A 2019 RAND study (Overextending and Unbalancing Russia), like most Western plans erected on the whim that Russia’s economy “is comparatively small and highly dependent on energy exports”, saw Ukraine as “[Russia’s] greatest point of external vulnerability”.
That assumption is now being tested and it doesn’t look as if it’s Russia that has been sucked into the Ukrainian quagmire.
After 100 days of war Russia controls, to quote Ukrainian President Zelensky, about 20% of Ukraine’s territory and is inflicting 500-600 casualties per day. The Russians are methodically grinding the Ukraine Armed Forces out of existence. And it’s unlikely that they are suffering many casualties – for them the shells are going out, for the Ukrainians the shells are coming in.
We keep hearing about “wonder weapons” that will turn the war around. First there was the Turkish Bayraktar drone. But a large, not very fast, not very high-flying target is no great challenge for Russia’s air defense armory and we don’t hear much about them now. The fifty-plus fighter planes never appeared. Saint Javelin was another disappointment according to Ukrainian prisoners. Today’s wonder weapon is the 155mm gun and there’s a full court press on NATO members to dig them out and ship them off. Near me there is a military facility with a M109 “gate guard” and I’m waiting for it to be packed off to replace the ones destroyed the other day. The Russians turn out to have another “pencil” for the Western “space pen” and the vaunted M777 uses a lot of titanium. Titanium!!! NATO should have kept them – there may no more when these are gone.
Wars always consume more ammunition than expected. And so it is here. In mid-April it was estimated that the US had sent about a quarter of its stocks of Javelins to Ukraine – “about three or four years to replace the missiles that have been delivered so far“. Since then more have gone. Stingers too. Stockpiles are being reduced so quickly that at least one well-informed Western soldier thinks the West has pretty much reached the limit of what it can send.
As to the Russians, the Second World War experience is so baked into their minds that they know that they can never have too much ammunition. Back in March “senior UK defence sources” said Russia had only another two weeks left. Less said a US general. “Bogged down” by logistics failures at the end of March. Don’t hear much of that these days – every day the Russians carry out hundreds of fire missions and the Calibers and Iskanders keep coming.
The Western supply idea is pretty absurd anyway – modern weapons need lots of training and lots of spare parts and the 155mm guns need all their ammunition supplied as well. All this stuff, that isn’t destroyed by an Iskander the moment it arrives, then has to get to the east of Ukraine. Not much does. Perhaps the most idiotic example is the German Gepard – two 35mm guns and radars in a turret on a Leopard chassis. State-of-the-art fifty years ago, it’s hard to imagine what use it could be in Ukrainian hands. (And, apparently, it takes a full year’s training to use.)
And where are these things going anyway? In a country as corrupt as Ukraine it’s not surprising that we hear stories of Javelins for sale. Who’s tracking them? Nobody. No wonder Interpol is concerned.
So we have to ask the experts in RAND who is really overextended and unbalanced? Every day brings Europe closer to a cold and hungry winter. Everybody has learned now how important potash is but who knew that Russia was a major supplier of neon and what it was used for? And wasn’t the ruble supposed to be rubble? “European nations are paying heavily for the sanctions imposed on Russia“. Meanwhile Russia’s raking in the money. Maybe people who think that Russia has “nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else” aren’t the shiniest turnips in the basket and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a decision.
At the end, when all of NATO’s weaponry has been shipped to Ukraine to be stolen, captured or destroyed, those crafty Russians will be able to just cruise down the highway to Warsaw, Berlin and Paris. They know the way, they’ve been there before.
And if they bring heat and food they will probably be welcomed.
Bill Wade says
People with intense hatred can’t think rationally. We need them out of our government.
I understand that three mercenaries caught by the Russians (two Brits, one Moroccan) have been sentenced to death in the DPR. One has to wonder if the remaining mercs have heard about this and if they are making plans to to high tail it out of there, perhaps not – as you can’t fix stupid.
indeed , was checking on SST yesterday and this russophobic lithuanian owner of SST posted another hilarious “russian economy doomed” spewing nonsense about russian transport / trucking industry from obviously russian hating sources.
the hilarity is this Lithuanian owner of SST (who pretended to be Pat Pang green beret friend) got smacked by the commenters there , when US have peoblem with transport and supply chain and now increased fuel cost. It is like the hatred toward everything russian skewed this lithuanian clown so much he lost the obvious economic hardship in US and go seek every small sliver of anti russia propaganda to smear russian..
it is a pity pat lang succumb to whatever (medical issue , money , women ) and sold his soul to this lithuanian clown
Seamus Padraig says
Yeah. Lang was so reliable for years. Losing him really was a pity.
“And if they bring heat and food they will probably be welcomed.”
In sure you meant this as a bit of a joke, but there may be more truth to it than one want to believe.
you have nailed it. ukraine is not the primary target merely one to get ‘through’ to finish off the real enemy……….NATO.
the more russia turns the ukraine military into sawdust the more terrified NATO becomes…..and rightly so.
logistically NATO has no one to pull their chestnuts pout of the fire. …..washington is to far away to do much before NATO sues for peace on russian terms.
the pentagon using nuclear weapons on the russians, i suppose they can if they want to die as well. otherwise its over, ukraine is going to more or less cease to be, nothing NATO can do to stop it and THEN those missile batteries in romania and being built in poland come sharply into focus!
US and EU poodles started this conflict with russia when they are at the weakest both militarily and economically and Russia at their strongest.
Witness how US/EU failed to get worldwide support agains russia except their slave lackeys like Japs , Korean and Sinkies ..
Witness how US and EU economy craters by their own sanction blowback , with no reserve in tank and runaway debt and inflation , it is like US/EU start this fight armed with hope that russia will capitulate and hope that russia will lose due to west’s MSM and social media war (lol)
Witness how western weapons which are touted as the BEST , performed like crap in ukraine. maybe those endless glossy TV shows glorifying western made weapons are just lies ?
Witness the russia correct way of warfare and compared it to the western airpower doctrine which border on illogical spending of resource vs gain. It is like the west accostumed to their stupid airpower doctrine and dont blink an eye when it took massive resource just to deliver few kgs of bombs on target , while russia simply use artilery to deliver massive tonnage of ordnance without the need of pilots , air tankers , SEAD , CSAR and other nonsense needed to support air power doctrine..
Witness the true effectiveness of military budget spending on russian armed forces , small example is the distributed weapons in naval ships , where the smallest corvette can launch kalibr cruise missiles.. meanwhile the US navy stuck with the useless LCS and clueless on going forward because the carrier aviation mafia hold them back
The funniest thing I heard today, haven’t got the link, sorry, is that the M777 uses imperial measurements and of course Ukraine uses metric. So none of the wrenches, screwdrivers etc, that the repair technicians use work! Apparently the US is scrambling to send toolkits…although whether they will ever be united with the weapons seems unlikely.
Thanks for sharing that. I tell, you CANNOT make this stuff up!
Fake news. The US Army uses metric on everything.
Remember NATO interoperability depends on cooperation. All those Europeans using metric.
i dont know Ukraine is part of NATO
It is, by proxie, when your military, weapons and disastrous stratgey are NATO run, you’re in NATO – like it or not.
This war feels too much like a distraction and preparation strategy. Or people calling the shots really are that stupid and evil.
Russia winning was pretty much baked in if you ask most people before war started.
As for going further than UKRAINE. This is Russia’s best chance to do it. Now or maybe never.
bullshit , no indication russia going to go past ukraine.
Eol Awki says
Maybe. Maybe not. Time will tell. The hawks are rising in Russia. Patruchev, even Medvedev are saying very undiplomatic things that they never would have said in the past. The Duma might “unrecognise” Lithuania as a sovereign country. Narva, Estonia is coming up in serious conversations. Even Putin is hinting at Russia taking back “what is hers”, saying, “We retreated only to rebuild the forces and move forward.”.
Russia is convinced that the West intends to destroy her. She will fight back now. And perhaps that even includes the Baltic states – we shall see.
Eol Awki says
Putin’s speech. Read into it what you will.
Putin, who doesn’t bluff or boast, stated his aims from day one: Demilitarize Ukraine, Liberate Donbas, DeNazify the country. #1 basically done, #2 very soon, #3 will take some time. Finish of SMO. Troops return home.
From what I am seeing Russian has taken pretty much what it always wanted Eastern Ukraine – The Donbass. The might take Odessa or leave it as bargaining chip, but I believe they will take it.
Once they do, Ukraine has no sea access and will them have to rely on friendly relations with Russia in order the trade. This looks like a reasonable goal.
I am confident that whatever is left of Ukraine at the end the people pf Ukraine will be better off, instead of a resource rich country like this being the poorest – except for the oligarchs, the Clinton’s and the rest. The poorest nation in Europe was at once the biggest contributor to the Clinton “Foundation” and we all know about that scam.
It might take a decade, probably less but I am confident Russia has plans for Ukraine that will almost certainly be of great benefit to the Ukrainian people, as for Zelensky an his bunch of crooks, well that is another matter.
Russians are very patient and very unlikely to move further into Europe.
They’ll wait for Europe to come to them.
So much easier.
of course the enlightened western europe will use the baltics and polacks as their foot soldiers.. theres nothing left in western europe except girly men and weakling
Unlike many, I see a decent future for a Russia aligned Ukraine.
Ukraine had been bled white of resources by the west while keeping the people in poverty. How many tens of millions of dollars went to the Clinton “Foundation”, how many millions to the Bidens etal?
Do the Ukrainian people enjoy the fruits of their natural and human resources? Not by a long shot.
Compare the wealth and living standards of the Russian people under Yeltsin and the west with the same under Putin and an independent Russia.
Once the Ukrainian people find out they have been gang-raped by The US and EU, there will be no going back.
There’s new troll narratives spewed among the blogsphere , it is said russian missiles are not accurate and they need some spy among ukraine to plant guidance kit on the ground target so the missile can hit the target accurately..
i dont understand why ppl made up such obvious lies especially when it is technically stupid.. is this the sign that westenrn sheep will swallow every single simplisic lies without question ?
Eol Awki says
Here in the UK they accept and promote everything said to them. So I guess the answer to your question is simply “Yes!”.
It’s called information warfare. And it works a charm.
Ukraine is out of options. That means the US and UK are out of options. The weapons and the money are getting sucked down a black hole never to be seen again and served no useful purpose but a few more thousand dead Ukrainians.
Zelensky doesn’t dare back down because the Nazis will kill him. But if he doesn’t the saner heads in Ukraine will.
The US, EU and UK can’t help, if you were Russia would you trust any of them?
They will probably try to exist Ergodan as an intermediary, but he will demand a lot. They could get on their knees and beg Orban, but they’ve been non-stop insulting and demonizing him for a long time. He might demand George Soros’ head on a platter and if desperate enough they might give it to him.
SoCal John says
“…those crafty Russians will be able to just cruise down the highway to Warsaw, Berlin and Paris. They know the way, they’ve been there before. And if they bring heat and food they will probably be welcomed…”
Great point, such may come to be!
Eric Newhill says
Today Ritter made a fairly convincing case for a quagmire. Adds color to his previous statements that confounded some here. Yes, Russia has the edge, but it’s not an overwhelming edge. So the war has become a brutal, grinding, slug fest that will go on for a long time; an attrition contest – and it’s not clear which side can put up with it the longest.
Seamus Padraig says
So Ritter changed his mind again? He seems to vacillate back and forth. Is he bipolar perhaps?
Eric Newhill says
Loose cannon, IMO.
Appears that he becomes emotional at times and contradicts himself when he is. Not sure.
Eric Newhill says
Yet, I still see some kernels of truth in what he says about a quagmire. The US can help UKR harass Russian held territory into perpetuity. The only solution for Russia would be to take the entire country, which would be costly; maybe prohibitively so. Then, if Russia did take the entire country, the US could continue the harassment from surrounding NATO countries. If Russia retaliates/takes counter measures, then NATO can proclaim that Russia attacked it and declare war on Russia. It turtles all the way down.
Apparently Russia is sending troops to Nicaragua. Testing limits of the Monroe Doctrine. What country South of the border will be next? I don’t see any of this ending well unless we get someone sane and with true statesman skills into office soon. That person will need a congress, military and agencies that are on board and not sabotaging his efforts, as was done with Trump. Never gonna happen, IMO.