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Is Russia winning the war? Ukraine will lose without drastic Western mobilisation

Russia is nibbling away at small localised targets. Vincenzo Circosta/SOPA Images/LightRocket/ Getty Images

Russia is nibbling away at small localised targets. Vincenzo Circosta/SOPA Images/LightRocket/ Getty Images


July 8, 2022   8 mins

A couple of weeks ago, I was smoking a cigarette outside my hotel in Kharkiv when a Ukrainian man, hearing me speak English, came over to show me a photo on his phone. It was of his 21-year-old son who he had just buried that day, killed fighting as part of a volunteer battalion outside Izyum. “He was my only son,” the man told me, “I still can’t believe my line has died out. I keep calling his phone and then remembering. Tomorrow I will join his unit and take his place.”

Though just a sad anecdote, this brief exchange highlights two opposing truths about the war in Ukraine. Firstly, that the Ukrainians possess an indomitable will to win, to beat the Russian invaders and reclaim control of their country in its entirety, whatever the sacrifices involved. But the other hard truth is that the human cost to Ukraine of the nation’s resistance to foreign occupation is very steep indeed. Almost everyone you speak to asserts that the official death announcements, currently standing at 200 soldiers killed daily, are understated. “A whole generation of boys is being wiped out,” the man told me. Reporting from the ground now emphasises the losses Ukraine is suffering, as outgunned troops struggle to hold their positions under constant shelling.

A new RUSI report, based on original research on the frontlines of eastern Ukraine and excellent access to senior Ukrainian commanders, outlines the challenge in sobering detail. The Russian army, stung by its operational failures in the war’s opening weeks, has adapted its way of war, abandoning its early attempts at grand encirclements using fast-moving armoured columns. It now relies on artillery to grind down defensive positions along with the Ukrainian army’s ability to resist, and then masses infantry and armour in localised spearheads to seize the ruins with overwhelming force, currently outnumbering the Ukrainian defenders seven to one. This allows “Russian forces to make greater progress in urban fighting, with casualty rates among Russian and Ukrainian units currently approaching parity, despite the Russians usually being on the offensive”. As one Ukrainian commander on the frontline told me, “all we can do here is slow down the Russian advance”.

Instead of sweeping pincer movements, enclosing Ukrainian positions in their armoured jaws, the Russians have adopted a “bite and hold” strategy, nibbling away at small, localised targets with the seeming confidence that time is on Moscow’s side. As the RUSI paper observes, “although Ukrainian troops are much better motivated, Russian numerical superiority and the ability to kill Ukrainian forces with artillery as they manoeuvre mean that Ukrainian units continue to cede ground and to pay disproportionately on the offensive”.

At the heart of Russia’s local successes in the Donbas lie Moscow’s vast advantages in artillery firepower, making up for the lacklustre quality of its infantry, which won such mockery — and perhaps stoked a dangerous over-confidence — from Western observers earlier in the war. Man for man, the Ukrainians remain better soldiers, but they’re now being killed in unsustainable numbers without ever seeing the enemy.

Striking an urgent note of warning, the report cautions that “several Russian advantages and Ukrainian weaknesses are leading to an attritional conflict that risks a protracted war, eventually favouring Russia”. Firstly, Russia’s artillery firepower is effective not only at reducing Ukrainian strongpoints but also in preventing Ukrainian forces from massing for counterattacks. Russia “fires approximately 20,000 152-mm artillery shells per day compared with Ukraine’s 6,000”, drawing not only from new production but from Soviet stocks, of which “by some estimates, several years’ worth still remains”. Adding to the disparity, long-range Russian missile strikes are destroying Ukraine’s defence infrastructure, eroding the country’s capacity to sustain what may become a years-long war.

Secondly, the supply of replacement materiel from Western stocks has enabled the Ukrainians to survive, but is inadequate to procure a strategic victory. Furthermore, the mash-mash of donated vehicles and weapons systems from Nato’s diverse stocks has left the Ukrainians with a complex and unwieldy supply and maintenance train.

Thirdly, Ukraine’s vast mobilisation of fighting men is providing the necessary mass to fight a high-intensity war at such scale, but at the cost of experience, so that “a shortage of skilled infantry and armoured operators is limiting Ukraine’s offensive combat power”, while “limited staff capacity is limiting Ukraine’s ability to plan and execute combined operations at scale”. As the report’s authors warn, “Ukrainian victory is possible, but only with international support.”

It all makes for sobering reading: a necessary dose of clarity in an information space muddied by the dopamine-fuelled boosterism of each side’s social media supporters, all proclaiming their own faction’s tactical victories to be decisive, and their own defeats cunning strategic masterstrokes. But as Churchill cautioned after Dunkirk: “Wars are not won on evacuations” — and nor are they won by retweets. Indeed, perhaps the over-confident emphasis on Ukraine’s victories earlier in the war, by feeding complacency in the West and lessening the sense of urgency and threat the country still faced, helped lay the groundwork for the difficult position Ukraine now finds itself in. The hard truth is that to achieve a strategic victory, Ukraine will need to recapture and hold its lost territory, and this goal now seems to be stretching beyond the country’s capabilities.

Yet this does not mean, as Russia’s increasingly self-satisfied online supporters now boast, that Putin has won the war. The Russians too have been suffering heavy losses, and are throwing conscript levies from the separatist republics into the Donbas meatgrinder. CNA’s Michael Kofman has asserted that the “long-term trends still favour Ukraine”, though he hedges that this prediction is “conditional on sustained Western military assistance, and is not necessarily predictive of outcomes”.

In truth, the war’s final outcome is unknown. Yet the fundamental dynamics that persuaded many commentators, including me, to predict an easy Russian victory before the war began have not yet altered enough for confidence in Ukraine’s eventual victory to be absolute. Despite its heavily-publicised, staggering losses, Russia retains the comparative advantage in materiel with which it began the war. Just as dangerous for Ukraine, the country’s support from Western nations remains as piecemeal and wavering as it was from the start.

Having abandoned illusions of a swift victory, Russia seems to have settled on a strategy of grinding Ukraine down over the long haul, banking on the weariness of the country’s Western allies to make them slowly taper down their support. As so often, Europe’s weakest link is Germany, utterly dependent on Russian energy thanks to Merkel’s willful naivety. With the German economy seemingly entering a death spiral, German politicians warning of energy rationing, and ordinary Germans causing a shortage of woodburning stoves and firewood as they stockpile for the hard winter ahead, Berlin’s already paper-thin resolve to sacrifice its own comfort for Ukraine’s security represents a major hazard for Kyiv. A united Western determination to face down Russia’s aggression is unlikely to survive the winter: to win the war decisively, the Ukrainians will need to claw back ground this summer, or face a grinding war of attrition in which the odds will become increasingly stacked against them.

Certainly, some of the Western supplies trickling into Ukraine have enabled the defenders to hold their ground and make the Russians pay as heavily as possible for the ground they take. In the south, around Kherson, the Ukrainians have been able to launch a counteroffensive, making slow but meaningful gains, an operation on which optimistic narratives of Ukrainian victory are now centring their hopes. The long-range artillery systems for which the Ukrainian government spent early summer pleading have begun to arrive, and are enabling Ukrainian forces to strike Russian munitions stockpiles far behind the front lines, somewhat denting Moscow’s advantage in artillery. Similarly, artillery platforms like the French CAESAR system have lessened the threat of an amphibious assault on Odessa, guaranteeing the survival of at least some of Ukraine’s hold on its Black Sea coastline for the foreseeable future, and forcing Russia’s retreat from the strategically — and symbolically — significant outpost on Snake Island.

But as the RUSI report’s authors caution, “the scale and longevity of support that Ukraine requires is significant and will stretch many Western allies. These requirements cannot be met through the donation of existing stocks but will instead require the production of new munitions.” This is precisely what our new Chief of General Staff was urging when he warned last week that, due to “ammunition expenditure rates that would exhaust the combined stockpiles of several Nato countries in a matter of days”, Britain and other European nations must begin an urgent programme of wartime-scale munitions production, not just for Ukraine’s sake, but also for our own. As he warned: “We can’t be lighting the factory furnaces across the nation on the eve of war; this effort must start now if we want to prevent [a wider European] war from happening.”

But as always with Johnson, fine words were not matched by the necessary deeds. There is no point involving Britain in a proxy conflict with Russia unless we are prepared to win it. But like other Western nations, Britain is providing Ukraine with enough materiel to fight, but not enough to win. Johnson has staked the remnants of his political reputation on Ukraine yet is unwilling to do what is necessary to either stave off a Russian victory, or to rebuild our own armed forces to meet the grave demands of the moment. Who will replace Johnson, and what their Ukraine policy will be are absolute mysteries. All the high-flown symbolic diplomacy and all the publicity stunts in Kyiv are not enough to stave off the sense that we are sleepwalking into disaster.

Without a massive European rearmament programme, only the United States possesses anything approaching the spare armaments and munitions in sufficient quantities to build a Ukrainian force capable of regaining the initiative on the battlefield. Yet even here the prognosis is grim: the Biden administration, which perhaps foolishly has openly linked rising petrol prices to its support for Ukraine, is plumbing historic lows as it stumbles towards what will likely be catastrophic midterm elections. The ascendant wing of the Republican party is more or less openly supportive of Putin, projecting its distaste for its domestic enemies onto Ukraine, and prominent foreign policy realists in the American defence establishment urge a winnowing of American support for Europe to focus on the greater strategic threat posed by China in the Pacific.

Back in Kharkiv, a month and a half ago, I sat in the back of an SUV with two Territorial Defence volunteers, both middle-aged businessmen from Kyiv, as we waited for an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team to detonate the unexploded Russian ordnance ahead of us and clear the road to their positions. Russian forces, back then, had just been pushed back from the positions on the city ring road from which they pummeled the battered Saltivka district with artillery fire, and Ukrainian forces were cautiously optimistic while worrying about the winter ahead. “Will it be a problem, petrol prices in America?” Avden, the platoon commander asked me suddenly. “I hear all over America they are paying $5 for petrol. Putin knows this. That’s why we need to win the war quickly, before summer is over.”

But we are halfway through the summer now, and the war is nowhere near over. On my return to Kharkiv, a couple of weeks ago, the bombardments were back every night, as the Russians deployed longer-range artillery to fire randomly on the city. Even if Ukraine conducts a fighting withdrawal from the Donbas over the course of the summer, it is not clear that Russia will pause its slow but accelerating advance, or that border cities such as Kharkiv will not once again come under direct assault. The Ukrainian state responded to the invasion with greater competence and cohesion than anyone expected, and the Ukrainian people have displayed a determination to win against all odds that will go down in history.

But as the RUSI report makes clear, a strategic victory in this war ultimately depends on the will and determination of Western leaders. Fuelled by victories in the Donbas, a Russian narrative will develop that Moscow’s final victory is certain, and support for Ukraine is a doomed and pointless effort. This is not the case. A Russian victory in Ukraine is not inevitable, but preventing this outcome will require a pan-Western effort not far short of full wartime mobilisation, an effort which is so far not taking place. The relentless optimism of Ukraine’s online supporters, though understandable, does not accurately reflect the strategic picture, and may instead be hindering a popular understanding of the grave challenges that lie ahead. Ukrainians are doing everything in their power to win this war, and suffering terribly in the process: but unless their sacrifice and solidarity is matched in Western capitals, it may still not be enough.


Aris Roussinos is an UnHerd columnist and a former war reporter.

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Paul O
Paul O
1 year ago

Maybe people are finally waking up to the fact that a diplomatic solution should have always been on the table. Instead the rampant propaganda in the west has created a gung-ho warmongering attitude that doesn’t seem to care how many lives are cut short.

The writer talks about Ukrainians wanting to keep the country whole, and indeed many of course will (clearly not all) , but the same could have been said of some in Yugoslavia.

It is odd that we are now living in a world where the west shuns diplomacy at every turn, has no qualms about invading other countries they decide they don’t agree with (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc), but then gets all self-righteous when someone else does the same.

Where are the diplomats and the peace seekers.

Johnson, Truss, Biden et al (and much of the British public) may want to fight to the last Ukrainian, but that doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.

Jonathan Keats
Jonathan Keats
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

We need to be careful not to make this a WWWIII stand – and be sucked in by default
We like Ukraine need to consolidate rebuild and rethink..Kissinger was always right re diplomacy.
We should support Ukraine but Boris was in his “Billy Liar” Churchill dreamscape with his bellicose utterings

Amos Sullivan
Amos Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

The idiots advising Biden may very well push Putin into a position where he has to utilize tactical nukes. Let us hope he does, Europe needs a wake up call as to why they should have embraced Trump.

First Name
First Name
1 year ago
Reply to  Amos Sullivan

Let’s hope Putin embraces tactical nukes? Who do you think would come out the winner if that were to happen? Answer: probably nobody. Also, Putin didn’t “have” to invade Ukraine in the first place, so it’s silly to speak of Russia as some kind of victim in all this. And we should have embraced Trump? Why?Because he would probably have cheered Putin on and maybe even offered assistance? Next thing you know people like you will be cheering on North Korea to invade the South again.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

The only question I have about the western strategy is whether it is pure incompetence or orchestrated in some way. The FBI and Mi5 warned us about China this week, we’ve managed to reverse the divide and conquer strategy and push Russia into their arms, all the while our own economies are in dire straights.

Amos Sullivan
Amos Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

The Military Industrial Congressional Complex will push more war to give themselves more opportunities to raid the American taxpayer coffers.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

All sounds so reasonable till you scratch the surface.
It is Russia which doesn’t not care how many die.
If Ukraine wants to fight why people like you are against helping the country?
Your appeasement of Russia is no different to appeasement of Hitler with bits of Czechoslovakia in 1938.
You and other Russian stooges on various forums keep repeating the claims about Russia limited war goals.
Hitler said the same and then what happened? ww2
If Russia war aims are so limited and their case so noble why Finland and Sweden joined NATO?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Spot on Andrew, but you won’t be too popular for saying that.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Entirely correct, Andrew, Russian apologists who claim to be ‘realists’ are no more realistic than Chamberlain was. Moreover, the technical means by which Ukraine can and must defeat Russia in Ukraine is also also quite well understood. Russia has an economy comparable to Italy. The Russian army is a 20th century army with 19th century logistic fighting a 21st century enemy.

P Branagan
P Branagan
1 year ago

Comparing the current situation in Ukraine to appeasement in the 1930s is simply infantile thinking. If Hitler had nukes he would have used them from Day1 and we’d all be speaking German.

In case you don’t know Monsieur de Havilland Russia has over 5,500 nuclear weapons, ~1,250 of which are primed ready to launch.

I, for one, have a very high level of confidence that in the event of the Russians beginning to lose the war they will use those weapons and will escalate all the way to nuclear annihilation.

But hey! there are so many dumb people in the world maybe that would be no bad thing. And it’ll even give them beetles a chance of running things!

Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
1 year ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Exactly
these muppets have no idea about Realpolitik
they demonstrate their utter ignorance by making comparisons with 1938.

They are a huge problem for Britain. Our education system needs massive change to enlighten them.

Amos Sullivan
Amos Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  P Branagan

I got kicked off from Disqus for saying Putin was no Hitler and that if anyone channeled Hitler it was Biden and the fools who are globalists.

Sascha Lombard
Sascha Lombard
1 year ago

Either you are dumb or you don’t have Idee what modern weapons the Russians are using ,iskander, kalibr, hypersonic missile t57 are for you 20th Center weapons

Paul O
Paul O
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

“It is Russia which doesn’t not care how many die”

Please tell me what is so different about what we did in Iraq and what Russia is doing in Ukraine, other than we killed LOTS more civilians.

Is it okay when we invade other countries to impose regime change, but nobody else is allowed to do it?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

I think this is one of the worst cases of whataboutery I’ve seen. The topic is Ukraine, today, now. Delving into history and ethics lessons isn’t realism, it’s deflection.

Paul O
Paul O
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Try telling that the MILLIONS of Iraqis, Afghans, Lybians, and Syrians who lost family, that their loss is just ‘whataboutery’.

It might be whataboutery or deflection to you Judy, but their loss and hatred of what the west did is as real now as ever.

Our invasions of their countries may mean nothing to you, but to them their grief is every bit as real as the grief felt by Ukrainians today.

It shouldn’t matter where in the world these tragedies have happened or who invaded who and why, the door should always be wide open for a non-violent diplomatic solution.

Lisa I
Lisa I
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

Yep, one thing that’s stood out to me is how so many of us feel more empathy for fellow Europeans over middle easterners. I know we are geographically and culturally closer and all that. It still is a bit disconcerting though.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 year ago
Reply to  Lisa I

“disconcerting”? More ‘reassuring’, even comfortably ‘predictable’, I would have thought.

P Branagan
P Branagan
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Unfortunately, BECAUSE RUSSIA SEES THIS WAR AS EXISTENTIAL there are only 2 possible outcomes: 1) Russia achieves all its objectives or 2) All out thermonuclear war and the effective end of humankind.
Discussion of any other possible outcomes is just waffle.

But hey! beetles WILL survive so not all will be lost.
BTW there’s emerging evidence that beetles have potentially more intelligence than the bone headed dimwit politicians from the so-called West, who through their ill thought out sanctions have just set up a gigantic economic circular firing squad.
READY, AIM F…

Tom SteChatte
Tom SteChatte
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

You know nothing about WWII except that your high school history teacher told you Hitler was “appeased.” Hitler would never have risen to power in the 1930s if it hadn’t been for the warmongering corruption of the UK, US, and France, who perverted a tiny border dispute with Germany in 1914 into a massive bloodbath, all a giant sacrifice to usher in what is now the Satanic New World Order. Then those same Jew-hating Satanists propped Hitler up for 5 years–fully aware of his atrocities–until he got out of control and attacked Satanic France. Then after sacrificing millions more people to Satan in WWII, those same Satanist oligarchs (aka known as US, UK, and French Bankers) replaced Nazi Germany with the even more genocidal USSR. But the USSR is gone now. The only formal vestiges of that era left ironically are the Neo-Nazis running around murdering Russians in eastern Ukraine, an area that was, in fact, Russia, until it was arbitrarily designated as “Ukraine” by the SOVIETS! But all you care about is some 80-year-old mantra taught us by warmongers to gin up hatred for one of their own who went only slightly off script, whom they previously created, promoted, funded, and covered up for in the New York Times! You are a minion. Your masters gleefully count on your blood for their next mass sacrifice.

Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Western ignorance is built on false comparisons with the 1930s. You see it everywhere. Such a crass society.

Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

As long as the United States is involved Ukraine will have the means to fight. The American goal is not so much to save Ukraine as it is to put an end to the world’s perception that Russia is the big bad bear of geopolitics. It takes time to gear up to fight a war with limited supplies of weapons and appropriate training of personnel to operate them. But as each month goes by the ability of Ukraine to fight is getting and will get stronger. Let us remember, in World War II it took the allies a full year to produce the armaments and train sufficient personnel to successfully fight the Nazi hyena. By late fall, in 2022 the same will be said of the Ukraine and its allies. Watch out Moscow. Your timely end is coming.

Dominique Bastien
Dominique Bastien
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

There is a huge difference in the situations. In 1938, Hitler presented an imminent and massive threat to England. Hence, the betrayal of Czechoslovakia was a mistake. In 2022, Russia presents no such threat to the West. In fact, we have daily confirmation that they are no threat at all.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

There’s no money in diplomacy.

Paul O
Paul O
1 year ago

You’re very right Allison.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

Putin & Co ae simple psychotics.
They know that Russia will never be a significant economic power again. So their only plausible national objective is to eradicate any Ukrainian who doesn’t totally change their identity to Russian, and comply with every decree the Kremlin puts out.
They will continue with that goal even after a “peace deal.” They can still get very much support for it among a Russian populace now about as well-informed as in Stalin’s time.
The “negotiation lobby” actually gives good reasons why the Warsaw Ghetto should have negotiated with its besiegers in 1943.

Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

And, most importantly… where the hell is Putin, the guy who started this war?

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

In our information age in is both wise and possible to be sceptical about the origins of wars, especially as this one actually started in 2014 with what the head of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor called “the most blatant coup in history.”
An extract from a compelling list of underreported facts from a substacker…see article below for live links to sources.
“Jacques Baud, a former NATO intelligence analyst wrote about the OSCE reports, “On 17 February, President Joe Biden announced that Russia would attack Ukraine in the next few days. How did he know this? It is a mystery. But since the 16th, the artillery shelling of the population of Donbas had increased dramatically, as the daily reports of the OSCE observers show.”
While the western media spent the last year reporting on Russia’s troop buildup at the Ukrainian border, they failed to inform the public about Ukraine amassing “half of it’s army or 125,000 troops” along the Donbas conflict zone during this same time period.
Ukraine began to reposition its forces along the Donbas as early as March 24, 2021, when Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree for the recapture of the Crimea, and began to deploy his forces to the south of the country.
It is unlikely Zelensky would make such an aggressive decree without first receiving the approval of the United States and NATO.
In April 2021, the Ukrainian government publicly announced that they would seek nuclear weapons if they were not issued membership in NATO.
This further signified that Ukraine intended to cross Vladimir Putin’s line in the sand by either joining NATO or placing nuclear weapons on Russia’s doorstep.”
https://kanekoa.substack.com/p/osce-reports-reveal-ukraine-started

Amos Sullivan
Amos Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

The idiot Biden was informed in June 2021 Russia planned to invade, he did nothing for 9 mos until Putin invaded and then idiot Joey tried to spin he was a diplomat.
UKRINE DIES as BIDEN LIES!

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

You are so right. This is needless slaughter. See Alfred de Zayas’s web site: Human rights Corner.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

The Russians made major screw ups at the start of the war and they paid for it. Overconfidence, poor logistics, and an underestimation of American supplied small arms hurt them. It was not enough to knock them out of the fight. There were three problems so many obnoxious cheerleaders and pundits who were predicting an easy Russian defeat made. The Russians can always switch tactics, they have a lot of reserve resources, and the Ukrainians have little reserve resources. Seriously, why were people so steadfast in their belief that both sides were going to just keep using the same tactics and overall strategy for an entire war, even when you would have to be insane to do so? Incidents like trying to stage troops at an airbase that keeps getting annihilated notwithstanding. The way the Russians are fighting the war now is boring, cold blooded, measured, and brutally effective. It now seems to be a war of attrition and logistics. Guerilla warfare might turn out to be a Russian nightmare at some point in the future, but with Ukrainian forces desperately trying to hold the line or push them back, that is not feasible at the moment.
Edit: I would also like to thank Roussinos for his excellent, on the ground reporting during this war.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
rk syrus
rk syrus
1 year ago

Besides Prof Mearsheimer is anyone else considering realistic ways from this point onwards to avoid additional mounds of corpses and the further wrecking (dissolution?) of Ukraine?
Askin’ for a friend in Moscow 😀

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  rk syrus

Nothing Professor Mearsheimer says is remotely realistic. He goes on repeating the same tired script for year after year. Events have taught him nothing.
The responsibility for the deaths and destruction lies in one place and one place only – Moscow.

Jonathan Keats
Jonathan Keats
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Its un-empathetic one eyed views like that, that cause wars.
I agree Russia should never have pulled the trigger but the US knew it was goading an irrational bully, both with Maidan and then the Sept 21 unilateral with Ukraine re getting them into NATO, and must take some responsibility along with Ukraine for its unusual language laws and nazi icon support

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

Indeed, aren’t we responsible for Putin’s psychosis, rather than him?
If we had only let him take Ukraine in 2014…

Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

NATO (including the USA) made an offer to Ukraine to join in 2014. Ukraine declined. However, as a Ukrainian identity has grown, and as Russian belligerence has become more pronounced, it chooses now to become an EU and NATO partner. This is independent Ukraine’s choice, not America’s. Nor should Russia have any say.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Healy
Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Exactly.
In one of his videos he presents diagram showing support for either European or Russian option within Ukrainian society.
Out of about 50 Districts of the country only two show preference for Russian option and even then it was not majority of the population.
All regions of Ukraine voted for independence in 1991 referendum.
Donbass and Luhansk at over 80% and even in Crimea it was 54%.
So both prof Mearsheimer and people who rely on him are peddling lies.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I agree that the separstists in Ukraine do not want to jo8n Russia. They did not support an illegitimate and US backed coup

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

By that logic, every govt in history is illegitimate.
Every nation has had regime changes as in Ukraine. If any govt elected afterward is then deemed illegitimate, then the entire UN is made up of illegitimate govts.
QED

michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

That is the make up of a fair proportion of the UN, though not all of it.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
1 year ago
Reply to  rk syrus

Perhaps Jeffrey Sachs? I can’t think of any other intellectual or academic with any weight that has a rational view on the whole situation.

Tom SteChatte
Tom SteChatte
1 year ago

These journalistic assessments always make me laugh. “Russia was forced to change tactics and use artillery…” Um, Russia invented the battlefield doctrine of saturation artillery. It defeated Hitler. It instilled fear in NATO for 40 years. Russia doesn’t begrudgingly relegate itself to artillery; it literally loves to bomb its enemies into oblivion. Beyond that, Russia never intended a paltry SMO force of 300,000 to conquer the entire country, or even occupy Kiev. If it did intend that, then yes, Russia is dumber than a box of rocks. From the beginning, troop movements have been orchestrated to liberate the 100% ethnically Russian eastern fifth of Ukraine and not obliterate infrastructure; and that is occurring relatively successfully. It isn’t war. War obliterates everything. No, it’s as Putin announced, an SMO. Further confirmation of this is the extremely limited use of manned combat aircraft. These are expensive deep strike assets, and therefore not needed if you have your targets within range of cheap, 500 KIA-per-day artillery. If Russia were interested in “conquering” Ukraine, then we would hear about hundreds of sorties per day, flying in every direction for hundreds of miles. Then again, if Burisma Joe keeps sending guided missiles to the Ukie-nazis, then we may see a Russian escalation into manned bombing runs, even into border states. But as of now, with 6 months of hindsight, would I have prosecuted this SMO like Putin has? Probably not. I would have made Kiev go dark on Day 1, destroyed all of Ukraine’s power grid, and THEN gone to work dismantling the regional Nazi oppression in Eastern Ukraine. I also would have invaded Odessa in the first week, too. But I’m a student of the William Tecumseh Sherman School of War is Hell. Russia, on the other hand, looks incapable of modern combined arms warfighting. Maybe it is. Or maybe it’s just trying to prove that this SMO really isn’t 1939 Poland. That would be a naive and foolish hope. Because if this silly Ukie-fawning article is any bellwether, the NWO Media Machine is 100% running with the ironic narrative that Putin is the reanimation of Hitler!

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom SteChatte
John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom SteChatte

A thoughtful comment which deserves calm consideration.

David Bruce
David Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom SteChatte

Some good points. The media just seem to gobble up this notion unquestioned that Putin wants to take the whole of Ukraine, even the whole of Europe! That would be as likely as it would be possible: it wouldn’t be. And Putin knows that – he remembers Afghanistan and how that invasion and occupation basically brought down the USSR.

Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
1 year ago

Lesson 1 for liberal do-gooders: sovereignty is meaningless unless you have your own military might to defend your borders. Without that, you’re not a sovereign state, no matter how many bits of internationally signed paper you have.

Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
1 year ago

Give it up pal. The only thing we are going to learn from the Ukraine war is the level of stupidity of western leaders: their lack of Realpolitik, their incompetence and total lack of guile.

In Britain specifically we need to exorcise the cult of Churchill and recognize that in both policy and military strategy, he was abysmal. The author demonstrates this continued ignorance.

British people have this weird thing about putting other nations above their own citizens too. I guess this is buried in our Puritan roots – made worse today by the collapse of the church. Everyone – especially our middle class are so desperate to demonstrate their morality via virtue signaling, instead of having their good opinions of themselves confirmed in church.

No more yellow and blue flags, no more green cult, no more spoon banging for the NHS, let’s stop looking for the latest fashionable cause to jump on to please

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Gribbin
Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Gribbin

Spoken like a true Brit..

Icelandic Penguins
Icelandic Penguins
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Healy

Jeez great argument

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago

I would warm-heartedly suggest to the very worthy and capable Aris Russinos a summer holiday in Greece. I am not being ironic. It could indeed offer him a fresh look on this war. Even more so if he took the opportunity to grasp the views of the massive majority of Greeks who stand against the western heavy involvement in this war. Why on earth should “a pan-Western effort” take place..? The Hitler paradigm is totally unjustified. Russia wants to be a great power. Probably this is not the healthiest dream and goal for a country. On the other hand, it is more probable that the existence of a few competing great powers leads to a better balance if compared to the one and only western or other kind empire. Regrettably, what we get at the moment is the sacrifice of so many young and older people for goals so vague or even scary.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

No one should depend on shaky Joe Biden to come through on anything. His mental enfeeblement is accelerating and he had no core beliefs when he had a mind.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Amen!

David Bruce
David Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

I think the Democrats have always had an unpragmatic policy towards Russia and partiality to the former Eastern Bloc. I would imagine there are close relations at personal levels. It started with Albright and NATO expansion. As with the Israel-Palestine conflict, especially under Bush I/Baker, we saw much more realpolitik, but I also think more fairness.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

The problem is that the US and its allies have to be careful. Russia is not fully mobilized for war. They’re trying to fight this war with Ukraine the same way the US fought Afghanistan and Iraq, on the cheap with minimal levels of civilian disruption. Our strategists know this, and they don’t really want to push Putin hard enough to change the status quo. Our strategists want to support Ukraine enough to appear to be on the side of democracy, but they don’t want to risk a war with a possibly mentally unstable dictator who has more nuclear weapons than anyone. There’s also the reality that the US won’t commit militarily to anyone so long as the current stare-down over Taiwan continues. Biden has admitted multiple times now what most strategic minds already suspected, that the US would go to war with China over Taiwan. As much as he has tried to backtrack, the strategic realities suggest that he was speaking truthfully. If we push Putin into all-out war, there’s no way to be sure China wouldn’t take his side, and with Russia’s resources married to China’s manufacturing might, they make a formidable opponent. As much as we all want Ukraine to win, there’s a non-zero probability we could start WWIII if we push Putin too hard. There’s no knowing who would win such a war and how many millions might die. It’s that fear, more than anything else, that prevents more robust support for Ukraine, and it’s a justified fear. It’s impossible to know what’s going on in Putin’s head, or Xi’s.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Keith Mcmaugh
Keith Mcmaugh
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

We absolutely know Putin and Xi’s thinking, it’s the same as Biden and Zelensky. None of them will accept defeat.
My best guess is when Germany, maybe France, suffers too much economic pain, unemployment and high costs of everything and discomforts from lack of electricity, then diplomacy will ensue.
This winter’s cold will determine the course of the war, when Europe will suffer greatly and then have to fight mass refugees from Africa and Middle East. Poland takes in huge amounts of Ukraine refugees but not Brown/Black refugees.
Russia, if sharp, might expedite the migration.
The united Nato membership may not be solid when costs are too much to bear. UKRAINE is not vital to Nato.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

But everyone knows what’s going on in Biden’s head, eh?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Neven Curlin

I’m not sure whether you’re being serious or setting up an obvious joke here, but I’ll bite. He’s said three times we would defend Taiwan. My guess is this didn’t come from his own head as I doubt much of anything does or ever has. He’s an establishment politician through and through and always has been, and he bends whichever way the wind is currently blowing. I think there’s not much he says or thinks that doesn’t come from one or another of his aides, advisors, and other handlers. One of them probably told him in private what we would do in the event of an attack on Taiwan and how we would do it, and then when a reporter asked a question, he opened his mouth and repeated what he’d been told before his better judgement kicked in. He’s always been gaffe prone when speaking off the cuff, and now he’s almost 80, so yeah, I think he accidentally said the exact truth as he’s heard it from some top brass at the Pentagon. If you have a different interpretation of these facts, I respect that.

Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I wouldn’t worry about China. For a starter, the Chinese have never trusted the Russians. When someone threatens to nuke your country over a border dispute you lose faith in his friendship very fast. Likewise, Russia no longer is able to supply China with oil from its Siberian pumping stations. Western techs who maintained their far eastern facilities’ operational capacity have gone home. It wouldn’t be totally surprising to see the Chinese join with NATO to open an eastern front should the trench style war in the Ukraine continue on, for say, a year or more. Regaining control of Manchuria would give the Chinese direct access to the Arctic so they could dig wells and pump their own oil. And, lastly, China is a country heavily dependent upon imports and exports with America being their biggest customer. The Chinese, like every other country, enjoys the ongoing protection that the American Navy provides to businesses worldwide, on the high seas. Should America withdraw that support, China’s economy would collapse within a matter of months. So what would China have to gain by allying with Russia against the West? At most, a few cases of cheap Russian vodka and a tin of sturgeon eggs. Hello.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Healy
D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago

Of course the Russians are winning, they still have an Air Force and have the ability to strike any target in the Ukraine, the Neo cons are going to lose another war, God bless Vladimir Putin
Once Odessa falls the Ukraine could collapse into civil war, I’d expect Poland and other counties to move in a reclaim lost territory. a total disaster, they should have took the deal they were offered

Last edited 1 year ago by D Walsh
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Funny thing.
The Russian air force now can only strike on the front lines, or from deep in Belarus or Russia. It has not, and now can never attain air superiority.
There are just too many anti-air and anti-missiles systems in Ukraine right now.
Now Russia can never win. The only question is how bad it loses.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

They don’t need air superiority over 100% of the Ukraine, they are still flying something like 200 sorties a day over the Donbas, that starts to add up, the SU 25 and Hind-d are perfect for this war and Russia has plenty of them
The US military couldn’t win a war in these conditions with no Air Force, so they can’t expect the Ukraine to pull it off. its delusional

Saying Russia can never win is foolish talk, they are winning now and can only continue to win, if the war lasts on into Winter, the economic situation in Europe and the Ukraine will continue to get worse. last winter in the Ukraine most people struggled to pay their heating bills, this year with no economy we can expect millions more to leave as refugees

interested party
interested party
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Well said but anyone who can read between the lines knows, that Ukraine not only have lost but they will cease to exist solely due to the behaviour of Zelenski, president of Ukraine; he has the blood of everyone on his hands he should have taken the deal or at least negotiated. He allowed nazis and fundamentalists in his country and now his country will expire and be liquidated. He also has a 40-million-dollar house in Miami and claims to be this poor beggar, republicans are not wrong to call Ukrainians crooks and criminals that’s Ukraine and the disdain for Ukrainians will start in Europe in the winter as they become public enemy number 1.

Last edited 1 year ago by interested party
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Deluded. You’re not fooling anyone.
Only one country is reponsible for this war. And it’s not Ukraine.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
1 year ago

I agree with interested party. (Western) Ukraine has itself to blame entirely by puffing its chest up a bit too much vis-Ă -vis neighbouring countries (not just Russia), thinking that the US and EU would have their backs. In the meantime, they let radical nationalism spread and become the core of propaganda efforts to hypnotize the population, which now serves as cannon fodder in the other half of Ukraine that doesn’t want anything to do with Kiev any longer.

In coming years I expect terrorist attacks by disillusioned radical nationalist Ukrainians, just like was seen with the Mujahedeen and Chechens.

A mess that could have been prevented if the EU had had enough backbone to tell the US neocons to b****r off, and to threaten Ukraine with sanctions if they didn’t tone the rhetoric down and solved the Donbass situation in a peaceful manner.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Neven Curlin

IOW, you don’t believe in democracy.
Zelensky was the most peace-seeking leader every to hold office.
If he couldn’t make a deal. there was no deal to be made.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

It is fascinating to read someone who sees all of a nation’s actions as the result of a single leader.
That happens in Russia and China, but not in Ukraine.

Keith Mcmaugh
Keith Mcmaugh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

WHen Poroshenko was President, all was stable and peaceful but Zelensky was installed to be pro American and anti Russia, then war broke out – – – of course.
Same with Taiwan, when Lee was in charge, all was good, and peaceful but Tsai chose a dangerous course and a deadly war will result to the joy of M I complex. Their prayers for a nice naval battle will come true after useless chasing camels in a desert and then losing those wars due to boredom .
After all, 100s of $ 90 million F 35 and $13 billion war ships must not be left to rust out from lack of war. We have a War economy and culture, we love non stop war.

Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago

Interested Party….. You, sir, are smoking too much of that “wacky” weed.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
1 year ago

I don’t know how you can still think the AFU are better soldiers or better led than the Russians. They’ve been abysmal since 2014 along with the deranged mercs who’ve joined them and decided they don’t like real war. Do you even know since 2014 they’ve never even mounted a single brigade sized manoeuvre? They were beat in 2015 by a militia and only the Minsk accords, which Poroshenko and the Euros conveniently ignored,saved there skin enough to do what they do best, terrorise civilians with artillery which they continue to this day, only with longer range French artillery. I dare say they’ll continue with MLRS even when they’re pushed east over the Dnieper. Maybe then from Poland?
This conflict will go on until so called Ukraine is demilitarised and denazified, whether NATO joins in or not. And even if NATO was dumb enough to try it would make the rest of Europe indefensible.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Andrews

So it was actually Pink Pixie Regiment that drove the Russian army from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, etc?
So why doesn’t that unit get the credit it deserves?

Jonathan Keats
Jonathan Keats
1 year ago

A sobering but not unexpected analysis
There was a chance for peace in April, I read, that BJ and others had persuaded Zelensky not to move forward with it even though there was agreement on 10 key points.
I have always believe Boris was rushing bellicose like into his Churchillian role instead of focusing on detail at home

We are where we are and continued conflict will only mean more death and destruction and most of it for Ukraine
I have always admired Kissinger yet an almost “woke’ repose cancelled him and any thoughts of diplomacy with at labelled as appeasement
Either we find a ceasefire or we step up significantly and I am afraid many in the west don’t have mandate to do that, or are not willing and perhaps more importantly haven’t got the reserves or supply chains to moving to sustain protracted war.
Would it not be better to push for a proper neutrality agreement now, with the uS/NAto and Russia all on paper?
We, the UK and Europe, need to start re-arming, investing in defence and certainly in the UK bring back National Service ( to include Police Fire NHS, Border Guard etc) and unite our “multi-cultural youth”. Our fighting army is too small and Ukraine has used many of our weapons. Peace First and a long hopefully Cold War until Putin dies
Whilst I sympathise with Ukraine they also have a bit of the zealot/fanatic in them and don’t seem to feel they have any responsibility to world peace – they are apart of a bigger cog and now isn’t the time for the west to go all in.patience, build strength , rebuild and fortify what is left of Ukraine

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

I agree with you on re arming in the West but the rest of your post is pure Russian propaganda.
Ukraine had neutrality agreement in 1994 with Budapest Memorandum.
Then Putin invaded Crimea.
West effectively ignored it, so Putin decided to carry on first with grabbing chunks of Donbass and Luhansk and now with open war.
Why Finland and Sweden gave up on neutrality and joined NATO.
Because no one with any brain will believe any agreement signed by Russia.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

Yep, fanatics – for wanting to resist an invader. By that yardstick, so were the British in 1940

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

If one day you were enjoying the peace and tranquility of your home, and the next a neighbouring country’s shells brought it down on top of you, injuring or killing your nearest and dearest, I think you would have ‘a bit of the zealot/fanatic’ about you.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Ukrainian politics does have its share of right wing nationalists, and other distasteful types, but then, who doesn’t?
The issue is, do we support a rules based world wherein one nation cannot take territory from another by force? (Russia, Israel take note) and where rules govern business behavior (China take note) and sovereign nations are recognized for their rights to self govern (again Russia and China and to a large extent the USA take note)?
The West must defend Ukrainian independence. Completely. Totally. Until Russia returns to it’s pre 2014 borders. This is not a defense fo Ukraine as much as a defense of our post WWII world order.
My only question is, can there be peace with the current Russian government or must we commit to defeating Putin and his machine. A terrible question.
I think the grind down war is the attempt to cause Putin to fall while avoiding nuclear catastrophe. Unfortunately there may be no Ukrainians left to celebrate the victory.

Zoran Sretic
Zoran Sretic
1 year ago

It appears to me that article fails to recognize that Ukraine is not a monoethnic state. This is important, because it may underestimate willingness of eastern parts of the country to remain in Ukraine that fits only one ethnicity. Of course the article is one-sided and this is to be expected if you are directly exposed to the population concerned. That said to say that “Ukrainian remain better soldiers” not only echoes the journalist exposure to local self-understanding of ethnic, cultural and racial superiority it also underestimates the fact that they are fighting Ukrainians on the other side. Thus, it is unlikely that superior Ukrainian soldiers will ever be in the position to retake the territories lost in east, and it is unwise to risk the global security for that end either, since it is unlikely that population over there would accept the Bandera superiority story about Ukrainian monolithic nation at any point in the future.

John Weingarten
John Weingarten
1 year ago

Interesting read. More directed at the comment section: Professor Mearsheimer was the one voice who advised Ukraine to not give up it’s nuclear weapons in 1994. People scoffed at this suggestion. If realists had influence over American or Ukrainian foreign policy this war would likely never have begun. That man’s son would be alive today, and Ukraine would be an independent, nuclear-armed power.
I also think the whole “Republicans are supportive of Putin” is largely untrue. Both sides of the aisle are hugely supportive of Ukraine. Rarely do you see both sides of the aisle give standing ovations like this, for example. As a moderate American I think Ukraine can continue to rely on U.S. support for the future, if for no other reason than to grind down our 2nd greatest rival Russia using Ukrainian blood. Harsh but true.
If there is a bad global economic downturn I think it will force a compromised peace from all sides in the next year or two. If Putin dies from health-related causes or assassination, I think his successor would likely draw down the war as well.

Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago

Why buy the cow if you can get your milk for free? I am sure that was the core thought among the Ukrainians who chose not to keep nukes in 1994. For more than 60 years NATO has had the nuclear capacity to blow Russia into non-existence. So why duplicate the job the west assigned to itself when, in so doing, would piss off, the big bad bear next door? Who would have thought that Russia would try to play deja vous all over again?

Lisa I
Lisa I
1 year ago

They must be kicking themselves daily for giving up nukes

Amos Sullivan
Amos Sullivan
1 year ago

Zelensky negotiated in good faith with Putin and signed on to the Minsk Accords, he then chose to follow Biden’s advice and renege on them. Russia was forced into the threat they showed Zelensky since June 2021.
Biden and the globalists of the EU chose to lead Zelensky and Ukraine into a war of attrition with Russia, this will end badly for Ukraine and Zelensky.
Ukraine is a corrupt country led by oligarchs as crooked as those in Russia.
America should stop funding this war and let Europe sort out their own problems,

Icelandic Penguins
Icelandic Penguins
1 year ago
Reply to  Amos Sullivan

Parts of Michigan don’t have running water at all, and the US is sending billions to fight some phony war in Eastern Europe that pretty much doesn’t matter

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

In the Kremlin, the “real Nazis” aren’t in Ukraine.
They are in Europe and the US.
When Putin & Co say “Nazis.”
They mean you.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Its not 1918 they can’t make all the gels go an work in munitions factories so they won’t have to go into service at Downton Abbey and for me at least the Ukraine is a far off country of which I know nothing. And don’t want to know anything. A good friend of mines partner drove to a business meeting at Ledbury,chanced to meet a fruit picker from the Ukraine called Louba and got home that same evening with the information he wanted to marry Louba but his partner could stay on as the housekeeper. After a quickie divorce from her Ukrainian husband,they got married and she made sure every penny he had got transfered in one way or another to her. So I’m not a fan of opportunistic Ukrainians.

David Bruce
David Bruce
1 year ago

Ratcheting up this war, both for moral reasons and strategic reasons does not make sense. Surely the right thing to do was to put pressure on both sides to comply with the Minsk Accords.
The eastern provinces and Crimea and the Donbass were always, and without a carefully thought out Northern Ireland type of settlement, will always be a problem. There are separatists in these areas for a reason: many people do not like being under Ukrainian, especially Ukrainian Nationalist control. In many of these areas Russians are in the majority. In the Crimea it is 70 per cent. Marioupol has historically always been pro-Russian (although i agree it might think differently now). The only way to settle that is through an internationally supervised referendum and a Minsk Accord type of settlement, this time with internationally monitored protocol compliance.
Strategically the Ukrainian War is also a strategic disaster for the West, even if Ukraine wins. The West’s bigger long term threat is surely China. Russia is now in a lopsided relationship with China, China has achieved a major goal: cheap access to energy which was always its achilles heal.
All of this is of course a fall-out from rapid NATO expansion. Basic textbook Realism and Neo-realism would tell you straight away this was going to invite tensions and conflict at some point – irrespective of which countries were involved and who was leading them. (There is too much attention on Putin, an odious figure sure, but by focussing on him one does not see the underlining structural problem.) A large number of these countries along Russia’s border have long standing grievances. A nationalist government in any one of them would love to provoke a conflict with Russia and get NATO involved. We even have a situation now where Russia has to cross a NATO country to get to its naval base in Kaliningrad. The Lithuanian incident was a very scary warning. It only takes a small event like that and we are in WWIII – this time between nuclear powers.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Bruce
Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
1 year ago

My first reaction: What Roussinos is doing with this piece, is continuing to push for the total annihilation of the Ukrainian state. And for WW3, if he’s lucky.

Last edited 1 year ago by Neven Curlin
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Wow Aris you really got it wrong in that previous article, didn’t you? And quite a few Unherd commenters with far less information, including me, told you so.

And you’ve got it wrong here too:
“But as always with Johnson, fine words were not matched by the necessary deeds. There is no point involving Britain in a proxy conflict with Russia unless we are prepared to win it.”

Johnson’s words were well matched by his deeds – providing arms to survive and hassling the west into unifying over Ukraine. That’s as much as this little country could do.

And, you’re wrong again on another point above – we don’t need to win the war. Proxy conflicts are the best means of defeating Russia: just let the Russians bleed themselves dry militarily and economically, at the expense of the Ukrainian Spartans which is tragic, but their sacrifice will benefit the west geopolitically, with China losing their best mate. The poor Ukrainians will become an interesting footnote in history.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
David Bruce
David Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

A weakened Russia plays straight into China’s hands. An isolated Russia really means that it is now in China’s pocket. A guaranteed energy supply is also a big issue for China. They can now get it zipped across their borders at a price of their choosing.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Bruce
William Jones
William Jones
1 year ago

One of the outcomes inevitably generated by the Ukrainian conflict and its Western support (which seems not to be considered) is to push a protective alliance between States that are antagonistic towards the Western conglomeration. This alliance would inevitably be composed, firstly, of Russia, China and Iran, then followed by the addition of North Korea. This will then attract other Asian States who have a wariness of American impulsive and aggressive policies. This massive military block will then constitute an enormously restrictive opponent to the erstwhile Western assumed “do as it likes” dominance.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Karen Fleming
Karen Fleming
1 year ago

To Paul O so if Russia invaded the US and wanted to take the state you live in and several more, you would be ok with “diplomacy” and letting them have a few?

John Urwin
John Urwin
1 year ago

In my opinion RUSI are the people to listen to. One piece of equipment that will really help the Ukrainians to deal with Russian artillery is MLRS or the wheeled version HIMARS. UK, Germany, France and Italy have them and my guess is that many are in store. The rockets are made in the US. So far Ukraine has only been given a handful…

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

The problem is that Putin has embraced the psychotic element in Russian nationalism. The latter argues that Ukraine –and thus Ukrainians–must be eradicated, full stop.
The ultra-nationalist Girkin always said Putin was trying to sit on two stools: Ultra-nationalism and normal state relations. Now he’s chosen the former. It’s a zero sum game: either Russia survives or Ukraine survives.
It will certainly take much western help for Ukraine to win. But the war will continue–and would have continued–regardless of what we do.
This has always been a war of survival, and Ukrainians have known that since 2014.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Indeed, I believe it is now (and might always have been) an unstated aim of Putin to reduce the population of Ukraine – whether through refugees, killing or forcible deportation to Russia (all of which are happening). The only way he can hold on to conquered regions in Ukraine without insurgent resistance is to terrorise or reduce the native Ukrainian population and resettle the area with Russians.
This is of course appalling. But par for the course in Russian history for the past 100 years or more.
We should not sit back and let this happen.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The “filtration camps” are simply an update of the Stalinist removal of whole peoples to Siberia and Central Asia in the 1930s and 40s.
Putin will exile any Ukrainian who isn’t wholly loyal, then bring in reliable Russians to repopulate whatever he occupies.
The mindset of the people in charge of the Kremlin is now the same as Stalin’s NKVD of the 1930s–as then, they think they are in a world-wide battle against “Nazis,” and behave accordingly.
And they know that you are one of the Nazis.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Sadly I suspect that is the plan.
These Russian leaders are like a man with only a hammer. They only ever have one tool and one method. They never learn. And that’s why the West always wins in the end against the authoritarian dictators.

michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

There are signs, Peter, that the West is not destined to win ‘always’.
In essence Putin threatens us that, if we do anything that might effectively save Ukraine, he will go nuclear.
Western politicians have their fingers crossed. Perhaps he will stop with the Donbas. Perhaps he’ll be satisfied with Kharkiv and Odessa. He won’t attack any other (Nato) country. Will he…?
A few weeks ago I said that the US, being the only nation to have used nuclear weapons in war, was respected as much out of fear as for its principles.
But now it is Russia that is feared because it seems far likelier to use nukes than the West.
Later on it might even become respected.

Richard Healy
Richard Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  michael harris

Russia will not use nukes. It is a bluff. Should he opt to try, Putin’s Russia will be blown to kingdom come in a matter of minutes. He knows this. What is driving Putin is the realization that the age distribution of his country’s population is working against him. Like many countries around the world, in another ten years Russia will not have the population to create an army capable of defending itself from outside invaders. It is a matter of life and death, to Putin, that he restore as much of the Soviet Union as possible, now, before his last chance disappears. So watch out Poland. Watch out Baltic countries. Watch out Bulgaria and Romania. The big bad bear is coming to get you.

Icelandic Penguins
Icelandic Penguins
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Healy

You overestimate how afraid he is of nuclear war. He doesn’t care if Russia is destroyed as long as the west is. Plus, they have way more land, the nukes can’t contaminate every mile of Siberia

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Great but with one correction.
It is 500 years of genocidal Russian Imperialism.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

If only our generation had been about in the 19th century to oppose the attempted elimination of,and removal of the actual.inhabitants of the North American continental.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Like in so many posts you are spot on.
All the delusional (or dishonest) people who still defend Russia either don’t know or pretend not to know real Russian history.
It was genocidal Imperialism for 500 years.
Regardless whether it was Tsarism, Communism or Putinism.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Exactly

Icelandic Penguins
Icelandic Penguins
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Like Britain, the US, Germany, France, or ANY European nation? I’m not defending Russia at all, but this argument is pretty invalid