by Lucas Webber
Thursday, 22
December 2022
Analysis
12:55

Is the Russia-Ukraine war about to escalate?

Putin is sending thousands more men into Belarus
by Lucas Webber
Russian citizens drafted into Putin’s army. Credit: Getty.

Following the humiliating and large-scale loss of territory around Kharkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the mobilisation of 300,000 troops to address the military’s considerable manpower deficiencies and replenish battlefield casualties. Russia has reportedly now sent at least 150,000 of these personnel into the conflict arena, with 150,000 or more in reserve. 

This number presumably doesn’t include the thousands of mobilised Wagner Group fighters — with a sizeable number of recruited prisoners — and other irregular forces that have been brought into the fray. Further, Russia yesterday announced a plan to increase the size of their military from 1 million to 1.5 million members, and to create new units. Putin told his ministers:“We have no funding restrictions […] The government will provide whatever the Army asks for — anything.”


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Meanwhile, the Russian president has been pouring thousands of men and large amounts of equipment, tanks, armoured vehicles and weapons systems into Belarus for joint military exercises. It could also mean that new incursions can be launched from there. This comes as Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Putin finalised agreements for further military cooperation between the two countries, more regular military exercises, and the training of Belarusian crews to fly planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

The high-profile makeup of the Russian delegation to Belarus set off alarm bells for many analysts as Putin was accompanied by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Adding to these concerns, Belarus implemented temporary restrictions to sections of the southeastern Gomel region bordering Ukraine and Russia. This follows Lukashenko’s decision to send Belarusian forces and equipment to the border for counter-terrorism exercises over a week ago.

Ukraine has warned about the rising threat from Belarus, and has accordingly bolstered its defences for these scenarios. Some observers also believe there are signs that Belarus could directly take part in another Russian incursion from the country, as satellite imagery shows newly cleared forest roads and the movement of Belarusian military equipment to the borderlands.

However, there would be significant social, political, and economic backlash to an intervention of this kind and, for now, Belarus will likely remain as a staging area, training ground, and overall supporting actor for Russia’s war in Ukraine. As for Russia, Moscow’s current primary focus is on the Donbas and hotspots such as Bakhmut, Marinka and Avdiivka, as well as Vuhledar further south. After months of humiliating defeats in Kharkov, Lyman, and Kherson, newly assigned general Sergei Surovikin — who is seemingly more competent than his predecessors — has inherited a mess but has largely stabilised Russian lines. 

On top of this, Russian forces are again on the front foot in sections of the Donbas, and are making incremental gains as they push to dislodge entrenched Ukrainian defenders from the highly fortified and strategic city of Bakhmut. It is the hottest battleground of the war and a location that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited this week to boost morale and show the world that his men intend to hold the city and beat back adversarial advances.

Russia and Ukraine view this conflict as existential and are fully preparing for a drawn-out war that will ultimately be settled on the battlefield. Neither side has a political incentive to compromise at this time, which was made explicitly clear in recent days by the leaders of both nations. Putin reiterated that Russia’s campaign will continue until all objectives have been achieved, while Zelensky vowed to reclaim all annexed territory, including Crimea. With hundreds of thousands of Russian forces ready to enter the arena and the prospect of new axes of invasion opening up, the war’s trajectory is heading for certain escalation.

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Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago

War escalates – its an immutable fact of history and our nature – and we are all but in it now. Somewhere in the back rooms of power at the pentagon, there’s a General Turgidson (Dr. Strangelove) gaming out the expected escalations through to something that looks like victory. “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops! Uh, depending on the breaks.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

A wonderful quote.

Parsonally I believe the Biden Administration is intentionally making this disaster for some twister ulterior motive. Yesterday’s meeting in Washington between Zalenski and Biden to me was a meeting of of the 4 horsemen, and the fruit they are planting is Death, Famine, Pestilence, and War. How any could cheer on this display astounds me.

A Christmas Story from Hell – $47 Billion handed over than more may die, have their life destroyed, their houses, schools, nation, wrecked, their young men dismembered, maimed, more refugees, (and I think of the pets and animals too, being sentimental).

That the Third world will have a Billion reduced from poverty to abject poverty by the scarcity and inflation caused by Biden’s sanctions and war, famine is coming – after he destroyed the global economy with his profligate spending and lockdown caused global inflation and trade breakdown by the manufactured Plandemic.

EVIL WAR! Evil men –

PEACE NOW!

Treaty, meet and figure it out. Stop the War. Stop this evil!

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Delusional nonsense. When will people stop this rubbish ? It’s Putin’s war. He started it. He wanted it. No one else is responsible. Period.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

“No one else is responsible. Period.”
Oh please, educate yourself about the history of Russia, Europe and NATO over the last 25 years before making such nonsensical statements.
This would be a good place to start.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBiV1h7Dm5E

Last edited 1 month ago by Rocky Martiano
Zeph Smith
Zeph Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

So would you accept that Putin is by far the most directly responsible party, even if not 100% responsible alone?
Yes, other actors had some part, but not nearly as large a part as Putin.

P Branagan
P Branagan
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

Peter B, you are clearly a person seriosly lacking in knowledge of events in Ukraine. You seem to know nothing of the wider history and even more remarkably, nothing of the recent past in Central Europe from 2014 to 2022 during which time the crazed regime in Kiev, installed after a coup commissioned by the US, went on a murdering rampage in the Donbas where ~12,000 innocent civilians were blown to smithereens by Kiev’s artillery. 5, 10 or 20 killed every day, day after day for 8 long years.

The US started this war in 2014 with the coup, and the morally bankrupt West has turned a blind eye to all the human misery in the Donbas for those long eight years. (Of course maybe you don’t think the Russian speaking people in the Donbas are human!).

It now looks increasingly possible that the war started by the US in 2014 is going to escalate very rapidly in 2023 with the Russians increasing their army to 1.5million men and expanding their nuclear tactical and strategic assets at breakneck speed. We will be very lucky indeed if we escape the nuclear destruction of all of Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.

Well done the US – killed off 2 competitors (W Europe and Russia) with ‘one stone’ so to speak. Next stop for the morally degenerate neocons in DC – the genocide of 1.2billion Han Chinese ‘commies’.

And India better not get ‘too big for it’s boots’ either. Otherwise they’ll be next for elimination.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Biden has been a Nazi for years–along with Obama and Nancy.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  martin logan

Nazi? No. Agenda driven and dishonest? Absolutely.

Jim M
Jim M
1 month ago
Reply to  P Branagan

What do you think the Han supremacists that are committing genocide in Xingjuan are planning for the West. You are one of these self-loathing Westerners that see no evils or agency in others.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  P Branagan

I’m well aware of the history and background. I simply don’t consider that to be the actual motivation for what Putin has done. It may be the reason given, but I do not believe it to be the major motivation.
I think you make a lot of assumptions about what other people think. With very little evidence. Your assumptions about my views and knowledge are not correct., You’d be better off not guessing.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  P Branagan

You’ve got a pretty odd take on recent history. A history that you conveniently forget that Russia annexed Crimea before they tried to do the same with the Donbas. Ukraine refused to let that happen in the Donbas, and now you want us to feel sorry for the “Little Green Men” who led the takeover of Crimea, then turned to the Donbas? We all have memories, you know? Taking about “Russian speakers” as a casus belli, echos Adolph Hitler’s exact strategy to “protect German speakers” when he attacked the “Sudetenland”. It was BS then, it is BS now.
Also, the US didn’t care about what was going on in Eastern European politics in 2014 and certainly didn’t foster a coup. There was no reason for us to be involved. Europe had more of a vested interest than we did. We only intervened with aid after the shooting started. If you will remember, the US was hesitant to even send blankets and rations to Ukraine in the early years. We had sent NO military equipment at all until the mid-Trump administration.

Last edited 1 month ago by John B
Laurian Boer
Laurian Boer
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

This discussion about who started the war is irrelevant. The question now is who or what is going to stop the war?

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Laurian Boer

That’s obvious. Either Ukraine/the West give up (not happening). Or Putin’s regime gets the boot. Or it continues.
Perhaps I’m mistaken, but you seem to be implying that we are under some sort of moral obligation to “stop the war”. We are not. The responsibility for all the deaths and destruction is on Putin alone.

nic william
nic william
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

You’re off your trolley mate….and a little hard of thinking, if you don’t mind my saying so

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Biden is feeding the beast, the industrial military complex. Trump was anti-war and there were no wars started under his administration. But look how the military disobeyed him! They dug their heels in when Trump wanted out of the MidEast – even out of Germany & Europe. General Milley – traitor if there ever was one – even called the head of China!!! without going through proper hierarchy channels on January 6. Milley reassured the Chinese HE would let them know what was happening in the USA not the President. Milley should be court martialed but of course won’t be. The minute Biden got elected one knew that another war would be started with 100 percent certainty. And BOOM, here we are.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cathy Carron
martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Why oh why did Selena my invade Russia?

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  martin logan

“zelensky”

Curse you, autocorrect!

Jim M
Jim M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Stop wetting yourself. You are one of the surrender monkeys that Putin thinks runs the West. That’s why he started this war.

John Bocchicchio
John Bocchicchio
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

My favorite quote from the movie was “Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here, this is the war room!”
I will say that if Ukraine didn’t have the means to protect itself, then Russia will be doing all the killing and destroying. Ukraine is only trying to defend themselves and their people. That’s a just cause in my book.
Russia is interested in the industrial East of the country to take by force. They took Crimea with less force, but they still took it. This a people fighting for their survival.
If Putin ordered a cease fire and left the occupied areas of Ukraine(including the Donbas and Crimea, with a possible carve out for the Russian naval base) the war would be over and no destruction and no killing would take place. If Zelenskyy did the same, unilaterally, Russia would sack the rest of the country and kill millions of Ukrainians. Peace is in Putin’s hands.
Why you vilify Biden and the US for giving Ukraine a fighting chance to protect themselves from annihilation is beyond me.
Ukraine wants peace more than anything. They didn’t start this war. They simply wanted the freedom to choose who they would do business with. Europe, or Russia. Putin didn’t like the result of that choice. He invaded.
I pray Russia stands down and decides NOT to kill more people or destroy their land.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Bocchicchio
Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

The Biden Administration’s energy policies enabled Putin’s invasion by boosting the price of fossil fuels, so Putin could afford it.

How do you negotiate with war criminals who massacre civillians in the Ukrainian territory they control?

Last edited 1 month ago by Douglas Proudfoot
martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Oh, I think it will be 2 million mobiks dead.

Don’t exaggerate!

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

The likelihood of nuclear war is very, very close to zero. Most Russian soldiers in Ukraine have neither the training nor the equipment to survive it. Tactical nukes would kill more Russians than Ukrainians.
The reliability of Russian military equipment and ammunition in Ukraine has been spotty at best. At least 10% of conventional Russian missiles misfire or fall short. Firing the nuclear versions of these weapons is not an attractive option. They could detonate in Russia or on Russian held Ukrainian territory.

The dud rate is also a problem. If Putin uses a nuke, and it fails to detonate, Putin gets huge embarrassment. The corruption rampant in the Russian military makes this outcome possible, even probable. Nuclear weapons require careful component storage and maintenance. They’re fragile. The overall Russian record on Russian military storage and maintenance is really poor. The weapons have to be assembled and readied by technical people who know what they’re doing.

If the Ukrainians pick up a Russian dud nuke, nothing will stop them from rebuilding it and using it on Belgorod, Russia. Ukraine most certainly has the knowledge to do it.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago

The longer it goes on, the further Russia slides into decline, probably permanent as it will take 20 years to recover and by that time it will have lost millions of its cleverest people to emigration. The biggest benefit is that China has seen a key ally stumble towards irrelevance with just one stupid action.
The Ukrainians are our Spartans at Thermopylae, removing a deadly enemy by their sacrifice.

Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

How refreshing to see a reference to a conflict other than WW2! But just to bring up the Germans again – how did the strategy of humiliating and impoverishing them in the treaty of Versailles work out again? Having trouble connecting the dots here as to how we are all better off with the largest country in the world as a humiliated and destitute nuclear power bent on revenge.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Nobody won or lost in 1991. Russia just collapsed.

And any promises were made to a union that no longer exists.

The RF isn’t the USSR. Sadly, Putin forgot that.

Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago
Reply to  martin logan

Sorry, what? Are you saying the treaty of Versailles was in 1991? And involved promises to the USSR, which didn’t exist when it was signed. This is gibberish.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Sorry, I thought we were talking about Russia after 1991. If you’re defending poor Germany in 1939, I do apologize.

Your sensitivity to Hitler’s justified grievances is understood!

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Actually, the Germans had to learn the lesson twice.

Same with Russia…

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  martin logan

Ah you’ve come up with the algorithm – some countries need to screw up big time twice.

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Are you really saying that Ukraine defending itself from an entirely unprovoked invasion and doing so well is a “humiliation of Russia” along the lines of the Versailles Treaty. That’s nuts.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

Oh! I thought is all about the West’s non implementation of the Minsk agreement and Putin’s fear that Russian society was to follow that of the West into genetic madness and Alice in Wonderland theory?

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

This result is going to be more like the humiliation of Russia after World War I, or the fall of the USSR after the Russian loss in the Aghan War in 1992. It’s going to be a logistical collapse of their army, an economic collapse of their kleptocracy and a political collapse of Putin’s legitimacy due to high casualties and military incompetence.

There are currently almost 100,000 Russian dead. Mobiks are sent to the front armed only with AK-47s and light machine guns, having fired perhaps 20-40 rounds in one or two weeks of “training.” Some Donbass militia troops are armed with bolt action rifles designed before World War I. These poor troops are then put in artillery range of Ukrainians to draw fire. Their families know it.

Supplies for Crimea go by rail through Melitopol. The Kerch Bridges can carry only light car traffic and less than one train a day. Ukraine can probably take Melitopol by March if given enough artillery ammunition.

In recent news, 1.5 million Russian Army uniforms disappeared. They were either stolen or never made. Russia is importing uniforms from North Korea.

Kat L
Kat L
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Rebel news went over there to report on the suffering…the grocery was full to the rafters. We are not being told the truth.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 month ago

Putin has two choices -end the war himself and he may survive in post. Lose the war and he definitely will not survive.
He cannot win the war. No one has a big enough army to take and control Ukraine. As for another !m men ? Well sending people in poor clothes and kit to die in ever greater numbers from artillery fire doesnt win anything-except the certainty of Putin being deposed.

John B
John B
1 month ago

I think the disregard for life is evident in the actions of the Wagner Group who took 50,000 prisoners, gave them 1 week’s training and are telling them to charge the Ukrainians in the “meat grinder”, just so Ukraine depletes their ammunition stores during these winter months. Then, with the Spring thaw, Russian regulars will come in strategically. They are marching their convicts in to a well defended part of Ukraine to their imminent death, to deplete ammo and keep a front open! That shows no regard for human life. Regardless of their incarcerated status. Pure evil.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago

“Neither side has a political incentive to compromise at this time, which was made explicitly clear in recent days by the leaders of both nations.”
Assuming they both had the $ to be so brave. Would be interesting to contemplate what would happen if the U.S. didn’t provide tens of billions of dollars to this effort (with much more on the way after pending legislation) and if the sanctions didn’t result in the unintended consequence of filling Putin’s coffers with exorbitant energy prices?

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Good question. It goes to show that stolen elections have consequences.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

Indeed. Putin stolen all his elections.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

Twitter has proved the election was stolen. Proves the global elite are out to destroy the Judaeo-Christian West that all the world may fall into darkness under the Global masters.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

What happened to you Sandford? In your previous incarnations your posts were articulate and well reasoned even if I didn’t always agree with them. Nowadays it’s mostly conspiratorial nonsense, full of buzz words copy and pasted from dodgy websites

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Maybe he’s accidentally written a section for his novel in the comments?

Robert Kaye
Robert Kaye
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Twitter has proved nothing. It has persuaded you – a much simpler proposition.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

But Putin isn’t getting the benefit of exorbitant energy prices. Those nations happy to risk Western opprobrium by buyng Russian oil and gas, China and India for example, are insisting on very large discounts.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1112243/urals-crude-oil-price/
The actual published data would suggest otherwise.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

Halifax: ‘I think we should sue for peace now Winston’…

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Do you know anything of WWII and WWI, or do you just use absurd false equivalents to push your agenda? There is NO similarity to this war and WWII, None!

How about – ‘I know WMD’s are hidden somewhere out there’…… Or, ‘Lets just go in and replace the Taliban with an elected government’?

And 20 tears if insane war, and $7 Trillion spent…

Peace Now – this is not Hit*er having taken France and Poland and Britain standing alone against the Na* ies!

This WWIII is breaking the world! Billion to be reduced from poverty to abject poverty – famine coming in the third world, the West Middle Class to lose their pensions, savings, soon their jobs, houses……For NO reason of vital importance to the West.

EVIL WAR!!!!! PEACE NOW. enough legless young men. You warmongers would fight to the last Ukrainian young man – to the last house and farm… NO, it is evil – Peace Now!

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

There is every similarity. Putin claims Ukraine as Russian in the same way that Hitler claimed the Sudetenland as German – and his stormtroopers behave in the same way!

Robert Kaye
Robert Kaye
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

“Do you know anything of WWII and WWI, or do you just use absurd false equivalents to push your agenda? There is NO similarity to this war and WWII, None!”

Except the bit where fascists/Russians started it by invading another European country. The main difference seems to be that in 1939 the Russians allied with the fascists and in 2022 they are the fascists.

M. Gatt
M. Gatt
1 month ago

This war is the ultimate wet dream of American neo-cons. You see them vibrating with joy as they pour billions of dollars into their war machine. Amazing how many Unherd subscribers, who totally caught the play on covid, have fallen for the idea that Putin is this meglo-manic intent on ruling Europe. Ridiculous. Read his speeches. Linsday Graham and Mitch MacConnell are beaming with pride at their accomplishment.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago

You silly Warmongering Ducks…

This is 5th Generation War – this is nor anything like you have ever seen.

This is a Psy-opps war, this if financial war. This war is to break the world economy and usher in the Great Reset. The eyes are on the Ukraine – like a Magician’s Trick – misdirection.

”Look – look they fight for freedom – give them another $100 Billion – Look – they fight for Freedom!” Psy-Opps.

Look behind the curtain – that is where it is happening – the money, the billions and billions – the Sanctions, the energy blocked off to kill business, to eat savings to destroy pensions. A billion reduced from Poverty to abject poverty – the mass starvation is beginning from this in the third world – and What? BBC and CBS are not covering that? How odd….

Selling bad Time Share – ripp off apartments, the head of sales taught his new sales force

‘Ask ‘Yes Questions’. You like spending time with your family? You like the beach? You like a change in a lovely setting’ Get them nodding, get then saying yes’…

Its called ‘Stroking the Ducks’, getting them imagining some fake ideal, justifying it for the family’s sake – then get them to sign. Throw them to the Shark – called the Closer – if you have stroked the ducks properly – they will sign anything… and you get your commission. Psy-opps.. the salesman and the buyer – both stroked ducks in the vicious game of conman time share sales.

The Security Services with MSM and social media have stroked you ducks – you are all nodding as desired….

‘You like freedom don’t you?’ You think the plucky little Ukrainians need our held don’t you?’ ‘You like the do the right thing don’t you?’ ‘You want their children to be free. don’t you?’

But it is a rip-off. It is destroying Ukraine, the Ukrainian People, the poor Russian young men, the Babushkas going broke, and the Horn of Africa starving…..no fertilizer, can’s afford diesel for tractors, or cooking oil, or kerosene, or life….

And you all cry for more arms, more un-audited cash be sent over to war – to kill, destroy, maim, and for pure evil….and to create a new world order.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

So why doesn’t Putin stop his crazy invasion then?

Icelandic Penguins
Icelandic Penguins
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Price

To make the west’s economies suffer. The Russian currency has gained value, it’s getting better, and Russia is gaining money too. Russia prepared 2 years for sanctions. You think it wouldn’t see them coming? While we are here, paying 60-100 for gas 2 times a week at least and in a recession, with 46 states losing money and gaining debt. 40% of our oil/gas is from Russia and 30% of resources are from Russia.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago

Not the case even in Iceland.

But the eggs!!!

John B
John B
1 month ago

You have a choice as to who you will trade with. Canada is somewhat close, as is the US. Both are closer to you than Russia, right? Everything that Russia has, we do too.

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago

idjit, did Russia see a 10-month war with no end in sight coming?

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Sorry Mr Moze, feel free to tell me to bu**er off, I appreciate very much the peace now. But I’m also afraid it’s not going to happen. It’s too late. China and Russia aren’t backing down now, I think we are headed for separate silos at the moment not global government. NWO idea is old. When it was conceived China and Russia weren’t big time US rivals. At the moment, the east is breaking away from the west – not conglomerating into global government.

Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Much like the perpetual war between Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia depicted in Orwell’s 1984? Can’t wait.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Indeed, feels a bit like it’s going that way doesn’t it, mixed with a bit of brave new world? Endless fight against ageing, test tube babies ….
Time to run for the hills 🙂

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Spot on. The schism has started, stupidly initiated by Putin invading Ukraine before China had achieved global supremacy through ‘soft’ power.
I’m kinda grateful to Putin for playing the authoritarian hand so badly, screwing Chinese ambitions and unifying the West.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ian Stewart
B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I’m not so sure about the Chinese part – I have no proof only suspicion, obvs not sure but I would put a bit of money on they knew putins plans from the start, based on stuff the china/russia gold back, North Korea are sending weapons to putin and putting made in China labels on many of their goods, can source that if your interested, both have interests in Iran now too. China has invested a lot there, they are sending russia weapons. I really do suspect they are working more closely on this than anyone’s letting on. I have my suspicions covid from China followed by a Russian invasion might not be coincidence. Like I say though, assumption and suspicion, could easily be wrong – assumption is the mother of many f*** ups 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by B Emery
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Jeez I hope you’re wrong on the Covid invasion link! That degree of authoritarian geoplanning would be nightmareish.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

So do I tbh. I could be completely wrong. Could be more taking advantage than planned from the start too I suppose. We’ll probably never know.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

If we found out China used Covid as a weapon, I wouldn’t put it past our military labs creating a new sub strain that we all were given boosters for and releasing it on China, as it appears that China did it to us and the UK.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Regarding the energy crisis, just perusing the news- why I think they may be working together – the oil cap just introduced explained here
https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Oil-Prices-Jump-After-Russia-Says-It-May-Cut-Production.html
– China are now lifting zero covid, increasing demand at a time that will send oil prices through the roof, above $60 cap, russia is saying they will cut production. The price goes up and they make the same money selling less oil regardless of the cap. Lng very similar shenanagins. Its very convienantly timed to cause energy markets to soar again. Could be coincidence though obviously.
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/How-Europes-Natural-Gas-Price-Cap-Could-Backfire.html

Quote:
China’s purchases of Russian energy climbed once again in November, hitting $8 billion and bringing the year-to-date total to almost $80 billion, approximately 70% higher than last year’s results.

– The most recent trend came from LNG where Chinese buyers doubled their purchases of Russian liquefied gas to 852,000 tons in November, doubling the volumes year-on-year.

– Likewise in oil, Russian deliveries to China continue to rise as the former delivered 7.81 million tons in November, up 17% year-on-year and overtaking Saudi Arabia as its top crude supplier.

– Interestingly, both China’s oil and LNG imports have shrunk significantly this year, so Russia is getting a higher market share amidst lower Chinese buying.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Ah I think the Chinese have truly mucked up by lifting their covid restrictions with a large proportion of the elderly population unvaccinated. Chinese culture reveres the elderly – I can’t believe Xi planned culling them like this.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

It appears as if China has been hoisted on its own petard if Covid was their weapon. Experts say their current outbreak will kill 2 million before it is over.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  John B

That’s the press though, they said that here…. You may be right though.

Last edited 1 month ago by B Emery
B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Also, again uncertain – we might be unified now but 2023 could see the energy crisis hit next level, unity might not last. Our economy is probably going to take a hit. We’ll see….

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

I would say more than “breaking away”, they are seeing if they can survive as international pariahs economically. They know sanctions will be crippling and trade will stop if China and Russia decide to try and take over the world.

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

conspiracy theory’s greatest hits all in one nice package.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago

We won’t really know the course of this war before Russia’s casualties pass the million mark. By then Putin will have burnt through his “hidden reserves” in Moscow and St Petersburg. If he can motivate baristas and stockbrokers to die of frostbite in the trenches of Bakmut (yes, they’ll still be there) Putin may still have a chance. If not, probably the end of Russia.

Time will tell.

mils roger
mils roger
1 month ago

Working with and trading with Donbas for over 10 years from western Europe.
This is what Donbas Ukrainians say.
“We have been bombed and killed by Kiev since 2014 for wanting self-autonomy, we want to be self governing in Ukraine, Russia came to help so Kiev stops killing us, we hope that we can get peace when Russia wins and we hope to get our independence without becoming part of the Russian federation.”
End of Quote

R Wright
R Wright
1 month ago

“Neither side has a political incentive to compromise at this time”

Probably because the international community has abdicated in efforts to end the fighting.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  R Wright

No. Putin’s only strategic option now is to hope we tire of it and don’t stay the course. We stay the course and don’t slip into appeasement, which is what it would be. We end the fighting by convincing Putin we won’t tire.

Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

I’ll bet you’re not tired at all, sitting on your couch! Will you be heading to the front lines soon to relieve the tired soldiers and give the Russians another target to shoot at? Or do you only advocate that others make the ultimate sacrifice for your noble values?

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Us And Them
Pink Floyd
Us and them
And after all, we’re only ordinary men
Me and you
God only knows, it’s not what we would choose to do

Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died
The General sat, and the lines on the map
Moved from side to side

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up and down
And in the end, it’s only round and round and round

Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside

(They’re maybe gonna kill ya.
So like, if you give ’em a quick, short, sharp, shock, they don’t do it again.
Dig it? I mean he get off light, come to think.
Of rationalising it, once.
It’s only a difference, but why go and ruin it?
I mean good manners don’t cost nothing, do they, eh?)

Down and out
It can’t be helped, but there’s a lot of it about
With, without
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about

Out of the way, it’s a busy day
I’ve got things on my mind
For want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDbeqj-1XOo

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

And then there was ‘The Wall”

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Yup, The Wall, a fantastic example of virtue signalling. ‘We don’t need no edukashun’ from a group of highly well educated rockers.
I dropped them after The Wall, though the early signs of trendy manipulation were already evident in Animals, though I still like it.

Jim M
Jim M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

That is really deep! I get all my morals rock lyrics.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

I advocate aligning with people who are fighting for their freedom who’ve asked for our help in resources and intelligence and where that can make a real difference to the outcome.
As you asked, I actually have family out there now, but I’m far too old to be anything but a liability myself. Were I young man again though, and given I served for a number of years myself, I’d have probably been tempted.

Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Yes war is indeed very tempting. Until you’re dying in a hole somewhere with your guts hanging out. Maybe wondering to yourself if the people you killed were all that bad – or if they were just caught up in the same feverish dream. War is mankind’s greatest shame. And what keeps it going are the people on both sides who declare their cause to be righteous and just. All we are saying, is give peace a chance.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

I’m sure the mobiks heroically dying at Bakhmut disagree.

They die with a blessing to Putin on their lips.

If they don’t take Bakhmut, they lose Vladivostok!

Putin knows!

Last edited 1 month ago by Martin Logan
Jim M
Jim M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

War is natural and nature does it all the time. The chimps do it too!

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

When you are trying to keep your people and nation from annihilation, that’s a pretty righteous and just cause. If Putin calls for a cease fire and withdraws ALL of his troops from Ukrainian land, there will be peace. If Zelenskyy does it unilaterally, Ukraine would be destroyed, and its people slaughtered. That’s usually a good indicator of who is fighting for a just cause.

Brett H
Brett H
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

How long can this go on for? Ukraine is slowly being destroyed and there’s more to come if someone doesn’t begin realistic negotiations. It’s bad enough that so many men will die fighting and so many left the country, but who will be left to rebuild the country? This will be the idea in real-time that it’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees. That’s what will happen. Ukraine will become a mythical story of loss that we can wallow in.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Brett H

They want to fight and they want us to help with supplies, intelligence and support. Whereas you view on this assumes we know better what is best for them.
I don’t know if you are British and how much you’ll appreciate the UK’s most important historical moments, but there are some uncanny similarities between what they are facing and Britain 40-41. I strongly suspect WSC would have entirely ‘got it’.

Brett H
Brett H
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

One doesn’t have to be British to appreciate history. And maybe it’s your history that makes it difficult for you to have an objective view of things. Would you like to have a go at forecasting the outcome?

Last edited 1 month ago by Brett H
j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Brett H

I’ll have a go, but may well be wrong.
Ukraine takes back Crimea next summer and then negotiations lead to a cessation with parts of the Donbas remaining with Russia and a new border much like the 38th parallel in Korea.
Putin gets ill and steps down, whether all his choosing remains unclear. But his Praetorian guard remain in power. They back off the campaign because increasingly unable to get their forces to fight as needed and their losses continue to be massively higher than the Ukrainian armed forces.
Europe and US swing in with a form of Marshal Plan for Ukraine. Energy prices drop and stabilise as a cessation of sanctions is negotiated. End of hostilities gives the world economy a boost.
Crucially China thinks twice about Taiwan invasion in 24 (after Taiwanese elections), but remains proper naffed off with Russia for kicking the West out of it’s complacency.

Last edited 1 month ago by j watson
Brett H
Brett H
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

That’s a very positive forcast. Though it does seem to reflect what you want to happen as opposed to how real events may pan out.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Brett H

Actually I’d much prefer Putin pulled out now and the fighting could stop much sooner before more die and suffer. But no sign he’s going to do that hence my best guess prediction.
Crimea is crucial as until Ukraine’s ports have more guaranteed safe passage the whole country will remain under threat. They have already reduced the Russian’s to only two routes in and are degrading both of those. It’ll be a larger version of the Kherson campaign but will take longer.

Brett H
Brett H
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

“Crucially China thinks twice about Taiwan invasion in 24 (after Taiwanese elections)”
This is some good that may come out of this conflict. And in that sense the public announcements from Biden about billions going to Ukraine and Zelensky appearing in Washington serves many purposes.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Brett H

Would you have similarly counselled Churchill to stop in 1941 as Britain was being bombed to bits, as many honourable politicians opposed to Hitler did counsel at that time? What would the outcome have been?
You asked for a forecast: If Ukraine stops, Putin will ensure they suffer long term as a punishment, pour encourager les autres. Faced with that certain outcome, they are choosing to fight.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ian Stewart
Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Churchill was well aware of soviet aggression toward the countries unfortunate enough to be on the wrong side of the line at the end of world war 2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but i believe he did not take us all to war to stop the soviets. Nice try.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Analogy you draw JR is much less like Britain 40-41 and Ukraine now.
As you’ll know USSR fully occupied Eastern Europe as a WW2 Ally in evicting and defeating the Nazis. That said WSC helped arm and support Greece before that too fell under the communists. The US and then NATO stopped the encroachment going further.
Here we have a chance to provide practical, purposeful help and we’ve been asked for that help too.
So it’s a v different scenario and much more like the measures the US took to help us in 40-41.
Appeasement when there is a chance to prevent a totalitarian regime swallowing a young democracy has to be called out

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Sorry. Big difference between a Soviet army of 5 millions, and one only capable of sending in 120,000 in 2022.

I wish the RF was the SU.

But it’s not.

It’s Bangladesh with nukes + gas.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

You don’t remember that little thing called the “Cold War”? You don’t recall it was Churchill whose CONSTANT cries for help from the US for 2 years helped motivate us to join them in Europe To fight Germany?

Last edited 1 month ago by John B
Brett H
Brett H
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I feel that many of you are too focused on WWll. For me it’s Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and the lies and deceit we were fed. I have no reason to think anything’s changed. And like those three conflicts the truth will only be revealed after the fact or near it’s end,

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Brett H

Fair point. But it was pretty obvious at the time of the conflicts that we were bad operators in Vietnam and Iraq, with zillions protesting against our roles in those wars at the time.
Afghanistan is a far different beast to Ukraine compared to WW2, so the latter is a better comparator for the Ukraine conflict I think.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ian Stewart
j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

And as yet a fraction of that spent on Afghanistan and Iraq has been spent helping Ukraine.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

It’s almost the same casus belli as Vietnam. But we played Russia at the time. If you remember when this all started, it was the Ukrainian people who decided they wanted to be in Europe’s sphere of influence and to trade with, vs Russia’s demand that the people do what THEY wanted them to do, which was stick with Russia, who had interfered in the Ukrainian election and installed a pro Russian president. Who was deposed shortly after he took power. But our reason for intervening in Vietnam was to keep the south at least in our sphere of influence. Something that the Russians “claim” they are doing in the Donbas. However they are being much more dishonest in their motivation

Last edited 1 month ago by John B
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  John B

True, and that’s a well spotted reverse parallel.
I was focussing on Brett’s point about stuff being kept from the public during wars – and on that point you’ve reminded me that although the USA followed France into Vietnam with that colonial attitude you describe, there was a broad public view in the west that they were wrong to do so illustrated by the fact that we in the U.K. chose not to participate.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  Brett H

So sign an armistice and declare “Peace in our time” like Neville Chamberlain foolishly did? Russians have a long history of taking what they want from weaker neighbors. All Putin has to do is say “we won’t annihilate you, and we are leaving your land.” That is the only way this ends now. It appears that Putin’s avarice and stubbornness are too important to him. So much so they are marching 50,000 prisoners with 1 week of training into Ukraine’s guns, just to keep a corridor open until spring.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  R Wright

What a nonsense. Putin invaded and started the war. Ukraine is defending itself. The “international community” (if such as thing really exists) has no responsibility here and therefore has nothing to “abdicate”.
Apart from that, Putin does not compromise and cannot be trusted. Please show me a counter-example !

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

This is not a war between Ukraine and Putin – it its Biden using Ukraine as his Proxy to destroy Europe and Russia with Putin as his tool.

How are your gas bills going? Bought a dozen eggs lately?

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Blimey – who was it who invaded whom? who said that Ukraine was not a real nation? Who is killing civilians by the thousand and abducting them by the tens of thousands?

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Wrong. It’s a real war between Russian and Ukraine. It’s also a proxy war between Russian and the West. And Putin started it. Not us. We didn’t want it. He did. He’ll lose though. However much the apologists wish otherwise.
Most sensible people in the West understand this perfectly well. If I have to pay a bit more for a few things for a few years, I’m more than happy to do so if it gets rid of Russian intimidation and bullying of its neuighbours and its ridiculous and dangerous delusions or military grandeur.
Meanwhile, I notice you haven’t answered my question about an example of Putin compromising and being trustworthy. I’ll take that as a “no” (i.e. you don’t have any examples) then.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

One might contend that were we able to be transported back in time to 1940 America JM would be a strong America First/Lindbergh supporter campaigning to choke off US supplies to Britain fighting the Nazi’s.

Last edited 1 month ago by j watson
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Good parallel.

Julian Townsend
Julian Townsend
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Except that it’s Ukraine that is infested by actual Nazis, and Russia which is holding out against them.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago

HEROICALLY holding out against the Nazis Biden..and Soros.

Never forget Soros!

John B
John B
1 month ago

Yep..all those nazis who are loyal to their Jewish leader.
Are you serious? Because it sounds like you are joking.

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Why ascribe every little thing that occurs to the US, as if no other country had any autonomy, will or motivation if it’s own but are zombie puppets of America waiting to be told what to do?
The US isn’t the only reason why a country acts.
Putin invaded entirely for his own reasons. Ukraine is defending itself because it doesn’t want to go back to being subjugated by Russia, any more than other Eastern European satellite states do either.
Unless the west helps Ukraine, Russia will take it over – then continue triumphant over Poland and all the other Eastern European countries in range. And then? Who knows.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I LOVE the Russian egg thing!

Eggs will bury us!

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

The Ukraine is defending itself on the backs of the USA taxpayers , who don’t even enjoy the protection of their own southern border….

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Far better to continue to spend a trillion a year, than eliminate Russia as a military power.

Basic economics!

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 month ago
Reply to  R Wright

“… the international community has abdicated in efforts to end the fighting.” Here are several misrepresentations, strung together with questionable grammar: (1) If “the international community” means NATO, then it has not “abdicated” anything. True, prior to Putin’s invasion NATO did seem to be shuffling on its last legs, but the dictator’s move revived that alliance enough to increase its military spending and expand its membership; (2) “efforts to end the fighting” in a war of someone else’s making are generally useless unless at least one side is ready to give up, but in fact considerable efforts have been made, mostly to weaken Russia’s economic ability to continue its aggression; and even if they have not yet been decisive, their effects can only get worse. (3) That being said, mere pious exhortations to make peace won’t do. So instead NATO, rightly concerned that a Putin victory will just mean more future aggression, is providing substantial aid to Ukraine, but without putting NATO boots on Ukrainian soil. For the time being, these efforts look substantial, and prudent.

John B
John B
1 month ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

Agreed! Admonishing Ukraine to sue for peace is like admonishing the Soviet Union to sue for peace with Germany after they concurred St. Petersburg. That would have been madness. Especially since Germany broke the non aggression pact before the ink was dry. There was NO other alternative than to completely push all German forces out of the Soviet Union. Same with Ukraine now, with Russia playing the German role.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  R Wright

Putin is patient, willing to lose at least 2 million to gain Donbas.

The problem is that it means demographic collapse for Russians, and mass migration from Central Asia.

That’s really not a bad outcome.

Central Asians are much nicer people.

So in the end we will have an independent Ukraine, and aCA

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  martin logan

…a Central Asian Russia

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago

The funds devoted to Ukraine means that Ukraine will be well funded until 2024.

Since Ukrainians simply won’t give’in, the war can’t end before Putin burns through his first million, and possibly much of his second million.

But who knew that the main source of Russian casualties would be the lack of uniforms? Since most can’t change their clothes over many months, many develop gangrene.

But as Russian pundits on TV say:

“Russia can take it!”

We should be inspired by the same spirit than won the Livonian War, the Crimean and Russia Japanese War, and WW1.

Last edited 1 month ago by Martin Logan
harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago

I disagree that Russia views this war as “existential.” Ukraine does. And so does Putin (for his own existence). But not Russia.

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago

Don’t underestimate the number of men Ukraine, a country of 40 million, can put in the field to defend its territory. During WWII, Canada, a nation of then fewer than 12 million people, put 1.1 million in the military. And Canada wasn’t being invaded or in danger or being so.

George K
George K
1 month ago

I am enjoying what is happening to Putin and Trump.

Kat L
Kat L
1 month ago

Douglas MacGregor has been predicting this for awhile now…

William Sutherland
William Sutherland
1 month ago

IT’S TIME TO MAKE PEACE!
Thousands are dying, there’s no end in sight
Nobody can tell us what’s wrong or what’s right
The Yanks have been working for years for this war
It’s madness and folly like so many before
Such fun to provoke Russia, such a popular meme
The profits are great though the risks are extreme
$ billions in arms sales and gas sales are booming
Never mind if a nuclear holocaust may be looming
There’s a comedian in charge, such a master of spin
Whilst a dismembered Ukraine has no chance to win
You really must see it’s mis-management gone mad
From self-seeking politicians who are all just as bad
Anyone with a brain can see it’s time to make peace
How many thousands must die before hostilities cease

Icelandic Penguins
Icelandic Penguins
1 month ago

Russia gets called out for a partial mobilisation, 90% of which were willing and wanting to join, while Ukraine forces all their men to stay and fight the Russians, with no way to leave it? Ironic, just the double standards of today’s world. Maybe that’s why Ukraine is ”’winning” this war, they just made a heck ton of people fight, with no real tactics or training time. Bet the Ukrainian wives are wanting their husbands back.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

No evidence that Ukraine has had to force it’s population to take up arms. The invasion did that for them.
They’ve c700k in service now and a further c2m reservists ready. They are having much less of a manpower problem than the Russian because the threat for them is existential. The fighting to date clearly shows who has the better motivated and better led forces.

Jim R
Jim R
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

No evidence, except perhaps all the laws they passed.

martin logan
martin logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim R

Certainly the territory Ukraine has taken back has no bearing on this.

Just listen to Putin:

“Retreat is Victory! “

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

that’s exactly right.

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
1 month ago

Strange how the best brains have fled Russia. My nephew works with them, the Russian brain drain. I don’t think 90% of Russians are willing to fight, and neither do their mothers and wives who are receiving their broken or dead men back , from what I’ve seen and heard.

John B
John B
1 month ago

I bet I know who they blame for their husbands being gone! Btw, most men of resolve will stand and fight to protect their family from death and destruction. Russia gets called out for their naked aggression against their neighbor, and avarice fueled violence to take what is NOT theirs. As far as them having no tactics and training makes it even MORE embarrassing for you Russians.

Last edited 1 month ago by John B
harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago

And that’s how you spin defending one’s country from invasion? shameful.