Ukraine’s President Zelensky is spooked and having a tough time hiding it. In remarks made on August 3rd, Zelensky is complaining that Europe is dragging its feet in supplying financial support to keep Ukraine afloat:
Zelensky then made a startling admission about who is winning the war in Ukraine:
“We still cannot break the advantage of the Russian army in artillery and in manpower, and this is very felt in the battles, especially in the Donbass – Peski, Avdiivka, and other directions. It’s just hell. It can’t even be described in words.”https://t.me/asbmil/3603
When you consider the fact that Ukraine’s armed forces outnumbered the Russians who invaded by a factor of 3 to 1, then you have to ask–exactly what “advantage” does the outnumbered Russian army enjoy? The answer is simple–Russia has air supremacy, superior intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities. It is targeting Ukrainian forward command centers and destroying senior brigade and regimental commanders. This strategy decapitates the chain of command on the frontlines and subjects the troops crouching in trenches and bunkers to seemingly unrelenting barrages of missiles and artillery shells. The result is simple–it demoralizes the troops.
Evidence of this is emerging on social media. First up, the 56th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine declaring it will no longer fight because there is no supply and they are being sent to certain death.
There is a similar message from men fromthe 58 brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Some of them deserted and returned home to Konotop, in the Sumy region. Like the men in the 56th brigade, these soldiers complain that they were sent to the front with no proper weapons or equipment just to be pounded by Russian artillery. Rather than serve as cannon fodder they left their frontline positions and headed back home with their weapons.
These men are not cowards. They are sane and rational. The following video shows Russia’s attacks on the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Pisky. Can you imagine being subjected to this type of assault day after day?
If you ever watched the episode from Band of Brothers about the German bombardment of Easy Company in the woods of Bastogne near the village of Foy, the troops who survived that shelling from German howitzers carried it with them for the rest of their lives. The men of the 101st Airborne Division were not cowards. The soldiers of Ukraine are not cowards. But they are outgunned and have been betrayed by their leaders. Their decision to retreat shows that they still retain some measure of sanity.
Russia’s attack in the Donetsk Republic, which is being led on the ground by the militias from Donetsk and Luhansk, has intensified over the last two weeks. Ukraine’s casualties have doubled. The Russians are killing around 1000 a day. For readers in the United States this means that Ukraine has suffered more KIA in one week than the United States forces in Iraq loss during the entire conflict in Iraq (2003-2014). The Ukrainian army cannot sustain such losses and remain combat effective.
Harlan Easley says
Zelensky then made a startling admission about who is winning the war in Ukraine:
“We still cannot break the advantage of the Russian army in artillery and in manpower, and this is very felt in the battles, especially in the Donbass – Peski, Avdiivka, and other directions. It’s just hell. It can’t even be described in words.”
He had no choice since a devasting account of the current situation in Pisky came out from a front line Ukrainian reporter that was devasting in its critique.
Eric Newhill says
But but…any day now a million man Ukrainian offensive is going to push those damn Ruskies back to Moscow! LOL……or at least it’s a stalemate; nothing a couple more HIMARS can’t take care of!
I’ve been expecting mass surrenders of UKR frontline troops since June. There must be some factor that I missed that has allowed them to hang on this long – thinking that it is the slow methodical grinding that the Russians have been deploying. The UKR troops under heavy shelling in the sector under attack are killed, while other UKR troops are relatively unscathed until the Russian attack focuses on them. So most of the UKR troops haven’t been under that kind of fires the whole time. Still, I thought word would spread to the yet unscathed units. Maybe the Zelensky regime has a tight lock on information of that nature leaking out and all that the guys hunkered down waiting for the Russians hear is the same happy BS that Zelensky has been sending to us (Until this latest communique that you posted) Anyhow, no surprise to me that it is beginning to happen. It’s about time. Hopefully the whole resistance will collapse soon and Zelensky will have to negotiate for peace, like he should have done back in late May when it was clear that it was over for UKR. Put an end to the killing and start the rebuilding.
As you say, Larry, no one – not even the toughest battle hardened motivated troops can continue indefinitely under that kind of bombardment. From the Wiki on the battle of Okinawa:
“More mental health issues arose from the Battle of Okinawa than any other battle in the Pacific during World War II. The constant bombardment from artillery and mortars coupled with the high casualty rates led to a great deal of personnel coming down with combat fatigue. Additionally, the rains caused mud that prevented tanks from moving and tracks from pulling out the dead, forcing Marines (who pride themselves on burying their dead in a proper and honorable manner) to leave their comrades where they lay. This, coupled with thousands of bodies both friend and foe littering the entire island, created a scent you could nearly taste. Morale was dangerously low by May and the state of discipline on a moral basis had a new low barometer for acceptable behavior. The ruthless atrocities by the Japanese throughout the war had already brought on an altered behavior (deemed so by traditional standards) by many Americans resulting in the desecration of Japanese remains, but the Japanese tactic of using the Okinawan people as human shields brought about a new aspect of terror and torment to the psychological capacity of the Americans.”
Mass Surrender of more than company/battalion sized formations requires commanding officers to give the orders. It’s rather unlikely that NATO ‘advisors’ are going to allow that.😳 Note, the videos show roughly company size units capitulating.
Re the specific units in the 2 videos;
The first, the 56th has been in near continuous combat since day one. This was one of the elite NATO style units. The men in the video appear to be regulars (maybe) and not hastily thrown in recruits.
The second, the 58th has seen comparatively little continuous combat. It’s also a NATO style elite unit. The men in the video, however, seem to be older and that suggests they might be a Territorial unit recently attached to the 58th.
Big Picture : Kiev started with 25 NATO style combat brigades. By my (thinly sourced) reckoning maybe 7 of these NATO style brigades are capable of offensive action. There might be a couple of first line reserve brigades that are also capable of true offensive action. The rest of Kiev’s ground forces, NATO style, 2nd/3rd level reserves, Territorials are capable of defensive action only. ( as far as I can tell )
Arguably, sending a Territorial formation into front line combat subtracts from overall combat capability. These poor souls have nil fighting ability even when defending from fixed positions and still need supplies etc. For example, a US Army light Infantry brigade combat team needs 1,400 short tons of supplies DAILY. Territorials are suited for MP duties and patrolling rear areas – not front line combat.
Conclusion – if Kiev undertakes any sort of glorious offensive this year – it’s not going to be with Ukrainian troops.
Eric Newhill says
I was thinking that if enough companies quit the fight, then you don’t have battalions. If the battalions have dissolved from the company level up, then you don’t have regiments and so on and so forth. I agree that the US would never allow a regimental commander to just surrender in one fell swoop.
My mother was a young naval nurse serving in a Royal Navy hospital ship based in the Pacific during the battle of Okinawa. She told me she’d seen casualties from many battles going back to the North African and Italian campaigns from most of the Allied countries as well as the Axis powers, but told me she’d never seen men in such a broken mental state as they took on after Okinawa. I think those memories along with those of the horrifically burned victims of the Kamikaze, remained with her all her life. She rarely spoke much about these experiences, but opened up a bit during the Falklands war. I remember long ago reading an article about courage and the author’s thesis was that it was always finite: everyone had a certain reserve that could vary hugely, but when it was gone that was it. Like you, I have found it difficult to understand why there have not been more mass surrenders of Ukrainian forces before now. Your explanation is credible. I suspect that a moment will happen when the whole army will simply disintegrate. I also think – that as with most Germans after WW11 – the people they will blame, will be their former leaders. The boneheads in the West having screwed up with their Mid-east wars and their botched colour revolutions in Belarus and Kazakhstan, will find most people in Ukraine will hate them far more than the Russians. Russia is going to emerge much more powerful than it was last year and the West will begin a process of fracture that will be irreversible
HELMHOLTZ SMITH says
Something I’ve wondered about too. Some things I’ve thought of
1) they’re being told that the Russians will kill or torture them
2) there are nazi extremists behind them with orders to shoot deserters
3 just how exactly do you surrender? you’re under continuous fire from guns far away. If you stand up to wave a white flag how can you expect to be seen or even survive?
4) they’re being told that it’s hard on this part of the front, but elsewhere it’s victory all the way.
James K says
Would you say that part of that “slow methodical grinding” is also perhaps to help Russia buy more time?? (and not to startle NATO into bringing its brigades, armies, air forces, etc, if the situation turns too dire too quickly…)
I ask this because it seems to be a pretty desperate time for Russia. Its leaders are quickly running all over the world looking for whatever military and/or economic support anyone can lend to their BRICS organizations, as well as for Russia herself. Furthermore, in addition, Russia had to even openly publicly accept Finland’s NATO ambitions as “It’s ok, Finland! Go join NATO, it’s not like it’s a security threat for us or anything!” as well…
We know NATO is big and powerful, so I’d understand if Russia will want whatever extra “time” or breathing room she can get………
Larry Johnson says
No, I don’t think so. Why do you say that this is a desperate time for Russia? They are not scrabbling about begging for military support. They are shoring up the new multipolar world with diplomacy. Do you have any evidence or anecdotes of growing domestic discontent in Russia? If so, please share.
James K says
What does “discontent” in Russia have to do with anything? My claims clearly have nothing to do with whether Putin is widely supported or hated over there.
The reason I assign the “desperate” label for Russia currently is due to their (1) open acceptance of Finland’s NATO ambitions (you can check Putin’s direct take/quotes on this elsewhere), essentially admitting they cannot well conduct a multi-front military operation (to prevent NATO expansion), and (2) if they are so easily shoring up a “new multipolar world with diplomacy” as you say, what took them so long to do it? And why did they wait until now? It sounds to me like they were instead *pushed* by the West into doing all of this now (as of February 2022), which also suggests there are some time-sensitivities at play here as well. In other words, while Russia may tell whatever foreign nations it’s currently visiting that “It’s ok guys! There’s no rush here at all, just consider our proposals whenever you randomly feel like getting around to it, no pressure at all…”, there’s likely a bit of desperation on Russia’s end — unless, perhaps, you’re suggesting that Russia was already “shoring up the multipolar world with diplomacy” significantly before (perhaps even in “preparation” for) the February 2022 invasion and its fall-outs?
Speaking of “pushing” from the West — even RT had an article back in March 2022 titled, “Russia’s divorce from the West has pushed it into China’s arms. Here’s how it will work”. And likewise, when there is a “push”, there’s usually some kind of time-sensitivity associated with it as well.
James K says
Meant to say, a “time-sensitivity” on the part of the one *being pushed*, to clear things up…
Anna Zimmerman says
You are displaying the fallacy of non-attention. Just because you have not noticed something before, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Russia has been building alliances and strong diplomatic relations with different nations for the last decades. The West has simply not deigned to notice – predominantly because it is arrogant enough to ignore anything that it does not dominate. For one major example, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was launched as far back as 2001, with Russia as one of the major founding members, and it is most certainly growing in significance and reach.
Eric Newhill says
As an aside, Larry, what would say to those who dismiss the videos as Russian propaganda and fake? Which is what the Kool-Aid drinkers will surely do.
Larry Johnson says
I ask simply, why isn’t Ukraine putting out videos of enthusiastic Ukrainian troops conquering territory. Hell, they could fake some. They are not even doing that. Or, Zelensky could stand shoulder to shoulder with the commanders of the 56th and 58th and proclaim they are still in the fight. Hasn’t done that yet either.
Eric Newhill says
Good points, Larry.
A few months ago UKR was releasing pics of destroyed armor, much of what looked to me like their own, claiming it was Russian. Not so much anymore – and, maps don’t lie. There are decent sources of maps (french Ministry of Defense) that give the ultimate sitrep; UKR is steadily losing again this week, just as they have been since Feb 24, 2022.
Another aside, purely at the optics level, Zelensky strikes me as an utterly arrogant little prick, shamelessly telling the US, EU what they need to do. He can’t shave? what’s with the perpetual sweat stained t-shirt? He can’t dress like a statesman? Such an obvious cheap ploy to be “one with the troops”, “down in the trenches”. For chrissakes, the guy is estimated to be worth $500 million, conservatively, mansion in Miami and elsewhere. Pure con artist and I can’t believe how people fall for it. Hoping some of the survivors of his fight to the death pawn units put a bullet in his scraggly ass face one of these days.
Pito from Mescalito says
I believe there is a law, either recently discovered in archives or passed and insufficiently reported on, that says selling howitzers to clean-shaven presidents is not permitted.
What breaks my heart is all the unnecessary death. The eventual outcome of this was clear from the first week.
But the US and Nato egged them on, forbade Zelensky from negotiating a deal, pumped money and weapons for no purpose other than to increase the casualty count on both sides.
The more I look at this the more I am convinced that Russia is liberating Ukraine and some day in the future the world will see a freer and more prosperous Ukraine.
George Chamberlain says
I agree 100%.
They are liberating us here in the US also.
This is a slap in the face to bring us back to reality.
Reference the primary results Tuesday.
Tom Hickey says
The Kagan clan’s Small Wars Journal had a long, detained, and nonsensical post up yesterday, “Why Ukraine Will Defeat Russia and How, from Kherson to Crimea, from Zaporizhzhia to the Donbas.” Here are the authors “credentials. No military experience, no study of military science, no stem, no intel background.
“Brian Frydenborg has spent two decades studying, writing about, or working in the fields of conflict analysis, counterterrorism, international affairs, public policy, politics, history, and humanitarian aid and international development. His work has been featured in Newsweek, Jerusalem Post, Modern War Institute at West Point, London School of Economics and Political Science Middle East Centre, Jordan Times, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Real Clear Defense/History, among others….”
Amazing that some people apparently believe this delusional stuff.
Eric Newhill says
Part of the same crew that predicted candy and flowers for US troops in Iraq, Iraq sparking glorious color revolutions across the MENA. They’ve never been correct and they spill the blood of others as easy as you or I pour a drink.
The Defense industry loves them, of course, and neoliberals and Republicans alike love their USA uber alles purple thumbs BS.
They’ve brainwashed the population of the USA into a cartoon perspective of reality in which Russia is evil incarnate. Cheap good feels to virtue signal about fighting evil.
I am afraid the one thing the West can do is propaganda on their own people. I don’t think anyone has ever surpassed them in this. I have little doubt that when this war is lost, they will be able to smother the news with the next “big thing”. Probably, they will the economic mess they’ve created with their sanctions and before that with their moronic lockdowns, on that nasty Putin. The military-industrial complex will slaver over all the new contracts as the West re-arms against the “Russian threat”. I really fear that only a total economic collapse will wake most people up. But, History teaches us to expect the unexpected and maybe there will e a great awakening and the scumbags who’ve brought this about will be made to pay a price?
Just read an opinion piece on The Hill
So apparently we are all wrong! Ukraine is winning . The same publication says Cristopher Wray wouldn’t describe the Russia collusion story as a hoax.
It must be very stressful for people to have to keep on developing narratives that appears to run counter to all the known facts.
Rick Merlotti says
It must be hard to keep up with all the lies and lies of omission. I keep imagining a huge neocon war-room with yarn connecting all the narratives and propaganda talking points, like that of a serial killer. Cuz that’s what the neocons are, serial killers on a mass scale.
Not if you are a paid consultant for US defense contractors – he knows where is paycheck comes from.
In any case, his educational background (PolySci BA) gave him most excellent preparation for a career as a fantasy writer.
I watched a video of what was grid of trenches in I guess a 40m by 40m box. The Russians put artillery round after round into the box and for good measure put round after round down a trench that led away. Scary stuff and I doubt anyone could have survived that barrage.
I am a fairly recent reader of Larry’s blog. He strikes me as by far the best commentator I’ve come across on the overall picture – military as well as political. We are also about the same age, so I can directly relate to his past experiences and memories. However, there is one matter that has bugged me a lot and which I have never seen addressed let alone answered. This is why Ukraine has taken six or seven years preparing fortifications against a Russian invasion? They knew |Russia was doing everything it could to avoid a direct conflict. To me this indicates that there’s been a longstanding plan to provoke this invasion by whatever means necessary, and that Ukraine’s supposed leaders since the Maidan coup have been happy to go along with this. This needs to be exposed.
Evgeny Koshevoy, closest friend of Zelinsky, just stated ‘ I don’t give a fuck about Ukrainia, they are total idiots and I’m making it an official statement’
Does anyone know how precisely how many troops Russia actually deployed ? 190,000 were reported at the outset. But I also saw estimates as low as 80,000.
The Allies appear to have roughly 200,000 ground forces engaged.
A guesstimated breakdown of the Allies ground forces is:
~15,000 RF (Crimea, etc)
~ 5,000 others
There are so many good comments. Thumbs up to all and thanks for this blog. Ukrainian morale is in the dirt and a total collapse is inevitable. Those who surrender get bullets in the back. Others are on the front line rather than getting shot by commanders. Those on the front line are pounded and cannot rotate because the Russians have killed their replacements. How long can Zelensky and his US handlers gaslight the west with their government owned media? How long can Zelensky come up with excuses for weapons which have no one to use them? The Russians will get what is historically theirs and ignore anyone suing for peace. There will be no Paris peace negotiations from 50 years ago.
One more point. There are reports that the decaying bodies of dead Ukrainian soldiers are littering the ground in some areas. The smell does nothing for morale.
There are reports, supposedly leaked Ukrainian documents, of 200k Ukrainian dead, wounded, captured or missing in action …
I heard the Russian report of 200,000 two months ago. I think that estimate is true now.
Well, it’s all part of the plan.
Denazify, Demilitarization of Ukraine..not part of it, but all of it!
Rumored 200k killed/wounded, that’s a third of the Ukraine/NATO forces,
Two thirds to go, coming to your AO soon.
Footnote***Oh, by the way, we Russians and Allies aren’t running out of anything!
Taras 77 says
I too share in the absolute horror of the continued blood bath, carnage, destruction, and immense crime that the controllers in state dept/cia have wrought. It cannot be sustained by nato/us at the horrendous cost in ukraine human life. Where is the humanity of these psychpaths cheering on this bloodbath.
The cheerleaders for this crime, the tv generals, e.g keane, and his kagan institute of war, nuland, blinky must be held to account but I am very skeptical that it will happen. War is profitable! Zelensky prob is on the exit ramp and off to his millions and mansions.
I post here a link from Moon over Alabama which captures from the ukraine perspective the utter carnage and hopelessness of the ukraine front line under this pounding; there has been some concern that the report is authentic but others,besides b at Moon, believe it is authentic, e.g. Alexander Mercouris at the Duran.
I post just to add to Larry’s stark report and the comments herein:
Note the crime of shelling ukraine soldiers who were pulling back by ukraine arty!!
Thanks very much for the link. As borne out in the report, the Russians are pouring out the wrath on the Ukraine forces around Donetsk. It was expected after the Ukies have been shelling civilians without mercy. Therefore, the Russians are showing no mercy.
Louis cypher says
They maybe quitting as this article .suggests but some group on a now consistent basis is shelling the hell of Donetsk city. Most recent a city bus was hit killing 3. Glaring inadequacy on Russian military’s inability to put an end to these horrific shellings
You make an important point. The Ukrainians are extremely well dug in there in the area. They can fire and go below almost with impunity. However, the Russians have the resolve to destroy and dismantle all of the fortifications this time around. They MUST secure eastern Ukraine to prevent terrorism in the future. There will be no more poking the bear by western Ukraine.
It seems the Ukrainian Army isn’t finished yet, Mr. Johnson, here’s a column of 24 tanks, it’s a part of the 17th tank brigade moving south from its position in the Donetsk region, this is published on a pro-Russian site, only a professional could tell the origin of the tanks, they look new, untouched by combat, the Russians still have a job to do, let’s hope they do it swiftly, the loss of life is sickening:
Eric Newhill says
24 tanks is nothing. assuming they’re even real.
They don’t have what is needed for a counter offensive. If they move assets from Donetsk, then the Donetsk region is completely overrun by Russia. UKR is borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. It’s only a downward spiral from here, militarily. Publicity-wise, sure, they can put on a brief show, but it’s not real in the context of overall strategy.
Of course any Tanks assigned to the 17th would be brand new….the 17th was annihilated in the cauldron a month or so back.
The 17th had been positioned in the furthest forward possible – apparently was supposed to be the lead formation in the planned invasion of the LPR.
My Comment says
So now that the Narratives are completely collapsing, the GAE will eventually have only three choices:
1. Manufacture some type of event (fake nuclear bomb?) that they can use to justify why Ukraine lost
2. If there are only a few blocks at the end not under Russian control call it a victory. Evil Putin was spotted from conquering all of Ukraine
3. Switch to some other hoax to distract. China, Covid reborn, or???
What will it be?
Keith Harbaugh says
TTG, over at turcopolier.com, kindly posted a response to this column:
I have no ability to adjudicate between these two POVs. Perhaps they are both accurate. I merely post this here to, perhaps, promote understanding of alternative versions of what the situation really is.
As to my POV, it basically is identical to what John Mearsheimer has consistently been stating:
Larry Johnson says
Accurate? Please. Spare me the bullshit. Please show me one piece of territory that Ukraine has taken from the Russians or the Donbas militias and held. Just one? HAS NOT HAPPENED. Remember. The Ukrainians had a 3 to 1 advantage in number of troops over the Russian and Donbas forces. The Ukrainians are in defensive, fortified positions. In theory, they should have the decisive edge. Yet, the Russian Special Military Operation, with the Donetsk and Luhansk forces taking the lead in the Donbass, are steadily kicking the asses of the Ukrainians who are retreating.
Eric Newhill says
If TTG tells you the sky is blue, you better go outside and check, twice.
That guy is straight up deep state info op; always has been and always will be.
Eric Newhill says
Ok followed the link – TTG at his typical weasel game, “Assuming those videos are legitimate, I see two platoon sized elements of what appears to be territorial defense troops. Employing them on the main defensive line under heavy and prolonged artillery fire is a mission they were not trained or equipped to handle. Under those conditions, I would expect some to withdraw.”
Ok. So why are ill trained territorial defense units there if the UKR military is so strong? He doesn’t even realize the obvious question b/c he’s overly facile in his BS slinging and not too bright.
Then he goes onto to wax romantic about weapons systems that haven’t turned the tide in UKR’s favor in the months they’ve been deployed, but hey, any day now.
Something fun to do is google search on the dumb crap that the likes of TTG/Lang have to say – like “Russia offense will collapse in 14 days”, “Russia running out of missiles and artillery shells”. Ukrainian Summer offensive to begin next week”.
You will see these very same proclamations going back to June and earlier. Well, we’re running out of Summer and 14 days was 120 days ago, but the same statements keeping springing up like mushrooms on a dung pile after passing rains.
Thomas Plagemann says
This page is like a cool breath of fresh air in a toxic miasma of Russophobic jingoism. I applaud your rare display of patriotic balls in the midst of our most recent frenzy of 21st C McCarthyism. Keep up the good work.
Will Schryver says
Just catching up today with your posts from this past week, Larry. Excellent as always.
I thought I might also share with you and your readers my commentary from over a month ago about how Russia has prosecuted its “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine — a campaign which, in my estimation (as stated in my analysis):
“… will be studied in war colleges for generations as one of the most impressive prosecutions of urban warfare ever executed.”
For those who do Twitter, my handle there is: @imetatronink