're right that it appears the current POW ratio is at the most disproportionate it's ever been. Recent reports from Ukrainian sources complain that "Russia has been refusing to do exchanges recently". So you bring up a good question as to why that may be, if it's true.

The obvious educated assumption is that, as you said, Ukraine itself has been making increasingly lopsided exchange requests, and so Russia may simply be rejecting these offers, which Ukraine then uses as fodder for propaganda. The reason would be that Ukraine is very low on Russian prisoners.

Along with the POW interview I posted, you may recall I also posted an interview with Verkhovna Rada ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets who outright admitted that their POW exchange fund is uncomfortably low or nonexistent:

Longer excerpt:

The Kiev regime does not have so many prisoners of war to crank out the "all for all" exchange - Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets.

"There is a figure, we do not name it publicly. What about the exchange fund - I constantly hear this question from relatives. We publicly said yes, we have problems with the exchange fund.

This means that we do not have enough Russian prisoners of was, whom we want to exchange for Ukrainian prisoners of war. They exist, the number is not enough, and this is also a problem," said Lubinets.

First of all, this plays into the hands of Russia, since any negotiations take place in a dominant position, and even an agreement on unequal conditions demonstrates a desire to meet and reach compromises, putting the lives of fighters as a priority.

So they have almost no Russian POWs, meanwhile Russia is said to have as much as 18,000 of theirs. This would explain why Russia may have "stopped doing exchanges" with them recently. They are making very unreasonable requests like "We'll give you one of yours for 100 of ours." As you said, the Russian POW said Ukraine wanted 20 of their men in exchange for just him. So it's only logical that Russia would reject such offers, leading Ukraine to moan about no exchanges happening anymore. You can see another example in yesterday's video, where a DPR commander offers to exchange a Ukrainian POW to his own AFU commander, but they have no Russian POWs to exchange.

Thus to answer the question, I think halting exchanges is likely done because Ukraine is deliberately making unreasonable offers in order to pass it off as Russia being the one that's refusing the exchanges. This is to characterize Russian officials as cold-blooded or uncaring about their men, but is in actuality an attempt to conceal Ukraine's own inability to get their men back due to not having enough Russian POWs.


A recent strike on an ammo depot in Kiev was said to have hit western munitions, including those with depleted uranium. Are there any sources for detecting this? Last time radiological data from Poland seemed to show results of a strike in western Ukraine.

I assume the big strike you're talking about is the one that took place at 49.623573, 30.657520 coordinates south of Kiev on around September 10th:

🇷🇺🇺🇦 Last night, kamikaze drones "Geran" destroyed a military arsenal in the Kiev region, NASA satellites recorded more than ten sources of fire in the territory of ammunition depots after 3 am.

Object coordinates: 49.623573, 30.657520

Local authorities confirm the arrival at an "infrastructure facility" in the Kiev region, without specifying where and what arrived. Only the consequences of the blast wave in the form of damaged private houses are mentioned.

Though I didn't hear anything about depleted uranium in that particular strike. However, this was the report where I went into detail about the big Khmelnitsky strike months ago which was said to have raised radiation levels.

As of this writing though, there's a new reported strike by Russian MOD specifically on DU sites:

They don't specify where but mention that Kiev announced another strike on Khmelnitsky, as well as Odessa, so it's likely one of those two places.

But the above strike on southern Kiev of which you were speaking: You can see above I also posted NASA FIRMS hotspot map, which I suppose could be used to detect not radiation itself per se, but an object that's burning for way too long which could perhaps indicate some kind of depleted uranium source.

Also a new internal leaked chart for the entire warehouse / base was released and showed that the exact bunkers corresponding to the maps above that were hit, are on this registry marked as "special mines/shells and charges" and "mine clearing charges".

So apparently warehouses full of mine clearance charges, perhaps MICLIC and UR-77 ropes, were hit as well as some kind of "special" shells. Perhaps that could be DU stored there.

Apart from that there's no other source I know of other than the standard ones, i.e. specialized detection stations in places like certain universities. Last time it was the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland which apparently has special instruments for detecting Bismuth in the air, which was said to be a byproduct of depleted uranium.

The south-Kiev strike is likely too distant from other countries, but the new strike last night—if it did take place in Khmelnitsky—could begin setting off detectors again, so we'll have to wait and see if news of that comes later or tomorrow.


who are you?







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Here's my question

Russia has been sitting back and more or less taking the hits from all the weapons deliveries from western nations

Yes, from a battlefield standpoint, HIMARS and Storm Shadow and ATACMS may not change the overall outcome - but these systems are not ineffective and are very specifically being delivered to kill Russians and destroy Russian equipment. Western aid has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths - mostly Ukrainian, but also Russian

So, as the US continues to escalate - now ATACMS and F-16's, which frankly I didn't expect before 2024, M1 tanks are on their way - what are the Russians going to do? Are they just going to fight this kind of war for the next 5 years? The West is perfectly happy to call a 1km gain in 3 months as a "victory" and everyone believes it, rinse and repeat.

Russia has not demonstrated a capability to launch a significant offensive in some time. The perception in the West that Russia can't/won't attack is strong, and so the narrative of a "tough, long fight - but victory in the end" is not going to change anytime soon.

Is there any truth to it? Russia fires missiles and drones daily into Ukraine, not sure to what effect, and inflicts casualties on a massive scale, but does it matter?

Sorry this is like multiple questions at once - appreciate whichever angle you decide to respond to

The thing one must understand is that this is a proxy war, and they are not new concepts. Only those of the younger generation are surprised or confounded by what they're seeing vis a vis Western weapons deliveries, etc.

One must recall that there have been many proxy wars in the past, in fact they happen generally once per decade or more. And Russia has many times reciprocated toward the U.S. and vice versa. For instance in Korea, Russia not only supplied large amounts of arms, including jet planes like Mig-15s, but Russian pilots literally flew the craft, scoring kills against American pilots. Hell, they killed so many on the U.S. side that there were a dozen or more Russian pilots who earned "fighter ace" status with many kills to their name. Nikolai Sutyagin for instance had 22 kills against American-led forces, almost all confirmed, and mostly against F-86 Sabres.

Same thing happened in Vietnam, though not to such an overt extent. America then repaid them in kind by funding and supplying the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, and on and on it goes.

A lot of people always say Russia takes its shots from the West without giving any back, for instance when Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24. But then ignore things like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Balyun_airstrikes where a Russian strike killed upwards of 50-100 Turkish soldiers:

This incident marked the most substantial loss of life experienced by the Turkish Army on foreign territory since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

My point is simply to say the tit for tat is a normal part of international geopolitical games of this sort and the U.S. deliveries to Ukraine, as discussed in an earlier question, do come with restrictions and conditions as per secret closed-door agreements with Russia.

Ultimately your question appears to boil down to: will Russia ever have an offensive and can it even succeed in one?

My position is that Russia has spent this year doing two things:

  1. Allowing Ukraine to exhaust themselves and hand Russia free demilitarization on a platter by happily advancing out 'in the open' and

  2. Building up its industries and stockpiling ammunition for future offensive action

This is echoed by commanders and officials on the ground, like the following from Yuri Gagin:

Shoigu himself two days ago stated that the current phase is a defensive one with the objective of destroying as much Ukrainian armor as possible, which was a big hint, and perhaps the first time someone from the top of the MOD has intimated as much.

One thing that is clear is that Russia has not even attempted to go on major offensive yet, beyond the minor localized attempts of individual groups like the Russian 155th Marine attempt at Ugledar at the beginning of this year.

I understand how this all may be very confusing for those who aren't militarily inclined—it's why I've jokingly called it the 'Schrodinger's War' in the past, riffing on the fact that on the surface it can appear like Russia is either drastically losing or overwhelmingly winning depending how you look at it.

Most of this is owed to the fact that Ukraine's damage is not easily palpable unless you really follow the reputable numbers for a long time and see how things add up. But I do have sympathy for those who get mental exhaustion from it all because no matter how bad the number seem to say Ukraine is doing, the AFU never seems to slow down or overtly show their putative 'attrition'.

So I'm not saying you're wrong for the sort of epistemological weariness you appear to exhibit. And my job is not to "convince you" with a wave of the hand that things will get much more "obvious" in coming days.

All I can say are the following few things.

Firstly, it can feel overwhelming to list the litany of things Ukraine is said to be getting. M1s, ATACMs, F-16s, oh my! But in reality, 10 M1s are coming, which is about one shoot-out's worth. ATACMs numbers will be similar—the U.S. themselves only built 100 of them per year at their peak and don't have many to spare. You will rarely see them even if they do come (which is still highly questionable). F-16s are the most questionable of all and will come with extremely few numbers, only replacing the planes Ukraine has already lost and thus adding nothing to its total firepower.

It's easy to list these weapons with a tone that suggests some sort of 'slow creep' of escalatory power where Ukraine is gaining strength over time—but that's simply not the case. The low numbers of these systems are made even more negligible by the sheer losses of equivalent systems which they're replacing. Ukraine is undoubtedly weakening, exponentially so.

Hence the future outlook does not rely on the state of these deliveries. Whether Russia takes its time or not, the systems won't make much of a difference. The only thing I'm personally worried about are the potential artillery shell production increases in Western countries—artillery is the only real weapon and equalizer doing consistent damage to Russian forces.

For now Russia is in a phase of allowing Ukraine to exhaust itself and sacrifice all of its best equipment on the altar of the wide open plains of the Ukrainian steppe. Russia planned this deliberately because it knew UA absolutely had to show some progress to its sponsors or risk losing all support, which is now a real threat.

Thus Russia embarked on a phase of deliberate defensive postures to allow Ukraine's own "frantic" phase to run its course, using it to get as much attrition on Ukraine's forces. Once this Ukrainian phase finishes and they're forced into a more defensive posture, there is no other logical choice but for Russia to switch to a new offensive phase. The only question that remains is whether that phase will be a "big arrow" one like most people hope, or more of an attritional one like the present but with active advancement as an actual planned priority.

It's a certainty that Ukraine won't win. That's not mindless chauvinism but a simple fact of logistics and military realities. The only question is, can Russia itself win in a decisive fashion by effecting a complete surrender of the AFU. I believe so but it will take longer than some hope because Russia is not rushing, they are playing it smart by using established doctrine, which revolves around proper force distribution before launching mass attacks. I think Russia can build up forces for a while longer attritioning Ukraine in increasingly favorable ratios, and then when it truly smells blood it will turn the screws on the clamp.


This is my question - hopefully not to be rejected because of it being off current topic: Ukraine.

There are people in Russia that consider the Russian Central Bank with suspicion and even hostility, as being a foreign-controlled institution that is causing Russia much trouble in its economy and finances. The latest comment I read was by Jacob Kedmi, which imputes the recent troubles with the Ruble to Central Bank deliberate manipulation. He urges the relevant authorities to get rid of the entrenched liberal gang (my word) from the Russian leadership, once and for all (I would say).

You wrote about it recently, if I remember well. Is the Central Bank truly sovereign, truly Russian?

It's a very complex issue which I tried to tackle, as you mentioned, in this previous article.

The gist of it was that the Russia central bank is not structured like the federal reserve in the West and therefore has no real direct mechanism for being compromised or "not under Russia's control" in the way Western banks do. This is because Russia's central bank is not owned by private banks via shares they purchase into it, nor are the board of directors of Russia's central bank chosen/elected by private corporations as they are in the federal reserve system, where JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and co. literally select the boards of directors for the regional Feds which trickles up into the selections of the main Fed, particularly into the FOMC Committee.

There is no such 'private to public' connection in the Russian system. However, the one place where it does get tricky is that Russian finance ministers from the actual government sit on the IMF executive board—minister Anton Siluanov being the current incumbent. That means the IMF has an office in Russia and gets to dictate "suggestions" for policy directly to the Russian minister of finance.

But since the Russian central bank is not directly connected to the ministry they are somewhat shielded from that. However a finance minister representative (not sure of it's the head of the ministry himself) sits in on central bank meetings and does confer with the CB directors, which means there is a potential pipeline for IMF "suggestions" to come through the treasury/finance ministry to the central bank.

That's all to say that, if you want to root out a real problem, it appears to not be in the central bank but in Russia's actual finance ministry and government in general which still firmly clings on to its IMF membership.

In fact, just a couple months ago the communist party of Russia (which is the second most powerful party in Russia) entered a bill to the State Duma for full Russian withdrawal from the IMF and World Bank associations. The bill was roundly rejected.

The central bank and the erroneously blamed Nabiullina had nothing to do with that, they don't have a say in the Russian senate. Also note that it's the "evil communists" trying to extricate Russia from the global finance octopus while the liberal senators fight to keep it in. Make of that what you will.

So as to the question of where the quislings might be, you're better off looking into the actual Russian Duma and Ministry of Finance themselves rather than the Central Bank.

Ultimately though, there are potential good reasons to stay in globalist structures of that sort. The smarter play is often to not completely shun the world and make a pariah of your country, impoverishing your people in the process, but rather to keep some of those structure at arms length and pretend to cavort with them, as long as you know the limits and don't let them take control of you.

That way you disarm your enemy by allowing him to think he's "got you" when in reality you're playing him and stringing him along. I'm not saying that's definitively what's happening in this case, and there may certainly be some intractable corruption at play, but given that Russia's economy continues to outperform everyone's expectations despite the world's biggest sanctions it'd be offbase to think that Russia has totally allowed these structures to swallow it hole and compromise it. I think there's a middle ground there somewhere. After all, simply being a member of an organization that meets twice a year—as I understand it—and discusses monetary policy does not necessarily mean that policy will be definitively adopted by Russia. If someone has concrete examples of when that's actually happened, we would all love to read about them.


Hi Simplicius,

Thanks for your invaluable work.

My question is why Russia doesn't appear to have been prioritising the destruction of Ukrainian transport infrastructure to interdict its long extended supply routes, and cut off its military forces from the matériel they need to keep fighting.

To move a Leopard 2 tank, APC or artillery piece from Poland to the front line is, allowing for the likely circuitous route, a distance of close to 1,000 miles. These tanks weigh about 62 tonnes, and the transporter weighs a further 32 tonnes - so all up a very large, heavy and slow moving target, with few roads or bridges capable of bearing that great a load.

These roads and bridges, together with railways, viaducts, marshalling yards, etc. are all legitimate targets, or so I would have thought, so why have the Russians been so circumspect around taking them out?

Best wishes, and thanks again.

The answer to the first part should be fairly self-evident after these two questions:

  1. What will Russia use to strike these presumed highways in the far western edge of Ukraine 1000-1500km from the Russian border?

  2. How much does it cost to repair a road with asphalt?

You see the issue now?

In case you don't, allow me to spell it out. To "interdict" a highway with a missile that costs $5-10 million dollars is simply impractical and not sustainable in any way. There is a very finite amount of those missiles, and the highway will be fixed in about 1.5 hours max, maybe 1 hour with a quick road crew, for a cost of about $200.

You did say "infrastructure" so maybe you're talking about something else, but my assumption from your reference to trucks was the highways—after all, what other "infrastructure" can be destroyed to stop trucks from passing?

It does obviously get more complicated. You can say, ok forget the highways, how about the bridges of the Dnieper or striking the trucks carrying the tanks themselves?

As for the latter: firstly, you did mention APCs and other armor smaller than a tank. Those get snuck in under concealment. There are half a dozen or more videos like this one showing how Ukraine brings them in via civilian transports:

There's no real way to interdict those. Those blend in with thousands of other civilian trucks on the road so there's no real way to identify them without accidentally striking and killing civilian carriers. Russia can't fly surveillance planes into Poland where they originate so there's no real way to "track them from Poland" as some have suggested.

And if you're thinking satellites, well optical (E/O) spy sats aren't geo-stationary and don't loiter over a target, so you can't track moving targets with optical sats anyway, just take one picture at a time every hour-long orbit—so that's out.

Now tanks are too big to fit INSIDE the covered cargo container like the above, however they get transported under covered tarps where it's difficult to differentiate them from the sky as well. Here's an example of Polish T-72M1s going into Ukraine with scrubbed plates as well:

That's not even a very good example, sloppily done with the turret still sticking out. But I've seen many photos of other transports that are far better covered and concealed where you would not even know that's a tank under there. Add to the fact it's often done at night to complicate it even further.

Plus, far fewer amount of actual MBTs have even been sent to begin with, so it's not like we're talking thousands of pieces. Ukraine has had a total of a few hundred MBTs delivered thus far, and all of that came in trickles. So it's difficult to interdict tarp-covered trucks coming 1 or 2 at a time over the course of a year.

We've seen some delivered in the open on trains to the frontlines, but that's typically from west Ukraine to the line. And in those cases Russia has often waited until they got to a collection point / depot and struck them there.

As to bridges, I've covered that in detail before but the quick gist of it is the giant Soviet era Dnieper bridges are far harder to destroy than they look and it would take hundreds of cruise missiles to do so, which Russia likely doesn't have to spare for that. Putin himself admitted in an interview, whether he was being honest or not, that it's not possible to destroy them all.

That's not to mention there are said to be deals with the West for transport of Russian materials through Ukraine to Western countries for which Russia needs some of the railways/bridges functioning, anyway.

So what does that leave us with?

One of the remaining potentially effective ways you would normally interdict such things is with UCAVs flying around. But Ukraine still has a powerful air defense, and any UCAV large enough to be able to lob bombs/missiles (like the Inokhodets/Orion series, akin to U.S. Predator/Reapers) will be easily spotted and shot down all over Ukraine, just like Russia did to the Bayraktar TB2. You'll notice drones on both sides stick to their side of the LOC and don't really venture deep into enemy territory much, where they are prone to being immediately shot down by powerful AD systems. Russia manages to sneak some in pretty far sometimes but they're usually much smaller recon ones, not the big ones you need to carry weapons platforms that could 'interdict' something.

That being said, I do think if Russia had a powerful drone fleet, better ISR capabilities, better SEAD capabilities, etc., etc., then it could make a much better go of interdicting such supplies. But UCAV drones are by far Russia's biggest area of weakness, with SEAD and large scale ISR of that sort (in contrast to frontline ISR) not far behind, so unfortunately you're seeing an area where Russia does not excel per se, and the results show. But it's important to note that it's mainly because of the distances and vast territories involved.

As I said, Russia could easily hit every road there with long range cruise missiles or suicide drones like the Geran, but what would that do? The roads would be repaired in an hour and they'd just have wasted millions in precious guided missiles.

Lastly—in case anyone's forgot, the U.S.—which is said to be the greatest superpower—spent years "interdicting" ISIS and various other groups in a far more accommodating open terrain, with literally zero AD to worry about, and still couldn't hit anything but the odd civilian transport, wedding, etc. In the Gulf War, the U.S. spent 9 months hunting Scuds and a special Pentagon report concluded afterwards that they didn't find a single one:

Read this article to see how utterly difficult it is, and how the U.S. themselves could not do it: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/what-the-great-scud-hunt-tells-about-war-north-korea-22637

If the U.S. couldn't "interdict" what Iraq wanted hidden, why should Russia be expected to interdict the combined forces of NATO, the most powerful military alliance in history? Plus, it's not like Russia hasn't interdicted a lot of it—it has. It's killed a portion of their transports at railway hubs, etc. But ultimately the above reasons should give you a good idea of why it can't get them all or even a majority of them.

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
13 Sep 2023 | 7:26 am

3. SITREP 9/13/23: Tradewinds of Change

What's in a name?

We start today with an interesting angle to ongoing global developments. The G20 assembly in India was a 'quiet' watershed moment that will go down as another mile-marker on the now inexorable march toward the collapse of Western hegemony.

India for the first time has reverted to using its ancient name of Bharat, with Modi sitting behind a placard with the new name at the summit:

This is a powerful decolonization move that marks an ascendent Eastern and 'global south' world which is finally awakening en masse to repudiate the bonds from the West, both physical, psychological, and spiritual, which have shackled them for so long.

In 2014, famed yogi Sadhguru perfectly explained the significance of India needing to adopt its true name over the one forced onto it by colonists:

"When someone conquers you, the first thing they will do is change your name. This is the technology of dominance, the technology of enslavement."

He states that Bharat is a mantra of power:

There are some detractors, though, who believe the new posture change is a dangerous shift in the Hindu nationalist movement, and may spark repressions against ethnic minorities.

But this encompasses a wider movement of the liberation of people around the globe, finally witnessing the downfall of the West, and no longer afraid to embrace their own historical realities, taking control of their agency and destiny.

This of course comes not long after Turkey similarly shed its Westernized veneer and declared itself as Türkiye, officially changing the name of the country.

All of this falls under the shadow of the historic decolonization sweeping through Africa, where Francophone countries in particular are standing up against their erstwhile occupiers once and for all. These shifts mark a major turning point in the global consciousness. The West has never looked more frail, more "out of ideas" for the future leadership of the world. It has never looked more "on the wrong side of history" than today, with its utterly inhuman and ubiquitous economic terrorism, where 1/4 to 1/3 of the world's countries are currently under sanction by the U.S., not to mention its even more inhuman social engineering, pushing vast unnatural changes on humanity's social fabric in the most coercive ways possible.

These tectonic shifts have not been lost on some of the world's most incisive thinkers. Alexander Dugin was amongst the first to notice the seachange. In a new post, he describes the new emergent world 'eschatology'. I'm no hardcore Duginist, per se, so I can only assume he's using the term not in a theological but rather Heideggerian way (he was a follower of Heidegger, after all)—which is to say, eschatology as a sort of human manifest destiny, or true being. In short, he's saying that countries around the world are throwing off their previous imposed facades and false mantles, and are going back to their roots by re-embracing their historical essence.

Dugin links it to the final refutation of Francis Fukuyama's fallacy—that the "end of history" had come with the fall of the Soviet Union, and that "liberalism" would be the final eschatological fabric to enshroud humanity for all time. But the new global shift represents an awakening of the world's oldest cultures, having finally realized that the pseudo-religious cult of Western 'liberalism' is in fact a dead end.

Lastly, to return from the lofty and abstract back to the concrete developments on the ground, we note that the other major ground-shaking demarche occurred when the West, and the U.S. in particular, got a big slap in the face rebuke when the entire G20 refused to declare the Ukrainian conflict as an "aggression" by Russia, wording it as a "war in Ukraine" rather than a "war against/on Ukraine [by Russia]", a sharp departure from the Bali summit in November of last year, where most countries condemned Russia's "aggression".

From BBC:

Desperate to bolster its fading influence, particularly in Africa, the West invited the African Union to the G20 as a permanent member in its entirety, all 55 members of it. But the luster simply wasn't there, as G20 leaders even refused to take a group photo with each other for the first time, some sources claiming it was due to the "presence of the Russian delegation."

Just another example how little the West has left beyond desperate ploys and infantile posturing.

Ultimately, this Russian analyst described it best—that despite Putin not even being present, Russia "won G20":

⚡️⚡️⚡️There is such an opinion.

Sergey Markov:

Russia won the G20 summit in Bharat India. The declaration was adopted. And in it, Russia and the Global South imposed their formula on the Collective West. The West conceded.

The West wanted the phrase "Russia's war against Ukraine.". She was thrown out and put the phrase "war in Ukraine".

The West wanted there to be support for a Grain deal only for grain access from Ukraine. But in the declaration, the formula is "grain from both the Russian Federation and Ukraine."

The Global South has defeated the Collective West in these formulas, because the Global South and Russia have become stronger and more consolidated.

They expanded the BRICS, and now the West is giving in, leaving, gnawing its tail like a wounded wolf.

In Bali there was a year ago "aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine" and it was then our defeat. And now our formula is "war in Ukraine". Will there be "SVO" next year? Or the liberation of Ukraine?⚡️⚡️⚡️

All that being said, it's fair to say that Ukraine won't be getting an invitation any time soon:

Weapons news

The other section I wanted to cover today revolves specifically around some of the latest weapons development updates. There has been a particularly interesting spate of recent news on this account, so we might as well explore them all in one go.

1. A Russian source has announced that Russia has now tested, for the first time, a Fab-1500 version of the UMPC glidebomb and it's said to have hit its target accurately. Reportedly, Su-34s can carry upwards of 2 such bombs.

FighterBomber (Russian airforce-linked account) gives the details on why it took longer to develop this variant:

After many months of trial and error, a couple of days ago the first UMPC FAB-1500 M54 accurately found its combat target with a direct hit.

The countdown of hohlofrags has begun!

For certain reasons, the designers were unable to simply increase the UMPCs that were used on the 500 and 250 kg calibers and attach them to the lorry. Therefore, we can say that everything had to start almost from scratch. New airframe, new mechanisms. Everything is solid, but everything is new.

And finally everything worked out.

At the same time, they were able to increase the release range by ... times compared to UMPCs of smaller calibers. That is, this is our longest-range UMPKashka that exists.

With a stated accuracy of 5 meters, only the crater from the bomb explosion reaches fifteen meters in diameter, and the affected area is more than two square kilometers. Only the explosives in this bomb are under 700 kg, while the Su-34 carries and can already operate with two such UMPCs, and in the future it will be able to operate with three ammunition, at one or different targets in one pass.

There is still a lot to be completed, a lot to improve, to go through the inevitable process of shrinking and shaking, but successful combat work has begun in one and a half hours.

Let me remind you that crests currently have no protection against UMPC.

Yes, so far the cases of using UMPCs of this type are isolated, there are still few of them, but I think within a month the industry will organize their production at the calculated volumes and they will fly, just as UMPCs of more modest calibers fly today, up to a hundred a day in all directions.

And in light of the fact that recently UMPC have learned to throw not only Su-34 and Su-35 of the latest series, but also Su-34 of the first series, I think this is great news.

Oh yes, and today they will fly by taxi. Perhaps in those very seconds when you are reading this text.

This is a huge deal. Recall that in a recent Forbes article the AFU themselves admitted that the new glidebombs are the single weapon they fear most:

The Fab-1500 is 1500kg compared to the 500kg size of the ones most commonly using the UMPC "Orthodox JDAM" attachments presently. That's on top of the fact he indicates that the range on this one is actually much larger. A 1500kg bomb is massive in power, with an explosive warhead of I believe somewhere near the 700kg weight.

Most cruise missiles have warheads in the 450-500kg range, as an example. This would be much more powerful than a large cruise missile yet inordinately cheaper to use. It's like having an "on call" Kalibr cruise missile to use on the frontlines on a daily basis, for close-in air support and other situations, rather than having to conserve them as is currently done with expensive cruise missiles.

If they can truly get it to work in decent numbers this could turn into the most terrifying weapon of the war.

2. Another big piece of news came with the revelation that Russia has used the Kinzhal missile fired from an Su-34 platform for the first time:

The reason this is bigger news than it sounds is because not only does this open a huge amount of new platforms that can use the missile, but more importantly it allows Russia to 'mask' the use of the missile far more effectively.

You see, one of the chief issues of the Kinzhal's use thus far is that, operating primarily from the Mig-31 platform, it allowed the U.S. to track potential strikes much more effectively, giving Ukraine advance warning which goes against the entire ethos of what the Kinzhal is supposed to represent: namely, lightning fast decapitation attacks that take away your ability to anticipate or defend against it.

But since Russia has a limited number of Mig-31s which likewise operate from a smaller number of designated airfields, it's much easier to anticipate an impending Kinzhal attack when you see one of the Mig-31s taking off, which the U.S. can do by watching just the airfields they operate from, whether by some sort of satellite or forward observers on the ground (easy to have an agent renting an "apartment" nearby who can literally watch them take off from his window and immediately report on it). Just read this Rybar report from about a month or so ago:

It's resulted in a known situation where the mere take-off of a Mig-31 sends the entire country of Ukraine into lockdown, as they expect a Kinzhal strike on some sort of decision-making center (as that's the only type of target a Kinzhal would normally be used for).

But now, if Su-34s can carry the missile, there's no real way to track that because they operate out of a much wider array of fields, flying far more sorties in general. That means a Kinzhal attack can happen at any time, completely unexpectedly, which puts all of Ukraine's most sensitive targets on notice.

3. Speaking of planes and airfields. A curious update on the 'tire' saga. Many have laughed after Russia apparently began to place tires on the grounded fuselages of strategic craft like the Tu-95. This culminated in a new photo showing Su-34s have fallen victim to the tire campaign as well:

The photo spawned a frisson of jeering laughter and ridicule around the net:

But it quickly subsided after it was revealed that the tires are not just a desperate 'cope' ploy against drone-dropped grenades, but rather they interfere with the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites which scan Russia's airfields on an hourly basis:

It seems Russia has once again used the cheap "wooden pencil" to foil the West's billion-dollar efforts.

This comes after a series of naval tricks Russia continues to utilize which throw off Western OSINT detection of their ships, like the ongoing repainting of ship hulls to create optical illusions that mess with accurate identification and tracking of Russia's vessels:

4. I wrote long ago about how the U.S. announced a sudden impending cancellation of the F-22 program shortly after Russia's SMO began, clearly reading the tea leaves of modern conflict and realizing how old and obsolete their vaunted 'stealth fighter' had become in light of Russia's air-defense supremacy.

Now, there's been another such u-turn: this time in the form of an announcement that the U.S. will be cancelling its much anticipated Abrams tank:


The Army announced Sept. 6 that it will no longer upgrade its old Abrams Main Battle Tank and that it will build a new fighting vehicle instead.

The Army will close out the M1A2 System Enhancement Package version 4 effort and develop M1E3 Abrams, "which will focus on making the capability improvements needed to fight and win against future threats on the battlefield of 2040 and beyond," an Army statement said.

Initial operational capability is anticipated in early the 2030s, the statement said.

Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, said: "The war in Ukraine has highlighted a critical need for integrated protections for soldiers, built from within instead of adding on."

Add that to the growing list of abandoned U.S. projects from the realization that they can't compete on the modern battlefield. Not to mention that after the destruction of 2 Challengers, the delivery of the Abrams to Ukraine is said to again be "mysteriously delayed":

5. However, U.S. isn't the only one making major changes after the 'harsh lessons' of Ukraine. Russia has now announced that its previous designs for the long-awaited Kurganets-25 are no longer adequate.

As you can see the Kurganets is a giant compared to the old BMP models. After seeing how poorly Western behemoths like the Bradley performed in real action, Russia apparently is scaling things back, and reverting to smaller more streamlined designs. Interestingly, the Abrams decision also revolved around the desire to make the platform much "lighter" and smaller for "future conflicts."

In short: both sides are clearly identifying that large hulking armor is nothing but a sitting duck to modern detection systems, ATGMs, and attack helicopters.

The Armata is also reportedly getting an update on its "electronic systems" after experience in the SMO, and is set to reportedly begin mass production next year.

6. The next item is what those "electronic updates" may be about. Russia has recently shown a new anti-drone system to be rolled out and installed on tanks:

They are already being reportedly installed on tanks in the field:

Thus we can only assume the Armata will be slightly redesigned to have some sort of system like this natively built-in. It already has an automated hard-kill defense system against RPGs/ATGMs and such, but I'm not sure if it was designed with much slower traveling drones in mind. Plus you wouldn't want to waste hard-kill shots on drones if you can potentially just jam/zap them instead.

7. ATACMs:

There's been rumor about the U.S. leaning toward sending ATACMs to Ukraine in the near future, particularly ones with the cluster munitions warhead. Another rumor however claimed they've already secretly sent them very recently.

You'll recall that in a previous report I had posted a video of a frontline Russian soldier who recounted how they were hit with cluster shells weeks before the official announcement came that cluster munitions would be shipped to Ukraine. So it's possible ATACMs could already be handed over.

One reason I believe it's being considered is that Russia has cinched up all avenues of attack on the Kerch bridge. The key strategic bridge remains Kiev's only real chance at creating one big "victory" in a single fell swoop. A week or so ago, three new naval suicide drones were sent toward the Kerch but this time were easily repulsed by the new defenses Russia set up there, including barges placed at regular intervals, sunken ships to create obstructions, and potential anti-mine nets, as well as, presumably, spotters stationed on the barges.

So now Ukraine's only chance at attempting to hit the bridge may lie in this long range ballistic missile system, so this could be the impetus behind their desperation to get it.


Let's move on to the final regular sundry updates.

I wanted to issue a small update on the artillery war as a natural extension of the big artillery rant I did in this last report.

As you know, when new information corroborating some important throughline comes about, I like to update it to give people real complementary data to prove a point.

My position was that Russia is winning the artillery war despite the contrary complaints from 6th columnists, in both total attrition and the simple mathematics of things like range.

Here's a new video I happened to see of a Russian artilleryman describing a captured 2A65 Msta-B. He plainsly states it has a 28km range; recall the M777 with basic round is listed at 23km and change.

It may not be groundbreaking stuff but it constitutes one of the first clear confirmations from actual Russian artillerymen, rather than relying on wikipedia stats. And though this video depicts a captured version, the 2A65 is one of Russia's most standard deployed field pieces, not to mention uses the same cannon as in the 2S19 Msta-S, which means they should have about the same range.

Building on that comes a new Ukrainian post which gives us unique insight into the situation:

👉 Ukrainian Post

In connection with the constant defeat of 2c4 "tulip" and 2c7 "peony", the enemy is forced to compensate for the losses of 2c5 "hyacinth-s", which is reflected in their ability to conduct counter-battery combat.

If we maintain the rate of destruction of 2c4 and 2c7, as well as enemy UAV control points, our artillery will feel a little more free and will already gain an advantage not only in counter-battery, but also as infantry support.

They claim that Russia is losing 2S4 Tulips and 2S7 Peonies, and is forced to compensate with 2S5 Hyacinth-S systems. But notice what he says. That only by continuing to attrit these systems can Ukrainian artillery gain any breathing room to work in counter-battery and supporting their infantry.

The conditional is "if" we maintain this attrition, our artillery will be able to breathe more freely and survive counterbattery warfare. So what does that tell you?

Remember how last time the 2S7M is precisely the system I listed as being the bane of any and all NATO artillery systems. It's a 203mm powerhouse that shoots nearly 40km with unassisted shells and even much farther with assisted ones. The AFU are confirming that the 2S7 doesn't let them breathe and only by further attriting them (with drones, HIMARs, etc.) can their artillery be able to come out of hiding and be effective in supporting frontline troops.

Also, note how he states IF we maintain destroying the 2S7s, we will "gain an advantage" in counterbattery warfare—this clearly presupposes that they don't currently have this advantage. i.e. he's admitting that Russia fields the counterbattery advantage at present.

To wit: it simply confirms everything I said last time. Unfortunately, despite destroying a few Russian systems recently, the AFU in turn suffered even worse attrition of their own systems, such as this new French Caesar:

Moving on to the area of potential mobilizations and troop dispositions. There have been a few interesting and enlightening new statements on this front.

Firstly, Putin reiterated and confirmed the latest reports about 270k new Russian enlistments for this year thus far:

Then, State Duma Defense Committee Chairman Kartapolov issued the following statement:

🇷🇺⚔️🇺🇦 Russia does not need a new mobilization for the rotation of servicemen in the special military operation zone, says the chairman of the defense committee.

➡️According to the chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, they have already enlisted more than 200,000 contract servicemen, and it is through them that the rotation of mobilized personnel in the special military operation zone will be carried out.

💬 "Today, we have over 200,000 contract servicemen just for this year, so by the end of the year, it will practically be one to one or maybe even more," explained the deputy.

🇷🇺🇷🇺 In the State Duma, there was talk about the rotation of contract soldiers at the expense of the mobilized

In Russia, no new mobilization is needed to rotate military personnel in the zone of special military operations. The chairman of the State Duma defense committee, Andrey Kartapolov, spoke about this. According to him, contract soldiers will be used for this.

"That's why they were recruited." They have already recruited much more than 200 thousand, and because of them there will be rotation. As part of the partial mobilization, 300,000 people were recruited. Today, there are more than 200,000 military personnel under contract for this year alone, so by the end of the year it will be almost one to one, and maybe even more," explained the MP.

This is very interesting because if you'll recall, I had previously reported that there was a "rumor" Putin was going to use the newly mobilized to merely 'rotate' last September's partially mobilized 300k, rather than adding them to a much larger continual force.

There has been a big mystery surrounding what these newly 420k+ enlisted Russia plans to have by the end of this year are for, exactly. We speculated they would be either reserves for Shoigu's newly created military districts and army corps, and/or also new forces to add onto the existing formations in the SMO.

Now, Kartapolov appears to have confirmed that the chief purpose for the new cadres is to rotate the previously mobilized 300k, seemingly validating the earlier rumor. He said by the end of the year they will be more than "one to one", meaning they will match the 300k mobilized last year. The big question is, what does this "rotation" entail exactly? Is it temporary or a permanent demobilization of last year's numbers?

While many will balk in fury at the thought of permanently demobilizing them, due to the desire for Russia to amass as many men as possible for a huge breakthrough fist that can end the SMO quickly, it seems more likely to me that last year's men will be demobilized. Why?

Because: firstly, the new recruits from this year are volunteered enlistments. Meaning, they actually walked into a recruitment office and wanted to join the SMO. Last year's mobilized are technically drafted against their will—to an extent, so it only makes sense to replace them with actual fully willing contract servicemen.

Why did I say "technically" drafted against their will? It's a little more complicated than that. The mobilization last year was conducted from Russia's pool of reservists. However, almost every adult male in Russia is technically a reservist, at least all the ones who served their compulsory conscription. But the mobilization called up only those reservists who were in a special category that specifically earmarked themselves for future call-up. So on one hand they are in fact willing, as they actually volunteered to be the reservists at the top of the call-up list. But at the end of the day, they were still reservists living their normal lives and didn't really "need" the SMO to come about and suddenly wrench them from their families, jobs, lives, etc.

The enlistments from this year on the other hand literally walked into the recruitment office with the full intention to serve, so as I said, it only makes sense that they should replace the mobiks who in some ways were more of an emergency "stopgap" measure to staunch the unexpected territorial losses of late last year's Kharkov/Kherson offensive.

I don't know for certain—there is still a chance that this "rotation" entails merely sending the mobiks on an extended R&R, then perhaps rotating them merely to the 'rear' lines rather than completely demobilizing them and letting them return to their previous lives. I'm just saying that logically it would make sense if that happened. It all depends on how many men Russia feels it needs to beat Ukraine, and that itself depends on what the actual military plans for Russia's general staff are.

If Russia foresees this conflict as a very long term one, it may simply choose to continue enlisting the 30-45k per month, which would net them an additional 500k+ men by end of next year. So even if they demobilized all of last year's mobiks, it would still eventually get them enough men to conquer Ukraine.

The only question is: who are these enlistments exactly? If a large portion of them are just sign-ups off the street with little previous training then they may require long amounts of training to even be moved to a frontline unit, let alone be capable of doing offensive assaults. But as I said another time, few Russian men should have no training at all since there is compulsory service at 18 in the country.

Reports still abound from the Ukrainian side that Russia will mobilize some kind of giant new force soon:


However, in the same article above a Ukrainian military intelligence rep named Vadym Skibitskyi states he doubts such an overt mobilization will take place, given that Russia is set to undergo elections, and that Russia will instead continue the covert mobilizations.

Skibitskyi is also quoted in a new Bloomberg article which reports that Russia has 420k total troops in Ukraine, as per this military intelligence directorate.

Recall it's been an ongoing thread here to deduce how many total troops Russia has. Many figures like MacGregor believe Russia has 700-800k total current forces. I've been one of the few who contend the number is far lower. The last time I calculated it out in a report, I estimated Russia could have as few as 370-450k forces or so. This is based on the fact that they only used under 100k in the first year of the war, added another 300k mobilized, however likely lost anywhere from 50-100k in both casualties and contract expirations or those who simply left the service.

If we add to the above the fact that tens of thousands of the newly enlisted from this year have been sent to the frontline rather than placed in Shoigu's new corps, then we can arrive at somewhere around the 400k range give or take. Of course there are now 200-300k in reserve that can enter at any time, but the 420k number quoted in the article states that's the number participating in the SMO.

The fact that the Ukrainian intel rep is quoted as saying this is a very impressive number seems to indicate to me that Ukraine's number is similar if not lower, rather than the 800k-1M troops Zelensky would like us believe he currently has.

And on this question of conflict length, we have the following new statements. German Brigadier General Christian Freiding said they're ready to support Ukraine until 2032:

Another top Russian figure also recently said the conflict will likely last another 2-3 years.

A new Washington Post Op-ed by Fareed Zaharia says that in Kiev, where he wrote the story, some "unnamed" officials quietly told him they'd be willing to consider a 'temporary ceasefire' in exchange for security guarantees. He also writes that loss has become an accepted status quo in the life of Ukrainians.

He isn't kidding. Numerous videos and stories continue to pour in of Ukraine's losses. Here head of Ukrainian medical services admits the losses are "massive":

Putin reports that 71,000 Ukrainians have been killed in the counteroffensive so far:

Also, in bullish news, Putin seemed to indicate that he's prepared for a long conflict, rather than capitulation to a Khasavyurt Accord style armistice, when he stated at the same Eastern Economic Forum talks that peace talks would only lead to Ukraine rearming themselves. That he signals his understanding of this is favorable news.

Meanwhile the Ukrainian 4th Reich is very much beginning to resemble the 3rd toward the end of WW2:

Here's a candid update from a British Foreign Legion mercenary on the war's progress:

One AFU rep from the "elite" 47th brigade angrily recounted how they suffered 13 KIA (200) and 63 WIA (300) per day.

If we're to extrapolate that for an offensive running into 90 days x 13 = 1,170 KIA for that one brigade. And not surprisingly, that's exactly what I reported here, from an official report that said the 47th's casualties had run "into 4 figures."

Extrapolate those 13 KIA per day losses to the 10-15 brigades operating just on the western Rabotino front, then add the Donetsk/Bakhmut fronts, Staryomayorsk front, Kupyansk front—it's easily 500-1000 KIA per day.

Russia on the other hand has been suffering the lowest KIA spread of the entire war thus far. The latest from MediaZona which meticulously tracks obituaries:

It shows that for August, Russia is averaging ~70 casualties per week, with September seeing even a fraction of that. That's about 10 casualties per day they're picking up. That's for the entire Russian armed forces. Ukraine is seeing more casualties from a single brigade out of their 50-70 remaining ones. It's gobsmacking levels of disparity. This is why Putin said honestly that during the "counteroffensive" Russia maintained even much more than a 10:1 kill ratio.

Russians are literally sitting back and shooting ducks in a barrel as Ukraine fruitlessly trucks across open fields and gets annihilated by artillery.

There are larger and larger batches of captured Ukrainian prisoners:

In fact last week the largest batch in months was taken near Klescheyevka:

Dozens of Ukrainian POWs in one catch are frogmarched out. So much so that panicked UA supporters tried to spread disinfo about these being Russian POWs since Ukrainian channels had also posted the video. Unfortunately for them, the top Ukrainian channels subsequently took the video down after it was geolocated and proven to be Russian forces moving Ukrainian POWs into Russian controlled territory:

In fact, a new report claims Russia again has over 18,000 Ukrainian POWs currently housed in detention:

The number of prisoners of war of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in prisons and colonies of the DPR and the Russian Federation has approached the figure of 18 thousand... The Verkhovna Rada prohibits their exchange and return to their homeland, because such a number will tell that everything is not sweet in the Armed Forces... well, the Azov people are exchanged instantly, they even they can get a Nobel…

Such that the new AFU spokesman had to issue an emergency refutation:

Sorry, "Sarah", but just the Donbass republics alone had nearly half that at the beginning of 2022.

And early this year, Russia was said to have had over 10k:

There are droves and droves taken daily. Just from the past few days alone, along with the above videos, we have this, and this, and this, and this, and this.

But despite all that, the AFU continues to advance bit by bit for now, so one can't feel too celebratory.

Russia has reportedly built new trenchworks behind the first line near Verbove:

This new CBS report shows how closely the U.S. continues to coordinate with the AFU on a daily basis. This is a must watch:

There was rumor that Russian strikes have already wiped out a Ukrainian brigade command center based on the geolocations of the maps shown in the above video.

Others have pointed out how the U.S. military is getting most of their intelligence from open source 'brOSINT' maps:

Apparently this is General Milley being briefed off a brOSINT terrain map rather than a real tactical map.

I sounded the alarm about this very early in the war - that US decision-makers were going to use trash internet OSINT sources for critical decisionmaking because they're far more convenient than actually gathering and analyzing intelligence inhouse. And here we are, with the CJCS being briefed off an intelligence product that floated out of the black box of the internet.

This is something that has been pointed out before as potentially causing the disaster of the counteroffensive. The U.S. military lazily used amateur open source OSINTers on Twitter to track Russia's 'Surovikin line' fortifications and then helped Ukraine plan an entire offensive around that data. When the first Ukrainian armor columns pushed through and realized the actual fortification placements were much different than their "maps," it quickly turned into a catastrophe. It was said that Russia knew they were using open source satellite data and amateur armchair OSINT collators and so they simply created new fortifications, obsoleting the older data.

By the way, the video above talks about minefields. I mentioned last time how Ukraine has resorted to demining fields simply with meat assault troops. Some probably thought that was gross exaggeration for effect. Now there's proof.

First a video from a Russian sapper officer who describes how it's done:

Now here's a new video showing Ukrainian meat assault squads wading through a minefield and getting blown up:

This is backed up by a new detailed report which reveals that Ukraine is suffering from a mass shortage of capable sappers. Read the section on "live mine clearance"—it's nearly back to the days of Chernobyl's "biorobots":

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are faced with a shortage of sappers in Zaporozhye: analysis of the Military Chronicle

The situation for Ukrainian troops in the Rabotino-Verbovoe sector is complicated for several reasons.

Firstly, all active movement of Ukrainian units is limited to an area of 105-110 square meters. km in the triangle between Novodanilovka, Orekhov and Malaya Tokmachka. However, it cannot be called safe: the entire area is covered by cannon and rocket artillery of the Russian Armed Forces.

Secondly, minefields are still an unsolvable problem for Ukrainian Armed Forces units. Remote mining systems continue to allow the Russian Armed Forces to complicate the entire logistics of Ukrainian ground forces in the area. It is impossible to clear the newly installed barriers: regular military sappers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are eliminated by reconnaissance groups and artillery of the Russian Armed Forces. It is impossible to train new sappers and quickly send them to the battlefield. As a result, key formations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' vanguard in this direction, including the 46th Airborne Shock Brigade, the 82nd Airborne Shrift Brigade and the 47th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, faced a sharp shortage of sappers.

The situation with minefield clearance is partially resolved through so-called live mine clearance, when mobilized recruits are sent to an unexplored offensive area in pickup trucks. The experienced sappers remaining at the disposal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine often work without fire cover and equipment, which is why they quickly die from artillery fire or during incursions by special forces units of the Russian Armed Forces.

Thirdly, the terrain features also affect the losses of sappers. The entire attack vector of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in this area is built to bypass the main heights occupied by the Russian army. As a result, Ukrainian troops are forced to advance in the lowlands (mainly only along the remaining part of the asphalt roads), which is under the fire control of the Russian Armed Forces. Due to the peculiarities of the terrain and the well-built surveillance system of the Russian Armed Forces, any activity of Ukrainian troops, including attempts to clear mines, is quickly discovered and stopped by Russian troops.

Let's move into the final few disparate items.

At the Eastern Economic Forum, Putin recounted the tale of the Ukrainian sabotage raid into Russia's Bryansk region that was brutally stopped recently by the FSB. The most noteworthy thing is he states that during interrogation the captured saboteurs revealed they were going to damage Russia's nuclear power plant by bombing power transmission lines feeding it:

I'll link the video rather than post it directly as it's a bit graphic (18+), but for those that want to see the aftermath of the failed AFU cross-border raid, with impromptu FSB interrogations, you can do so here: Video Link.


The official Russian MOD website quietly removed Surovikin as head of the aerospace forces days ago:

However, a new rumor claims that the general is being given a sort of hinterland sinecure as head of some coordination committee for the CIS:

☄️☄️☄️Information appeared online that Russian General Surovikin was appointed head of the coordination committee for air defense issues under the advice of the CIS Ministry of Defense.

There is no direct confirmation of this, but seeing as how previous rumors regarding his whereabouts were seemingly proven true, there's good chance this one has merit. If true, it certainly represents a quiet and face-saving demotion of sorts, with notable 'leniency' on his putative transgressions.


A report on the Challenger from Slavyangrad:

The Challenger 2 tank turned out to be defective; its frontal armor came off

As demonstrated by the combat operations in the Northern Military District zone, the quality of British Challenger 2 tanks, two units of which were destroyed by Russian Kornet ATGMs, leaves much to be desired.

The first of the destroyed tanks, as they write on social networks and forums, had the front plate of the hull sponson torn off. Also, an internal explosion of ammunition tore out a multi-ton turret.

And all this for a combat vehicle, which for many years was presented as the standard of security. In fact, it turned out that it has practically no advantages over the previous generation.

Currently, of the 14 units delivered, 12 remain, and no future deliveries are expected. There are already jokes on the Internet calling the remaining tanks "Zeloushen's twelve friends."


What's interesting about this is that in the video of the ATGM squad commander which destroyed the Challenger, he mentions that the tank makes a special kind of "fire" with a lot of sparks. When Russia hit Khlemnitsky with the massive strike months ago, if you'll recall there were a lot of "sparkly" things in the air and reports of large increases in the radiation background because the depot was said to have housed a large amount of British DU ammo.

Now it makes sense if soldiers witnessed strange sparkles from the Challenger explosions. After all, the tank has a unique rifled barrel which cannot use the same ammo as other Western tanks, so there's very good chance it was packed full of British supplied DU. But don't worry, the ever incorruptible Rafael Grossi of the IAEA sees nothing wrong with DU:

The British army chief for his part felt "emotional" when the Challenger was destroyed:

How sad!

Finally, as of this writing, Kim Jong Un has finally arrived in Russia and is meeting with Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East:

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
12 Sep 2023 | 4:05 am

4. Paid Subscriber Mailbag Questions - 9/11/23

The promised mailbag is here.

To new subscribers: the mailbag is my occasional perk for the paid pledgers, where they get to ask a question that I customarily answer in a much more thought-out and long-form manner than the typical comments reply allows. It helps us pass the time in the lulls, while also branching out into interesting new avenues that perhaps the usual articles don't quite cover.

Please recall that due to the sheer volume of subscribers we now (thankfully) have, the rule is: only one question per person. Maybe a second corollary question if it is closely tied to the first one. I'll try to counterbalance this by having more frequent mailbags, which will give paid subscribers more opportunities for further questions.

As always, regular subscribers can still access and read the questions and comment on the subsequent "answers" post, which will come a few days hence. So if you have a burning question, join us by becoming a paid subscriber today.

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
11 Sep 2023 | 4:06 am

5. 20k Subs Milestone Reached: A Big Thank You

Hello all,

Well, we've finally done it—the mother of all milestones: 20,000 total subscribers! And I couldn't have done it without you all.

I'd like to thank everyone for the continued support and for creating a lively community. We reached the 5k milestone back in March 3, a mere month after starting the site:

Then there was the 10k milestone on May 24:

And now 20k, which I always thought would be the ceiling for this sort of thing, as that seemed roughly where the leading accounts in our niche 'topped out' at. But who knows, maybe we'll keep climbing? Perhaps the sky's the limit, after all.

I'd like to share a few obligatory reflections on this occasion.

After hitting 20k, I'm naturally drawn to consider if there's anything new that should be added to our repertoire here, perhaps new avenues or directions to open up to, etc. The only thing I can say for now is that there's a strong chance of a long fall-winter lull coming up in Ukraine, so should that be the case, I will likely focus much more on longer form research-style articles, historical pieces, and the like. I already have a big one in the pipeline whose release I was trying to time with the 20k milestone, but will be a little delayed. Expect more of that sort of thing.

However, I'm also open to new suggestions of what you'd like to see more—or less—of. I'll include a poll here, however in the comments feel free to give some constructive criticism/feedback on what we can improve. Worry not, I don't mean to change much but rather it's a continual attempt to have my finger on the pulse of the readership. Based on suggestions I may consider accommodating certain types of topics we haven't broached yet, etc., particularly if it's something I too find exciting.

Speaking of which, I had planned to make this post a milestone celebration + reader's mailbag in one, but I realized I wanted the comments open to everyone on this one so that all subscribers could chime in, particularly with any suggestions as I had requested. But that means a few hours after this one I'll probably make a separate post for the subscriber's mailbag, so apologies in advance for the incoming double email.

Lastly, I'd like to use a recent "criticism" to point out something which may constitute a sort of quasi-"ethics statement" on my behalf. Someone recently stormed out in a rage in the comments after accusing me of being "biased toward Russia" in the tone of my reporting, and implied this is hypocritical of being a "journalist." I've gotten several emails over the course of my stint here from a few people also asking me "Why do you support Russia?" or some variation of "Why do you support Putin's illegal/barbaric/[insert insipid derogation here] war?"

Let me say that, first of all, in doing this—whatever this is that I do here—I've never once presumed to call myself a "journalist." Nor would I deign to include myself amongst such a louche, villainous, and disreputable a confraternity. What is journalism, anyway? Is it where the guy sponsored by Pfizer, Raytheon, BlackRock, et al, reads you a heavily laundered and sanitized script from a teleprompter, spinning the pre-written narrative approved in some backroom at last week's CFR/WEF shindig?

I've got news for you. Journalism doesn't exist, and unless someone can prove otherwise, has never existed, as far as I'm concerned—at least not in terms of the hallowed ideal some people have of it.

It's a fraudulent profession catering to multinational corporations who probably invented it for the sake of creating 'perception-management' stenographers to spew out boilerplate crap that serves the currently fashionable establishment agenda. Journalists are nothing more than publicists for their corporate sponsors. Sure, there've been a few in the "good ol' days" who "went off script" once or twice, perhaps after losing it. But for the majority of their career they still operated within a narrowly defined Overton window.

This leads me to convey that despite making no excuses for any inherent "bias" I may have, one thing I believe is at the core of this blog's success is that it happens to be one of the most ideologically open-minded and impartial when it comes to covering the truth from both perspectives. Analysts/bloggers/what-have-you on both sides usually stick to the party script, particularly on the Ukrainian side because they have the least leeway and tightest tolerances for 'truth', seeing as how the propaganda campaign is virtually the only thing keeping their country afloat. This explains why guys like Julian Rocpke are given no quarter when they even remotely go off-script.

On the Russian or "Z-Anon" side, as it's sometimes called, there's a far greater allowance for variance, but we do still see a tendency for sugarcoating or sometimes unjustified optimism. I think what sets my reporting apart from most is that I refuse to toe the line dogmatically on one side or the other. Despite having great respect for most of what he does, I don't messianically worship Putin, for instance, as I don't put my faith in any politicians of the world. Nor do I messianically follow the completely un-corroborated script on people like Shoigu, that we're supposed to blindly hate without reason, despite the overwhelming evidence showing that he's actually doing his job.

Even when the Prigozhin saga transpired, I saw the arguments from both sides. Prigozhin had many valid complaints about the Russian general staff, however he also used them to mask more selfish and devious motivations. You'll never see me blindly worshipping any one figure, and I generally give both sides to any story.

It's a type of genuine honesty that I don't think my "detractors"—like the one mentioned earlier—will find in reportage elsewhere, particularly on the Ukrainian side. You can be sure that here we will only be reporting the truth, with all its warts. If and when a time comes that I actually think Russia has blundered or is losing, I will say so freely. In fact, I've already been one of—if not the—only Z-slanted accounts which has expressed open doubt about some of the conflict's potential directions.

For instance, despite how well things are going for Russia now, I've stated multiple times that I still do fear the possibility—low as it may be—that Putin could eventually cave to pressure and sign a type of 'Khasavyurt Accords'. I don't always see things as rosily as some of my colleagues. But because of that, you can trust that when I do report on a given scenario—like the odds in a particular disputed frontline—it will be with the cold hard facts, not slanted toward giving Russia the de facto upper hand just "because."

At the end of the day, though I may be biased, you're not wont to find a less biased source anywhere else. And if you do, please share it in the comments as I myself would love to add it to my daily reads, as I'm sure would others.

But to answer the question: am I a journalist?

No, I have more self-respect than that!

At risk of invoking a jinx…here's to 30k!

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
9 Sep 2023 | 5:25 am

6. Dire New Western Reports Call to Ditch NATO Tactics

I wanted to do a roundup of the most trenchantly interesting releases from the Western military pundit-sphere regarding Russian tactics and their putative 'evolution', as well as outlooks on the conflict's future.

The first big one making waves is from RUSI (Royal United Services Institute), a military thinktank which calls itself the "oldest defense and security think tank in the world," having been founded by the Duke of Wellington in 1831.

Their latest "special report" gives a considered update on Ukraine's counteroffensive. They start off with the admission that Ukraine is suffering "from heavy rates of equipment loss" but… "the design of armored fighting vehicles supplied by its international partners is preventing this from converting inot a high number of killed personnel."

This is the latest throughline adopted by the West as an attempt to buoy morale in the AFU. You'll notice that after the Challenger 2's first ever kill the other day, the "cope" from the newly appointed British defense minister is that, well, at least the crew survived.

Though it is a digression, let me explain why I believe he's lying, because it gets to the heart of the topic.

The footage of the actual Challenger kill was released, and was purportedly done by a Kornet ATGM, which created a large explosion:

The important thing that people have pointed out, is if you look at the photos of the killed tank, it appears that the turret has actually been completely detached from the hull and is sitting on the edge of the side in a way it's not supposed to be:

Note how the front of the turret sits roughly flush with the side of the tank when it's turned, and the rear of the turret which houses the ammo hangs over the other side, on a properly fitted tank. But in the destruction footage, we see that the front of the turret is actually hanging over the side and the rear is flush. You can see it more clearly without the drawn on lines:

The point is that for a turret to catastrophically separate from the hull in such a way would mean an explosion of a sort that likely no one survived. Not to mention there appears to be a huge hole where the commander's hatch should be, which also points to a detonation incompatible with life.

Recently, Russian engineers at Kurganmashzavod—Russia's premier IFV manufacturer—who studied a captured Bradley released this report:

But wait until you see the real piece de resistance on the Bradley which clinches this point later on in the article.

The fact is, Western weapons aren't as good as the advertising. So to say that the crew "survived" despite the systems being continually picked off in a turkey shoot is not a great endorsement.

The RUSI report continues by stating that "The prerequisite condition for any offensive action is fires (artillery) dominance. This has been achieved through blinding the counterbattery capability of Russian guns and the availability of precise and long-range artillery systems. Ensuring the sustainability of this advantage by properly resourcing ammunition production and spares for a consolidated artillery park is critical."

Let's see what an actual commander of a Russian artillery division fighting on this front has to say about this:

So firstly, he's a commander of a DPR group called "Kaskad", not quite of the Russian army proper, but his words are still very interesting. He describes the artillery action in the Urozhayne sector recently, right near Staromayorsk on the famed "Vremevske ledge" south of Velyka Novosilka.

Summarized points:

  • Just from his unit they fire 450 shells an hour

  • AFU fires more, up to 2800 "cassette" (cluster munitions) type shells per day

  • According to radio intercepts, the AFU had 3,000+ casualties only in their small area of settlements. This doesn't count the entire even much more active western front near Rabotino where they've had as many as 10-20k estimated

I've posted previous interviews with Russian commanders in this same sector which state that their losses are tiny compared to the AFU. So, does RUSI have a point that Ukraine has brought artillery "superiority" to bear on Russia? According to this commander in his sector they do fire more rounds—this is likely due to the fact that when you conduct an offensive, you have to allot a large portion of ammunition with the expectation that you should be outfiring your opponent. The theory is that the opponent is on defense and therefore entrenched, which means far more shots have to be fired to achieve the same effect or casualty rate. The defender, on the other hand, can fire far less shots and do more damage to you because the offensive force is exposed "out in the open" and are far easier to hit as they cross the fields compared to an entrenched defender dug into underground trenches.

RUSI confirms some of the above with the next section, which states that Ukraine had been conserving ammo for the counteroffensive for a long time and is now expending it more liberally:

There's the continued propaganda line that the American-supplied M777s have superior range. To what? Russia has more types of artillery systems than all of NATO combined. There's D-20, D-30, 2A29, 2A36, 2A61, 2A65, 2S1, 2S3, 2S5, 2S7, 2S19 and 2S19M2, not to mention the new 2S43 'Malva' reportedly being shipped to troops soon, as well as the endless MLRS systems not included above, which outrange pretty much everything. Many of these have less range than American M777s, and a few of them have greater range, namely the 2S7M, but also the 2A36, 2S19M2, and even 2A65 depending on the type of round, particularly if they're using the longest range RAP and the M777 isn't.

I want to settle this debate once and for all, which Western sources continue to propagate under false pretenses. The standard issue U.S. army workhorse shell being used by Ukraine is the M795. You can see on the official M777 page, the listed range for the howitzer with the M795 shell:

We have 23.5km, keep that in mind.

Now let's list the ranges of the Russian artillery systems. We'll use only equivalent 152mm systems rather than 122mm. You can verify all the below yourself on their official wiki pages.

Russia's oldest D-20 howitzer has the smallest range at 17.4km, the 2S3 Akatsiya about 18.5km.

But the 2A36:


Russia's standard OF45 round fired from a 2A65 and 2S19 gets 24.7km, which is higher than the M777's standard 23.5km.

The 2S5 Hyacinth-S gets 28km from standard ammo and the monster 2S7M, though it fires 203mm, gets 37.5km unassisted with nearly 50km with assisted ammo.

As you can see, 2 of the Russian systems have poorer range, a couple have slightly better or almost even range, and another couple have much higher range.

Of course Western media "picks and chooses" the reports from smaller volunteer groups or not-as-well armed DPR units which may be using Gvozdikas, Akatsiyas, D-20s, etc. But ignore the Russian units using 2A36s, 2S19s, 2S5s, 2S7s etc., which can all outrange the M777.

Yes, Ukraine also has other systems like German PhZ2000 and French Caesar that reportedly have higher ranges with standard ammo, but they're also far fewer in number, and Russia has already attrited a lot if not most of them, not to mention that their ranges still pale in comparison to 2S7Ms. As for Polish Krab and British As-90, same thing, except they don't even have a higher range to begin with.

The truth is that the Russian side simply has a far lower tolerance to losses. So when they get 1 or 2 units taken out via counterbattery fire an alarm goes off, and their tone in reports is much more consequential. But Ukraine can lose 10 artillery pieces and that will be a "good day" for them, so to speak. People pick up on the more urgent Russian tone and derive from that the implication that Russia is taking heavier losses therefore Ukraine's artillery must be superior in some way. That's not quite how it works.

In fact, in recent times the only real attrition to Russia's artillery that Ukraine has effectively carried out is by way of HIMARs, which has 90km range. Why do you think they're leaning on HIMARs so heavily to counter-snipe Russian artillery batteries?

Why did 2 of the West's most advanced artillery SPGs, the French Caesar and British AS-90 both just suffer catastrophic deaths in the past few days:

Furthermore, Ukraine suffers from far greater barrel wear as they don't have the luxury to swap barrels as Russia does, for obvious logistical reasons. That means their systems lose accuracy and range. The actual operative range of most of their remaining M777s is probably 15km give or take, as that's the most you'll get out of a worn barrel—and the M777 barrels are finicky to begin with.

Russia on the other hand provably swaps barrels on the front all the time, as numerous videos attest:

In conclusion, there's no truth to Ukraine's purported artillery 'range' superiority, only when taken from the hand-picked account of one particular unit which happens to be under-equipped with old gear like D-30s. There are many such units, make no mistake, but there are also many with the better platforms. Remember, Ukraine took delivery of only around ~150+ give or take M777s total, Russia has 760 just of superior 2S19s, not counting the thousands of other barrel types.

Moving on, the RUSI article describes the very opening foray of the early June counteroffensive. There are two interesting admissions: the first, that the MaxxPro MRAPs got "bogged down" in the mud—proving the rumors we heard of their inadequacy in Ukrainian terrain. The second even more interesting is as follows; read the highlighted portion very carefully:

Recall that we know the very first breaches conducted on this counteroffensive were with Leopard 2A6s. Here RUSI chooses to demur and not admit of the harsh reality, preferring to vaguely call them "tanks."

We were told for years that Western tanks, particularly the Leopard 2A6 variants, were the most advanced things in the world and would easily destroy Russian tanks in a head-to-head duel due to their superior optics, fire control systems (FCS), barrel accuracies, ammunition range and ballistics, gun stabilization, etc.

But astonishingly, one of the self-proclaimed most authoritative and oldest thinktanks in the world states that Russian tanks began to engage the column led by Ukrainian "tanks", and—lo and behold—the painful admission: "The vehicles in the column were knocked out in succession."

What happened to all those superior optics, stabilizations, and everything in between?

A new WarOnTheRocks article from the now infamous Rob Lee and Michael Kofman also sheds light on this much-discussed opening phase. They corroborate some of the findings, not only stating that Ukraine rarely uses more than a couple tanks at a time due to fear of losses, but that only a few platoons in a brigade are assault ready:

Around Bakhmut, for example, many of Ukraine's mechanized assaults feature one to two squads backed by two tanks. Ukrainian tank units, according to our field research, rarely mass at the company level because of the risk of losing too many tanks at once. Tank battles are rare. Tanks spend much of their time supporting infantry and providing indirect fires. They generally operate in pairs, or in platoons, supporting infantry attacks. This offensive has largely been characterized by platoon-level infantry assaults, fighting tree line to tree line. Despite their size, brigades often have a limited number of platoons and companies that have assault training, constraining the forces available for such tasks.

The other big admission in their tepid piece is that Russia is in fact deliberately trading space for attrition, a fact clear to any even mid-level analyst but still repeatedly ignored by propaganda-boost-hungry Western cheerleaders:

Getting back to the RUSI piece, the rest of the section covers some post-op BDA stuff so we move onto the next interesting section called "Russian Lessons and Adaptation."

It starts off with another big concession:

The tactical actions around Novodarivka and Rivnopil were largely seen as successes by Russian forces insofar as they inflicted sufficient equipment losses in the early phases so as to degrade the reach of Ukrainian manoeuvre units assuming a consistent rate of loss through the depth of Russia's defensive positions.

They are admitting that even though Ukraine eventually took those two small settlements, it was basically a Russian success because of the outsize and unsustainable casualties the AFU took. These are fairly stark confessions from an institute bent on promoting as 'sanitized' a version of the war as possible.

And another:

The Russian military has also determined to tactically exploit opportunities when Ukrainian forces have become bogged down by aggressive flanking with armour to knock out Ukrainian systems. It is worth noting that Russia often loses the tanks used for these counterattacks but they inflict disproportionate damage because the mines constrain Ukrainian vehicles in their ability to manoeuvre or respond. This willingness to counterattack and a decision to defend forwards highlight how training for Russian tank crews and other specialisms has continued to function, generating new crews with some tactical competence compared with the disruption in collective training that has hampered Russian infantry.

According to them, Russia is showing vast improvement in EW warfare, innovating new usages such as using smaller, lighter, mobile systems like Pole-21 to act as the "antenna" transmitter to larger more powerful systems. This allows the mobile unit to give off the EW signal leaving the larger mainframe safe and hidden, enabling wider battlefield coverage.

The final and most important advancement they note, is that the famed Russian Reconnaissance-Fire-Complex (RFC) has been continually improving every day. They note that Russia has favored prioritizing guided munitions like the Krasnopol and has tightened its ISR capabilities in carrying out accurate strikes that allows them to destroy targets with far less ammo expenditures than old Soviet grid-style gunlaying doctrines.

This is a concerning trend, as over time it will likely significantly improve Russian artillery. The growth in the complexity, diversity and density of Russian UAVs is concerning. The gains in both effect of the warhead and the economy of its design between Lancet-3 and Lancet-3M demonstrate how the Russians are actively improving their fielded equipment. Modifications to loitering munitions to achieve noise reduction on Shahed-136 and to harden navigation are also notable.

The most important point in my view revolves around the improvements in the communications of the Recon-Fire-Complex authority/kill chains. This is of utmost importance and mentions something I've long harped on:

Enabling the RFC depends on communications. Here too, the Russian military is making important progress. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russian forces depended heavily on bespoke military radios. In the scramble for equipment late last year, a wide array of civilian systems was employed. Conceptually, however, the Russians now appear to have moved on, increasingly relying on military bearer networks but app-based services for encoding and accessing data. The result is that a system such as Strelets can provide a 3G connection to multiple devices operating applications that are intuitive for civilian users. This separation of bearers and services is nascent and the security and robustness of the systems being tested must be doubted. Nevertheless, the reduced training burden of this approach and the improvements in fire direction already achieved mean that the AFRF are likely to continue to push in this direction and increasingly systematise their communications architecture around these methods.

They mention the Strelets system of which I wrote about here:

This is important because Russia's defense channel just released this video days ago, again showcasing precisely one of these systems which is already being rolled out to the artillery forces. The video demonstrates the Planshet-M system which allows much greater coordination between commander/scout units, ISR/drone teams, and the actual battery commanders, seamlessly sending target and coordinate data between the units for a reduced RFC loop time:

Much of this is echoed by another Foreign Affairs—which, by the way, is the official magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations—piece which declares that Russia, troublingly, is improving in many ways:

Business Insider concurs with their new piece:

They write:

Russia's ability to jam Ukraine's drones has only gotten better, forcing drone operators to move closer to the front lines and putting those highly valuable troops in more danger as Ukraine's counteroffensive churns on. 

We'll skip the rest since it covers previous points.

The RUSI piece finishes up with a few other important points I'll highlight in quicker succession. They note that Ukrainian commanders prioritize not laying down smoke because they prefer to see the battlefield with drone "eyes in the sky", rather than blinding the Russian side but also themselves:

Commanders persistently prioritise maintaining their own understanding of the battlefield over laying down smoke and concealing their personnel's movements. Given the criticality of rapid application of artillery to support movement, this prioritisation is understandable, but it also reflects limitations in the ability of the brigade to trust tactical commanders to execute actions when not directed by high headquarters with greater situational awareness. Given the saturation of the headquarters that results, it is vital to train junior leaders, in combination with expanding staff capacity.

The big takeaway here is that this reflects on the "limitations in the ability of the brigade to trust tactical commanders to execute actions when not directed by high HQ."

What does that sound like?

They are admitting that the "NATO-trained" sergeants and much-vaunted junior-NCOs are in fact not up to the task, and that commanders "in the rear" don't trust them to actually make any sound tactical decisions on their own, preferring to watch the battlefield from drones and make all the tactical decisions "centrally" like the so-called [misnomered] "Soviet system."

After all that time talking up the superiority of NATO and 'Wester-style training', they now admit that it's all bunk.

They go on to describe how training in NATO countries is in fact inadequate because it's done under conditions that are not realistic to the actual battlefield.

Collective training outside Ukraine is hampered by the fact that because of the safety culture in NATO, Ukrainian troops cannot train as they fight. Moreover, many NATO tactics either require a level of training that is not feasible within the timeframe available, or are not validated in the modern threat environment.

Read that again: NATO tactics "are not validated in the modern threat environment." That's a monster of an admission. Interestingly, the chief "military expert" behind this report, Dr. Jack Watling—Senior Research Fellow for Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute—had previously written an article for The Guardian in July where he said the following:

A couple of months before Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, I was lying on a hilltop watching a US mechanised battalion thundering down a valley, tasked with breaching a set of obstacles. The obstacles were less formidable than those in Ukraine, and the enemy in the exercise comprised a single company backed by limited artillery. Nevertheless, the US troops made a mess of things. Their reconnaissance troops failed to screen their vehicles, they went static in sight of the enemy and they were severely punished.

The fact that well-trained US troops struggle to conduct combined-arms obstacle breaching under more favourable circumstances underscores how difficult it is. Moreover, the US troops I was observing may have performed poorly, but they did so in training. If ever they have to do it for real, they will have had repeated opportunities to learn and improve. Ukrainian troops have not had that luxury.

What's this? We were chastized for months for doubting the supremacy of U.S.'s vaunted "combined arms" capabilities. It seems not all was as we thought.

But the RUSI report goes on:

This approach to force generation means that most Ukrainian battalions are generating approximately two platoons of troops which are considered fully capable of leading assault actions. While the rest of the battalion provides reinforcement, and the ability to hold ground, the size at which formations can conduct offensive action is severely constrained.

So, due to these various limitations, each battalion can only generate half a company's worth of real fighting men, while the rest merely watches and provides fodder to replace those lost by the minute. This explains why we only see a company or two at most from each vaunted "brigade" strike out at a time.

By the way—in the previous Guardian article, Watling admitted that the only reason Ukraine even sends their troops to foreign countries to train is because they're unable to do anything beyond solo soldier training in Ukraine proper due to training grounds being ripe targets for Russian strikes. That means for training of company level units and up, it's impossible to do this apart from in UK, Germany, etc. And without such training, larger units simply can't form the cohesion necessary for leading proper assaults. This is the huge conundrum Ukraine is in.

Finally, the RUSI report concludes:

It is also important to recognise that Russian forces are fighting more competently and with reasonable tenacity in the defence. Although they are losing ground, Russian forces are largely conducting orderly withdrawals from positions and are effectively slowing down and thereby managing Ukrainian advances while imposing a considerable cost in equipment

Well that's a big one. Not only is Russia fighting competently but they conducting orderly withdrawals while imposing considerable costs on the AFU. We were told for months that AFU valiantly breaches through their ranks, slaughtering everyone and taking prisoners on each captured position. It seems reality is a little different than the slop fed to Western publics.

This RUSI report has spawned a wave of headlines highlighting the main thesis: that Ukraine should "stop training in NATO tactics," as it's only harming them, and in fact go back to what they know best:


The above report even quotes Watling from a new Telegraph interview where he states:

"We could get that horribly wrong.

"We could do it whereby we're like – we're going to teach you how to be a Nato staff officer … we have courses and we have a book that tells us what that means.

"But the problem is that if you take that person who has learned all these Nato procedures and you put them back in Ukraine, where they have different tools and where none of their colleagues understand any of the Nato terminology, then they will revert to what their colleagues understand."

The article also relays a new German Bundeswehr report which states that the AFU has internally begun abandoning the useless "NATO-trained" officers in favor of people with actual combat experience, realizing that they know far more and are much more useful than those trained on sacred "NATO doctrine":

A recently leaked German intelligence report said Kyiv's advances had faltered because its army is not implementing the training it has received from the West.

The Bundeswehr assessment said the Ukrainian military favoured promoting soldiers with combat experience over those who had received Nato-standard instruction, which had led to "considerable deficiencies in leadership" and "wrong and dangerous decisions".

Because it dovetails so aptly with the article I just wrote about the NATO/Russian NCO systems, I wanted to share this next bit as well, which states that Ukraine is experiencing such NCO attrition that they've got colonels planning individual building raids:

The high number of casualties sustained on the battlefield has only exacerbated the lack of potential junior leaders with experience on the front lines.

"This limits the scale at which brigades can combine arms, especially during offensive operations where planning times are compressed," Dr Watling and his co-author Nick Reynolds wrote.

Often senior leaders, such as colonels in charge of stretches of up to 10 miles on the front line, are brought in to plan section attacks on buildings.

Training up a new class of junior officers would enable the more-experienced leaders to plan and coordinate wide scale attacks that could speed up Ukraine's advances into Russian-occupied territory.

Springing off of that, we have a new Economist article featuring a director from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency:


The one important takeaway here is that U.S. intel agencies admit they underestimated Russian defenses. But the breathtaking admission that's made is that the bulk of Russian reserves still remains on the 3rd line, which Ukraine hasn't even reached yet:

That's to say, the vast bulk of two entire army corps of the AFU were utterly destroyed with up to 50k casualties just fighting a fraction of Russia's forces, while the bulk of Russian defenders still remains uncommitted in the rear. Imagine how demoralizing that must be to realize.

They admit that Ukraine has spent most of its reserves, a fact attested to by the destruction of the Challenger 2 recently, which means—as someone else put it—Ukraine is already "scraping the bottom of the barrel" of its last capabilities for the offensive. But don't worry, says the DIA, Ukraine can rest over the winter and have a fresh try in spring 2024.

That segues us into this article from Mick Ryan, concerned with the future outlook:

He's one of the more clear-headed and sensible of Western pundits on this war and admits many of the same shortcomings that now regularly plague reports from the West. That the West miscalculated, and had little idea how to fight such a war as we're seeing in Ukraine. He calls for a new 'Manhattan Project' aimed at mine clearing to find new ways for Ukraine—or anyone in the future for that matter—to clear the types of minefields Russia is constructing.

The article revolves around the same theme du jour now sweeping Western reportage: the loss of hope for 2023 and subsequent focus on "sustainment" through 2024. The mood, underlined by the previous WarOnTheRocks article, is basically that there is no further hope in any 'wunderwaffe' weapons like F-16s or new types of cruise missiles. The hope can only rest on general blanket sustainment of the workhorse weapons systems used daily on the front: from nightvision goggles to Humvees and MRAPs, to artillery shells. The focus must switch not only from trying to turn the AFU into some newfangled NATO lovechild, but rather to letting them do what they know how to do best.

The problem with this strategy is that it presupposes that as long as you can keep pumping a minimum sustainment level of basic arms to Ukraine, they will continue trucking through and sucking up the inordinate losses they're suffering. When you take a gloomy look at what the actual frontline troops themselves are saying, it becomes clear that this 'status quo' is not sustainable.

Take a look, for instance, at this new article from the Kyiv Independent which interviews troops of the newly and hastily formed 32nd brigade defending against Russia's onslaught in the Kupyansk direction. There's no greater propaganda source than Kyiv Independent, and yet even they're forced to print these sobering words, perhaps as an alarm signal to their sponsors:

Speaking on their "NATO" training in Germany, the Ukrainian troops had this to say:

However, the same soldiers who spoke to the Kyiv Independent didn't hide their scorn about how the training prepared them for a war that doesn't exist in Ukraine. They said the NATO officers don't understand the reality on the ground.

"A NATO infantryman knows he's supported and can advance with the confidence that there's a high likelihood that he won't be killed or maimed," Ihor said.

The NATO way of war calls for massive preparatory airstrikes and artillery barrages and demining before the infantry is sent in, he added.

It usually doesn't work that way in Ukraine.

Long ago I wrote about how NATO is only proficient in teaching COIN (Counter-insurgency) tactics. The article above affirms this by stating that NATO instructors only taught Ukrainian soldiers urban warfare-style tactics:

Zgurets said that the instructors in Germany put a lot of emphasis on teaching urban combat. But the skills of how to smoke an enemy out from a trench, how to build an assault group, and coordinate it with artillery and drone support were lacking.

The style of battle in the Ukrainian countryside, blending World War I trench combat and 21st-century tech and tactics, are only seen in Ukraine — they are outside NATO's wheelhouse.

Recall in my last report I spoke about Ukrainian meat-assault tactics because their actual armor has attritioned to such a point they're forced to literally run towards Russian positions on foot. Not only does the Kyiv Post article state in the opening that the troops in the Kharkov direction lack much equipment at all because "all the best stuff was sent down to the Zaporozhye offensive" but here's a description that confirms the type of things I was highlighting:

Not only that, but recall the repeated complaints from turbo/schizopatriots or outright concern-trolls that Russian troops are low on every piece of valuable kit, typically taken from one out of context report from a single volunteer unit, or something of the sort. The article makes this point clear, at least in this direction:

"They have night vision drones, Orlans, and other tech; they see everything," Volodymyr said. Many of these drones are equipped with droppable munitions, having learned from the Ukrainians using this technique in 2022.

The feeling of constantly being watched and targeted is hugely demoralizing for the Ukrainian troops.

"It locks you up, you want to take certain actions, but you can't because the eye of Sauron is always watching," Ihor said, referencing the villain and master of the orcish horde from the Lord of the Rings.

It further describes how advanced Russian SIGINT warfare is:

But they have their own nasty surprises to worry about. A tank platoon commander named Vladyslav recalls how the first time a Ukrainian tried to use a tank radio, the Russians immediately zeroed in on it and buried it in artillery. Since then, they learned never to use communications devices more powerful than a hand-held. Enemy troops are too-well positioned to punish any slip-ups.

The article ends on the admission that "Russia has a massive artillery advantage throughout the country," once more underscoring my point about the morale-boosting exaggerations in the Zaporozhye direction, which repeatedly claim Ukraine has some sort of 'artillery advantage' there merely to give them at least one thing to write home about.

And a new article from UK's The Times gives this week's final grim view of the mindset pervading Ukrainian trenches:

The article relays such, now blasé, statistics:

In fact, this article gives the grisliest of all looks at the horror being suffered by the AFU. For instance, another excerpt confirms how "meat assault" soldiers are forced to run on foot toward enemy positions because easily-destroyed armor has proven too scarce and valuable to be 'wasted' in frontal assaults:

Medics of the 'elite' 47th brigade go on to admit that their casualties have run into four figures:

Do the math on that. A Ukrainian brigade is said to be 4,000 men in principle, but many or even most of them reportedly have only 2k - 3k. Four figure casualties means upwards of half of the brigade or more is being completely wiped out, a fact sadly already corroborated by leaked documents I've previously presented.

But it gets worse. Recall how Western pundits' chief consolation, particularly on the recent Challenger hit, is that at least crews in Western armor survive after getting hit, unlike—they claim—those of Russian-made armor. This includes Bradleys, which are said to be infinitely more ergonomic, safer, and more survivable compared to Russian BMPs.

Well, I'll let you decide with this final, horrific doozy of a section:

The veritable paragon of survivability.

It becomes so clear now how decades of Western propaganda had built up their equipment with fraudulent, unearned accolades and distinctions. Now, in the first true test against a real foe, the lies all come crashing down.

Of course, such horrors as the above are underscored by the weekly mutinies taking place within the AFU ranks. Just in the past two days alone we've had two new videos, one from the 46th Airmobile Brigade of the AFU fighting on the Zaporozhye line:

The other from a unit on the right-bank of the Kherson front:

Both complain of problems and low morale, which is fairly universal throughout the AFU ranks apart from some core diehard nationalist units.

Have you ever played one of those Real Time Strategy games where each unit accrues 'experience points' the longer it stays alive, making it stronger, deal more damage, etc.? It's a fairly apt analogy to how next year will look. Russia's units are taking far less losses, and thus are accumulating heaps of experience, making them stronger, hardier, more accurate and resourceful, etc. Ukraine on the other hand is constantly being replenished with ever-newer and ever-less-fit stock—including invalids, geriatrics, now women, etc.

That means by next year, a majority of Russian troops will have the equivalent of a three-star XP rating above their heads, while those of the AFU will be fresh 0 star ones. The end result will be that losses for the AFU will take on an ever-less 'linear' disparity, and will begin to turn parabolic. Whatever the kill ratio is presently, it will only get worse by next year as seasoned Russian troops are wantonly pitted against untrained press-ganged conscripts.

The biggest takeaway from these reports is a blind hope that the West will somehow 'stay the course' and continue filling Ukraine's needs through next year. But we've already seen that not only are severe cutbacks in funding expected, but there's not much top equipment left to send, which is why they're already scraping the bottom of the barrel with things like old Leopard 1s to replace the lost 2 series.

Furthermore, much of the hoped-for European/Western arms manufacturing solidarity has not come to pass. The hollow promises of massive manufacturing boosts were made under the presumption of newly formed consortiums which can work together to open new factories and pump out huge quantities of shells. But none of that has happened, as companies instead balked and played for time, too chary to invest in a dubious proposition. For instance, this new illustrative 'setback':

Russia on the other hand understands the economic aspect of the war. In fact Andrei Martyanov recently sounded off on this in his new video on Alexander Svechin, considered one of Russia's foremost military theorists—the 'Russian Clausewitz'. From Svechin's writings, Martyanov points out how deeply steeped Russian doctrine is in the economic considerations of warfare:

And since, as Martyanov states, Gerasimov is a big devotee of Svechin, we can deduce that Russia is well aware of the economic dimensions.

More from the video:

This summarizes the outlook. I believe that Russia, despite its at times seeming vacillations or Putin's noncommittal attitude toward strictly defining conflict objectives, does in fact have a concrete plan, which is roughly that of the above. The plan is underpinned by a synergy between military and industry, which is working toward delivering the type of steadily increasing outputs aimed at driving Ukraine into an attrition deficit abyss. In the end it's a simple numbers game, and Russian doctrines and military theory have long established all the set parameters in how to grind out such a victory with the same systematic, practiced application of a chessmaster applying perfunctory opening theory against a beginner opponent.

Lacking any ability to achieve real strategic breakthroughs or battlefield victories, Ukraine's only task henceforth is to continue creating a string of perception-management 'tokens' which can be used to drive public sentiment and belief just enough to reach the next such 'token'.

For instance, the F-16 perception-token is still far away—a yawning abyss of hopeless loss lies from now to then. In order to stave off the collapse of public trust and Western nation support, Ukraine will have to gain a new shiny toy to bridge the gap and briefly manage public perception up until the F-16s can be arranged. As of this writing, it's now looking like the new, immediate perception-token will be the ATACMS missile, as new hints from the Biden administration have leaked that imply they are very close to greenlighting this next wunderwaffe.

Should it be delivered, the ATACMS will be used to make a couple big splashes somewhere—most likely a civilian area unprotected by AD—in Donbass, which will be crudely packaged and sold, as ever, by mainstream press as a "devastating blow" to a putative Russian "critical C2/C3 node" or logistics rear. That will restart the cycle of driving hope in some Ukrainian 'victory', which will continue on with ever-diminishing returns, each new 'wunderwaffe' not only having less and less impact, but an ever-shorter lifespan. Though it's hard to imagine how much shorter it can get than the week-long flameouts of the Storm Shadow or JDAM, but it doesn't mean they won't try to stretch its significance.

Next year will certainly be an extremely eventful time where things are set to culminate with the heights of the American election cycle. It will be interesting to see whether the ruling establishment will finally be forced to cut the cord and throw Ukraine under the bus or whether they will dare risk some black swan escalation on the eve of the all-important and historic election. For now, Ukraine will continue to bleed for the gallery while the Russian war machine finishes calmly strapping on its armor in preparation for the killing blow.

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
5 Sep 2023 | 5:56 am

7. SITREP 9/4/23: First Challengers Burn as East Continues to Rise in Power

Today once more we start with the ever-important undercurrents, which are the actual significant drivers of the developments beyond the ongoing tactical vagaries of the battlefield.

Putin had a meeting with Erdogan where he reiterated Russia's stance on the grain deal—that it cannot go forward until Russia's demands are resolved. Putin mostly spoke about the economic factors related to this, however adjacently Shoigu released a statement on the military side; namely, that part of the deal was Ukraine cannot build or launch offensive naval drone strikes from the port areas, which he says they have been doing.

But beneath this surface level arbitration, the real weight shifted around new deals between Russia and Turkey, which further develops the multipolar expansion. In particular, the two countries laid out a plan by which Russian grain will be facilitated by Turkey in the future as well as, even more importantly, the beginning of talks between Russia-Turkish banks to initiate trade in national currencies.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has underscored the importance of switching to national currencies in bilateral trade with Russia. He made these comments during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Monday.

"I believe that the fact that the heads of our central banks will meet here today is important from the point of view of a step towards the transition to national currencies in bilateral relations between us," the Turkish president stated.

Now rumors circulate that Turkey has asked Iran for help in obtaining an invitation to the BRICS. Considering that we now know that China and several of the BRICS powerhouses wanted more members but were forced to compromise with India's vision, it's quite possible that Turkey will be on the agenda for the next round of invitations. And since they're already beginning initiatives for national currency settlements, this will fit hand-to-glove with the BRICS global de-dollarization drive.

On top of this, Russia is now taking its relationship with North Korea to the next level, which will strengthen both countries and create an even more weighty regional power bloc to negate NATO's growing expansion into a "Pacific NATO". Not only is Russia sending a delegation to North Korea's next military parade but they've now invited Kim Jong Un himself to visit Russia for further strengthening of military ties and signing of weapons manufacturing deals:

This follows other 'below the surface' developments which continue accelerating the rapid multipolarity and de-dollarization movement:

Meanwhile, both China and Saudi Arabia have been dumping US treasuries:

Europe is panicking over the BRICS expansion, with Borrell calling for an emergency expansion of the EU, hoping the addition of 10 new members can boost the dying totalitarian relic:

"The European Union must prepare for a new enlargement, which will lead to the entry of 10 new states, it is necessary to consider the time frame for their admission" — Borrell

Meanwhile President Xi has snubbed the G20, stating he will not be attending but will instead send a lesser delegation. Some jumped to conclusions that this is really a snub to India, where the G20 will be held, but some Western publications have wisely gleaned the true motivation:

The Sirius Report writes:

Xi not attending the G20 has absolutely nothing to do with India and everything to do with him personally refusing an audience with Biden and China's disdain for his administration's ongoing dysfunctional attitude and approach towards Beijing.

For that to change, something seismic would have to happen in the next few days, which seems highly unlikely.

Ironically enough, India itself fired a shot across the bow of Western led global frameworks when Modi again repeated calls to the colonialist UN to "accept new realities," particularly that of allowing India as the most populous state in the world on the UN Security Council.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on the United Nations to reform in line with 21st century realities to ensure the representation of voices that matter, according to an interview published on Sunday.

A "mid-20th century approach cannot serve the world in the 21st century", Modi, who will host a summit of the Group of 20 big economies from next weekend, told the Press Trust of India news agency.

With the situation in Africa getting worse by the day for the Atlanticist order, the global shift is becoming ever more tangible.


In Ukraine the biggest development continues to happen around the growing mobilization threat. It's now all but certain that a new repressive press-gang regime will take effect this fall. A plethora of documents and information continues to pour out in this vein, as well as further underlining evidence of unprecedented ongoing losses.

All sorts of 'exemptions' are being cancelled. Anyone with a medical exemption is now being forced to re-process as this crazy video illustrates.

Some as yet uncorroborated sources even claim that strictness will be relaxed on a slew of serious diseases in order to make eligible as many Ukrainians as possible:

This is in conjunction with confirmation that several countries are cooperating in forcibly extraditing Ukrainian 'refugees' of military age back home, particularly Poland and Germany:

And here's BILD:


But you also would affect thousands, possibly tens of Thousands to Germany, the refugees Ukrainians. According to the Federal Ministry of the interior (as of February) after the beginning of the Russian attack war 163,287 male, military capable of Ukrainians entered Germany (dated: February 2023).

Not to mention that women are now being forced to register at the enlistment office:

➡️Starting from October 1, 2023, female workers in the medical and pharmaceutical fields will be required to register with the military enlistment offices.

➡️Women in other professions can voluntarily choose to register. Women can register if they are fit for military service due to age, up to 60 years old, and their health condition, which is determined by the Medical Examination Commission

Reportedly, one Ukrainian deputy even proposed a bill to reduce the draft age to 17, so they can begin harvesting up all those young teens for the slaughter:

⚡️⚡️⚡️The deputy from the Ukrainian party "European Solidarity" Sofya Fedina submitted a bill to reduce the draft age to 17 years

While we are talking about military service, but it is well known that after its completion, soldiers are not allowed to go home, referring to "martial law".

This is illegal, because officially Ukraine is not waging war. Nevertheless, young guys are forced to sign a contract with the Ukrainian Armed Forces in various ways, and several cases of suicide have already been known when Ukrainians who did not want to fight chose such an extreme measure.

17 years old is still teenagers. And now they will be sent to the front.⚡️⚡️⚡️

And there's reports that mass prisoners are being released from the west of Ukraine and used to replenish losses in the ongoing offensive.

Here's a Russian Channel 1 report on the ongoings:

And why is this all going on?

Well, to answer we continue to get more and more confirmation of not only the mass losses Ukraine is suffering, but the disparity in losses between the AFU and Russian forces.

Join me in this brief, grisly tour through the latest:

Firstly, there was an interview with a Polish volunteer to Ukraine who had some very shockingly eye-opening things to say:

💥💥💥"A Pole on the difficult situation in Ukraine: 'They have no one to fight': A Polish volunteer in an interview told what is really happening with the counterattack."

"Slawomir Wysocki, a Pole who regularly travels to Ukraine with humanitarian aid, told how tragic the situation is: 'For several months they have only breached the first line of defence. The human losses on the Ukrainian side are huge. Western equipment is burning like matches. Things are much worse than is commonly imagined.

I counted the graves in Lviv. In the old part of the cemetery there are about 100 graves, in the new part - more than 600. In the villages this proportion is colossally different. When I drive by, I see cemeteries along the streets. Each has up to a dozen new graves. There are flags near each one, they are easily recognisable. There are more than two thousand graves in Kharkov. These losses can no longer be hidden.

Two months ago I was full of optimism about Kupyanskaya. Now we are still managing to hold our ground. It seems that the Russians are doing everything they can to reach Kupyansk, where they will take up their positions for the spring offensive."

[How do Ukrainians feel about the Russian defence system?] They are terrified. They know that the Russian army has already foreseen everything. The defence system was built by construction companies. It's not a peasant swinging a shovel to build a trench. Companies came in, poured concrete, made fortifications in the style of the Maginot Line. And there are three or four such lines. Ukrainians say there are five mines per square metre. You can't put your foot on the ground without one of them exploding.

[With such a situation at the front, with ever-increasing losses, are there still people willing to defend their homeland?] There are none. They are looking for them on the streets. There are "round-ups" in Lviv, people are taken from construction sites, from bars. Recently I witnessed such a situation at the bus station in Lviv. Five policemen stood and checked everyone who wanted to leave Lviv. Eight people were detained in this way. Many of the reasons for the current mobilisation situation originate in Bakhmut. It was such a drain, such a meat grinder that there was no one left to fight".💥💥💥

As to the mine situation, it may sound like he's exaggerating but a new video from the Ukrainian perspective shows exactly what he's talking about:

As to the losses, here's a new account from a Ukrainian military source in the Klescheyevka direction:

And this new BBC video on Ukrainian losses is a must watch for anyone still in doubt:

It's a companion piece to this BBC article:

Notice how openly the MSM is now reporting on this.

Hell, just look at how Ukrainians are now discussing getting out of being mobilized:

Well…better than being dead, I guess.

Additionally, there have been some interesting new insights in regard to Ukrainian POW exchanges in particular, which gives us an inside look into what the real loss disparities between the two sides are.

Recall the important point I had made a while back: losses on both sides are semi-subjective things and the numbers can be fudged with selective stats from one side or the other. This is because one side hasn't released official losses since last summer, and the other side has never released official losses.

However, POW statistics are the only statistic that has actually been at several points released by both sides—which means it's the only statistic that allows us a measure of insight in comparing the losses of both sides. I had already said many times before that Russia takes upwards of 5-15x more POWs than Ukraine takes of Russian troops, depending on the time. For instance, there was a time that Ukraine officially confirmed having around ~2500 Russian POWs when Russia verifiably had over 12-15k+ Ukrainian ones.

POW to KIA ratios are obviously relative in the same way WIA to KIA are, which gives us an idea of the two sides KIA ratios as well.

And now we have further confirmation of this vis a vis the POW angle. Not only does this AFU spokesman confirm that they don't have enough Russian POWs for the exchange fund, i.e. to equally exchange them at the same rate with the Ukrainian POWs held by Russia:

🇺🇦🤡 The Kiev regime does not have so many prisoners of war to crank out the "all for all" exchange - Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets.

"There is a figure, we do not name it publicly. What about the exchange fund - I constantly hear this question from relatives. We publicly said yes, we have problems with the exchange fund.

This means that we do not have enough Russian prisoners of was, whom we want to exchange for Ukrainian prisoners of war. They exist, the number is not enough, and this is also a problem," said Lubinets.

First of all, this plays into the hands of Russia, since any negotiations take place in a dominant position, and even an agreement on unequal conditions demonstrates a desire to meet and reach compromises, putting the lives of fighters as a priority.

But listen to what this Russian POW tells a smug Ukrainian journalist:

If we didn't have the above admission from Ukraine itself, we may consider this as some sort of cheeky exaggeration on the Russian's behalf. But in fact now we can see it's true.

Ukraine is demanding 15 of their own men for a single Russian soldier. This gives you an idea of the types of loss ratios we're seeing. Recall that these numbers actually back the rough ratio I gave from long ago where Ukraine had a couple thousand Russian POWs while Russia had as many as 15k Ukrainian ones.

Clearly, the loss ratios are consistent with this. I believe Putin recently again stated that the loss ratios in the offensive have been higher than 10:1 in Russia's favor.

Tons of new videos bear this out, as well—in regard to the POWs. Just in the past 4-5 days alone, there have been dozens of AFU captured as confirmed on video; if we count the ones not on video there are probably hundreds. Meanwhile almost nothing from the Ukrainian side. Look for yourself, here's just a small sampling of recent captures this past week: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4, Video 5, Video 6, Video 7, Video 8, Video 9. And there's many more. In that same time period I've seen maybe 1 Ukrainian video showing the capture of a couple Russian troops somewhere—supposedly.

In one of them the Russian captor even says the 6 POWs they're showing on video are in addition to 14 they captured the previous day which they didn't film.

That's on top of the endless losses happening at the same time, like here, here, here, and here. In short, it's a slaughter. Just watch the BBC piece posted earlier—even the female morgue workers had to watch their own husbands stream back to the morgue from the frontline. This is mass genocide from the psychopathic Narco-fuhrer regime.

An account doing visual confirmations of AFU losses has counted this just for the month of August:

Visually confirmed Ukranian losses for the Month of August 2023, according to

@OsintArmor daily loss counter
Tanks- 113
IFVs- 199
4x4 (MRAPS Mostly)- 75
Artillery- 154
Air Defense- 11
Radar/EW- 15
Supply/Transport- 74 + Train Echelon
Aircraft- 4
Helicopters- 3
Engineering Vehicles- 5
Boats- 5
Unknown- 38

Total= 760 confirmed losses.

Is Ukraine getting some licks in too? Sure, they're getting a little here and there. For instance, the Bayraktar drone has come back into action for the first time in what—nearly a year now?—scoring 2 or 3 new kills on Russian forces in the Kherson region where a few Russian units are overextended on the Kinburn spit, those small islets in the gray no man's zone.

One of the hits was on a small crewed boat which likely generated some casualties, another on an empty truck parked under a tree, and one on an artillery SPG which seems to have missed—take a look at the 'heat' signature to the right of the unit, the bomb seems to have hit the ground next to it. A drop in the bucket compared to the losses inflicted daily on the AFU. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if the TB2 footage is fake/old, rolled out now in desperation to buoy flagging morale.

Edit: the hit on the artillery SPG is already confirmed a fake: the timestamp above shows August 2022. How can we trust the rest of the hits when Ukraine is desperately and connivingly interspersing 1 year old footage?

But Western press is now trumpeting that Ukraine is finally making big gains, despite all these losses, and has even breached Russia's vaunted "first line" of the Surovikin defense. Is that true?

Here is where they are according to a Ukrainian officer source:


The below video is geolocated to the area that corresponds to the map above, i.e. the road leading straight into Verbove:

What we appear to be seeing is the following:

Yes, a Ukrainian meat assault all on foot is being sent past the "dragon teeth" toward the Russian trenches. Remember how I recently outlined their new tactic multiple times, where, after losing heavy amounts of armor, they are now resorting to just throwing lightly armed meat assaults with no vehicle backing for any desperate break through? You can see this above.

By the way, you can use this map to follow along. You see that double layered line there? The first one under the red circle, which they claimed to have "breached" is a tank ditch.

The breach was supposedly thus far just a forward scouting unit that basically attempted to "sneak" past the line but was repelled by artillery, suffering heavy losses as per the video above.

They barely even have the equipment to breach the actual tank ditches and dragon's teeth there, which is why they're simply sending meat assaults on foot to get blasted apart.

In fact, their Leopard and other heavy tank breachers in general have taken such attrition that, in a serious downgrade, they're now apparently rolling out MRAP MaxxPro breachers:

M1224 MaxxPro MRAP vehicle with a Spark II modular mine roller system during an exercise of the 58th Independent Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Ukrainian regime.

Of course, we've already been seeing several Stryker ESV (Engineering Support Vehicles) with LWMR rollers destroyed as well:

So, have they really "breached" the first Surovikin line? I'd say no. They're simply sending barely armed cannonfodder to die right on top of what is hardly even construed as the line.

However, there are indications that they are trying to refit and gather a new armored fist to make another attempt to punch through. They're still collecting their broken units in the rear, reconstituting the destroyed brigades from the last attempt. The rumor is now the following:

How they are planning the "breach" to work is, they are now sending territorial defense type of low grade meat assault units to try to make a breakthrough while keeping their good brigades, the 82nd, 47th, etc., back in the rear, waiting with the Challenger 2 and Leopard tanks. Once the meat units pile up enough of their own corpses on the Surovikin line to constitute a "break through", they intend to send the band-aid-and-banana-peel-held-together main brigades through.

The other component of the "strategy" is that these territorial meat units whose only objective is to just die on the 1st line, are meant to "exhaust" the Russian defenders, rather than actually break through in any meaningful way.

For those interested, the way the AFU structures its frontline force here goes as follows:

Back to the enemy's tactics. What is typical of the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the line of contact-how the counter-offensive forces are layered:

- Up to 15% of the personnel on the list of units is located directly in the frontline positions on the LBS and strong points (at a distance of 1-5 km, in the immediate rear). As a rule, these are not assault groups. These units ensure the withdrawal of storm troopers to the front, conduct surveillance and aerial-visual reconnaissance.

- At a distance of 5-10 km from the LBS, at strong points and in shelters (mainly in forest belts), up to 35% of the units ' manpower is located. They form the basis for the formation of groups of reinforcement, evacuation, and tactical reserve of storm troopers.

- In the rear areas at a distance of up to 15 km from the front line, the remaining 50% of the personnel of the units are located. They are used to place stationary objects and buildings with basements. It is on their base that assault detachments are formed. Despite the use of a layered system of distribution of troops on the LBS, the enemy was not able to minimize losses among personnel and equipment on the front line due to the concentrated fire of our artillery and minefields. 

However, he ensured a stable influx of offensive group reserves to the LBS, counting on an exhausting effect. This is typical for the entire front line. It is especially evident in the areas of the most acute battles: Zaporozhye and South-Donetsk sectors of the front, Bakhmut (Artemivsk) direction. The only area where this system has not been implemented is Kupyansky.

But despite the massive unprecedented losses, how worried should we be that Ukraine continues to still make some incremental progress? For instance, Boris Rozhin writes the following in this regard, particularly vis a vis the announcements of various invalids being mobilized:

Ukraine's plans to enlist the "limited fit" in the army are a common development for any country leading a general mobilization. Conscripts with this category of validity usually fall into the rear units and divisions that support the activities of troops at the front: repair, security, transport, and others. The key effect of conscription of these categories is the ability to throw all those fit for combat to the front, without leaving them in the rear, where they can be replaced by people with certain restrictions.

How effective does this work? The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to advance despite all the problems, including because they can maintain the number of troops at the front, and the absolute dominance of military propaganda and the ideology of hatred make it possible to keep some loyal and others afraid.

The problems begin when units equipped with limited servicemembers have to be thrown into the first line, as happened with the Germans at the end of the war, when the Volkssturm of teenagers, old people and disabled people went into battle, supporting the fairly thinned Wehrmacht. (Boris Rozhin)

The thing is that, the advances they've made so far are not even close to what even the most die-hard pro-Z analysts expected. After last year's Kharkov and Kherson incidents, most analysts cautiously forecasted the AFU being able to make it down at least toward Tokmak if not further.

Personally, I'm not worried at all with their level of advancement so far. In some zones it did reveal certain ongoing deficiencies on the Russian side, which are being worked on and corrected—particularly on the Staromayorsk front. However, in general the cost-to-gain ratio of the exchange is very good in Russia's favor thus far.

The common thought question though is: "Sure, they're taking a lot of losses, that's a given. But what if they can keep sending endless men and taking endless losses until they inch forward toward Crimea/Mariupol/etc.?"

That's not possible, and won't happen.



It's costing them far too much equipment for far too little territory. It's your prerogative to argue they have endless manpower—maybe they do—and that's fine. But they most certainly don't have endless armor and equipment. They've been so depleted there that videos continue to show them literally impaling themselves on foot on Russia's defenses near Verbove, after jogging for 5km from their deployment point.

They simply don't have the equipment to make it down that far down with the current level of attrition. Sure, they're getting new tanks in an emergency bid to keep them afloat. But it's a whopping 10 Abrams on the way, with another whopping 10 Leopard 1A5s. This is hardly a day's worth in a major armor 'push' for them.

Now, maybe they can hold out during fall/winter, accumulate huge amounts of new armor over the course of the next 6 months and then I will concede they could stand a chance to push much farther. But that's only if Russia decides to do literally nothing in that entire period, and I highly doubt that's going to be the case. As soon as it senses blood and sees AFU near-exhaustion, Russia will likely launch something of its own—whether that's an actual full-fledged offensive to advance or simply to batter and finish off the actual AFU materiel/personnel we don't know yet, but they won't simply let them sit and accumulate armor.

In fact, there haven't been many missile strikes from Russia lately and an AFU spokesman days ago said they believe Russia is currently saving up a huge amount of cruise missiles for a big fall/winter strike campaign where they intend to decimate the AFU's rears and infrastructure; I agree.

The few times they have used them recently, there were big losses, as below from a few days ago:

WELDERS: An accurate missile strike by the Russian Armed Forces destroyed the placement point and training camp of the Ukrainian military in the Selidovo area. In this camp, the command of the 53rd Separate Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of Ukraine placed a recently arrived replenishment from among the mobilized people who were supposed to be thrown into battle near Avdiivka. According to our data, about a hundred Ukrainian soldiers were killed. Even Ukrainian commanders do not know the exact number of dead right now. Many of the bodies are still buried in the rubble and cannot be identified.

I'll finish this section off with the following someone posted:

As the classic saying goes, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

Borodino 1812

Borodino 1941

Rabotino 2023

And while Napoleon and von Bock were lured by warm winter quarters in Moscow, Zelensky's proteges (similar to Napoleon, but with a nuance) are faced with plowed forest clearings in the field or ruined cellars in Rabotino."


Let's turn to a final few sundry items.

New satellite photos confirmed the damage: 2 planes at the Kresti airfield in Pskov were destroyed:

The only bad news is it is claimed by a Ukrainian OSINT account one of them was a more rare IL-78 MIDAS refueler, of which Russia has much less than Il-76s.

At the same time, Ukraine released a video from a controllable/FPV drone which overflew the airport and confirmed that the strikes actually happened from Russian territory:

Remember all the hand-wringing and pearl-clutching about how Russia's air defense could have failed so badly as to allow drones to fly 600km from Ukrainian territory? Or the concern-trolls accusing Putin of being weak by allowing NATO to bomb Russian airfields from Estonia/Baltics?

Well, along with the video, Budanov himself now confirmed it was done from Russian territory just like I had outlined as one of the likely possibilities in the last article, where I posted the CNN report showing how they've literally confirmed that Ukrainian saboteurs are being sent into Russia with drones they can launch from within Russian territory:

The strike on the Pskov airfield was delivered from the territory of the Russian Federation, said the head of the GUR Budanov in an interview with The War Zone project.

"We are working from the territory of Russia," Budanov said and declined to give other details.

He says that "two (Russian Il-76 aircraft) were destroyed and two seriously damaged."

The publication received images from a drone with an infrared camera from the GUR, which confirm this statement.

We do not really believe in an attack from the territory of the Russian Federation, because it is one thing to launch a separate copter, and quite another to organize a massive raid. It is necessary to involve a lot of people (who will certainly be detected), cars, drag drones, charges. And all this in enemy territory near a military facility. The story is far from reality.

Unfortunately, such attacks are very difficult to stop because a saboteur hidden somewhere right outside the airfield outer fence can launch such a drone and hit the aircraft literally within seconds, giving any air defense virtually zero time to react. And now that FPV drones can have upwards of 10-15km extended ranges, he doesn't even have to be anywhere near the fence/perimeter. He can fly the FPV drone literally skimming the ground at 10ft altitude for many kilometers right into the base. There's next to no way of stopping this with modern technology.

The closest and strangest thing Russia has attempted to do so is covering Tu-95s with car tires at another base:

Many have laughed and ridiculed them, while others have pointed out that the U.S. has allegedly done the same thing in Afghanistan and/or Iraq. Either way, it's a stop gap for now that's not meant to totally stop any and all strikes but at least give some mitigation, even if it's a small percentage.

And by the way, here's a new captured Ukrainian who shows how the U.S. feeds Ukraine targets to strike inside Russia—he has a whole phone full of them:

If you're interested in more info on this, read my article on the Delta Leaks that goes into much more detail on how this works:


In the last article we discussed at length the myths revolving around Russia's command and leadership abilities, professionalism, etc. A new video has shown what's claimed to be a more 'veteran' Russian unit conducting a successful combined arms assault that underscores many of the points my article made. Note the professional organization, the coordination between various units like FPV strike drones which are integrated directly into the platoon/company level. The poster even mentions that "FPVs are now [standard] part of Russian motorized infantry assault training."

This is reportedly the 5th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps of RF forces, previously known as a unit of the DPR militia.

How more veteran russian units conducts assault actions these days. After a short artillery bombardment of the enemy trenches IFVs role in. 1 lost to directional mines. Infantry take up positions and force UA out of the trench .FPVs acting as super accurate fire support.

Speaking of drones, Ukraine is said to be receiving new AI FPV drones from its allies which are capable of locking onto a target at the terminal phase and tracking it on its own even if/when the signal fails. I've mentioned before such drones are unjammable because there is no longer any outgoing/ingoing signal feed you can "jam" because the drone is doing all its own processing and kill chain internally.

On top of that, Ukraine is coating drones with poison in some sectors:

📣 A message from a [Russian] fighter who is in the Kherson direction.

✅ The drones that the crests are launching at us have begun to be impregnated with chemicals that can lead to death. For example, as it was in my unit: they launched a copter at our positions, after it landed, we somehow did not pay attention to strange points. The lad who picked him up after an hour and a half began to vomit, his temperature rose and he became very dizzy. After a couple of days in the hospital, he recovered, he said that he was diagnosed with poisoning. As a result, after landing the drones, it is necessary to check the absence of left spots, as it can be chemistry and be taken only in defense!

And further speaking of drones, new footage has shown a Russian Mi-28 Nighthunter / Havoc chasing a large Ukrainian drone and getting a guns kill on it with its onboard 30mm Shipunov 2A42 autocannon. Both from the Mi-28's POV and that of the drone:


On the topic of mobilization: while Ukraine goes into overdrive in their own mobilization push, Russia has signaled the opposite direction. Duma deputy Gurulev stated:

⚡️⚡️⚡️There will not be a new wave of mobilization in Russia. Andrey Gurulev, member of the Defense Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, said the following:

"I broke my tongue to say that we have gone the other way. We have a plan for 420,000 military personnel under contract, which we must implement by the end of the year ... What kind of mobilization are we talking about?"⚡️⚡️⚡️

This is in conjunction with a new update from Medvedev regarding Russia's "stealth mobilization" numbers. You'll recall that I've been keeping tabs on the figures each month. The current tally is as follows:

DMITRY Medvedev: 

According to the Ministry of Defense, since January 1, about 280 thousand people have been accepted into the ranks of the Armed Forces for a contract. Some of them are people who were in the reserve, some are volunteers and other categories. "According to the Ministry of Defense, since January 1, about 280 thousand people have been enlisted in the Armed Forces," he said at a meeting on Sakhalin, adding that some of them are volunteers, and some are in reserve.

Last time it was about 240-250k, so it's only natural it's up to 280k now that we've learned they're gaining upwards of 40k men per month.

Now as to Gurulev's statement about 420k under contract by the end of the year. This appears in line with earlier articles from this year:

If they have 280k new ones now, there are 4 months remaining until the end of the year—that's 40k per month x 4 = 160k expected more contracts to be signed. That means 280k + 160k = 440k.

Gurulev says the goal is just shy of that at 420k. That means by the end of this year, Russia expects to have 420-440k completely new contract soldiers, which are ones that signed up only from January of this year. This is a 'stealth mobilization' even 150% greater than last year's September call up.

Though it sounds miraculous, recall that Ukraine claims an intention to call up upwards of 500k this fall/winter, so we'll see who actually wins the mobilization race. If you read the beginning of this article, you'll note most of the ones they'll end up calling up are likely syphilitic invalids with hepatitis; either that or 17 or 60+ year olds. Not exactly an ideal combination.

Along that topic, another retired general who's now a Duma deputy, Lt. General Viktor Sobolev, has created a stir by remarking that when Russia conquers Ukraine, they should in fact absorb the whole state and make Kiev the new capital of all of Russia:

What do you think about that? Cockamamie, or does he have a point?

Of course we know such zany suggestions are normal for the Suvok hardliners, but it's an interesting thought.

Speaking of Russian generals. There are two new important updates.

Firstly, General Popov's father has apparently spoke out and confirmed that his son has been sent to Syria, which confirms that Popov has in fact been 'removed' from command of the 58th army. This is allegedly in reprisal for his complaints about the MOD on the southern Zaporozhye front.

At the same time, Surovikin was seen for the first time since June 24th in a new photo with his wife:

The "scoop" is that this appears to be in Sochi or elsewhere in Russia, and that the photo was "allowed" to be released now that Prigozhin is "cleaned up" and that saga is over. Slowly, the Russian MOD will reportedly allow Surovikin to inch back into the public awareness, perhaps with a new position of some sort.

The "TMZ" of Russian Telegram states the following:

A VChK-OGPU source says that Surovikin was allowed to leave the place of house arrest on August 26, when the issue with Prigozhin was already finally closed, and Surovikin himself finally unconditionally accepted the conditions of his further peaceful existence. Almost immediately, he flew with his wife to Sochi, to the same facility from the FBK investigation. When he managed to return is not clear, unless, of course, the photo was taken, as stated, in Moscow, and not in Sochi.

According to the source, the successful resolution of claims against Surovikin became possible thanks to Sergei Chemezov and Sergei Kiriyenko. On the initiative of the latter, today's photo of Surovikin and his wife was launched on the network. According to the results of media measurements of the reactions of the population to the "return" of Surovikin, the Presidential Administration will make a presentation for Putin, where they will emphasize the correctness of the decision to drop the charges against the people's favorite.

It is noteworthy that Gennady Timchenko made no effort to release Surovikin, which indicates the desire of the oligarch to isolate himself from his ties with Wagner and Surovikin.

I don't have too much commentary to add for now. I'll let a few more developments on this accrue and give fuller thoughts later. For now, "it is what it is," but it does seem to signal the slow 'denouement' of the post-Prigozhin/Wagner saga back towards low tension normality.


A small curiosity:

The Florida-based neo-Nazi group 'Blood Tribe' was seen praising Ukraine on video yesterday:

Behind their leader Chris Pollhaus, you can see the infamous tattoo-faced Nazi heart-warmingly called 'Boneface'.

Boneface, it turns out, had already served in Ukraine under the Azov battalion:

But most interesting is the video here where he nonchalantly reveals that it was infact the CIA that sent him to Ukraine:

So the CIA is sending American Nazis to fight for Ukrainian Azov Nazis? Who knew! And people call us conspiracy theorists.

Full report here for anyone interested, where you can hear him say the above in English: "It wasn't the FBI but Central Intelligence that sent me to Ukraine":


Earlier I'd mentioned how Ukraine pulled its feeble Leopard fleet off the line so the kitties can lick their wounds while the meatshields took a turn. Here we see the remaining Ukrainian Leopards have now—in a case of ultimate tragi-comedy—been replenished with Soviet-era Kontakt-1 ERA bricks:

Of course, some of them have already been destroyed just as quickly:

And now, as of this writing the very first confirmation of a destroyed British Challenger 2 appears to be hitting airwaves:

I haven't even had a chance to truly dig into and examine it, but on first glance it's looking like it—and there were only 14 of these things sent.

Remember this now risible headline?

Cue the laughter.


September 1st was the anniversary of the Beslan school massacre of 2004, where terrorists killed nearly 200 children, while heroic Russian spetsnaz saved many others. School children in Russia to this day honor the day by releasing white balloons:

One of the girls was only a baby when she was rescued by a spetsnaz member, and invited him for a reunion at her graduation seventeen years later:

🇷🇺❤️ These two photos were taken 16 years apart.

All grown, Alena Tskaeva invited Elbrus Gogichaev, who carried her, as a six-month-old baby, out of the Beslan school 1, where her mother and older sister died in September of 2004, to her school graduation in May of 2021. 🇷🇺❤️

Russian heroes 🤍💙❤️

Lastly, I'll leave you with this heartwarming video of Putin recounting a story to schoolchildren on first day of school recently:

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
3 Sep 2023 | 5:57 am

8. Myths and Realities of the Russian/NATO NCO Systems

A few days ago Russian war correspondent Sladkov made an interesting post where he showcased two new videos from Western/pro-Ukrainian military experts that go into detail in describing Russian tactics and military strengths in the Ukrainian conflict.

It's a good jumping off point to highlight some of the ongoing tactical developments I've been covering from time to time over the past few months. Also, much of the information underlines or confirms many things we've been talking about here, such as the misconceptions about the structure and tactics of the Russian armed forces which I've tirelessly dispelled in several articles like this one.

The first video from popular YouTube channel "Battle Order" gives a rundown on a set of documents I myself covered a while back in this article:

The video:

Thus I won't go into too much detail as the video covers the same info I already had done previously, but it does give a few useful new ways of thinking about some of the most important battlefield developments. Plus it gives a handy visual guide to the things I wrote about, as it includes convenient graphics and footage which can be used to understand some of the finer points, for the people who are more the visual learners.

As a quick summary, a Ukrainian reserve officer who posts on Twitter claimed to have gotten in his possession this captured Russian manual for a new assault style unit, which in general describes a smaller, more heavily armed, and independent type of unit geared towards assaulting the various forest/plantation positions of the AFU.

When posting the video, Sladkov gave a type of coy implication that the video creator may have been right, in part, about his chief condemnation that, prior to the SMO, Russia had an inadequate number of "ready-made assault units":

English-speaking researchers come to the conclusion (which, due to secrecy, I can neither confirm nor refute, but only bring you for your information) that before the start of the NWO, there were an extremely small number of ready-made assault units in Russia. Those were only in the Marine Corps, the Airborne Forces and the Wagner PMC. Also, historically, there were special assault units of the engineering troops, from which the assault units of the Soviet and Russian armies originate, but their modern appearance in the NVO zone has not yet been caught on video and little is known about it.

Recall that Sladkov is a retired officer of the Russian armed forces, from a military family. He is likely the longest serving frontline military correspondent in the country, having begun doing reports in the late 80s. He's covered everything from the Afghan war, Transnistria conflict, Tajikistan civil war, Chechen wars, Georgian War, and now the Ukrainian conflict. Due to his long established reputation and previous service, he has a lot of insider access and info.

His coy 'secrecy' reference above seems to imply that this information could have some truth to it, at least in part. That's because if it weren't true, there would be no reason to withhold it, as it would not in any way compromise Russian security to "reveal" that Russia was actually strong all along. Further, the whole point of his posting these videos from Western military experts is in some ways to highlight the fact that they do make certain accurate points about Russia's deficiencies. If most of what they were saying wasn't true, he wouldn't have bothered posting them.

But why would Russia lack enough assault units? For one, Russia has mostly been defense oriented toward the encroaching NATO threat, not offense. NATO is the imperialist power with the unquenchable obsession with "assaulting" everything on the planet. Russia had no need for a preponderance of assault for the same reason they didn't invest in a mass amount of force-projecting aircraft carriers.

Russia had an adequate amount for what it felt was within the purview of its doctrinal needs—to defend the motherland. Another reason, of course—and this gets down to the brass tacks of things we'll cover—is that in the past two decades Russia has relied on a conscript-heavy armed forces. You can't really teach conscripts good assault as they don't stay on long enough to gain that type of experience, only serving 1 year terms.

But now that's changing.

In the post you can read here, Sladkov further summarizes the video's points in that a strong assault heritage mostly existed in Russia's Airborne, Marines, and Wagner forces. And we have seen that Russia has in fact leaned on these units in the areas where it's actually conducting assaults and trying to make advancements, rather than where it's simply holding out on defense. Of course, there's many other smaller non-standard units that specialize in certain types of assault as well—most obviously spetsnaz and various Chechen units; but we're talking mostly the main branches.

Getting back to the video, the author describes Russia's "new" assault detachments built specifically for small independent operations against Ukrainian defensive positions. The most important thing he notes, which will be the main theme of this article, is that according to the author, the structure of the new assault detachment proves that Russia lacks NCOs.

Before we go on, a quick primer on the difference between NCOs and officers. In most militaries around the world, an officer is a "commissioned" rank which you can only get by going to officer school and having a college degree. In general, you cannot ever become an "officer" simply by enlisting into the armed forces as a grunt and then "working your way up" with repeated promotions. If you enlist off the street to become a "private", you can only work your way up into the NCO ranks, i.e. corporal, then various forms of sergeant (staff, first, master, etc.). You cannot become a lieutenant, captain, colonel, major, or general just by working your way up. Those can only come from officer schools like West Point in the U.S.

According to the video author, the structure of Russia's new assault detachments uses small-sized platoons led by an officer, i.e. most likely a lieutenant. He states that a U.S. Marine "squad" of a similar size is led by a sergeant, which is an NCO. Thus, he believes this points to a lack of NCOs in Russia, whereby Russia is forced to use full-on officers to lead "squad-sized" detachments.

One problem with this thinking is that these detachments are officially platoons even by the document's own admission, and they conduct platoon/company type tasks, not squad tasks. A squad in the U.S. may operate semi-independently, but only in the sense that it may be sent a few hundred feet ahead by its platoon commander to secure some perimeter. It's not going to be doing an assault operation dozens of kilometers away or behind enemy lines by itself. Thus, it makes sense that an actual officer leads Russia's smaller-sized assault platoons as they operate far more independently than the "squad" the video author erroneously compares it to.

Secondly, he contradicts himself by subsequently describing this Russian assault platoon as highly complex, having its own drone teams, fire teams, heavy weapons teams, mortar teams, etc. U.S. squads or even equivalent platoons have nothing of this sort, and thus their NCOs are not equipped to handle such complexities—so why expect Russian "NCOs" to do so?

He goes on to describe the actual tactics of the detachment, most of which we'll skip because I covered that in the previously linked article. The final interesting part comes when he mentions that this "new" style of Russian assault seems to lack a "follow-on" philosophy. Meaning, it's not designed to create break-throughs with a large follow-on reserve force to pour through the gap and continue on to the enemy's operational rear, like so many WW2 and previous manuals and doctrines depict.

This only serves to confirm things I've talked about at length before. That the operative tactic from both sides currently revolves around capturing one trench system at a time rather than attempting the mass deep battle / blitzkrieg breakthroughs of WW2; but we'll get to why that is, and why it's only temporary, later.

In the interests of keeping as linear a thought process as possible, let's transition now to the second video because it picks up on where this one left off in the most important aspect of the conversation.

Let's quickly dispense with the second video author's background. He's a popular Youtuber named Ryan Mcbeth who's an ex-U.S. army officer with the following credentials, as per his own site:

Think Tank is a graduate of PLDC,
BNOC, ANOC, ITC, TAITC, and Heavy Weapons Leader Course. He has qualified expert with the M5 rifle, BGM-71 TOW, AT-4 and Javelin anti-tank systems. He
also holds multiple masters degrees in software development and cybersecurity. When he's not killing tanks or defending networks he's keeping the Joes on their toes as the unit's platoon sergeant.

He spent 20 years as an anti-armor and heavy weapons infantryman with two overseas deployments. He also spent time performing C4ISR intelligence collection for various government customers and currently consults on intelligence collection and analysis methods.

Pay attention particularly to his credential of being a platoon sergeant, as that colors a lot of his commentary around the much squabbled-over and misunderstood differences between Russia and NATO's NCO corps.

This video is from late June and grudgingly lists 7 things that Russia is "doing right" in the war so far. For the record, for a biased Western and pro-Ukrainian source, he makes a valiant effort in attempting to sneak in the truth to his blinkered viewership, and actually does about as impartial a job as you could expect, all things considered.

The video starts off by stating that Russia believes in an "officer centric military", i.e. a military run by commissioned officers rather than a focus on NCOs which are the lifeblood of Western militaries.

He correctly states it's a myth that Russia doesn't have an NCO corps. This immediately confirms one of the chief points I've been fighting to dispel since the beginning. It's a mischaracterization so many irresponsible NATO commentators have lazily continued to spout.

He specifies that Russia does have NCOs, but they are more "junior level," not the all-important mid-level ones, which, in the U.S. army, serve as the backbone of organization, knowledge, training, etc. One of the chief differences, according to him, is that these vaunted "mid-level" NCOs have invested a huge amount of time in special training courses to gain vast amounts of knowledge and wisdom. If you're an E-5 sergeant in the U.S. army, you have to go back to school and take special leadership courses to get promoted to E-6 and onward for each higher rank. An E-8 "master sergeant", for instance, also has to master every weapon type in the company with high marks, so he'll be able to instruct or correct everyone under him no matter their job specialty.

Having such a sergeant gives the platoon a "manager" figure with a high amount of training to impart on all the grunts, and gives the commander-lieutenant someone to do all the "dirty work" of taking care of logistics issues, dealing with the men and their "barracks problems", etc. In the U.S. army, the rule of thumb is that an officer should never have to walk into a barracks and deal with the men directly—that's the NCO/sergeant's domain—whereas Mcbeth claims in Russia the officers deal with the barracks directly.

As Sladkov writes in his commentary:

Mcbeth believes that in general we do well where it depends on the officer. And we do poorly where we need competent NCOs. For those who don't understand, he explains that our NCOs are, by American standards, junior officers. But where we need to have a middle NCO, we actually don't have one.


Where we can put a competent officer and solve technical issues, we are doing well. In fact, this is how he explains our successes in the technical branches of the armed forces: Air Force, Air Defense, REB, artillery. The analogy is clear, a competent engineer can work well on a single installation and with mid-level workers. But on the ground, where everything depends on each soldier, and where a platoon in the infantry has to command, but he can't manage everyone directly, we lack professionals, especially at the middle level!

Where Mcbeth begins to err, is he seems to quote out of date information on the Russian armed forces. Yes, there was a dire lack of NCOs two decades ago, but part of the infamous Serdyukov reforms of 2008 began an initiative to change that.

I had written before about how those reforms were viewed as devastating by many of Russia's top brass. This was mostly due to the cutting down of so much of Russia's armed forces. However, there are a few areas where the changes appeared positive. One is the establishment of an NCO school, which does exactly the types of things Mcbeth is talking about; i.e. provides higher level training for mid-level NCOs.

This RT article from 2010, two years after the reforms went into motion, goes into further detail and gives an update on the progress:

Training of professional sergeants becomes one of the main priorities as Russia is reforming its army.

With Russia's military reform in full swing, the focus is shifting to raising the number of professional sergeants. Experienced career sergeants will be able to quickly and effectively train contract soldiers and conscripts.

It specifies that all the trainees are already experienced enlisted troops, which means they are in fact getting exactly that type of step-wise advancement that Mcbeth talks about, like going from E-5 to E-6 in the U.S. army.

For the record, Russia has multiple official NCO ranks. There is младший сержант (mladzhi serjant) or junior sergeant, regular sergeant, старший сержант (starshi serjant) or senior sergeant. There's also прапорщик (praporshik) or ensign/warrant officer and старшина (starshina) which is the equivalent of a higher level sergeant, like first sergeant or sergeant first class. It's a little confusing because the 2008 reforms actually got rid of all warrant officers, over 150,000 of them being wiped out in the restructuring, but in recent years Shoigu brought them back.

It's important to note that while the NCO corps in Western militaries are more varied and deeper in general, with many more positions/specializations, Russian NCOs and officers can be said to train longer. To become a Russian officer takes 5 years in school, NCOs can go for nearly 3 years, depending on specialization. Here's one of the seminal modern works on the Russian army, written and hosted by the official U.S. army page: https://www.armyupress.army.mil/portals/7/hot%20spots/documents/russia/2017-07-the-russian-way-of-war-grau-bartles.pdf

Called The Russian Way of War, it's written by Lt. Colonel Lester Grau and military expert Charles Bartles, and plainly states on NCOs/officers that they can graduate from a comparatively long, nearly 3 year program specializing in small unit leadership:

As you can see above, Russia does value "training and educating its contract NCOs," particularly in small unit leadership—precisely the area Westerners claim they lack capability.

However, lacking as many NCOs as in the West, Russia has been much more 'officer heavy'. Here's an older chart showing a comparison from years ago:

But in terms of commissioned officers, Russia has much more on average—30% of the armed forces were officers in Russia, while only 16% for NATO countries, from one statistic.

In fact, years ago Russia had begun staffing officers into NCO roles. So you'd have lieutenants doing sergeants' duties, for instance. This partly explains why even Russia's previous "lack" of NCOs was to some extents misunderstood and overestimated. After all, if you have much higher trained, actual officers doing the work of an NCO, on top of the officers leading the unit, then where's the problem?

Some in the West believe this partly explains why Russian officers are known to fight more on the frontlines, compared to their Western counterparts. And perhaps there's some truth to that. Some experts say that Russian sergeants perform more of an "SME" (subject matter expert) role rather than a "leadership" role. i.e. they can teach the grunts the intricacies of all the weapons systems, but don't have the leadership capabilities to "take over" for the officer, should he be absent for whatever reason—i.e. killed or simply leading "from the rear". Perhaps there was some truth to this long ago, but like I said, there have been strong reforms and investments in training sergeants and they no longer resemble those of the pre-2010 period.

Also, since Russia is much more officer heavy, more officers tend to die on average than in comparable countries just by their sheer overabundance. This feeds the perception that they always haphazardly "fight on the frontline". In reality, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Interestingly enough, a Donbass commander relayed the story of how Ukraine faced disastrous losses in the SMO partly for this reason. When NATO came to overhaul the AFU into their much-vaunted Western NCO system, the Ukrainian officers subsequently saw opportunity to "pull back" from the frontline, considering that to be an obsolete "Soviet" tactic, and figuring the new NATO-trained sergeants can handle leading the charge.

The problem is that in the U.S., as Ryan Mcbeth repeatedly emphasizes, sergeants undergo many years of progressive training in order to truly develop the leadership and famed "initiative"-building qualities touted in the West. You can't just turn someone into a sergeant overnight, pull all the commanders off the field, then tell the sergeant to take over.

This naturally resulted in clueless AFU "sergeants" leading a bunch of helpless conscripts straight to their deaths in endless meat assaults, where no one had any idea of what they were doing. You know all those recent videos where entire trenches full of AFU personnel surrender, and in their "interviews" state how they had no clue where the commanders were and haven't seen or heard from them in days/weeks?

If you pay attention, in many of the videos you can see the AFU soldiers refer to their ranks as "starshi serjant", i.e. senior sergeant, but you'll almost never see a lieutenant. These are the guys NATO trained and tasked with "independently" commanding the hapless platoons, while their officers quietly retreated to second or third echelon lines 5-15km to the rear.

Take this interview with a captured AFU grunt, for instance. Note the highlighted text:

He says there were privates and sergeants there, but no company or platoon commanders (lieutenants and captains).

The main difference between American and Russian NCO tracks has been the fact that the sergeant in American terms is considered a truly "career" professional. Once you become a sergeant you're on a career track which allows you to gain years of experience and impart that on your units. In that way, a sergeant may be far more experienced and in some ways knowledgeable than his own commanding officer, who just came straight out of officer candidates school. And that's by design—the sergeant should be the facilitator who simplifies the lieutenant's job and allows him to just focus his energies on strategy and leadership.

Take this example: the average age of a lieutenant who commands a platoon is somewhere around ~25, straight out of officer school. The average age of a sergeant first class who would be that lieutenant's right hand man can be ~32-35 or even much older. So you can begin to see the wealth of experience that the lieutenant has at his disposal to lean on.

Previously in the Russian armed forces, the difference was that Russia was a conscript-heavy force. This created a situation where many sergeants were actually conscripts who only stayed for their call-up, then left. Other sergeants signed on for 3 year contracts or so, but then would leave, the retention being low due to non-competitive pay and general poor morale in the armed forces. Keep in mind, this refers to that early to mid-2000s period.

However, now Russia is transitioning to a professional force, with the majority being paid contract troops. This is creating a reborn image of the armed forces as a career viable pursuit, thanks in part due to the vastly improved pay and social benefits, which have no equal in the world. That means the unicorn of the "career sergeant" is now becoming a reality in the Russian armed forces.

Is the depth of the NCO corps as developed and varied as in the U.S.? No, and it may never be because Russia is not necessarily trying to precisely mirror the U.S. system. It believes in its own unique path which sits somewhere in the middle of the NCO-heavy Western system and that of the so-called "officer-heavy" one.

The West perennially proclaims their system to be superior but no where has that ever been actually demonstrated, as the U.S. has never faced what can even remotely be considered a 'peer level' force. The Russian system's putative "inferiority" is only a product of anecdote, mostly stemming from a few well-known U.S. generals and think-tank propagandists like Breedlove, Hodges, McFaul, etc., who visited Russia in the early 2000s for some brief training exchanges. They vocally derided what they saw for years afterwards, and it became the standard and accepted image of a dilapidated and demotivated Russian armed forces. None of them have a single clue as to how Russia's forces are structured now, mostly because they don't care as, at this point, to them only ideology matters.

Though it's only adjacently related, I wanted to share this excerpt about how commanders in the Donbass corps differed from the officers in the Russian army proper:

In the Donbass corps, the command staff grew naturally in a combat situation. From the very first days, personal leadership qualities and the trust of subordinates were put at the forefront when being appointed to a command position. Yes, the physical fitness of yesterday's miners and metallurgists was lame – at best, it was compensated by moral and strong-willed qualities. Naturally, there was a lack of specialized knowledge and they were acquired by trial and error, sometimes at a high price. I won't say anything at all about drawing up all sorts of paperwork and staff culture. But as the sages said: "The one who walks will master the road."

But there was one very significant disadvantage, which entailed a number of"inconveniences". The fact that the commanders came from the rank and file of the units that they were to command, imposed on the further service the imprint of familiarity. You can, of course, look for positive aspects in this, but there are very few of them. The commander often has to make "unpopular" decisions and, when appointing performers, should be guided not by friendly relations, but by expediency and competence. This led to appointments to lower-level command positions, people who did not have team "virtues", but simply had good relationships. But everyone remembers that "nice guy" is not a profession. And the more successful the career of an ordinary person was, the higher the mediocrity became, which inevitably entailed consequences. Very few people could separate service from friendship. Thus, they sat on their own eggs – I can assume that the widespread criticism of the Donbass officers at the beginning of the SVO, from the "academicians" of the Russian Armed Forces, is most likely due to such "friends".

It highlights the difference between the early ragtag Donbass militia days, where "officers" were merely enlisted/conscripts who graduated in rank, and were chummy with everyone in the unit, to that of a proper system like in Russia, where officers graduate from the academy. When those officers come into the unit, there is a deliberate and important 'distance' between them and the men, allowing the officers to make difficult decisions without being compromised by favoritism or swayed by "friendship". And the gap between the two is exactly what the career sergeants are supposed to fill.

Now, getting back to the Ryan Mcbeth video. It goes into the final and main subject I want to cover. His chief thesis is: "if it involves professional officers, Russia does it well. If it involves professional NCOs, Russia probably doesn't do it as well."

The problem is, in Russia the officers do the jobs that American NCOs do. So it's not that those things arent' being done, but rather the responsibilities are distributed differently. For instance, Russian officers train the men directly whereas in the U.S. system, NCOs are meant to do that. And since Russia has more officers in general it can get away with it. However, he may still have a point that there are obvious benefits to having highly trained NCOs; it's simply that the issue is not as black and white as Western commentators would pretend, at least not anymore in the modern era.

Image courtesy of @tankdiary

But to get to the main point which combines the ideas of both videos. The first video spoke about the infamous stereotype that Russian forces follow the "Soviet style" command push vs. pull system, where orders are given and small units don't have autonomy. The problem is, the video contradicts itself and actually proves the opposite, particularly when you combine what Ryan Mcbeth said in his video.

Think about it for a moment. Mcbeth said that Russian officers—that is, lieutenant (platoon commander) and up—are very good and highly trained, which I proved with a U.S. military manual showing they're actually trained far longer—5 years—than U.S. army equivalents. Mcbeth said that it's when the NCOs have to lead or try to do an officer's job that Russian forces show their weakness.

But recall—the first video said these new force structures Russia has been employing sees an officer leading smaller platoon units, which he compares to U.S. Marine squads. It tried to characterize this as a bad thing, yet the actual U.S. military expert on NCOs, officers, and small unit tactics says that Russian officers excel at their jobs, and are the strong points of the military.

By this admission, you can deduce that Russia is doing something right. Additionally, Russian officers are specifically taught unit autonomy and initiative in a concept called operational management in combat, which allows them to operate in a pull fashion with leadership, and demonstrate initiative and autonomy in achieving objectives. Remember, by their own admission, it's only Russian NCOs that can't do this, yet these new types of assault squads are led by officers who are capable.

I mentioned earlier how the first video discusses the fact that these assaults are intended only to capture the immediate position and not force breakthroughs for follow-on forces. Here's where the stereotype gets completely flipped on its head. The common notion is that Russia is good at centralized operational level maneuvers but is not good at small unit leadership and tactical innovation or initiative.

But everything discussed here proves the opposite—at least insofar as what we've seen in the war so far. Russian forces have actually excelled at small unit tactics and initiative, but rather it's in the larger operational capacity and grand combined arms maneuvers that we have yet to see true success. It's what everyone complains about: Russia massacres Ukrainian forces in attrition warfare, capturing endless series of trenches and small positions, but has not achieved any overwhelmingly decisive result in the way of mass maneuvers operations. For the record, I believe that will probably be seen, it's simply that for now Russia bides its time.

But getting back to the thought, we've consistently seen Russian units show unparalleled autonomy—in fact so much so that it's even puzzled Westerners, as they can't comprehend why Russia is operating in small independent units, seemingly without any oversight, and lacking a grand-gestural strategy.

I've mentioned in previous writings how this can be seen on a daily basis from a variety of sources. For instance, in Russian medal ceremonies which the official MOD channel publishes frequently, they describe a laundry list of heroic acts, almost all of which demonstrate some kind of unit acting independently on their own initiative.

One recent example was the famous 'Alyosha tank' crew which destroyed a Ukrainian column of 10+ vehicles. Artillery assisted them, but they were the only unit actually on the field facing off against this column. In the various interviews from the now 'famous' tank commander afterwards, he described specifically how their wider unit had originally been tasked with securing the village of Novodorovka nearby. But as the threat was relayed, they acted in full autonomy, choosing their routes, targets, modes of engagement themselves without having to call to any battalion HQ, or anything of the sort.

And by the way, tank units are led by officers. In the video above, those are lieutenant's epaulettes, which confirms the type of officer-led autonomy and initiative I've been describing all along.

In fact, the second clean-shaven one is also a lieutenant, and underlines my points about the preponderance of officers in the Russian army. The story was: their mechanic-driver got injured while the situation became urgent. So the lieutenant-commander of the tank went into the driver's position, and another lieutenant from a different crew took the tank commander's position. It further demonstrates the officers' level of training. The tank officer knew every position in the tank and could swap at need.

Another example that just saw light is this Russian unit advancing on a long assault in the Zaporozhye direction:

There's no exact information yet as to what type of unit this is exactly, but there are clear small unit leadership capabilities on display here, like what we've been talking about. Considering this is a small unit, this could be one of the fabled Russian sergeants issuing the clear and calm commands; or perhaps it's one of those "officers" reportedly taking charge of small units. Also, it shows the drone coordination I mentioned. As they move forward you can hear the interaction with a nearby drone team who watches them and warns them of approaching enemy units.

Here's another example. Though it may be an irregular Chechen unit, it shows the type of autonomy displayed by small unit commanders in coming up with unique and creative ways of assaulting enemy positions.

Russian units not only have autonomy, they have so much that it at times becomes a detriment. In some sectors units operate so independently that adjacent units have no clue about one another. One of the reasons for this is the very peculiarly atomized composition of the total forces on Russia's side—with paramilitary fighting shoulder to shoulder with volunteer units, PMCs, and everything in between. It's all confused further by the fact that the LPR/DPR armies were separate and independent armies at the start of the war, and literally began a bizarre transition of full assimilation into the Russian armed forces proper during the middle of the conflict—which is unprecedented.

LDPR forces started off as independent militias. At the beginning of the SMO, on February 22, Putin first declared them as independent republics. Then in September of last year he signed them into the Russian Federation. That meant their army had to make a sudden and historic transition in the middle of the war, being absorbed into an established order. The DPR became the 1st Army Corps of Russia, and LPR forces the 2nd Army Corps; which is why you often see them abbreviated as 1st AK or 2nd AK in videos, as AK is armeyski korpus or army corps in Russian.

Due to the completely hectic and unprecedentedly mutable nature of the conflict, many Russian units and formations had operated quite independently. The first year at times resembled a struggle of warlords, further exacerbated by Russia not only changing commands several times, but not even having having an overall theater commander initially. They only appointed Surovikin as head of the 'southern group' in late last year, then Gerasimov as a sort of 'supreme allied commander' early this year. Prior to that, there were just disparate generals and their autonomous army zones of influence, with minimal interoperability. Though this can all be chalked up to various levels of unpreparedness by high command, that's an entirely different topic for another article.

The fact is, for a large part of the war, many Russian units have operated with unprecedented freedom and autonomy. To some extent, Prigozhin and the Wagner saga lifted the veil on this, because he gave us a glimpse of how independently Wagner was wheeling and dealing for their own ammunition and supplies. Recall the Russian MOD actually confirmed it when they admitted during one of the ensuing 'reconciliations' that they simply "did not know of the issues" and would work toward resolving them. Of course, part of this could be deflection, but it still showed a remarkable level of autonomy with which Wagner was allowed to operate.

These may be larger formations, but it percolated down to the smaller units, particularly in light of the aforementioned tactics of limited assault. If you're doing a major operational/theater level maneuver, then the core approaches and objectives have to be centrally planned out and delineated, as there are far too many pieces that have to fall into place simultaneously to achieve breakthroughs and follow-ons.

But if you're just assaulting one trench position at a time, you're free to give that platoon/company full discretion as how to best utilize their forces. This is particularly true due to smaller Russian units having many more capabilities in-house than equivalent NATO forces. It's a well known dichotomy that American/Western forces have to call up to divisional/brigade artillery, and for things like drone units, recon, etc.

But Russian units have such things down to company level or smaller, which grants the company much more autonomy as they have all their own information about the targets/objectives at their fingertips. They don't have to call up to division command to get ISR data and subsequent "permission" to engage. They have their own drone teams telling them exactly where the enemy is, and can then designate their own approach on how to dislodge or assault him.

To be fair, this isn't because Russia is particularly special in that regard. They just happened to have a war at a time when these technologies were coming of age, and were forced to adapt. If the U.S. were presently fighting a high intensity conflict, they too would push to bring such capabilities down to company/battalion levels. Of course, I don't think they'd do as well of a job because their structures are much more rigid, bureaucratic, and inelastic, in my opinion—but they would still attempt it; to what extent they'd succeed is another question. Necessity is the mother of invention.

The conclusion is, the evidence shows us that Western thinking is literally the opposite of reality: Russia does not lack small unit leadership, initiative, autonomy, etc. It in fact lacks—for now—the larger operational scale maneuver capabilities and leadership.

However, in my view this is merely because Russia is currently biding its time, as it hasn't yet developed the doctrinal force disparity necessary to attempt such operational level assaults. Recall that to avoid mass casualties, you need a minimum 3:1 advantage when going on assault. Sure, you can still succeed without one, particularly when you have massive firepower advantages as Russia has, but it will come at a major cost, and is not optimal or preferable.

Russia has at best only matched Ukraine's total force numbers on a 1:1 scale, and by many counts, it is still outnumbered in theater. Thus, I believe Russia will wait until it attritions the AFU enough to the point where they can bring to bear significant force disparities onto key strategic breakthrough points, and then we may see the much larger combined maneuvers to create real breakthroughs.

Of course there's also the possibility that Ukraine manages to successfully carry out indefinite mass-mobilization without society collapsing or going into revolt, keeping their numbers always at a minimum parity. That being the case, Russia may choose to continue the piece-meal attritional warfare phase for much longer. We'll know for certain which path is likelier after this fall/winter, when the now certain mass mobilizations in Ukraine bear their—potentially rotten—fruit.

Until then, led by the indefatigable Russian officer, the Russian small unit rules the battlefield.

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
31 Aug 2023 | 5:57 am

9. SITREP 8/30/23: Ukraine Smokescreens Failures With Meaningless Deep-strikes

More of the same this week: Ukraine has intensified its drone campaign to carry out some headline-grabbing strike or terror stunt to manage media perceptions and keep themselves looking viable and relevant.

A new strike on Russia's Kresti airfield near Pskov last night was the latest in these efforts, not to mention continual attacks on Bryansk, Donetsk, attempted landings on Crimea, and many other such stunts which have no military value whatsoever.

But let's talk about the Pskov strike briefly, as it has generated a lot of the usual gnashing of teeth and 'patriot' outrage. The airfield houses Russia's Il-76 transport planes. The most up to date report claims upwards of 4 total were damaged in the strikes, with 2 of them potentially destroyed, as the following videos show:

However, new Western satellite photos from today appear to show little to no damage:

First let's dispense with the fact that wikipedia gives the number of Russian Il-76s as 120 in active service, another 120 in reserve, with 20 on order and presumably being manufactured. So, while losing 2 or 4 may be a fairly bad hit, it's not catastrophic. That's not to even mention that these planes are not really even used in the SMO, as they're transport planes and Russia does most of its logistics transport via rail and truck as most know. The Il-76s are mostly in Pskov as that's where Russia's famed 76th Pskov Paratroopers Airborne unit is stationed, and they use the planes to train with and jump out of.

The latest reports indicate that this operation was planned with British Mi6 for many months. Of course something that took months to coordinate will do some damage, particularly since the attack utilized a mass drone swarm of at least 21+ drones, according to some reports. They were said to possibly be the new Australian "card board" drones which have been in headlines recently:

These drones are nearly invisible to radar because cardboard is basically porous to radar waves. It shows that Ukraine and their Western controllers are constantly innovating and finding new ways to bypass Russia's defenses. But Russia subsequently innovates and adapts as well, which is why you likely won't see such a "successful" strike again for several more months.

There are big questions also about how these drones made it all the way to Pskov, 600km+ from the Ukrainian border. Some are claiming they came from Estonia. Many people have asked me recently, in general, how Ukraine conducts drone strikes on Russian territory. So allow me to use this circumstance to elucidate slightly on this matter.

Firstly, it must be known that it was already confirmed by Western media several times that Ukraine is sending saboteurs into Russia armed with drones which are launched from within Russian territory:

This is extremely easy to do. All you have to have is a sleeper agent or someone who crosses over into Russia legally under false pretenses and buys any number of legal-to-own off-the-shelf drones, like Chinese Mavics, etc. These drones can be fitted with explosives and flown right from the perimeter of the target. If you're next to an airbase for instance, you can fly an FPV drone from the fence outside of the base right onto a plane and blow it up then leave by car long before authorities have figured out what even happened.

In fact, this exact thing has been confirmed in several of the cases, not only in strikes on Crimean air bases long ago but also on the attempted strike on the Russian A-50 AWACS plane in Belarus. The perpetrator flew an FPV drone from right outside the base but was then caught.

So we know for a fact that at least this one style of drone strike is confirmed as being actively used. The other more difficult tactic is sending larger drones like Ukrainian 'Beaver' drones over long distances from Ukrainian territory. How can they travel through hundreds of kilometers of Russian territory without being detected?

Two ways:

  1. Firstly, they are made out of carbon fiber / light composite materials which are very difficult for radar waves to reflect from.

  2. They fly relatively low which means, by virtue of the hard science of radar horizon, they simply cannot be detected until they're only a few kilometers away from a radar installation.

For those who've followed my writings, you may recall several times that I've posted satellite photos showing how American SIGINT satellites can detect Russian radar installation positions simply based on their particular band emissions:

After that, all they have to do is a simple mathematical calculation: radar can only see an object of x size at y distance if the object is traveling at n altitude. Thus, they immediately know what the perimeters of the radar horizons are and where the drones need to travel in order to "skirt" the non-detection zones. They plan out a detailed pathway that's programmed into the drone's satellite navigation, and the drone follows a unique, serpentine path through the various radar edges.

An example of how that would look. Let's say in the image below the red circles are all coverage zones of S-300 radars for objects that are flying at 500ft altitude or below. The yellow circles are coverage for anything flying from about 500ft to 5000ft altitude. And the purple circles cover 5000ft and upward:

This is a simplified version just to illustrate the idea. But as you can see, the layered defense is in fact overlapping, but only in the purple regions. Most air defense doctrine was created for cold war era tactics and combating high flying aircraft strike groups. If any normal plane flying at normal altitudes were to enter that zone, it would be detected as there are no gaps at all, if the plane is above 5000ft.

But since the drone is flying at a hypothetical 100ft, the only circle above that would detect it would be the red one. Or even if it's flying at 1000ft, the yellow circle would detect it, but those have slight gaps in between. By studying the placement of the radars from signal intercepting satellites, Western partners can plot a route for Ukraine's drones as seen by the blue lines, which snuggle in between the yellow circles and circuitously get to Moscow in the north.

Further, no matter how tightly you organize the radars there are many natural geographical, topographical, and simply urban features which limit radar detection in areas with higher city density. If the drone is flying at 100-200ft, but in the general region there are tons of hills, mountains, and buildings which are all anywhere from 200-1000ft high, then guess what? There will be obstructions to the radar waves everywhere, and limits to the coverage.

You can make up for this by placing many more systems everywhere but of course this is limited by how many systems and trained personnel you have available. Also you can get coverage from the air with a constant 24/7 overwatch of AWACS style planes with look-down radars, but it's difficult to know how stretched Russia's limited AWACS fleet is. They supposedly have only about ~15 A-50 planes, and recall that standard "mission readiness" rates for aircraft around the world is anywhere from 30-70%. This is defined as what percentage of aircraft are usable or flyable at any given time. The remainder is in a constant state of maintenance. For more advanced planes like F-22/F-35, the U.S. readiness rate has been as low as 30%, which means only 30% of the fleet can fly and operate.

So, with only around 15 AWACS it's possible that only half that number, give or take, can really fly at any given time, and they have to be not only spread around the entire Ukrainian front, but some of them are required for the defense of the northern and eastern borders of Russia, to watch NATO around the Sea of Japan, Okhotsk, Bering Sea, etc. So theoretically Russia could have as little as 3-5 AWACS for Ukraine at any given time.

Keep in mind the mighty U.S. only has around ~30 official E-3 Sentry AWACS itself, so countries don't typically have massive amounts of these. However, the U.S. also has some more RC-135s, E-8s, P-8 Orions, etc., which can help fill the gaps with somewhat similar capabilities. Russia fills the gaps by having Mig-31s patrol, which have powerful look-down mode Zaslon-M radars.

Lastly, I'd like to point out two important things. First of all, the Pskov airfield as I said has almost no military utility and is not even connected to the SMO. Thus it was targeted specifically due to this weakness, knowing that it's not as well-defended because there's nothing critical there. Notice Ukraine has hardly been able to scratch any of Russia's actual important airfields like Engels, Dyagilevo, Olenya, or the ones near the frontline like Berdiansk, which houses dozens of frontline attack choppers. That's because these are actually well-protected. So of course Ukraine chooses an obscure target it might stand a chance of hitting, and it still cost them "months" of preparation to do something militarily insignificant.

The second point is this. Many ignorant people have whined something along these lines: "Russian air defense is weak, if cheap Ukrainian drones managed to bypass them imagine what NATO would do if Russia ends up in a full-scale war with NATO in the near future! Russia wouldn't last more than a hour/day/week/etc."

But here's the catch they miss: Ukraine actually has a major advantage which NATO would never enjoy in such a hypothetical conflict. You see, Ukraine gets to enjoy the luxury of NATO's full satellite dominance without Russia's ability to take those assets out due to not wanting to start WW3. That means Ukraine gets a "cheat code" where they can see all Russian assets and plan everything around that, bypassing Russian defenses, etc.

But if Russia was in a 'full out war' against NATO, guess which asset would be the first thing to come down? That's right—NATO's satellites wouldn't exist. NATO would be blind and have no ability whatsoever to see Russia's AD or other assets from afar, which means that even Ukraine's puny drone strikes to Russia's "deep rear" are far more than what NATO would be capable of in many ways.

Some argue: "But NATO has thousands of satellites, Russia can't shoot them all down." They conflate things like GPS and Starlink, which are small mass-produceable modules that dot the earth's orbit. But in terms of actual enterprise level optoelectrical or E/O satellites, they have very few. The U.S. has a grand total of 5 giant optoelectrical satellites it relies on, each costing over $5 billion dollars. Those would come down in flaming wrecks to Russian A-235 Nudol missiles and U.S. would be blind. Sure, Russian satellites would likely come down too, but Russia is the only one that's proven to know how to wage non-hightech war. NATO relies on both artillery and MLRS (HIMARS etc.) that can only shoot with satellite guided munitions. Russia has been accurately hitting Ukrainian targets with pencil-paper and sextant since the start of the war—they don't need satellites.

And lastly, with all these comparisons to NATO lately, it's funny that this clip from the documentary film Restrepo has hit the channels. It shows what the mighty American armed forces really look like in combat situations, from the Afghan war. After watching the heroism of Russian troops in Ukraine, you really think this army here would stand a chance? And this was before the army turned snowflake in the modern era—imagine how bad it is now:

As another general point, it's clear that Russia is a highly adaptable armed forces. They learn from every mistake and continually implement changes to finetune operations. The enemy never sleeps either and is always innovating as well, so it's a continuous power creep game of battlefield innovation.

As an example, Russia has already implemented several tricks to stop future Ukrainian naval drones from hitting the Kerch bridge:

Along the Crimean bridge, 7 barges were immediately placed to form a protective barrier against unmanned kamikaze boats of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

It is assumed that cables and chains will also be stretched between the barges, thereby creating a barrier for enemy BECs, which should fall into this trap in the event of another attempt to strike the bridge.

The design may seem strange and primitive, but being at night and under dense small arms fire, the drone operator may simply not notice where he is swimming or maneuver unsuccessfully in the process of evasion.

Reportedly not only has Russia stationed barges all along the bridge at exact intervals, to both watch for drones and possibly even suspend some kind of anti-drone netting between them. But also there's word that Russia has begun sinking large old ships in the shallow bay there at strategic points to create a cheap natural barrier, funneling any potential drones into narrow, easily controlled chokepoints.

As further example, there's been recent discussion I've written about in the realm of Russian counter-battery warfare and the complaints from certain frontlines that Russia needs to do more to improve its counter-battery capabilities as Russian troops complain that the only real, intractable threat they're facing is incessant artillery barrages from the AFU. They can handle the AFU's assaults but the artillery is wearing them thin.

So what does Shoigu do? The so-called "hated" defense minister visits the top manufacturers of Russian counter-battery systems and demands for them to increase production rates:

Remind me why "schizopatriots" claim he's so terrible again? He's clearly doing his job, converting battlefield demands into immediate actionable results through the chains of the MIC.

Lastly, while Ukraine achieved one quarterly strike with moderate damage against assets that don't even have any bearing on the SMO, Russia in the same span of time has devastated the AFU's actual military targets. Last night Kiev was struck a devastating blow with missiles and drones:

Some sources say a railroad yard in Kiev was hit. Many other targets throughout the country were likewise hit, in Cherkasy, Odessa, and Zhytomir.

And a day prior, Russian strikes blew away a train carrying Ukrainian gear to the front in Metsalovo station west of Donetsk city.

This is in addition to countless other strikes in the past week which continue goring Ukrainian infrastructure.


Let's segue into the next section about developing events.

The theme continues to revolve around large new mobilizations slated for Ukraine's near future—some believe as soon as early September:

Due to the huge losses, total mobilization will begin in Ukraine from the beginning of September. First of all, they will gather all men of military age from state and commercial enterprises. The same fate awaits students who arrive at their universities at the beginning of the academic year. The first" under the knife " will go to those areas that Kiev considers already lost for itself. Regions where the population is first ready to put "for meat", and then to level cities and villages with the face of the earth. These are Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Zaporizhia and Mykolaiv regions.

This has been backed by the release of documents showing every major Ukrainian region gearing up for a wide-scale mobilization process. Like the following:

I already covered it at length in the last article, but this does remain one of the few key developments.

They do not plan to hold elections, but mobilization is already running.

Ukrainian sources write that the Office of the President agreed with the plans and methods of a new wave of mobilization requested by the General Staff. During the fall, 200,000 Ukrainians should be drafted into the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and another 300,000 people are planned to be caught in the winter-spring.

According to the above, they will have a target of drafting 200k men for the fall and upwards of another 300k for the winter. Keep in mind, as mentioned last time, there are repeated reports that Ukraine is currently bleeding 10k men per month. So just to break even, they need to scrounge up 10k from the streets.

How is that? Well, for instance, we have new reports from Ukrainian sources like the following which states that Ukraine is losing 200-500 dead and 500-1500 wounded per day. Reportedly this was in reference only to the Rabotino front, it doesn't even count the losses from other fronts like Kharkov:

Granted this was posted on August 18th when perhaps things were slightly more high-intensity, but 500 dead per day x 30 days = 15,000 per month. Split the difference but add other fronts and you can start to understand the earlier 10k monthly replenishment cost. Thus to get 200k or even 300k they'd have to really push mobilization to new heights.

For those who may doubt such numbers from the Rabotino front, here's also a little primer on what forces are arrayed there:

💥💥💥The number of troops that the Ukrainian army attracted in three months to capture half of Rabotino village:

33rd Independent Mechanised Brigade (OMBr)

47th UMBR

65th UMBR

78th Independent Material Support Battalion

73rd Maritime Special Operations Centre

10th Army Corps:

116th OMbr

117th UMBR

118th UMBR

Maroon Tactical Group:

46th Independent Airmobile Brigade

71st Independent Jaeger Brigade

82nd Independent Airborne Assault Brigade

132nd Independent Reconnaissance Battalion

14th UMBR

15th UMBR

3rd Operational Brigade of the National Guard

Foreign mercenaries and NATO special forces.

Thus, 60,000 personnel were involved in the capture of one village, of which half were lost, along with hundreds of pieces of equipment.

NATO's understanding of war and tactical skills have brought Ukraine to this situation, and the ending will be even sadder for the Khohols, but more salutary for all.💥💥💥

And another detailed post which describes which Russian units and formations are opposing them:

"Who is fighting against whom near Rabotino

At the forefront of the Ukrainian attack is the 82nd separate airborne assault brigade of Khokhol under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Raziedinov. Armament: American Stryker, British Challenger 2 and German Marder I.

The attacking Ukrainian group "Tavria" of General Tarnavsky is reinforced with reserves, which allowed the UAF to gain a numerical advantage of 4:1, in armored vehicles and artillery 3:1.

An unpleasant ratio, therefore, the Russian 58th Army, regiments of the 42nd Guards Mechanized Rifle Division, supported by marine soldiers from the 810th Marine Brigade and the 22nd Special Forces Brigade, began to retreat.

In connection with Khokhol's attempts to introduce additional units of the 46th Separate Airmobile Brigade and the 118th Mechanized Brigade, which are opposed by our 22nd Special Forces Brigade and four battalions of Bars-1, Bars-11, Bars-3 and Bars-14 "Sarmat" also began to withdraw to the east.

The 76th Guards Airborne Division was transferred to reinforce from the Serebryansky Forest. An extremely toothy unit, the commander of which received the Hero of Russia for crossing the Kakhova dam. Back then, on February 26, 2022, the paratroopers seized a bridgehead near the Dnieper and repulsed 7 Ukrainian attacks, destroying more than 20 BBM units. Then the division performed well at Kremennaya and Svatovo.

The 1140th Artillery Regiment, the 234th Guards and the 247th Torun Regiment also arrived to help their colleagues.

You can imagine what kind of mowing is going on. About the fact that there are more than 120 units of enemy equipment left in a plot of 6 kilometers, many have already heard."

The important thing to note is that, since the infamous recent "clash" between Zelensky and NATO leadership about wasting and dissipating his forces, there have been reports that Zelensky/Zaluzhny have now attempted to somewhat acquiesce to their masters' demands. That means reinforcements have been stripped from the Bakhmut/Klescheyevka area and sent down to Rabotino to form an even bigger spearhead.

For Rabotino that was bad news, but the Klescheyevka guys have enjoyed a brief welcome respite and relay that the front has been 'quiet' for them after these reorientations.

However, even after all of these expenditures, Russian frontline sources report that Rabotino, while abandoned by them, is still not captured by the AFU and is now in a gray zone from which it may not emerge. One of the reasons is as with Staromayorsk and other towns, it's now so destroyed that there is not much place to hide. So when AFU units move in they are bombarded by Russian artillery and are quickly forced to flee.

Russia's fiery ex-general and now-Duma deputy Gurulev openly advocated nuking Rabotino while that huge mass of AFU forces described earlier is "bunched up" in the area:

Similarly on the Staromayork and Urozhayne axis to the east, Pushilin confirms how Ukraine is still not able to control either one of those villages for the same reasons as mentioned above, and are forced to try to circumscribe them to the eastern flanks:

As seen in the Rabotino map posted above, the AFU is trying to do the same there by wrapping around toward Verbove rather than occupying Rabotino.

Austrian military analyst colonel Reisner gave a negative assessment, saying that NATO has never seen such defensive fortifications since the Battle of Kursk:

To bring it back around, even the Bild is reporting on Ukraine's upcoming mobilization:

With that said, defense minister Reznikov has for now denied plans for a new mobilization, but his word isn't worth the toilet paper it's written on.

Could Russia perhaps be waiting to see how many men Ukraine manages to fish up to decide whether they themselves need to do a mobilization? After all, Russia would love to not have to do a mobilization if there's no need. But were Ukraine to actually fish up 500k men (doubtful) they may have no choice. Ultimately we may see another re-run of last year: where both sides mobilize heavily during the fall and winter to prepare for big spring action.


The world is changing fast. The next year or two promises to potentially be the most momentous and eventful of our entire lifetimes. Not only is there an historic American election coming up which may end up culminating in civil war, but the global geopolitical scene is seeing its most significant restructuring in decades.

The African country of Gabon has now become the latest to undergo an anti-colonial coup, and there could be a Russian/Chinese hand at play because the confluence of such events cannot be simple 'coincidence.' The Gabonese president issued a desperate plea, begging France and the Western world to save him:

The country's citizens came out in support of the junta troops:

Now there are reports that Cameroon is set for a coup next, and its leadership is already undergoing an emergency reshuffling of the military upper echelons in order to prevent it.

However, other reports claim that the Gabon coup is just Western imperialists eating their own as the junta leader, according to some, has been groomed by the U.S. and represents American interests:

But why did a pro-American general overthrow a pro-French president?

The leadership of the French intelligence DGSE explains this by the fact that, according to the Americans, the French authorities are no longer able to effectively protect the interests of the collective West, including the United States, in the territory under their control. Therefore, the White House decided to take the situation into their own hands and seize the initiative from the French.

Meanwhile, Niger's junta has cut off water and supplies to the French consulate which has refused to leave the country, citing that they only take orders from the 'legitimate' president.

The fact that these historic movements are coming on the heels of the major BRICS developments means that by this time next year the world will have been reshaped, with Western powers waning like never before.

This is to give a bit of perspective to ongoing events of the Russian SMO. While some may consider progress to be slow, I stand by the position that the events of the SMO are merely the minor backdrop to the real machinations Putin and others are carrying out behind the scenes of the global geopolitical framework.

For instance, Russia has apparently already begun shipping new containers to Saudi Arabia by way of Iran in a new sort of one belt one road:

1) When Egypt joins BRICS the Suez Canal, one of the most important trade routes will be, will be essentially under their influence.

2) In addition, a second transport corridor Iran has been launched.

The first transit train of 36 containers with cargo entered Iran through the Inche-Burun border checkpoint. Then the goods went to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to be sent by sea to the port of Jeddah.

The new logistics route makes transportation from Russia to Asian countries twice as fast and also cheaper. India has invested about $2.1 billion in the project, but some of the cargo will go to other countries, including Saudi Arabia.

The North-South transport corridor project was developed back in 2000 as an alternative to deliveries through the Suez Canal.

The West is now in a lose-lose situation. Even if they back an ECOWAS military action against Niger or others, for instance, they will expose major hypocrisy not only to African countries but to the rest of the world which will merely bring down the West's standing even more, push further countries to disconnect from them and join the new multipolar order. Not only will the West show their naked colonialism but it will be brought to light how they hypocritically back military action against a sovereign nation in Africa while condemning the same exact action in Ukraine. Recall that Russia's actions can be viewed as an intervention of an illegal coup which ousted the democratically elected Ukrainian leader; how could the West condemn the coup in Africa and support its reversal via military action while supporting the coup in Ukraine while condemning the military action to reverse the coup there?

Further movements continue around the world:

Asia's next step away from dollar

Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei will join other major Southeast Asian economies in an interconnected QR code payment system that aims to reduce reliance on the US dollar - Nikkei reported. (https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Vietnam-Philippines-and-Brunei-to-join-cross-border-QR-payment-scheme)

Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have previously joined the same initiative.

Payments through the system will be made in local currency, meaning payments in Thailand using the Indonesian app will be directly exchanged into rupiahs and baht, bypassing the US dollar as an intermediary.

Next, the central banks will seek to link this network with other regional clusters around the world, and bring the same structure to real-time bank transfers and even central bank digital currencies eventually.

Here is one analyst's interesting take on what actions the desperate West is taking as a last gasp to hang on to their slipping power. He believes they are shifting to a form of 'meta-colonialism' or ultra-regionalization of the entire globe, and gives a prescription for how that can be countered by Russia:


More and more often, under the pretext of anti-colonial struggle, the West offers all sorts of divisions of historical states.

They would llike to break up countries such as Iran, China, Russia, India, etc.

The old colonial principle - "divide and rule" has not gone away.

After the decline of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the West is preparing for "meta-colonialism".

They want destruction and regionalization for the entire territory of the earth, while remaining a relatively large political entity. They are shifting their Eastern Sanitary Cardon to our historical lands, squeezing us out of Europe.

Their algorithm: a large state - the United States> a medium state France> a small state Poland> a trifle Latvia> a stateless region of Ingermanland and so on.

This is their view of the 21st century. And what can we oppose to metacolonialism? What should the world map look like from our point of view?

The only salvation for us will be consolidation and empire building. Our world map should look like this.

1. Russian Union - from Brest to Vladivostok (Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan)

2. Transfer of the cordon sanitaire between us and the West to the territory of Eastern and Southern Europe.

3. Creation of large friendly Slavic states on the territory of the historical settlement of the Slavs! That is large federal states.

4. Greater Yugoslavia (former Yugoslavia + Bulgaria + Macedonia + Romania) anchored around Serbia.

5. Great Western Slavia (former GDR + Poland + Czechoslovakia + Hungary + Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia) based on Hungarians, East Germans and ... Poles, no wonder.

6. Regionalization of Western Europe and the West as a whole. Bavaria, Languedoc, Galicia, Scotland, Piedmont and the Republic of Texas.

Only such a construction will save the world from metacolonialism. Will establish lasting peace and tranquility on our continent.

Are you saying this is just a dream? Dreams Come True. In 50 years, the map will look exactly like this.

Recall the NATO-linked madman Fehlinger whose calls to break up Brazil I posted last time:

I'm not sure I agree that the eastern powers will push for or achieve the same balkanization of the West as the West attempts to do on them, however certainly anyone can see that the power center is shifting rapidly and drastically to the East.

When you add all the latest developments up, it spells doom for the West. The problem with the West is they have always subsisted on the natural resources, and later the manufacturing, of others as they slowly transitioned into developed service economies. In order to achieve this they had to keep all the developing natural-resource-rich nations under their thumb. It's fascinating to see how many imperialist rodents scurry out when you shake the ship. For instance, as soon as the Gabon coup happened, reports immediately came of French workers for the Total oil conglomerate sent fleeing from the country, as well as disruptions for French mining corp Eramet. The vast imperialist overreach of the West has subsisted under our noses, blended into the environment and some are only now discovering how completely they pervaded the African continent. Every African nation is overrun with Western militaries, Western big oil conglomerates, etc.

It's why now the dying West is desperately scrambling to pick apart Ukraine like vultures on roadkill:

France apparently even begged or coerced India into vetoing Algeria at the BRICS summit. They're terrified of losing more:

A small consolation and victory for them, but nothing compared to what they are currently losing and what BRICS has gained in general. At next year's summit it will only grow and perhaps by then Algeria will have joined despite the kvetching of the increasingly-irrelevant West.

In fact Rybar reports that now the Balkans are beginning to signal interest in joining the BRICS:

Against the background of statements about the expansion of the international organization following the recent summit in Johannesburg, there were calls for accession from the Balkan Peninsula.

▪️ The Serbian party "Movement of Socialists" recently proposed to start working on joining the BRICS. Its deputies will send a draft resolution to parliament, according to which BRICS membership will become for Serbia "a clear alternative to the so-called path to the European Union." The party is in a coalition with the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and is led by Alexander Vulin, who also heads the intelligence department of the BIA.

▪️ Following Vulin, who recently added to the US sanctions list due to his unconcealed pro-Russian position and Euroskepticism, the president of the Republika Srpska, an entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, also called (https://t.me/rtbalkan_ru/2366) for joining the BRICS.

According to Milorad Dodik, from Brussels is constantly coming up with new and unclear conditions for joining the EU. "The BRICS will accept us earlier than the EU," the leader of the Bosnian Serbs mocked and promised to send a proposal to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to consider the initiative in the coming days.

🔻 However, Serbia and the Republika Srpska are far from the only ones in the former Yugoslavia who are outraged by the protracted process of European integration. The forum "Solidarity for Global Security" was recently held on the picturesque Slovenian Lake Bled. European Council President Charles Michel has pledged to welcome new EU members by 2030, but statements by Balkan leaders are a pretty clear indication of the level of general skepticism.

▪️ As Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic so aptly put it, "the boundaries of the goal to score a goal" are constantly shifting. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, commenting on the protracted process of European integration, tried to be even more witty. "We seem to be dragging ourselves in a bus, but still it is preferable to a Russian plane." A colleague of Rama and Brnabic from North Macedonia cited opinion polls, according to which the number of citizens opposed to joining the EU has already reached 80% of the country's population.

Approximately the same indicators were obtained by sociologists as a result of recent polls in Serbia, and the number of eurosceptics is growing every day. So the issue of holding a referendum on joining the BRICS no longer seems like a fantasy of dreamers and may well become a reality in the foreseeable future.

Now Putin has agreed to intend a major belt and road forum in China in October which will further solidify developments:

For those interested, in light of the West's soon lost Ukrainian adventure, Pepe Escobar has a new article on where the next "great game" for Western powers will converge. In his opinion, it is central Asia, namely Kazakhstan. One can see how deeply the West's claws are embedded in that resource-rich country:

Like I said, things are now moving fast as the West scrambles in panic to cling on.


A few last disparate items.

Russian Lt. General Viktor Sobolev said that Wagner will 'cease to exist':

🇷🇺‼️"The Wagner Group will cease to exist. The fighters will be able to go into civilian life or sign a contract with the Ministry of defense." —Lieutenant General Viktor Sobolev.

"This is an illegal armed formation <…> There should not be any armed people in the state who are not subordinate to the state.

As a result, this led to a rebellion. We were on the verge of a civil war," said the State Duma deputy.

He also clarified that only those Wagnerites who did not participate in the rebellion can sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense

This comes at an interesting time when rumors still swirl about everything in relation to Wagner. The West continues to fan crazy theories:

But then at times they don't sound so crazy, like today when a Wagner-affiliated channel released a video showing Prigozhin reportedly on August 20th in Africa, mere days before his fateful flight back to Moscow where he later died. In the video he unsettlingly reflects upon his "liquidation":

Given that he's a man predisposed to disguises and trickery of every sort, can it really be considered far-fetched that perhaps his putative death is not as it seems? After all, many remarked there was something "off" about his swiftly-held and covered up funeral in St. Petersburg, which saw relatively few attendees. Not to mention that the crash site of the plane was said to have had its soil removed by bulldozers.

"This is how the crash site of Yevgeny Prigozhin's plane looks now. For some reason, all the soil was removed by bulldozers and taken out"

There have already been reports of Prigozhin sightings in Mali, almost certainly fake of course. But recall that Prigozhin had actually been similarly declared dead in another 2019 plane crash in the Congo, later resurfacing alive. The conflict has seen some of the strangest twists and turns of our time—I won't be surprised to see things take another bizarre twist down the line.

For those interested in the closure of the saga:

The leader of the Wagner Private Military Company, Evgeny Prigozhin, has been laid to rest at the Porokhovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg.

The funeral ceremony was held behind closed doors, with only close relatives and friends of Prigozhin in attendance.

The plaque at his grave is a passage taken from a Brodsky poem:

"..Mother says to Christ:
- Are you my son or my God? You are nailed to the cross. How will I go home? How I will step over the threshold without understanding, without deciding if you are my son or God. Are you dead or alive?
He tells her back:
- dead or alive, no difference. Son or God, I am yours"...

Utkin is said to be buried later today August 31st, at the national Mytishchi memorial cemetery in Moscow—after all, he was an actual decorated Russian servicemen prior to his Wagner tenure.

American politicians continue to express the position that using Ukrainians as cannonfodder to fight Russia without having to risk American troops is ideal, and is the real reason for the war:

Meanwhile, on the topic of quite repulsive Western views, we have the continued characterization of terror strikes on Moscow as acceptable:

For a U.S. newspaper to literally post a photo of a skyscraper damaged by a kamikaze strike along with a positive or accepting headline is just the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

But what can you expect from these people?


While Ukraine gloats over hitting some empty planes, Russia has actually effected serious attrition on Ukrainian pilots recently. There's been a spate of shoot downs with a lot of pilots lost:

One version is that a Russian Su-35 shot down two of the Mi-8s at once. This is for those people who claim Russian airpower isn't patrolling/operating or trying to shoot down the feeble remains of UA's airpower.

This comes only two days after the news that some Ukrainian stunt in the west of the country caused 3 notable and decorated pilots to be killed when their trainer L-39 planes crashed into each other:

Lastly, Chinese people continue to show their support, both overtly and in subtle ways, for the Russian SMO:

🇷🇺🇨🇳China supports Russia!

In Blagoveshchensk, which is on the border with China, residents saw this composition. The most interesting thing is that it was made by the Chinese and shows our side on the other side of the border.

p.s. Substack has announced a new system of payment methods where they are apparently expanding the types of ways you can pay. In the future they intend to have even more options, but for now, if you were one of the people on the fence about subscribing because of the specific credit card autopay feature, read up on their new methods and see if it suits you: https://support.substack.com/hc/en-us/articles/18687769631252

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Simplicius76's Battle Room
26 Aug 2023 | 7:31 am

10. SITREP 8/26/23: Wagner Denouement and BRICS Rebirth

Let's start with the biggest, most momentous update of all. The BRICS summit, which has just ended, ended up in ways surpassing my expectations. The official acceptance of 6 new members was announced, which is more than a doubling of the current size of the BRICS:

Iran, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Their official membership will begin on January 1, 2024. The new BRICS:

It was announced they will be keeping the name BRICS and not adding new letters.

Let's break down the most important points of this historic expansion.

Firstly, this group now represents 37% of the world's GDP in PPP terms. Keep in mind that the much vaunted G7 has 29.9%, down from 46% in 1992. And if all prospective members join in the future, it'll be 45%:

Think that's not a big enough deal? The new 11-member BRICS, with its energy powerhouses of Iran, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, now also controls ~54% of the world's oil production and 46% of the world's population. Not to mention they will account for 48.5 million square kilometers, or 36% of the world's landmass area.

Some other things to note. Firstly, they promised to continue expansion so there will be more members considered for the next summit, which should be one year from this one and will be chaired by, and presumably take place in, Russia. That means by next summer all of these numbers could even drastically increase.

Further, the BRICS members did verbalize an initiative to begin work on an inter-BRICS settlement payment system and currency. The timetable for it is not immediate, allegedly within 5-10 years they hope to develop one. But even in the meantime, they will increase initiatives towards settling in their own currencies away from the dollar. So the de-dollarization will continue accelerating, especially now that there are new members on board. It's just that they will convert between their own currencies rather than use a new single inter-BRICS currency in the way the EU uses the Euro.

⚡️The Bank of the BRICS countries is developing a single digital currency for the states of the group, - the media, citing the head of the monetary policy department of Trace Finance, Evandro Casianu.

According to him, a single digital currency of the bloc is possible if it is issued by the BRICS bank

- This can happen in 5-10 years, the implementation of the corresponding project will be phased

- As a result, a single currency can be used for trade transactions

It's been noted that the new BRICS currency will not be like the Euro in that it won't be currency to replace daily usage for the average person in the streets. They will continue using their own currencies in their individual countries. The BRICS currency will be more for the countries' own central banks to settle trade amongst themselves to avoid purchasing USD dollars. So in that respect, it won't be like the EU where the Euro replaces the Deutsche Mark and all the rest.

This article even describes Putin's call for a new BRICS transport commission to figure out all the new route logistics for the members.

"An important priority for BRICS interaction is the creation of new sustainable and safe transport routes... We believe that the time has come to establish within the framework of BRICS a permanent commission on transport, which would deal not only with the North-South project, but also, in a broader sense, with the development of logistics and transport corridors," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, addressing the audience of the 15th summit via video link.

The article explains that in particular, this commission would look toward ensuring the chief BRICS members' ability to bypass critically strategic corridors and choke points like the Strait of Singapore, Strait of Malacca, Suez Canal, Bosphorus, Strait of Hormuz, etc.

As most know, Saudi Arabia has previously signaled that they're considering allowing trade of oil in Yuan. And that's not from a tinfoil source but from the Wallstreet Journal itself:

That was long before KSA became a member of BRICS. Now imagine some point in the medium term future, BRICS creates its currency and Saudi Arabia ditches the petrodollar. The types of global changes this could precipitate are incalculable. The entire Bretton Woods system would begin to unravel, though it's arguably starting to unravel already.

Pepe Escobar spills more details in his new Sputnik article as well. He reveals that one of the "great difficulties" in the negotiations which Putin referenced was that India wanted to admit only 3 new members, while China wanted 10, with a compromise of 6 having been reached. The fact that China is so bullish on the BRICS is good news—it means president Xi is very serious about overturning the system of Western hegemony.

And the 6 accepted members are better than imagined: with Egypt, which represents the largest economy in Africa by GDP PPP; Iran and KSA, which represent a historic rapprochement for the two gulf powerhouses to occupy the same bloc. UAE, the home of Dubai and Ethiopia which is said to be the current fastest economically growing African country and a natural resources powerhouse, not to mention, importantly, is the 2nd most populous African country after Nigeria. Yes, Ethiopia is even more populous than Egypt, at 126 million.

Argentina is a bit of a dark horse. Sure it's a powerful representative of the South American continent, however as this article points out, it can prove to be a bad investment. Far-right candidate Javier Milei, according to the author, could win October's presidential elections and has already promised to cut ties with China and re-orient Argentina to the "civilized West", which would likely mean ditching BRICS.

The author aptly summarizes the chief strength and weakness of the BRICS concept:

One of the strengths and weaknesses of BRICS is that it is not ideological. Non-ideological cooperation is a blessing because it has the possibility to withstand the test of elections, but it's a liability because it means that the general enthusiasm for building a long-term project is lower, plus an election (or a coup) also has the possibility to upend it if an extremist is elected. This ultimately means that for BRICS to remain worthwhile, it has to produce tangible results that politicians can show to their domestic audiences. Perhaps, to that end, if Argentina is promised fresh cash, it will end up joining whatever the result of its presidential election.

But the unpredictability, and the resulting fragility, of some Global South governments will undoubtedly be the perennial challenge for BRICS.

These challenges are reflected in the fact that many of the BRICS countries do tote Western cultural initiatives. For instance, just yesterday Brazil passed legislation outlawing homophobia, allowing prison time for any hate or anti-gay "bigotry".

At the end of the day, the Western world is falling. As an example, Turkey and many other powerhouses could be up next for the BRICS at the next summit. Many inside Turkey already feel the shift:

The United States creates enemies for everyone, and for Turkey too. Ankara forced to put up with undeclared US war

"Turkey is in a state of undeclared, secret war with the United States, which has actually become its strategic enemy. In such a situation, there can be no question of a new era in relations with the United States," said Tamer Korkmaz, a columnist for the pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak.

The reason is that Washington strongly supports the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, recognized as a terrorist organization in Turkey, as well as the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). The US Armed Forces conduct regular exercises with them and prepare them.

And the West is already seething. Here's the "Chair of European Committee for NATO Enlargement" Gunther Fehlinger threatening Brazil:

Lastly, let's address the repeatedly surfacing criticism that BRICS is a secretly "globalist organization" because it was a "brainchild of Goldman Sachs." This is nonsense. All that happened was that in 2001, a Goldman Sachs employee named Jim O'Neill wrote an internal paper stating that Brazil, Russia, India, and China were beginning to wield power on the world stage and that they should be allowed into the G7 sooner rather than later. This policy suggestion seemed to stem from the standpoint of trepidation that if the West didn't take these countries under their wing, they would allow them to form their own bloc that would end up being the undoing of the West (how prophetic).

In the paper he called them BRICs but this had no provable connection to the founding of the BRICS which happened 5 years later. The shorthand name of BRICS may have caught on and the countries may have used it out of convenience or simply because there was nothing else to logically call it, since taking the letter of each country just makes straightforward sense. The point is that Goldman Sachs had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual founding of the BRICS, nor any connection with them. One of their policy advisors merely put two and two together and coined the term BRICS in an internal paper, that's it. Here's a screenshot of the actual 2001 report as proof:

Incidentally, Jim O'Neill just had a new interview with Financial Times days ago where he slammed the BRICS' idea of a common currency as "absurd", and said that India/China's tensions would likely prevent it. Although he admonished that should they find a way to reconcile their issues and actually create such a currency, then it would be the end of the dollar. O'Neill now works for Chatham House thinktank in the UK.

So, calling BRICS a Goldman creation is like believing Klaus Schwab's fantasy about Putin being a "young global leader."

Long story short:

By the way, ironically, Brazil's Lula is the only current president associated with the foundation of BRICS. He was president of Brazil during the first BRICS summit in Russia in 2009 which inaugurated the group, while even Putin was not president—Medvedev having taken the role at the time. China was then led by Hu Jintao and India by Singh. Now Lula is back and is presiding over the first major BRICS expansion since that time.


Let's move on to a few battlefield updates.

Yesterday, Ukraine launched a large new push attempt on Rabotino which had some people calling it the third phase of the offensive. Some sources claimed 83+ armored vehicles were involved in a huge column, but there have not been precise corroborations. There have just been some new photos of armor graveyards from the push, as well as confirmations of new destroyed Strykers as well as other vehicles:

They pushed down into Rabotino and finally made Russian forces abandon it. However, afterwards Russia retook some of it with a small counter-attack. As of this writing some sources claim Russia has a presence in the south of the settlement, but it's uncertain. In fact, the DontStopWar channel associated with an actual Russian military unit seems to state that AFU hasn't even captured the north part of Rabotino yet:

Here's a helpful map which shows Russia's previous control before any of the counter-offensives began in June (white line). The purple line shows how far Ukraine has gotten now on this western side.

Here, you can see that Russia's infamous main "Surovikin defense line" begins much closer than on the Vremevske ledge in the east. Which means Ukraine is very close to it near the town of Verbove. However, here Russia has many more layers of the Surovikin line, whereas in the east, beneath Staromayorsk, the line may begin much farther south but there's fewer echelon layers.

A wider view:

It had been previously stated that the main counter-offensive objective had been downsized to simply taking Tokmak, rather than the unrealistic objectives of capturing Crimea, Mariupol, or even Melitopol. If they can take Tokmak they will be happy and consider that a major success.

Thus, some sources claimed that the new major advance would be a final culminating "armor fist" to break through the first line and shoot down towards Tokmak. Neither is likely to happen. Particularly capturing Tokmak, which is absurd at this point.

But have no fear—Western military thinkers claim all is not as dire as it seems.

But they can already cover all this territory with their vaunted JDAMs, Storm Shadows, GLSDBs, etc. What would putting all that in HIMARs range do? It's not like HIMARs can hit moving targets so having a highway in HIMARs range doesn't do much.

For the record, here's a post from an AFU unit to see their side of the updates on the current hostilities around Rabotino:

Good morning, dear friends!

Good news to you.

⚔️ Fighting on the southern outskirts of Robotino. In some places, the guys went to Novoprokopivka.

⚔️ The Ukrainian armed forces have started to move towards Kopanya from Robotyne. This is a counterattack to avoid hitting us in the flank. No progress so far. Fierce fighting. But then the orcs got nervous...

⚔️ Verbove - advance and also counterattacks to avoid a blow to our flank.

⏳ Nesterianka - No deep advances so far, but the area is very interesting....

📍 Now all the main battles are taking place in the Robotyno-Novoprokopivka-Verbove triangle - the fate of the Tokmak direction is being decided here. The enemy, like us, threw everything they could here - infantry, paratroopers, marines, prisoners, etc. It's much easier for the orcs - they have burrowed into the ground, into the defensive lines they built in advance. This is what makes it difficult to move in the direction of Novoprokopivka - Verbove.

The orcs' aircraft continue to operate, but it is becoming a routine. There are new minefields, apparently set up by the orcs recently and hastily, haphazardly.

We are working, yours.

There are continued rumors of new mass mobilizations from Ukraine for this fall-winter.

🇷🇺⚔️🇺🇦 Yuri Podolyaka (Russian analyst) on the state of the Ukrainian Armed Forces:

💬 "I returned from the front line of combat, talked to the guys who captured soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the southern sector. There are noticeable changes: now they often surrender even when they could still fight. There has been a psychological shift among Ukrainian soldiers, and more and more of them really don't want to end up in this slaughter. The Kiev regime must understand that it will only get worse from here.

➡️The turning point came in June-July, when Ukrainian soldiers began to realize that it was the end. The Russians didn't retreat. It's reminiscent of the critical point the German army faced at Stalingrad.

➡️A new wave of mobilization in Ukraine will likely face much greater resistance from society. Although they could recruit 200,000 to 300,000 within six months, due to raising the age, canceling previous deferment conditions, and other measures. But the quality of this contingent will be very low. The best of them are currently dying on the battlefields."

Video for the above:

Zelensky seemed to stage a question at a press conference two days ago in order to begin conditioning society for the inevitability of a new mass mobilization:

Meanwhile, Reznikov, who conveniently is said to be resigning soon, told Ukrainians that when they see a soldier in the street, they should expect to replace him on the battlefield soon:

Meanwhile, MSM is also breaking the news to society slowly:

Note the slow descent: a few months ago it was "Ukraine is running out of ammo", which has now become "Ukraine is running out of men."

The problem is, some sources like the following report that Ukraine needs to mobilize 10k per month just to keep up with losses:

Ukraine must mobilize 10 thousand people every month to be able hold the front

"In order to compensate for the losses (dead and wounded), as well as to replace the military dismissed from service for health reasons, age and family circumstances, it is necessary to call up about 10 thousand people to the Defense Forces every month.

This is without taking into account the creation of new units or the training of reserves, "a source in the General Staff of the AFU reports.

So, in order to keep up with that plus add enough new recruits to bring up ~200-300k would be a monumental task that is likely not possible.

Gleb Bazov of Slavyangrad even claims the following dire situation:

Sources monitoring the movement of Ukrainian strategic military reserves report their absence from the previous deployment locations. This means that Ukraine has nearly drained/exhausted all its currently available manpower and military equipment resources, sending them to the front.

This corroborates our earlier projection that the Ukrainian counteroink has peaked and is slated to completely exhaust itself in September, likely by mid to the beginning of the last third of month.

What's interesting is that other headlines have recently been revealing how U.S. leadership is clashing with that of the AFU in regard to the distribution of forces. Namely that Western leadership wants Ukraine to go "all in" on the southern direction while they regard Ukraine's pouring of reserves into Bakhmut and the northern Kharkov front to be wasteful and dissipative.

The latest NYTimes article goes into this:

As well as Wallstreet Journal:

From NYT:

Ukraine's grinding counteroffensive is struggling to break through entrenched Russian defenses in large part because it has too many troops, including some of its best combat units, in the wrong places, American and other Western officials say.

The article makes some other admissions:

American officials' criticisms of Ukraine's counteroffensive are often cast through the lens of a generation of military officers who have never experienced a war of this scale and intensity.

Moreover, American war doctrine has never been tested in an environment like Ukraine's, where Russian electronic warfare jams communications and GPS, and neither military has been able to achieve air superiority.

As well as stating that Ukraine likely has 4-6 weeks remaining before the rains take over and operations will have to be paused.

Now, Arestovich has underlined this fissure, candidly opining that he too cannot see the logic of the endless Bakhmut reinforcement:

General Zaluzhny days ago indirectly replied to all such complaints by pointing out that Ukraine would lose territory in those regions if it took men away from them to the south. Certainly in Kharkov they would, where Russia is actually conducting assault operations. But in Bakhmut, it seems to me the Russian force disposition is not that of assault-heavy squads but rather defensive forces of the 3rd army corps. If Ukraine were to ease off on that front, I doubt those Russian forces would eagerly burst forward but rather continue digging in to strong defensive lines.

This surmise was proven days ago when I posted a video of Russia's only big mishap in recent times. It occurred near Klescheyevka by those very forces who tried to switch to offensive operations to expand their zone for a bit more breathing room. They did not appear prepared for that assault as they were brutally rebuffed with an entire armored column destroyed in a way that was reminiscent of the earlier Ugledar fiascos. Meanwhile the troops in Kharov region continue advancing and assaulting successfully on a daily basis.

But this seems to reveal an odd ideological obsession with Bakhmut—somehow, that particular town is personal to Ukraine's leadership. We can speculate on why: the most readily available reason being perhaps that's where they spilled the most blood and faced their largest humiliation in many ways. More likely, as I wrote last time, they smelled weakness there. Syrsky stated, in the infamous video I once posted, that now that Wagner had left, there was nothing 'scary' in Bakhmut anymore—a frail attempt to lift his troops' morale.

Now—perhaps to cover their own dire need for men—Ukraine is issuing new reports that Russia itself is planning for a major mobilization this fall:

The head of the Ukrainian intelligence Kirill Budanov assures that Russia has been continuing covert mobilization since last fall and is now considering the possibility of additionally drafting 450 thousand people.

According to him, monthly hidden mobilization gives the troops a replenishment of 20-22 thousand people.

The interesting aspect above is that he confirms the "covert mobilization", which by now is not so covert as Russian officials have continually updated the numbers on it. He claims a 20-22k new troops per month, that was Russia's figure from about June or earlier. Now Medvedev/Shoigu report upwards of 40k new signups per month, if you'll recall. But that's neither here nor there; the important thing being that even Ukraine is acknowledging this, which means that there's no room left for propagandists and schizopatriots to claim that "Putin and Shoigu are corrupt" and are deliberately throwing the operation because they refuse to mobilize more men. Whether it's 20k or 40k, this monthly sum represents upwards of 250-500k new men per year in shadow enlistment. But of course it's never enough, the schizopatriots claim only 2-3 million new men is adequate and that all Russian citizens must be press-ganged into 18 hour shifts at the tank forge.

This gives us a rough outlook for the next 6 months, up to next spring. Ukraine will likely try to desperately mobilize as many new men as possible over the winter in order to prepare for the big Russian spring 2024 operations everyone is now talking about. But a slight hitch in that plan. The earlier posted WSJ article generated buzz such that RT even headlined it:

Namely, that a former U.S. official told them that funding will be tapered off next year, and that the "mountain of steel" needed to refit the AFU simply "doesn't exist":

On that same note, it's interesting how many pro-Ukrainians doubted how much of Ukraine's airforce Russia had destroyed. For instance, Oryx's infamously undercounted list only has a few dozen craft (while Russia lays claim to hundreds). Now, Ukraine's airforce spokesman Yuri Ignat has openly stated that Ukraine requires a whopping 128 fighter jets to "replace the old fleet."

That last part is crucial—he's clearly admitting that they've lost at least 128+ fighter craft which must be replaced. Using laughable Oryx figures, here's what The Economist believes Ukraine lost:

If they lost only 60, would their spokesman be saying they need ~130 to replenish the fleet? That said, Russia's own official figures show nearly 500 airplanes, though it's difficult to know their tallying methodology and whether perhaps they include something we don't know about:

For instance, they are likely including all disused/mothballed planes they destroyed on the ground, which is said to be many (it includes tons of transport planes, and old Soviet biplanes like the AN-2, etc.), whereas Ukraine is referring to only active usable fighter jets, specifically. Not to mention a portion could be double counts in that Russia may have "damaged" many which were subsequently fixed and then hit/destroyed again at a later date, which would appear as 2 separate planes on Russian tallies.

Getting back to the near future. One last major problem is that Ukrainian officials foresee a very grave upcoming winter:

💡🐽⬛️ There may be no light in Lviv for up to 2 months - Mayor Sadovaya

"We need to prepare for a situation when Lviv may be a month or even two without power supply. When there will be a difficult situation, the demand will be twice as much for refuelling generators and transporting water. We need to prepare for very difficult periods," the mayor said during a meeting of the city council.💥😁💥

Last winter when Russia ran its large infrastructure strike campaign many believed that it was mostly in vain as Ukraine went on to fix much of its energy network, particularly given the perception that Russia was only striking transformers rather than the power plant engine rooms themselves. However, recently I've seen some possible info to the contrary, like one report stating that only a small fraction of the infrastructure had been repaired. Ukraine boasted that they still maintained an "energy surplus" earlier this year, however commentators noted that much of that was likely an effect of the exodus of millions of people leaving a huge net loss of energy usage in large cities.

Either way, reports continue from the Russian side that Russia has big plans. For instance, the Zaporozhye governor after his recent meeting with Putin:

Balitsky, after his conversation with Putin, announced "a lot of interesting things" on the SMO fronts in autumn. According to him, the Russian president confirmed his thesis: We haven't started anything yet.

The only question remains, will Russia "start something" major this fall/winter, or wait for spring? On one hand I favor spring because there's no real hurry at the moment and Russia is still building up stores and stockpiles of surplus ammo for an offensive.

However, there's clearly also great strategic possibility in launching an offensive at a point of the AFU's greatest exhaustion and breakdown, which would be this fall. Waiting for spring could allow them to begin those mass mobilizations to replenish their forces. Likely, they'll split the difference. This fall/winter they'll launch smaller localized offensives to take advantage of exactly the spots where the most battered AFU brigades are in the process of being pulled and replaced, while next spring may bring something much bigger and unified.


Now, let's move on to the Prigozhin/Wagner saga to update a few things on that front.

First, let's dispense with the video condolences issued by Putin:

Noteworthy is the fact that Putin did not say the kind of things I personally would have expected, under normal circumstances. You expect declarations like: "We will scour the earth, leave no stone unturned until we get whoever was responsible for this. The coward/craven/villain who committed this vile terrorist act will be brought to justice, etc."

None of that was said. Instead, a very reserved and mannered eulogy, fraught with symbolism. Prigozhin was a 'difficult man' who 'made mistakes', etc. Personally, it's exactly the type of brief, cagey, boilerplate eulogy I'd expect if Prigozhin was infact "put out to pasture" by security services.

That said, there's still no real 100% confirmation or identification of the bodies. They have been flown to Moscow for DNA analysis, spurring many people to run away with theories that Prigozhin is actually still alive. Admittedly, the only such theory I could give an inkling of credence to is if, for instance, some hostile outside force like the SBU tried to assassinate Prigozhin but failed (by blowing up the wrong plane). Then if Putin was interested in "protecting" his important asset, he may have tasked the country's services with covering up Prigozhin's death, to allow him to exist in the shadows so that the assassins can't get him.

But this would probably be absurd, as Prigozhin would have to resurface at some point in the future anyway to conduct his business, and so the hypothetical threat on him would continue.

For now, what we know is that Putin suddenly issued a new decree obliging all paramilitary style forces like volunteers and PMCs to "swear an oath of allegiance" to Russia:

This appears to be different than the previous legal ruling forcing Wagner fighters to sign a contract with the Russian state. This is more of a loyalty test, with peculiar timing in that it appears clearly aimed at weeding out the Wagner fighters who may potentially question their loyalties in the wake of their leaders' deaths.

There were also some interesting new updates. For instance, the information that Russian general Yunus-bek Yevkurov traveled to both Libya and Syria just prior to Prigozhin's death for negotiations:

Negotiations were not only about the cooperation and fighting terrorism together. As it turns out, Yunus-bek Yevkurov held meetings with the leadership of these countries and insisted on the winding down of all Wagner's supporting business projects and withdrawal of PMC's contingents. The most important part was that the decision had to be made independently by the governments of Syria and Western Libya to deflect negativity from the Russian leadership.

Everything apart from the travel is unconfirmed, however one can infer; after all, what else would he be traveling there for?

So on the one hand, Russian government tried to negotiate with the Wagner PMC and make it focus primarily on Africa. And on the other hand, the Ministry of Defense tried to persuade Libya to decrease the presence of Wagner's forces. It goes on:

⚡️🇷🇺🌍Exclusive: Wagner's rotation in Africa and dialogue with the Russian government

Our sources told us interesting facts regarding the negotiations between Wagner PMC and Russian government that involve Africa and Wagner's presence there.

Apparently, just the day before the plane, on which PMC's boss Yevgeny Prigozhin allegedly was traveling to Moscow, crashed, an agreement was reached with one of the security agencies of the Russian Federation.

Wagner was supposed to partially return to Ukraine and even more intensify its activities on the African continent.

So Russian idea was to increase the presence of the PMC in Africa and, following the idea of separation of tasks between Wagner and the Ministry of Defense, make the group one of the main Russian military actors on the continent.

This agreement was made to separate Russian Ministry of Defense and Wagner, so to make them focus on different directions and tasks in the interests of the Russian Federation and make sure they don't overlap each other, in order to prevent another conflict and "mutiny".

Take it with a grain of salt as again this is from the anti-Russian propaganda outlet of VChk-OGPU. However, I post it because it does follow logic, to an extent.

The thesis appears to be that the—presumably Shoigu driven—plan to finally disarm and weaken Wagner was to make a deal for Wagner to put all their resources, focus, and efforts on Africa, while simultaneously quietly telling African leaders to start unwinding Wagner contracts, presumably replacing them with the Russian MOD's other new PMCs.

Like I said, the fact that the Russian military delegation just arrived in Libya literally a day or two before Prigozhin's death seems to support this direction of thought.

Not to mention that it was the first official Russian military delegation to the north African state, led by Russia's deputy minister of defense, no less. They even openly stated the purpose revolved around cooperation against international terrorism, which was exactly Wagner's raison d'etre in Libya—so clearly the theory has merit.

The vast concatenation of events seems to imply an orchestrated operation to decapitate Wagner and "cut them down to size".

By the way, interestingly, the U.S. as always seemed to have a bead on these events. In my last report I had forgotten to mention the fact that U.S. state department curiously issued an immediate notice for U.S. citizens to depart Belarus. Note the timestamp: