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Will Ukraine repel the new Russian assault? Kyiv has devised a controversial new strategy

Kupiansk, Ukraine. (Credit: Chernichkin/Zaborona/Global Images Ukraine/ Getty)

Kupiansk, Ukraine. (Credit: Chernichkin/Zaborona/Global Images Ukraine/ Getty)


July 21, 2023   6 mins

“We saw four of these fucks going into a house, so we decided to strike it with our artillery. To our surprise there was a huge explosion. Clearly, they were using the place to store ammo. Then soldiers started pouring out of the basement. So we just started shooting them.” Vlad pulls up a video on his phone. I see a smouldering building and fleeing Russians. He swipes right and zooms in on a photo. “See: dead Russians.”

The Ukrainian 3rd Tank Brigade has been fighting in Kharkiv Oblast since last year. If things were bad in the beginning, they are even worse now. A few days ago, Ukrainian sources reported that the Russians have concentrated more than 100,000 soldiers, 900 tanks and 370 multiple rocket launch systems. According to Serhii Cherevatyi, Ukrainian Deputy Commander for Strategic Communications of the Eastern Military Grouping, Russia has also deployed airborne units and the best motorised infantry units there.

Kupyansk has always been of huge strategic importance for both Ukraine and Russia. Located 120km from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, it has been, since the late 19th century, a vital railway junction: five lines intersect there and at the adjacent town of Kupyansk Vuzlovyi. One of these lines leads into Russia, making the city a vital logistics hub for the invading forces. This is largely why the Russians went for Kupyansk immediately after last year’s full-scale invasion, viewing it as a potential regional headquarters. They were welcomed into Kupyansk with no military or political resistance: the city’s mayor reportedly spoke to a Russian commander over the phone, and then simply surrendered. When Ukrainian forces destroyed a bridge into the town to try to slow the Russian advance, the mayor helped the invading troops find an alternative route.

The Russians treated the population with typical brutality — torturing them and forcing them sign documents pledging loyalty to Russia — until Ukrainian forces liberated them on 9 September 2022. As the Russians retreated across the Oskil river they turned their artillery on Kupyansk, destroying civilian infrastructure and demolishing a hospital, as well as a care home for the elderly and mentally ill.

Cut off from supplies along the northeastern front, the Russians have been pounding Kupyansk ever since. As of March 2023, only around 20% of the city’s pre-war population remained. But, in this instance, turning the city’s population into Russians is of less importance to Moscow than seizing its infrastructure. Not only does it house valuable rail connections to towns in northern Ukraine and Russia, but also to the Donbas. This means that control over the town is key in Ukraine’s efforts to continue fuelling their advances in the south.

I arrive at a small base tucked away behind a rusted iron gate that opens into a courtyard strewn with gym equipment. Free weights, a barbell and a pull-up bar bolted to the wall set the scene. A punch bag hangs on a chain dangling from the ceiling. Testosterone is heavy in the air.

The soldiers sleep inside a squat brick building. Pinned to the wall in one of the rooms are nine football scarves — the men are from a battalion formed from football ultras in eastern Ukraine. “We have been fighting in the Kharkiv area the whole time and across the area — in Izyum and Balalka,” explains Maks, a thin man with a scraggly dark stubble. The battalion is officially intelligence, but the man here often fight hand to hand, and Maks shows me a Wagner patch he has. “I found it in the field,’ he tells me with a grin. The battalion was the first to defend the area and then to go on the offensive. We were in the first line during the liberation at the end of last year.

Now the fighting is heavier than ever. Russian attacks have ramped up around Kupyansk, and it is a sign of things to come: a Russian drive to retake the town to seize its supply lines for its defence in the Donbas. As Ukraine makes gains in the south, Russian forces may try once again to refocus efforts to gain control over vital infrastructure in the north. The Commander of the Ground Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrski was clear about this earlier in the week: “In order to stop the offensive actions of our troops in the area of Bakhmut, the enemy is actively transferring additional forces and means to this direction, the basis of which are parts of the airborne troops.”

It was in Bakhmut that Syrsky pioneered the strategy of “active defence” — using defence to whittle down enemy troops. He decided Ukrainian forces would stay in Bakhmut to grind down Russians troops, believing that, at close quarters, his men are better fighters. This has been controversial, a source told me, because the Ukrainians have lost many mid-level commanders in the fight for the city. Seen from a broader strategic view, however, the benefits are clear.

According to Adam Ure, former head of the Foreign Office’s open-source capability, “Syrsky in many ways embodies the Ukrainian approach to the war, and why Kyiv has been so successful in resisting the Russian invasion.” He is a compulsive reader, receptive to European and American military strategy and tactics, which he has implemented into his creative and innovative responses. “Perhaps most crucially”, Ure continues, “he has displayed much of Ukraine’s ‘beehive’ approach to its defence, delegating astutely and enabling subordinates to take the initiative on a local level. This is a marked contrast from the Russian army, which is still mired in outdated Soviet tactics and does not give room for individual activity.”

Kupyansk, as a result, has now become vital to the dance that is the Ukrainian counteroffensive. According to one military source, while it is likely that the Ukrainians have probably exaggerated the figure of 100,000 Russian troops, what is clear is that they are now trying to push through in Kupyansk as, thanks to Sirsky’s tactics, the Ukrainians are on the verge of encircling Bakhmut. What is also clear, I was told, is that the Russian have assembled a bigger strike force than expected. This means that sides are now engaged in a simple game: sending their reserves to the front to whittle the enemy down. There is a chance the Russians will get through, but it will come down to who has the most reserves — and here the Ukrainians have the advantage by some distance. So far, they have committed less than half of their fighting reserves to the counteroffensive (they have 25-30 Brigades of 3,500-4,000 men, and have used about eight of them so far).

Still, it is a far from ideal situation for Ukraine: the high command was not expecting such a large-scale Russian fightback, but this has come because they have made headway elsewhere. Ever since Syrsky organised and led the defence of Kyiv early last year, Ukrainian tactics have developed an unprecedented creativity. Even before the Kharkiv counteroffensive, he had succeeded in pushing back Russian forces — reducing their artillery threat to the city. This was vital. Then, a few months later, one again he did the unthinkable: he sent the Russians scuttling back across the border.

A source exclusively revealed to me just how he did it. “He pretended the troops he’d amassed there weren’t even there.” First, he hid them in forests. And then he gave them fake battalion numbers, turning a critical mass of elite Ukrainian forces into a territorial defence unit (Ukraine’s equivalent of reservists). To the Russians intercepting radio communications it appeared that the soldiers around Kharkiv were not a serious threat. They were wrong — and in early September, Ukraine’s lightning counteroffensive pushed them out of the Kharkiv region. It was another stunning victory for Ukraine — and Syrsky.

“He makes organised plans,” explains Maks, “but in my opinion the most important thing is that we have no fear”. His friend Caravan, who is wearing a blue Dnipro football shirt and army trousers, chips in: “It’s not only Syrsky,” he adds. “The counteroffensive is the product of a lot of factors; it’s a team effort of all the generals who work well together.” This is partly because they don’t have a choice. Compared to Russia, Kyiv has significantly fewer generals, so they all must perform, while Russia can change its underperforming generals regularly.

But problems remain. Kupyansk shows that the Russian can amass a force very quickly in key positions. As Maks points out, Ukraine has problems, not least when it comes to manpower. Reservists are generally conscripts, not volunteers like his battalion, and they tend to be less motivated and less skilled. “By now many volunteers are dead, or they left the country, and that impacts on the situation on the front,” he says. “This is becoming a problem.”

But if this is a problem for the Ukrainians, it is even worse for the Russians, who are throwing their soldiers — often forced to the front with little training — in “meat waves” at the Ukrainian positions. Faced with these relentless attacks, each Ukrainian victory is not just military but political. Moscow must be made to understand that the cost of continuing the war is too great, and that it is time to consider other options. The degree to which Kyiv can make Putin understand this will come down to how it performs over the coming weeks — and for that Kupyansk is now vital.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

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martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Interesting comment, particularly about the relative number of generals on each side.
Min Def Serdyukov had tried to reduce Russia’s officer corps some time back. But the pushback from so many cashiered Russian officers eventually convinced Putin to fire Serdyukov–and keep the officers. The result is the bloated Russian officer corps that up to now has performed so badly.
Just as with every one of his other mistakes in this war, Putin is thus essentially the father of an independent Ukraine, as well as a reborn NATO and an energy independent Europe.
Quite an achievement!

Ian Burns
Ian Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Energy independent? India is now the largest supplier of Gas to the EU, sourcing their merchandise from where?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Burns

Independent of RUSSIA, naturally.
But soon self-sufficient, with a much strengthened NATO to guard NATO’s flanks on the border of Russia and Belarus.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

How are you independent of Russia just because you buy their energy via a middle man

Delusional

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

At a discounted price.
Russian interest rates up from 7.5 to 8.5 %, while the ruble at an all-time low of 90/$.
The goose is cooking nicely…

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

At a discounted price.
Russian interest rates up from 7.5 to 8.5 %, while the ruble at an all-time low of 90/$.
The goose is cooking nicely…

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

How are you independent of Russia just because you buy their energy via a middle man

Delusional

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Burns

Independent of RUSSIA, naturally.
But soon self-sufficient, with a much strengthened NATO to guard NATO’s flanks on the border of Russia and Belarus.

Ian Burns
Ian Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Energy independent? India is now the largest supplier of Gas to the EU, sourcing their merchandise from where?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Interesting comment, particularly about the relative number of generals on each side.
Min Def Serdyukov had tried to reduce Russia’s officer corps some time back. But the pushback from so many cashiered Russian officers eventually convinced Putin to fire Serdyukov–and keep the officers. The result is the bloated Russian officer corps that up to now has performed so badly.
Just as with every one of his other mistakes in this war, Putin is thus essentially the father of an independent Ukraine, as well as a reborn NATO and an energy independent Europe.
Quite an achievement!

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

The crumpled up Little Moron in the bunker has struck again.
Now he’s turning Russia into an openly terrorist state–by starving the poorest people in the world.
The attacks on Odesa’s infrastructure wont affect Ukraine directly. The EU will give them loans, and they have enough food for internal consumption.
And WE won’t starve. Just pay more for certain food items.
But for the world’s poor, Putin’s attacks are a death sentence. The UN World Food Programme gets EIGHTY PER CENT of its grain from Ukraine.
Putin’s idiotic plan was to take all of Ukraine, and thus use his near monopoly on grain exports–plus his oil and gas–to hold the world hostage.
The “plan” has backfired spectacularly.
But Putin still hopes to salvage something via these latest attacks. Indeed, by now, it doesn’t really matter who is harmed.
For Putin and the “Real Russians” that support him, as long as someone–anyone–is suffering, it gives them a sense of agency in a situation that is rapidly spinning out of their control.
On 24 Feb 2022,140 million Russians strapped themselves into MH-17…

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Correction: the cretin in the Kremlin. Rolls off the tongue a bit better than moron in the bunker.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Use “Kretin” and I would agree!
Proper Russian word (emphasis on second syllable)
But he is also a moron…

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

Use “Kretin” and I would agree!
Proper Russian word (emphasis on second syllable)
But he is also a moron…

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

Correction: the cretin in the Kremlin. Rolls off the tongue a bit better than moron in the bunker.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

The crumpled up Little Moron in the bunker has struck again.
Now he’s turning Russia into an openly terrorist state–by starving the poorest people in the world.
The attacks on Odesa’s infrastructure wont affect Ukraine directly. The EU will give them loans, and they have enough food for internal consumption.
And WE won’t starve. Just pay more for certain food items.
But for the world’s poor, Putin’s attacks are a death sentence. The UN World Food Programme gets EIGHTY PER CENT of its grain from Ukraine.
Putin’s idiotic plan was to take all of Ukraine, and thus use his near monopoly on grain exports–plus his oil and gas–to hold the world hostage.
The “plan” has backfired spectacularly.
But Putin still hopes to salvage something via these latest attacks. Indeed, by now, it doesn’t really matter who is harmed.
For Putin and the “Real Russians” that support him, as long as someone–anyone–is suffering, it gives them a sense of agency in a situation that is rapidly spinning out of their control.
On 24 Feb 2022,140 million Russians strapped themselves into MH-17…

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Putin will soon create a neo-Stalinist regime, where every Russian is terrified of the state, and also willing to rat on any other Russian.
He now sees creating a climate of fear and hatred as the only way to win his war.
But the moment every Russian hates and fears his neighbour, is the moment when all state structures will collapse.
And Putin has helpfully left no possiblity of a successor.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Putin will soon create a neo-Stalinist regime, where every Russian is terrified of the state, and also willing to rat on any other Russian.
He now sees creating a climate of fear and hatred as the only way to win his war.
But the moment every Russian hates and fears his neighbour, is the moment when all state structures will collapse.
And Putin has helpfully left no possiblity of a successor.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

If Russia is winning, I’d hate to think what losing looks like. This said, it is certainty a flow slog in the old fogs of war. As Yogi Berra once said, it ain’t over til its over. He also said that predictions are always very hard, especially when they’re about the future.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

If Russia is winning, I’d hate to think what losing looks like. This said, it is certainty a flow slog in the old fogs of war. As Yogi Berra once said, it ain’t over til its over. He also said that predictions are always very hard, especially when they’re about the future.

Geoffrey Kolbe
Geoffrey Kolbe
1 year ago

Historically, Russia does not consider that a war is becoming too costly until it has lost half a million soldiers. Unfortunately, we are a long way from that yet.

Geoffrey Kolbe
Geoffrey Kolbe
1 year ago

Historically, Russia does not consider that a war is becoming too costly until it has lost half a million soldiers. Unfortunately, we are a long way from that yet.

Peter Yarral
Peter Yarral
1 year ago

Each one of the soldiers from Russia that were slaughtered by the Ukranians in this account no doubt have wives and children as well. But the gleeful account of the killings ignores this and the Ukranians are just as diabolical as the Russians are for invading. No one is winning. The winners are death, hatred and the wealthy manufacturers of armaments
.

Peter Yarral
Peter Yarral
1 year ago

Each one of the soldiers from Russia that were slaughtered by the Ukranians in this account no doubt have wives and children as well. But the gleeful account of the killings ignores this and the Ukranians are just as diabolical as the Russians are for invading. No one is winning. The winners are death, hatred and the wealthy manufacturers of armaments
.

Claire M
Claire M
1 year ago

A jingoistic pro-Ukranian propaganda piece seemingly oblivious to the bald fact that the counter-offensive was a non-event and Ukraine cannot win. This entirely avoidable proxy war has resulted in massive losses on both sides, collateral damage across the globe and an increasingly dangerous stalemate where escalation is a real possibility. Thank you USA and NATO for another disastrous debacle as the military industrial complex rakes in obscene profits. This author’s focus on little anecdotes of blown up Russians, of them ‘scuttling’ back over the border, on grinning Ukrainian soldiers flaunting war trophies and -most indecent of all – pretending the Bakhmut ‘meat grinder’ was a smart military strategy to kill Russians, is just smoke and mirrors. Ukraine is losing. Do us all a favour and write something advocating for peace.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

I suggest you pop over to the Baltic States, Claire, and see how your ideas on “peace” go down in countries that have a border with Russia.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
1 year ago

Why don’t you pop over to Poland and ask them what they think of Germany? Why are we letting these pipsqueak Eastern European countries use us to settle their historical scores, while risking nuclear annihilation?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
1 year ago

Why don’t you pop over to Poland and ask them what they think of Germany? Why are we letting these pipsqueak Eastern European countries use us to settle their historical scores, while risking nuclear annihilation?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Bocho
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

I can uderstand the critique of this article but totally disagree with your general stance and can’t understand your standpoint.
Facts:
USA was a gurantee of free Ukraine, and Ukraine was on a good path of entering EU, it had signed EU partnership and joined EU open market. It was in increasingly close relationships with western countries.Russia invades UkraineAfter few weeks when it appeared obvious that war wont last 5 days as planned Russia started using most brutal, nad primitive scorched earth tactics. Erasing citites from map adn killing thousands of civilians.Usa and European countries start helping Ukraine which if left on its own would certainly lose and become Russia puppet state.You and many other people blame USA and Nato for this situation.Lack of logic in your reasoning is striking. I propose a point of view in which invading country, which on pourpose destroys all vital civilian infrastructure and targets settlements with months long artilery barrages is the one responsible for “this entirely avoidable proxy war” and genocide.

Last edited 1 year ago by UnHerd Reader
D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

The neocons know well the Ukrainians can’t win, the goal is drag out the war, and kill as many Russians as possible. if that means fighting to the last Ukrainian, well thats a feature not a bug

Expect more propaganda from neocon journalists

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

This is really about getting–and destroying–Russia’s “Hidden Reserves” in the cities.
Both Ukraine and the US want that. Indeed, the Ukrainian will do anything to kill more Russians.
So far, most Russian losses have been among the “govnik” losers in small towns and the slums. But as the articles contends, and a recent trip by Mike Kofman suggests, Ukraine is attacking, then killing the poorly trained Russians during their “meat attacks” counter offensives.
But even a dysfunctional place like Russia doesn’t have an infinite number of “losers.” So soon Putin will be conscripting the more educated and privileged middle class lads in the big cities.
That accomplishes two things:
1) Russia already has a critical shortage of workers. This will only cripple their industry even more;
2) Russia is already suffering from a steep population decline. So meat attacks by the “Hidden Reserves” will lower the number of educated and privileged young males even further. So, no more “next generation.” Far more moral people from Cetnral Asia will then come in, and hopefully change Russia’s ethnicity–and its dysfunctional culture of the last 800 years.
The Ukrainian strategy is ultimately to eliminate Russia’s “Hidden Reserves.”
We need to do everything possible to help them in that endeavor.
I would surmise that Russian will be a dead language by century’s end.

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

This is really about getting–and destroying–Russia’s “Hidden Reserves” in the cities.
Both Ukraine and the US want that. Indeed, the Ukrainian will do anything to kill more Russians.
So far, most Russian losses have been among the “govnik” losers in small towns and the slums. But as the articles contends, and a recent trip by Mike Kofman suggests, Ukraine is attacking, then killing the poorly trained Russians during their “meat attacks” counter offensives.
But even a dysfunctional place like Russia doesn’t have an infinite number of “losers.” So soon Putin will be conscripting the more educated and privileged middle class lads in the big cities.
That accomplishes two things:
1) Russia already has a critical shortage of workers. This will only cripple their industry even more;
2) Russia is already suffering from a steep population decline. So meat attacks by the “Hidden Reserves” will lower the number of educated and privileged young males even further. So, no more “next generation.” Far more moral people from Cetnral Asia will then come in, and hopefully change Russia’s ethnicity–and its dysfunctional culture of the last 800 years.
The Ukrainian strategy is ultimately to eliminate Russia’s “Hidden Reserves.”
We need to do everything possible to help them in that endeavor.
I would surmise that Russian will be a dead language by century’s end.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

If Russia is “winning” how come they lost most of their “winnings?”
Pure Russian delusion seems to be spreading quite wide. And, of course, once Crimea is taken back there will be peace.
Be patient. Wait until 2024.

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

Do you get paid for this Martin

If you don’t, whats the point ?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Just answer the question and stop deflecting for a change.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

What question ?

From Martin, he’s deluded, he did ask Claire M, “if Russia is winning, how come they have lost most of their “winnings” ”

Well they haven’t, any look at the map shows that the Russians still hold most of their gains, after a month and a half of the spring offensive, the Ukrainians have still to reach the first defensive line, they have lost a large number of tanks and fighting vehicles, So we know now they won’t be taking back Crimea or the Donbass

By the end of the Summer the Ukrainian army may well be broken, and then the Russians will take what they want

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Quite amusing…
“Lost most of their “winnings” does NOT mean “Russians still hold most of their gains.”
Fact is, Putin has “lost” more than half of his winnings, and retains zero large cities and regional capitals. And the only significant Ukrainian resource Putin still has–is Donbas coal!
But you already knew that
Still, I think someone has been binging on Scott and Col Macgregor a bit too much.
I know, I know. “In three weeks the Ukrainian Army will crumble!”
Said on 24 Feb 2022…and every three weeks since then.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
max redgers
max redgers
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Delusional….all of you…..I regularly walk past a cemetery here in L’viv, that has “featured” in UK press, and it has over spilt into what was once a very large recreational area and the number of fresh graves almost doubles every month….and given the nature of the war (read extract from “Kyiv post” below) i expect many killed in East have no remains to bring home.

Ukraine only strategy is now to try and “wear” Russians down by “mosquito” attacks. They are sending “non-elit” troops through minefields to try and take forward trenches, for elite troops then to pass through to “get at” Russian positions proper. Ukraine has NOT EVEN penetrated the Russian security zone yet, which lies BEFORE the echoloned fortifications hundreds of miles in length and miles in depth.

It is the Ukrainians who have to throw men forward because as Ukrainians are increasingly resentful of, We have not sent the right mix to do the job a la NATO tactics.

Before I am accused of being a “Russian bot/apologist”, I live in Ukraine. Few here do not know of a man killed or wounded …and everyday I daily see men without legs and arms, and their astounding “joie de vivre” to having survived despite their amputations, just reinforces my opinion that you are delusional.

My wife’s brother (and mother) live in perpetual fear because he has been subpoenaed, despite having been declared unfit for military duties, and regularly men are taken unwillingly from my apartment bloc.

Other men I know, patriotic, but know from their friends what a hell “the East” is, do everything to avoid conscription including not living in their own houses. A close friends husband was conscripted, had 14 days training, shipped East and 12 days later his wife was informed that he was dead

This is the reality, not “arm chair” musings. Men have to be be blown apart to make up for the lack of equipment to match the situation.

If my grammar and spelling are a bit erratic, possibly due to my emotions at the utter delusion displayed here that demonstrates the rubbish you are fed by the papers and media, and failure of West to send meaningful equipment despite your promises to help Ukraine “see this
through”…read below!

https://www.kyivpost.com/post/19707

Last edited 1 year ago by max redgers
max redgers
max redgers
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Delusional….all of you…..I regularly walk past a cemetery here in L’viv, that has “featured” in UK press, and it has over spilt into what was once a very large recreational area and the number of fresh graves almost doubles every month….and given the nature of the war (read extract from “Kyiv post” below) i expect many killed in East have no remains to bring home.

Ukraine only strategy is now to try and “wear” Russians down by “mosquito” attacks. They are sending “non-elit” troops through minefields to try and take forward trenches, for elite troops then to pass through to “get at” Russian positions proper. Ukraine has NOT EVEN penetrated the Russian security zone yet, which lies BEFORE the echoloned fortifications hundreds of miles in length and miles in depth.

It is the Ukrainians who have to throw men forward because as Ukrainians are increasingly resentful of, We have not sent the right mix to do the job a la NATO tactics.

Before I am accused of being a “Russian bot/apologist”, I live in Ukraine. Few here do not know of a man killed or wounded …and everyday I daily see men without legs and arms, and their astounding “joie de vivre” to having survived despite their amputations, just reinforces my opinion that you are delusional.

My wife’s brother (and mother) live in perpetual fear because he has been subpoenaed, despite having been declared unfit for military duties, and regularly men are taken unwillingly from my apartment bloc.

Other men I know, patriotic, but know from their friends what a hell “the East” is, do everything to avoid conscription including not living in their own houses. A close friends husband was conscripted, had 14 days training, shipped East and 12 days later his wife was informed that he was dead

This is the reality, not “arm chair” musings. Men have to be be blown apart to make up for the lack of equipment to match the situation.

If my grammar and spelling are a bit erratic, possibly due to my emotions at the utter delusion displayed here that demonstrates the rubbish you are fed by the papers and media, and failure of West to send meaningful equipment despite your promises to help Ukraine “see this
through”…read below!

https://www.kyivpost.com/post/19707

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

Quite amusing…
“Lost most of their “winnings” does NOT mean “Russians still hold most of their gains.”
Fact is, Putin has “lost” more than half of his winnings, and retains zero large cities and regional capitals. And the only significant Ukrainian resource Putin still has–is Donbas coal!
But you already knew that
Still, I think someone has been binging on Scott and Col Macgregor a bit too much.
I know, I know. “In three weeks the Ukrainian Army will crumble!”
Said on 24 Feb 2022…and every three weeks since then.

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

What question ?

From Martin, he’s deluded, he did ask Claire M, “if Russia is winning, how come they have lost most of their “winnings” ”

Well they haven’t, any look at the map shows that the Russians still hold most of their gains, after a month and a half of the spring offensive, the Ukrainians have still to reach the first defensive line, they have lost a large number of tanks and fighting vehicles, So we know now they won’t be taking back Crimea or the Donbass

By the end of the Summer the Ukrainian army may well be broken, and then the Russians will take what they want

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Just answer the question and stop deflecting for a change.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Do you get paid for this Martin

If you don’t, whats the point ?

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

War is always tragic and sad for too many families. In terms of motivation the Ukrainians fight for their homes, the Russians fight because they are ordered to fight often with the threat of violence. Russians know they are not fighting for honor. Putin has ordered great harm and has inflicted a lot. Who gets rich from war is hardly the point.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

I suggest you pop over to the Baltic States, Claire, and see how your ideas on “peace” go down in countries that have a border with Russia.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

I can uderstand the critique of this article but totally disagree with your general stance and can’t understand your standpoint.
Facts:
USA was a gurantee of free Ukraine, and Ukraine was on a good path of entering EU, it had signed EU partnership and joined EU open market. It was in increasingly close relationships with western countries.Russia invades UkraineAfter few weeks when it appeared obvious that war wont last 5 days as planned Russia started using most brutal, nad primitive scorched earth tactics. Erasing citites from map adn killing thousands of civilians.Usa and European countries start helping Ukraine which if left on its own would certainly lose and become Russia puppet state.You and many other people blame USA and Nato for this situation.Lack of logic in your reasoning is striking. I propose a point of view in which invading country, which on pourpose destroys all vital civilian infrastructure and targets settlements with months long artilery barrages is the one responsible for “this entirely avoidable proxy war” and genocide.

Last edited 1 year ago by UnHerd Reader
D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

The neocons know well the Ukrainians can’t win, the goal is drag out the war, and kill as many Russians as possible. if that means fighting to the last Ukrainian, well thats a feature not a bug

Expect more propaganda from neocon journalists

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

If Russia is “winning” how come they lost most of their “winnings?”
Pure Russian delusion seems to be spreading quite wide. And, of course, once Crimea is taken back there will be peace.
Be patient. Wait until 2024.

Last edited 1 year ago by martin logan
Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire M

War is always tragic and sad for too many families. In terms of motivation the Ukrainians fight for their homes, the Russians fight because they are ordered to fight often with the threat of violence. Russians know they are not fighting for honor. Putin has ordered great harm and has inflicted a lot. Who gets rich from war is hardly the point.

Claire M
Claire M
1 year ago

A jingoistic pro-Ukranian propaganda piece seemingly oblivious to the bald fact that the counter-offensive was a non-event and Ukraine cannot win. This entirely avoidable proxy war has resulted in massive losses on both sides, collateral damage across the globe and an increasingly dangerous stalemate where escalation is a real possibility. Thank you USA and NATO for another disastrous debacle as the military industrial complex rakes in obscene profits. This author’s focus on little anecdotes of blown up Russians, of them ‘scuttling’ back over the border, on grinning Ukrainian soldiers flaunting war trophies and -most indecent of all – pretending the Bakhmut ‘meat grinder’ was a smart military strategy to kill Russians, is just smoke and mirrors. Ukraine is losing. Do us all a favour and write something advocating for peace.