What I Expect In Ukraine

This is how I expect things to unfold in the NATO proxy war using Ukraine against Russia; with some bits about why I think this way.


This is a highly shortened version of the history leading up to now. It is terse, vague, and mostly just refers to things by a name or an event description. The purpose is just to remind about the background to these events and why some things will not change.

First look up Kieven Rus’. In about 900 AD that was the start of the Russian People. For the next 1100 years these Russians eventually formed several countries. “White Russians” the Belarus (which is literally Russian for “White Russian”). Russia proper as we know it today. Ukrainians. Yes, the Ukrainians are substantially Russians. The Ukrainian language is essentially somewhat Old Russian with a couple of odd spellings and a couple of older language features that have been lost in “Modern Russian”. Both Ukrainians and Russians trace the start of their country to Kiev. They share a common history largely until the Bolshevik Revolution that made the USSR (CCCP). The Ukrainians were only not part of Greater Russia for about 100 years (give or take). Most of that was when under Mongol Rule. A small part during the Revolution; but then rejoined under the USSR. Only since the breakup of the USSR has Ukraine been a “Modern Nation”. Within my lifetime (and most other adults too…)

In 2014, the USA (no doubt with NATO partners) pushed a coup (nee “revolution’) on Ukraine and displaced a government friendly to Russia with one compliant with NATO. This didn’t go down so well with the Russian portions of Ukraine and a mess resulted. The proposed “fix” was to recognize those areas as self directing, and agree that all of Ukraine would remain neutral and NOT extend NATO into Ukraine.

Unfortunately, The West (USA, NATO) didn’t bother to keep those agreements. Rump Ukraine has been shelling (killing about 15000 maybe more) the Russian “breakaway” Republics in the Donbass AND NATO stated it was ready to recruit Ukraine into the group. The fact that The West lied, broke promises & written treaties, and killed thousands of Ethnic Russians is the key bit here.

Note that the population of Rump Ukraine (especially outside of Odessa) is largely derived of Polish people (annexed to Ukraine at the end of W.W.II), some Greeks and other odd bits (Tatars, Moldovans / Romanians, Hungarians) in the south west mountains, and a modest number of actual ethnic Ukrainians. And a bunch of Ethnic Russians mostly found along the coast and near the Eastern areas (but some scattered all over especially near the major cities).

After fuming over the western lies and the murder of Ethnic Russians by Rump Ukraine via years of shelling: Russia invaded and incorporated the areas of the Donbas (“breakaway republics”) into Russia at the request of the Ethnic Russians living there.

Note this is history from a more Russian POV, since The West has so polluted our “news” and things like Wikipedia with falsehoods, lies and propaganda that those sources are largely useless.

Where We Are Now

For months, the “News” has been telling us Russia is running out of men, tanks, ammunition, and more; that Putin is about to die from some disease, and that the people of Russia are sick of it all.

That is all flat out lies.

Russia had entered Ukraine with a very modest force expecting to just carefully and without too much damage or death, protect and absorb the Donbas areas. Ukraine was ready to agree when the UK & USA stepped in a put a stop to it. UK & USA wanted a nice long hot war with Russia to “bleed them dry”.

Well, it didn’t work out that way.

Sanctions were supposed to bring the Russian Economy to its knees. But The West doesn’t accept the meaning of “fungible”. Russia mostly sells commodities and those are Fungible. One red winter wheat is much like another. Gold is gold. Oil is oil. Etc. Russia can sell those anywhere.

But the UK & EU can not get natural gas and oil in quantity just anywhere.

The net result is a catastrophic level of inflation, industrial collapse, and fear of a long cold winter in Europe. The USA has high gas and natural gas prices as we are shipping anything we can to Europe and the nation is nearly out of Diesel Fuel (at which point everything stops. Trains, ships, trucks, airplanes, farm tractors & equipment, mining, forestry, the Military trucks planes and ships too; and any industry depending on them).

Russia has expanded their initial very small force by calling up 300,000 reserves (about 10% of their total available, BTW) and is busy hauling a few thousand more tanks, trucks and such out of mothballs. Oh, and they have LOTS of oil & Diesel to run them with…

Russia has also been launching waves of drones, cruise missiles & other missiles at Rump Ukraine for days on end (weeks on end?) with no end in sight. Their factories are busy making more, too. Lots more. THEY have the natural gas to make ammonia & nitrates that are used to make modern explosives and gunpowders. (Note that European NATO has had to shut down production of those due to no Russian Gas).

Essentially: When NATO decided that Ukraine could not take terms and settle, Russia (and Putin) saw that a limited incursion sparing as much infrastructure and lives as possible was not going to be allowed by the flood of NATO arms and money into Ukraine. Strategy had to change, and it has.

So Russia has mobilized to fight a real war. Against NATO by proxy.

Going Forward

NATO in Europe is down to about 2 days worth of ammunition and has depleted most of their stocks of available excess equipment to send it to Ukraine. They do not have the industrial capacity at this time to make more. Due to lack of Russian Gas and oil, they have had to shut down metal refining and fabricating, chemical production, and the manufacture of fertilizers (and the related gun propellants – ‘gunpowder’ – and explosives). The supply of arms to Ukraine is going to run dry, just about the time that Russia is attacking in force.

The USA has run out of credit (Japan & China are dumping about $2 Trillion of US Bonds and will not be buying more… Europe is not in any position to buy. Obviously scratch Russia.) So who will we sell them too? Namibia? Paraguay? So the only avenue open is “print & spend” and hope The Fed can paper over it enough to hide the high inflation that will create. The “run rate” at which the USA can make more missiles and such is very slow, far slower than the rate they are being consumed in Ukraine. Then it takes weeks to months to ship them over. The USA will not be an important source of materials and arms going forward (unless we strip our own units and make them useless).

Russia knows this.

Compare BRICS: Russia & China have been busy working around “sanctions” of the financial sort. They now have a non-USA dominated monetary clearing with their own currencies (backed by gold, BTW) and have an alternative to the SWIFT interbank clearance system. There’s something like a 18 countries who have asked to join in (including, BTW, Saudi Arabia – who are now trading some oil NOT in $US).

Essentially The West is broke and folks are abandoning their manipulated controls systems and petty untrustworthy “sanctions risky” clearance methods. All the decades of built up anger, hatred, and resentment at the oppression from Europe & the USA forcing them to do crap they didn’t want to do, now sees an alternative. This is just huge.

So what will Russia do now?

Drone & Missile strikes will continue until Rump Ukraine is on its knees. My best guess is about 1 week after the ground freezes hard enough to carry tanks. call it Mid-December.

The citizens of Rump Ukraine are being slowly herded into the EU Nations. As the lights, water, and heat go out, these folks will largely evacuate westward. When the final push comes it will be a humanitarian disaster for those who have not yet left. Rump Ukraine is starting to advise folks to evacuate Kiev. These folks have a battle ground to their East. Water to the South. They can really only go into Poland or West. Putin / Russia is trying hard not to kill too many nor destroy too much; but it is quite aware of the mess 10,000,000 “refugees” will make in the EU when they show up needing shelter, food, water, heat, light etc. right at the time that the EU can’t make enough for their own citizens… This has the potential to collapse the EU (and will certainly cause some national governments to flip their “leadership”).

With that civilian flood in progress, Russia will start a very real invasion. Not like the gentle and careful one of the Special Military Operation. No. One with rampant destruction of anything military in front of it. Full air, sea, and land bombardment and attack. A large force will come down from Belarus and capture Kiev fairly quickly. Another will capture that pesky dam that Rump Ukraine wanted to blow up and flood Kherson. Another large force will sweep over the Dnieper river and take Odessa (likely to include ending the Ukrainian Navy and landing forces by sea too) connecting to the Russian Enclave in Moldova “breakaway republic” of Transnistria.

Then the question of what to do with an even smaller Rump of a Rump Ukraine will be pondered.

Clearly highly Ethnic Russian areas like Odessa will happily rejoin Mother Russia, having been Russia since Catherine The Great. The questions will be those Polish & Other Ethnic regions.

IMHO, the best thing for Putin to do would be to give each back to their parent ethnic countries. Hungarian areas to Hungary. Polish to Poland. etc.

What is more likely to happen is that something named “Ukraine” will continue to exist, but have nearly no Ethnic Russians (and few Ethnic Ukrainians) in it. Most Ukrainians will be in the EU (or Russia).

NATO & The US will fume about it, and a few hundred $Billion more will go missing into slush funds nominally to “do something about it”; but nothing will be done.

You see, NATO has vowed to fight Russia “To the last Ukrainian!”; and they are already close to that point now due to 6 figure Ukrainian deaths (not “casualties” but dead with who knows how many injured and broken). After a full on Russian Army Attack, there will be no men of fighting age left in Rump Ukraine to do the fighting…

I figure that point will come about March.

Note: Russia has a “Dead Hand” system that will fire all their nuclear weapons if it is not communicated with regularly. All automated “death for everyone”. An actual Doomsday Device. It is not possible to have a NATO First Use that wins, nor is it possible to have a “decapitation attack” on Moscow. Well, you could do it; it would just mean a global nuclear destruction of The West…

Also note: I’ve been watching Russian Youtube Videos from some random folks doing walks around various cities of Russia. They are clean. Stores are full of everything (even banned western goods). Folks are out walking in furs, driving cars, and having a full night life (Moscow Christmas decorations are the best, but St. Petersburg is pretty good too). Their cities are places I’d be willing to live. Unlike San Francisco or NYC hell holes of dirt, corruption and crime. Oh, and lights are on everywhere, even at midnight. Unlike German and other European cities that are going dark at night due to not enough power. Russians are mostly in favor of the war and love Putin. Their major complaint is that he moved too slowly and didn’t use enough force up front.

In Conclusion

It will not be possible to “cut a deal” with Putin. He has several decades of broken promises from The West. You can not negotiate nor make deals with pathological liars, and Putin knows this. There is no longer any negotiated ending. Just capitulation or destruction. That choice left the building with the abandonment of the Minsk Accords and the UK putting any deal off the table and the EU putting sanctions on.

The “sanctions” will not “do it”. They are only harming the EU & USA. They were stupid from the start since Russia & China make anything they need. The West doesn’t make anything they are critically dependent upon. We can’t live without their oil, uranium, rare earth minerals, lithium, pharmaceuticals, electronic gadgets and more. Making semiconductors is not very hard as long as you are one generation or more back. Military gear (and most other gear too) uses older era chips that they both can make just fine, thanks. It is mostly gamers and some research computers that want the latest and fastest microchips.

Sidebar on Missile Chips:

Some decades back, the Spousal Uncle was running a Cruise Missile Factory in the Los Angeles area. We visited and talked. He was having a devil of a time getting the parts he needed. In particular 16 K bit RAM chips. You see, at that time, Silicon Valley had moved on to 32 K, then 64 K chips and were working on 128 K. Almost nobody was making 16K chips anymore, certainly not Mil Spec.

His missiles had been acceptance tested and type certified with just those 16K chips. He was not allowed to just swap in a newer generation of tech.

Moral of story? Military Gear does not NEED and in fact often is not allowed to even use newer better more modern semiconductor chips. The WEFies & Eurocrats (having never had a real job in their life) don’t know things like this; thus they make crap decisions like “embargo modern chips”. It may piss off some gamer in Moscow, but will do nothing to pretty much anything else in Russia.

So what can be done?

Not Much. All we can really do is sit back and admire what Russia does, and how lousy our “leadership” has been with their bluster, arrogance, and ignorance. Not a decent chess player among them, and nobody who knows how economies or anything industrial really works.

Russia is in the drivers seat. They do not care about anything we say, and have not cared about anything we did. They know The West is corrupt, lies, will not hold to agreements, has no moral center, and is largely incompetent. (Just one look at any of Biden, Justin, or Ursula will tell them that…). They’ve taken everything thrown at them and not even noticed.

Since a “deal” can not be made, and if it were made it could not be trusted: no deal will happen.

Since all of the money and hardware thrown at them as accomplished nothing but getting more Ukrainians killed, Russia has nothing to fear from more of the same (besides, to the extent NATO gear gets destroyed, it stops being a threat to Russia… so from their POV “great deal!”.)

The only potential military options would be full on NATO engagement (where nobody in NATO is mobilized at present and most of them are now out of ammo and “spares”) or a Nuclear First Strike (that would be NATO Suicide as Russia has way more nukes and delivery systems and is already deployed). So no military solution is available. Certainly not before the Russian Offensive is almost over in February.

With politics / negotiations off the table due to serial lying and NATO military doomed to fail; Russia knows that the only thing to do is simply dominate and win. So that is what it will do. And it will do it in winter when cold and snow are on their side.

If you live in the USA: Stock up on food and fuel and anything you are likely to need as prices will only be going higher. Move out of $US and into something more stable. Land and Houses ought to be getting cheap in a few weeks to months as that market halts on high interest rates. Metals and more (like, oh, fabricated metals like brass & lead…) or even silver & gold.

If you live in the EU: Expect to have fuel and food shortages, loss of electricity for hours to days, and only sporadic heating at modest low levels. Oh, and figure out how to feed, house, and care for a few Million Ukrainian Refugees. All while your governments decay into chaos and your industries are shutting down due to energy costs and non-profitability. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Welcome to “The Great Reset”. But only happening in NATO countries and not globally. Sorry Globalists; most of the world isn’t buying your insanity. Russia, China, Muslim World, India – to name just a few… (Brasil TBD. The GEBs installed Lula – a known criminal and pawn – and last I checked the Brazilian people were in the streets. So watch that space.) But the BRICS may be turning into the BRICSS+ as Brasil, Russia, India, China, South Africa add on Saudi and a dozen others. All willing to give the Middle Finger to the USA & EU. Once you blow your credibility and show you can not be trusted, folks tend to leave your monetary and trade systems. “Good luck with that”…

Sidebar On Bridges

The Duran is a great place for analysis. Alexander Mercouris has great connections inside the Eastern European block and Russia and is mostly right on what’s going on there. I think one thing he’s said is not quite correct though. It is the bridges over the Dnieper River.

Alexander thinks the Russians will blow up the bridges shortly (so as to prevent Ukrainian re-supply to their forces east of the river up north). I look at it differently.

You do not blow up a bridge you intend to use.

I believe Russia will want those bridges so that they can more readily get equipment across the river in Mid-December to early January.

Either of us could be right. BUT, that means this is a “tell”. IF the bridges are blown up by Russia, that means they don’t want them, which means they are going defensive of the Donbas and not so interested in big troop movements over the river. IF however the bridges are not damaged as an assault starts, you can bet they will be captured by Special Forces and held for the invasion across the river. That will say a lot about intentions.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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63 Responses to What I Expect In Ukraine

  1. bob sykes says:

    Thank you for a voice of reason. The main stream media in the US, UK, and EU has Ukrainian troops practically in the Kremlin. Unfortunately, our leaders actually believe Russia has a tiny economy and no capacity for sustained warfare, and they base their policies on that belief.

    Here is a contrarian view:


    The author compares the real, physical economies, financial and services is excluded. Physical means metals and ores, fossil fuels, manufactured goods, electricity production and use, agricultural, forestry, and fisheries products…

    By this measure, Russia’s real economy is 68% of that of the US, but it is more comprehensive, and almost autarkic. Russia’s real economy is also 4.6 times as large as Germany’s, primary because Germany has few natural resources.

    The Chinese real economy is 1.5 times as large as the US’, and China has 10 times as many engineers and scientists.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah. The notion that $US equates to “Stuff in hand” is often pushed. So the “military budgets” will be compared and clearly the USA is vastly superior. Why? Because a $10 Million missile is clearly worth 10 x a $1 Million missile that does the same job… Just crazy really.

    To know what the real case is, you must compare real things of the same kind.

    How much steel? Copper? Washing machines? Tons of wheat? Loaves of bread? Effective trucks and cruise missiles?

    Yes, there’s some need to adjust for “quality of goods”, but a cost to cost comparison says more about the financial waste than it does about effective production.

    Does it really matter if the USA makes vastly more semiconductors if WE are using them to control the brake lights on pickup trucks and the thermostat in our homes; while Russia uses them to make cruise missiles and smart bombs?

    So it goes…

    Russian engineers & scientists are just as good as ours, and better in some (many?) areas. They make simple designs that are clever. We make complicated designs that are failure prone and maintenance heavy. I’ll take a Russian truck that can drive over snow and through rivers over a new FORD that stops dead if the computer gets wet because the water was almost in the cab… (Or a Mercedes that dies in the rain because a gasket on the tail light failed and its hind brain got wet like my car did…)

    The AK is used world wide because it is incredibly reliable and just gets the job done. It happily feeds rounds with steel cases and doesn’t mind dirt or mud. Were I given a choice of battle rifle, I’d lean toward it. (In Viet Nam some percentage of US soldiers abandoned the early AR types that were failure prone and picked up AKs…)

    The hubris of thinking the Russians are not capable is a huge mistake. They got to space before us and with far less money & resources to do it. We’ve been using their rocket motors for a few decades now to get to the space station as they were the best rocket motors in the world (full flow when nobody else was doing it – so a lot more efficient).

    Historically we could out produce them and had the newest latest & greatest technical advances. But those days are gone. US Manufacture is pretty much dead with outsourcing to Asia et. al. With that goes the experience and the engineers who make it all go. As of now, the USA is good at making “media” (i.e. lots of talk…) and some weapons systems. Other than that, we import a lot of junk from China.

    Frankly, IF we wanted to place a sudden order just for Uniforms for a Million Man Army bump, we would need to order them from China. We no longer make the fabric nor sew it into clothes. IF we wanted to stock up on military necessary medicines for that army, we would need to order it from China. IF we wanted pots & pans to cook for that army, China again… We can’t even feed and clothe a new army…

    Even our auto manufactures are stuck based on a shortage of “chips” from Taiwan. FORD stacking up thousands of pickup trucks in parking lots waiting for parts we don’t (or can’t?) make anymore. Just how do you expect to make an Army Of Trucks if you can’t make pickups? Eh?

    It is the USA that has no capacity to do rapid ramp up of new military; and it is the USA that has no capacity for new sustained production. We are superior in how much money we spend to have a large standing military force; but even then a lot of that money goes to excessive “maintenance packages” and scrapping perfectly usable equipment so the Arms Industry can sell us something new. (Just how useful to us are the $Billions of Humvees and related gear we left in Afghanistan? Is that expenditure really of any benefit to US?)

    The Stupid, it burns.

  3. John Hultquist says:

    Meanwhile, in the U. S., the news is full of the big issue of changing the name of Indian Garden, a popular stop for hikers along Bright Angel Trail, to Havasupai Gardens.
    More seriously:
    Through a special 2-year program, 85,000 folks from Ukraine have been admitted to the U. S. but there is no plan for the long term. If all or half of what you write happens, we should make permanent room for several million.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and note that in the second Alexander video above, at about 43 minutes he discusses Turkey (and their war on US supported Kurds in Syria) and what this means about Turkey’s trust / fear of the USA… then at 46 minutes he brings up that there will be a China / Arab World summit in Saudi Arabia as they shift from USA influence to Chinese (aka “freedom from the west”…)

    The Arab World is very aware of US / EU interventions AND is very sensitive to anyone who confiscates the money of another. USA / EU confiscating Russian money WILL have them thinking “Immoral and untrustworthy. Not someone I can trust with MY money.”

    The Arrogance of the WEFies and their “great reset” along with the EU “confiscate, ban, and abuse” strategy mixed with the demented USA “leadership” and blatant corruption / immorality is busily driving the Rest Of World into the arms of a completely different “leadership”. The BRICS.

    BTW, there’s a video snippet of Klaus Schwab talking about the impact of a multipolar or some such shift. I’ll see if I can find it. IMHO, it just is an illustration that he’s realized the Globalist / WEF wet dream of a world under their guidance (aka “domination”…) is slipping away as they find BRICS ignoring them, throwing them out, and building structures to avoid their controlled ones. Thus my comment about ~”great reset in NATO countries only”… “They” are pressing forward with the plan and schedule, but have no realized they are losing in BRICSS+ countries. (Our “job” being to make them lose here, too…)

  5. YMMV says:

    Every thriller has to have a bad guy, the more evil the better. Russia has been the traditional villain. There have been others, but the choice is limited since it cannot be one of our friendlies. But it is a shame, because Russia could have been one of our friends, after the Cold War, and maybe even before that.

    Meanwhile, while the West obsesses with Russia as its only enemy, it is surrounded by other threats and potential threats, and is ready to be blind-sided. I can’t list them all. NK, China, Iran, etc. Is the West ready for a distraction like Taiwan? And those are just the situations that you have heard of.

    And then the US is its own worst enemy. How many internal groups would like to see the demise of the US as we know it? BLM, Occupy, AntiFa, and other Soros funded groups. DNC.

    If someone says to the US “watch your back”, it would have to ask “which one?”

    Ukraine is not going to end well — there is no end in sight.
    The US is another story; the end is in sight. A Thirties type depression.
    (It’s hard to be optimistic these days, which is part of the problem)

  6. rhoda klapp says:

    Not exactly on-topic, but Neil Oliver is wondering what would happen if we all refused to pay our energy bills.

    I suppose that is sedition, no longer illegal here in UK but likely to be suppressed by other extra-legal means.

    To return to Ukraine although it appears that Russia can win a war of attrition because all they need to do is hang on, I don’t think it will be quick. OTOH the collapse of one side or the other will be sudden when it happens.

    I’d also paraphrase what I’ve said before, the Russian armed forces are stuck with attrition because they are no good. Unprofessional, disorganised, chaotic and built on sand.

  7. Robert says:

    Rhoda, that Neil Oliver Video!

    I thought the article and comments excellent before that. After, words fail me.

  8. Graeme No.3 says:

    O/T but Pierre G0sselin in Germany (NoTricksZone) has celebrated Thanks Giving with the arrival of the wood stove he ordered in April.

    And didn’t Russia try to join NATO back in the 90s ? About the time they started expanding east-wards despite assurances.

    And I notice both Sweden and Italy have changed governments and are “less than enthusiastic” about sanctions against Russia. Neither are Hungary, Bulgaria and Serbia and there have been big demonstrations in Czechia (and Germany but only AfD) against being left cold and bankrupt. The EU might be a casualty going forward.

  9. another ian says:

    Looks like the idea is spreading –

    “Exclusive Video: Western Leaders Have ‘Misplaced Optimism’ in Ability to Defeat Russia, Says German MEP”


  10. another ian says:

    For the believers –

    “According to Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD)” –

    “Recently mobilised Russian reservists are dying “in large numbers” in Ukraine, .”




    BUT, IIRC, British MoD also helped with stocking that “Steele Report”?

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Since the reservists called up will most likely be used to backfill regular army in Russia freeing them up to go to the front, the notion that the reservists are dying in droves is a bit daft.

    Aside from that technical nit pick, there’s also the fact that Russia has adopted a defensive posture while they ramp up for a future assault. This means it is the Ukrainians who are attacking over contested ground against a fortified and dug in Russian army. That means they are the ones exposed and most likely to take the most casualties.

    Then, of course, we have the known fact that the UK has been pushing Ukraine Ra Ra and Russian BOO propaganda for a while now; along with advocating for the war to keep on dragging on.

    So given all that, I think your skepticism is well placed.

    I don’t expect to see / hear anything from US & UK Media other than how victorious and great the Ukrainians are, and how dire and filled with death is the Russian side; until they announce that Ukraine no longer exists and Russia is having a Victory Parade in Kiev…

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    On the “old nuclear missiles without warheads”:

    The intent of those is to deplete the Ukrainian air defenses without spending much money. You have an old missile body, engine & fuel. The nuke is long gone, replaced with much more advanced ones in better missiles. Instead of just junking it, you put in some ballast (so weight & balance are right) and let it fly.

    Now Ukraine gets to use a $Million or so missile to shoot down a flying rock… And each one so used is one more real missile that gets through.

    It isn’t a sign of desperation. It’s a sign of cleverness.

    I’m actually a bit chagrined that I didn’t think of doing that. Make some cheap flying stovepipes with a proper sized corner reflector so it looks like something big and important; then launch 1000 of them and watch the (very expensive) fireworks from the Air Defense Systems…

  13. I think Lula is on Russia’s side.

  14. rhoda klapp says:

    A nuclear missile without a nuclear warhead is a missile. Big deal. This is just media silliness.

    So, an observation and a speculation. Western media rarely if ever mentions the battlefield intel provided by multiple NATO assets orbiting Romania, Poland and the Black Sea. From a couple of hundred km behind the lines they can see moving targets and monitor tac radio. IMHO this is provided straight to NATO analysts then to Ukraine command. They can easily see where the trucks are going. Not the tanks, war is all about trucks. If the trucks are shuttling between a fixed location and the front line, that there is a supply depot. If radio activity is intensely localised, that’s a troop concentration. It seems that the Russian troops also still have their cell phones. If true that is a massive mistake. I believe the Ukie command is structured to make use of that intel.

    The speculation? I suggest that Russian military culture doesn’t work like that. That intel agencies compete with each other and hoard their data so it doesn’t get to people who need it in a timely manner. Russia has AWACS types, and probably the same sort of skyborne radio intercepts and such, but can they use the product in time, get it to the field? They probably have humint too, but that would be subject to all kinds of spy novel corruption. Like I said, speculation.

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    I believe you are correct, but with one caveat. Historically he was on the Russian side, but as of now, I’m not sure if that still holds. I’ve seen one article about him being elected and it asserted he is leaning communist / socialist; and was pro Russia. OK…

    But what does that mean?

    In the current Globalist Driven Mess (G.D. Mess…) where they are buying heads of State outright, is he for sale, or a pure ideolog? IF For Sale, who’s doing the buying?

    That’s why I’m saying to “watch this space”. To figure it out…

    It’s highly likely the election was rigged; but by whom and for what are less clear. By Russia for their goals? Bolsonaro was also very friendly with Russia (including expressing solidarity with Russia recently…)

    The WEFies have been advancing Socialist policies. So were they more comfortable with Lula as a Socialist? Is it a case of both Lula and Bolsonaro being “Pro Russia” but Bolsonaro (being a Nationalist) was anathema to the Globalists lust for the destruction of the authority of the Nation? Their Socialist Agenda?

    The only points that I can see to help cut that knot are:

    The race has ‘the usual’ fingerprint of “very close”. The stolen races have a pattern of being just enough to “win” but not enough to look like a Big Steal.

    The “winner” has a checkered past that tends to say “Can Be Bought”, or is a WEF “graduate”.

    The “winner” is in just those jurisdictions that are most important to the WEF Agenda (or their proxies such as the DNC Leadership).

    The “winner” is never a Nationalist who is a patriot and supporter of liberties, and never advocates for tossing out NGOs, Soros, WEF, or exit from the UN. i.e. “conservative”.

    The “winner” often doesn’t campaign much (or at all….) and seems to know “The Fix is In”. (See Biden and the ersatz Az. Gov…)

    Of these, I don’t know if the last one applies to Lula in Brazil, but the first 3 certainly doo. I’m not certain about #4, but believe that applies to Lula if I’m remembering what he advocated for when he was running Brazil before. I suppose we could add a #6 these days: The “winner” advocates for lockdowns and forced vaccinations… but maybe it’s a bit early to say that’s a Rule and not just a leaning… And I don’t know Lula’s position on that point anyway, so not helpful in deciding.

  16. Thanks E.M. for the low-down on Lula. He’s a wily fox though – he may well know all the things you say (or have people around him who do). And have some tricks up his own sleeve. Russia and China will be talking to him as well.

    Your point about worldwide pent up resentment of western hegemony is an important one.

  17. Perhaps the best concise summary that I’ve seen of the full backstory without which the ukraine war can’t be understood at all. A torrid tale of western lies and perfidy – wrapped as always in self-righteous simplistic hypocrisy.

    Among the many things buried in ukraine – one might speculate in the fullness of time – there could possibly lie also the English language; that is, it’s worldwide predominance.

  18. Keith Macdonald says:

    One part of the EU (and Britain) openly boasts of the “sanctions” as reported in the mainstream media, as part of the “we are all helping the Ukraine” meme.

    Another part of the EU (and Britain) is less openly arranging “business as usual” – the main argument in the EU at the moment is how to limit the windfall profits the Russians are now making – after we so spectacularly shot ourselves in our feet i.e. the sanctions are now hurting us more than they hurt Russia.

    “Bloomberg reports EU Talks Stall Over Price Level for Proposed Russian Oil Cap – The EU’s executive arm proposed a level of $65 a barrel, which Poland and the Baltic nations rejected as being too generous to Moscow, the people said. But several countries with major shipping industries, including Greece, don’t want to go below $70, the upper end of the range put forward by the EU earlier Wednesday. ”

    Ref: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-23/eu-talks-stall-over-price-level-for-proposed-russian-oil-cap

    “EU diplomats said most EU countries, with G7 members France and Germany taking the lead, were supportive of the price cap, worried only about the ability to enforce it.”

    The ability to enforce it is rather small.

    “The G7 proposals appear to replace the complete ban on insuring Russian oil shipments that was due to come into force on December 3 as part of the EU’s sixth sanctions package. Now it would be permitted to insure Russian oil shipments so long as the oil price does not exceed the cap. ”

    Ref : https://carnegieendowment.org/politika/87873

    In Europe, thansk to the MSM, most people have the vague idea we’re not buying Russian oil & gas now. Or from other countries with sanctions. It’s all a bit of a pantomime. (oh no we’re not). We just happen (cough) to be buying a lot more oil from intemediaries like India and Malaysia. Don’t look too closely where that oil comes from (oh yes we are).

    “Malaysia’s oil exports to China have exceeded the country’s actual oil production by one-third. Malaysia also cooperates with Iran and Venezuela in contravention of sanctions regimes. ” 

    Nothing to see here, move along please!

    Also, Russia has a much more visceral and long-term memory of how to win a war of attrition. Not once, twice – and now perhaps a third time. 1812 (Napolean), 1942 (WW2), 2022 (economic warfare). Two of the common factors are (a) waiting for the opponent to over-extend their depleted supply lines, or pipelines that get “broken” (b) let winter take its toll on the opposition that is less ready and able to cope with the winter.

    Germany (of all nations) almost forgot what happened 80 years ago when it lost control of its sources of oil.

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_campaign_of_World_War_II
    and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_Blue
    and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Caucasus

    In Britain, we still have plenty of untapped oil and gas, on shore and offshore. It’s just illegal to drill for it, and/or companies can’t get licenses. Russia doesn’t need to attack us while we have so many Useful Idiots.

  19. Pingback: What I Expect In Ukraine – Odyssey

  20. rhoda klapp says:

    Keith, you omitted 1917/18 when a combination of incompetent military and internal divisions with an unpopular leader let Germany win. I’m not saying Mr Putin’s situation is like that of the Czar. But in this case it is his own cohort who are the threat not the people of Russia, who won’t get a say.

    In 1942 a significant factor was Germany failing to concentrate on either Leningrad or Moscow or the oilfields of the south. Any one might have done. If Leningrad no allied convoys. If Moscow no good North-South rail routes, if the oil, no oil. That and starting Barbarossa late due to having to rescue Italy in the Balkans and the desert.

  21. Keith Macdonald says:

    @Rhoda – thanks

    I’m sure many have noted that “Military Intelligence” can be an oxymoron, mostly from MI folks keen to give their top brass and politicos the answers they want to hear (not what they need to hear).

    The most insightful views seem to come from folk that have retired or left the gravy train.
    Larry Johnson (ex-CIA, State Dept, Counter Terrorism)

    “The West genuinely believed that massive sanctions on Russia would unleash economic turmoil followed by political upheaval. Turns out the political masters of the West were half right — the sanctions did unleash economic turmoil and political upheaval is underway. Only one teeny, tiny problem — it is happening in the United States and Europe. Putin and the Russian economy are doing just fine. Turns out that Russia is self-sufficient when it comes to essentials like food, fertilizer, energy and rare earth minerals. The West is not.”


    Also Colonel Douglas Macgregor

    He was a SHAPE NATO headquarters member, and provides great insight into the huge gap between European thoughts on the role of NATO (as a peacekeeping force) and the USA thoughts, that cared nothing for the historical sensitivities and wanted NATO to push further east.

  22. another ian says:

    Re Keith MacDonald

    I’m sure many have noted that “Military Intelligence” can be an oxymoron, mostly from MI folks keen to give their top brass and politicos the answers they want to hear (not what they need to hear).”

    If you were to start talking about “government wisdom” you would at the most polite get ribald laughter (at best). But, with plentiful examples to hand, the term “government enthusiasm” gets ready recognition.

    One could similarly apply “military enthusiasms” as illustrated by examples in Col Macgregor’s video. (IMO).

    An example (IMO) is the chapter on “Mussolini” about the rumours that developed on a troop carrier crossing the Atlantic under radio silence in WW2. In

    John Steinbeck, “Once there was a war”

  23. Foyle says:

    Doesn’t it seem like Russia is running out of stuff pretty badly? Fielding 60 year old heavy weapons like T62 tanks (because they have run out of new stuff), even cases of soldiers showing up with pre-soviet rifles. Their conventional weapons stockpiles have been poorly maintained since soviet times, with only a small fraction of their notional armamentum actually usable, and lacking workforce needed to bring it into good repair. Corruption has resulted in their frontline soldiers not having even basics like serviceable clothing, boots, food or guns.

    Much/most of their professional soldiers have been wiped out, and remnants are typical rear-echelon MFs. Almost no officers at front, massive logistical issues, extremely poor quality equipment, and completely untrained mobilized troops with zero discipline exacerbate the issues. No essential high tech gear (accurate weapons, comms, night or thermal vision, body armour, More a rabble than an army, with 500-1000 a day being picked off. Their tactical positions is dire as foliage is gone, and they have to use fires to prevent hypothermia, giving away their positions to pervasive Ukrainian fire-support drones.

    Russia are thought to have used up a significant proportion of their guided missiles, and even those are showing poor reliability in use, and they have no capacity to make more. They are now reliant upon Iranian, North Korean and Chinese supplies to make up for their woeful lack of capacity to make essentials. An economy smaller than Texas is never going to match the industrial might of the west.

    Ukrainians have been prosecuting an offensive campaign – which is always more costly, and have been doing so with far lower losses than defensive Russia, but if Russia start trying to take ground again their losses will escalate dramatically due to Ukrainian tech advantage and it’s massive force-multiplying effect.

  24. jim2 says:

    President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of using cold weather that’s hit Ukraine as a weapon, saying the Kremlin is preparing new strikes to further damage the energy system.

    “As long as they have missiles, they will not calm down,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. “The week that is starting may be as difficult as the week that has passed.”

    The Ukrainian energy system’s ability to meet power demand dropped to 73% as supply shortages widened rapidly early Monday, national grid operator Ukrenergo said. The operator is using emergency cuts to balance the system as consumption increases with worsening weather.


  25. E.M.Smith says:


    Not sure where you are getting your information from, but it “has issues”.

    Russian Doctrine uses a layered approach of 3 qualities of force. They send in the weakest, newest nearly untrained and inexperienced, first. IF they run into trouble, they bring in the next middle experienced with the better gear. Finally, if needed, they bring in their best, brightest with the newest and best equipment.

    Why would you use up / risk damage to a new fancy tank, if you can instead use up the old gear first and only risk damage / loss of something you don’t really want to keep around for a long time?

    The fact that Russia is using up the T-62 tanks first just shows how much they are not really worried…

    As to losses of soldiers: Best reports I’ve found have had about a 4:1 U:R kill ratio at worst and up to a 10:1 U:R kill ratio on some of the near suicidal Ukrainian attacks against fortified Russian positions.

    Russia still has over 3000 tanks in mothballs, is making missiles about as fast as they are shooting them off, and has running ammunition factories for light arms. Ukraine manufacture is ended. The EU is nearly out of ammo too, and the EU ability to run metal refining, manufacturing, and assembly is at a near halt due to energy shortages. The ability to make nitrates and ammonia (needed for gunpower and explosives) is halted due to natural gas shortages.

    I am pretty sure it isn’t the Russians who are having equipment and ammunition shortages…

    As to the status of their troops:

    Russia moved out of Kherson City as part of a troop rotation / rationalization move. Their Paratroopers were being used for fixed site defense on the west bank. That was in a flood zone downstream of a dam that Ukraine was trying to blow up. They have now given their paratroops some R&R time and are fitting them up for their best use: In an offensive campaign to come..

    Note, too, that Russia has a couple of times now left some area they had captured “poorly defended” and pulled back the major part of the force; leaving behind a thin and weak “defense”… BUT making a hard walled “pocket” around them. Ukraine then attacked and captured that useless bit of ground in a “great victory”… then ran smack into the hard wall and meat grinder. They have fallen for this trap at least 3 times now… The latest being Kherson City itself where they are now evacuating everyone and under constant artillery attack as they try to leave or resupply.

    I suspect you are getting descriptions of those thin lines left behind as cover for the traps and not descriptions of the fortified forces behind them…

  26. The True Nolan says:

    @Foyle: Ukrainian mop up of the Russian Army remnants should be simple at this point. I would guess that there is no longer any legitimate need for the US and NATO to continue supplying equipment and funding to Ukraine.

  27. Foyle says:

    I accept I am seeing a lot of pro Ukrainian propaganda that distorts the picture, but similarly there is also a lot of pro-russian propaganda doing the rounds. How to figure out the reality?

    Why would a confident and-in-control Russia, have ceded half the territory it took in the first 2 months of their invasion if they really were in good shape and able to prosecute an effective conventional war? It’s hard to argue that they haven’t lost a huge amount of heavy weapon systems, planes, trains, tanks, Guns, helicopters, ships, missile systems and armored personnel carriers from a military that has clearly been in steep decline for two generations, they have no air superiority, and their desperately inaccurate artillery is no match for longer range pin-point Excaliburs, Himars and large numbers of shoulder launched missiles. I can’t believe they would send their worst equipment and troops in first with the higher costs that imposes economically and politically. We know they lost most of their best soldiers and equipment already – hence need for draft mobilisation and fielding of antiquated weapons, lots of intercepted communications to back this conclusion.

    Published US Govt estimates are for about 100k deaths each for both Russians and Ukrainians, but Ukraine has been waging an offensive war, against Russians who have been mostly dug in for last 6 months – and offense is always more costly for equally able armies. So where do you get your 4:1 – 10:1 kill ratios come from?

    Maybe everything does turn around over winter, but given poor logistical support in evidence for Russian at the front lines (why would you waste fielded personnel and equipment with bad logistics if you had the choice?) they really don’t look to be in a strong position from where I am standing.

  28. jim2 says:

    If Bastardi is right about cold not seen since the ’70’s in Europe, I predict Russia will tighten whatever energy screws it has left to make Europe freeze.

  29. Ed Forbes says:

    Russia is setting up for their winter offensive by targeting rail yards on the west bank of the Niper. Ukraine forces in Kherson look to be pretty well stuck as rail movements from the west to the east are facing both electrical stoppage and missile attacks. Ukraine rail is highly dependent on electrical power to run the engines.

  30. E.M.Smith says:


    Folks with clue NOT in the Lame Stream Media. Retired military guys with lots of good contacts on the inside. English Lawyers who speak English, Greek, and I suspect from his comments, Russian and have lots of contacts inside various places (and a long family history of Political Connections). Folks like that:

    Alexander Mercouris
    140,341 views Nov 27, 2022
    Russia Prepares for Winter Offensive, West Runs out of Ammunition and Weapons, Ukraine out of Power and Time
    News Topic 684

    Alexander Mercouris

    81,348 views Nov 28, 2022
    Crisis for Ukraine in Bakhmut as Russia Captures Settlements, NYT Admits Heavy Ukraine Losses
    News Topic 685

    Both Col. Macgregor and Alexander have a track record now of being accurate and correct. Note that even the NYT had to admit heavy Ukrainian losses. There’s lots of other sources like this too. But the public MSM sources in the UK & USA are useless. Just all anti-Russian propaganda from the most common ones.

    As to why Russia came in with a modest strength force and then mobilized; Putin did NOT want a full on war and did not want to kill a lot of Ukrainians nor destroy Ukraine. He clearly stated his goals publicly. To stop the killing of Ethnic Russians in the Donbas and to demilitarize Ukraine (since they were building up a very Nazi Friendly large army, invited into NATO in violation of signed agreements, and were most likely preparing for a Russian incursion / attack on Russia).

    They were on the cusp of just such a negotiated end when Boris Johnson flew in and busted the deal; told Mr. Z that he was going to fight Russia as The West (USA / UK) just knew that with NATO help they could break Russia (economic sanctions, NATO gear and money, etc.). But that didn’t work.

    So Russia, quite reasonably, said: OK, we will go to full real war then… and called up a small part of their reserves. Russian battle style and gear has the most advantage in Winter… so there was a need to do a few things:

    1) Reposition their existing forces for a different purpose (both place and composition) such as pulling back their paratroopers for future use in an attack; and finish destroying the remaining Ukrainian military units in the Donbas since negotiations were not going just get them called home and you don’t want them behind you in a full on assault. (That’s what’s happening now).

    2) Get the mobilized troops where they need to be for a full on assault.

    3) Wait for winter when the ground freezes and tanks & such are not restricted to paved roads.

    So that’s what they are doing now. Dug in waiting for winter, arranging existing deployments into more stable & secure defensive posture and positions, put in place the assault forces (looking like about 1/2 Million men total along with thousand scale tanks, airplanes, other tracked vehicles, missile launchers, etc.

    Along the way, happy to let NATO send all sorts of gear in to be destroyed and quite willing to let Ukrainians have a logistics tail that starts in Poland and Germany and then has to pass (via roads, not over open dirt, as 12 foot of topsoil is a muddy quagmire in fall…) to the other side of the country in the Donbas where the men and material get chewed up and spat out. All while Russian troops are dug in behind nice protective fortifications.

    One example: At present Russia is firing off about 5x to 10x the number of artillery rounds per day compared to Ukraine. They are doing this from better defended positions with better protections. The USA is reportedly trying to find someone to make 152 mm rounds to get the old Soviet guns in Ukraine into action, since Ukraine is out of that ammo and we’re nearing the bottom of the barrel on our 155 mm rounds, plus our guns are prone to failure (being shipped out to Poland for repair… repeatedly). Europe can’t make more 155 mm to speak of , they (Germany) have had to shut down metal refining and nitrate production due to lack of natural gas / power to make those materials. Russia is having no problem making more as they have all the gas and metals they want. (Buying up some from other countries does not at all mean they are running out. It can just as easily mean they have a schedule to keep and want to ship a big bolus to the front for the upcoming offensive and this is the fastest or cheapest way to do it.)

    Oh, and Russia is busy doing the bombing to destabilize Ukraine and paralyze their forces prior to that assault. In a couple of more weeks of the attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure: Ukraine will be on the edge of collapse or already completely collapsed. They have NO industry running, not much agriculture running, and soon NO electricity, gas, or Diesel to move their military around. Millions of Ukrainians will be slogging their way into Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova driving them into difficulties and putting the EU into a huge bind both logistically and politically.

    Just about then is when Russia will start their engines and do a massive combined land, air & sea assault. I expect Ukraine will then essentially be rendered moot in about 3 to 4 weeks. There will be no negotiations (with whom to negotiate? The USA is a proven liar who will not honor any agreement… the Ukrainian government will cease to exist…), just capitulation.

    Neither the USA nor the EU is in any position to get sufficient (anything really) material into Ukraine and to the battle fields in time to stop this. The Russians are moving their army & supplies a few hundred miles into position. We need to move things several thousands of miles. Russia can use train loads. We can at best send some small number of cargo planes in time. Then haul stuff via trucks that need Diesel neither we nor the Europeans have in excess…

    Then, to whom do you supply it? Ukraine is not going to be able to move the supplies from their border to “The Front” without working trains (that depend on electricity that is near collapse now and will be done and dusted shortly…) or lots of Diesel trucks (and who has the oil for that?… oh, right Russia…) So just drop it off in Poland? Fly USA planes into a war zone to be shot down?

    Per ceding territory:

    Dirt isn’t important. Strategic positioning is. Killing opponents and destruction of their gear is.

    It has been a tactic since at least Alexander The Great to have a “weak center” collapse back while the wings enfold the attackers who are rushing forward into the pocket. Then you destroy them. That Ukraine keeps falling for that is very telling. Enough more “victories” like that and Ukraine will be done for.

    The Russians are doing a great job of “conservation of forces”. The Ukrainians are not, but instead blindly rush at land as though that mattered. It doesn’t. What matters is the kill ratio and traps. Let the Ukrainians extend their logistics tail and get their equipment stuck in the mud, it just makes them easier to shoot up.

    Remember the stated Russian goal: To eliminate the Ukrainian military buildup/ denazification of Ukraine. NOT “gather up the farm land”. They are doing what they set out to do. Azov Regiment and similar are dead or dying. Equipment is being destroyed.

    Heck, as a bonus they are getting to bleed the USA, UK & EU NATO equipment and ammunition supplies down to disastrously low levels. One wag commented that ~”France has 4 days of ammunition left. That’s enough for a Safari in Africa, not a war.”

    The EU is on the brink of collapse, their economies are decaying rapidly, and there’s already been a few changes of government to ones more favorably inclined to Russia. What’s not to like? (From a Russian POV)

  31. Simon Derricutt says:

    Generally, I’m finding EM’s analysis of the situation to seem most likely to be nearest the truth. I’m maybe biased by the knowledge that Ukraine has, during my lifetime, been known for having a high level of corruption where illegally-gained funds are laundered and where you can’t trust anything that’s claimed. By my observations, that also largely applies to Russia, where the rich are very rich and it looks more like many competing Mafia-like organisations than universal laws.

    From what I’ve seen of Putin, I’m inclined to think he’s aiming for an increase in living standards for Russians, though he also has to balance that against dealing with those multiple Mafia-like organisations in Russia and so can’t progress as he’d like. He’s also very intelligent, but comes from a background where cruelty is pretty standard and individual lives don’t have a lot of value (also probably applies in China with Xi Jinping). Thus no problem with sending thousands of soldiers to their death if it achieves the required outcome, where we’d be getting antsy when the score reaches hundreds of our own soldiers (though obviously we’re not so worried about fighting to the last Ukrainian).

    So maybe we’re seeing this from a different viewpoint than the Russians or Ukrainians, because of the different value we place on death and hardship of the people.

    I’m pretty certain that a lot of what’s on the news is falsified in some way. Fog of war, where lying is institutionalised. Mal-, mis-, and dis-information if you want the PC descriptions of what’s being done. Bugger-all truth.

    Interesting point is that during all this time Russia has been paying Ukraine the normal fees for gas-transit through the pipelines in Ukraine, and contracts have been fulfilled until it is made impossible to do so. With Nordstream 2, it was the EU that made it impossible to send gas down it in the first place, presumably having initially contracted to use that pipeline before it was built (and thus breaking their contract). Seems to me that, despite the media impression that Russia break their word, in fact they did what they said they’d do and kept on doing that until it was obviously no longer possible.

    It is obviously not a good idea to become reliant on energy supplies from Russia if you regard Russia as an enemy, but that is what the EU did, and Russia proved to be reliable as well as lower-cost than alternative supplies. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to rely on imports of anything that’s critical, such as energy, food, or strategic materials. Part of the reason for the EU was to make the different countries within it interdependent so that wars between them would become a no-win situation, where any country that started such a war would be crippled by lack of necessary items. Russia could have been brought in, though, where they supply materials/energy and in return get high-tech stuff they can’t make as well. We could have also made war with Russia as unthinkable as war between Catalonia and the Basque country.

    Still, looks to me that Putin said what he was going to do, and why, before going in to Ukraine. Looks like he minimised the damage until Russia was attacked, then started hitting infrastructure to degrade the ability of Ukraine to hit back. One thing we tend to forget is that there really are no rules in war. The objective is to win. How it’s done isn’t that critical, and dead people tend not to cause any further problems.

  32. rhoda klapp says:

    You can’t believe either side’s lies. But the Russian performance of whatever their task was doesn’t look good. They’ll probably win eventually, for some value of winning, but this should have been wrapped up in a couple of weeks. If they intended a ‘limited war’ there are plenty of examples of why that isn’t a particularly good idea. If they intended to win in a walkover, that wasn’t delivered. The only thing I get out of this is the ineffectiveness of Russian armed forces. Just like the Winter war, just like Barbarossa, just like WW1. Will they turn it around, just like…?

  33. YMMV says:

    @Simon Derricutt, I was with you until you said this:
    “We could have also made war with Russia as unthinkable as war between Catalonia and the Basque country.”

    Franco is a name you don’t hear much anymore. I guess he is really dead. Hitler gets all the press. Not even Mao gets much mention.

    The general and dictator Francisco Franco (1892-1975) ruled over Spain from 1939 until his death. He rose to power during the bloody Spanish Civil War when, with the help of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, his Nationalist forces overthrew the democratically elected Second Republic. Adopting the title of “El Caudillo” (The Leader), Franco persecuted political opponents, repressed the culture and language of Spain’s Basque and Catalan regions, censured the media and otherwise exerted absolute control over the country.


    Sounds familiar. The Basque and Catalan regions are at opposite ends of the country, and neither is happy being in Spain, or at least being in a Spain with a domineering central government. A war between those two regions does seem unlikely.

  34. The True Nolan says:

    Now that photographic and strategic information confirm that Ukraine did the missile strike on Poland, how long will it be before NATO gathers its troops and counter-attacks against Ukraine?

    I mean, that’s the purpose of NATO, right?

  35. Taz says:

    “FBI is now arresting people with “geofence warrants”

    The cellular carriers make big money selling customers out. It’s just extra cream. They hold onto that data forever.

    “>>406436176 (OP)
    at this point, they are operating on the premise that they can do anything because it’s not illegal to do until the Supreme Court rules on it specifically.

    for example, the Supreme Court has not ever defined what a woman is. Therefore, until then, there is no definition of a woman.

    In this case there is no definition of a general warrant pertaining to geofencing so they can keep doing it until the Supreme Court says that they can’t”

    Don’t worry…we’ll break you out when they come to get you :)

    Be sure to refer to your agent as Mr. Cheka man.

  36. Simon Derricutt says:

    YMMV – yep, I searched around for a ridiculous-enough war there. Initial thought was UK versus Germany, where the interdependence is pretty high and also there’s a fair amount of intermarriage. Quite a few of the UK squaddies posted to Germany ended up with German wives. Probably happens anywhere that foreign soldiers are based, and you end up with mixed nationality babies, and also means it’s going to be harder to persuade those soldiers to bomb their relatives or invade their country.

    Similarly hard to get France and Spain fighting each other, since there are also a fair number of Spanish spouses here in France, and the border isn’t as sharp as the map implies as regards local customs and consanguinity. Things are blurred.

    The division between “us” and “them” varies depending on who is in your family group, and the thing that the EU ended up doing pretty well at was extending those family ties and business ties across Europe. Needs more time to really integrate the newer additions, since it takes generations to have grown up with it. At the moment, the Eastern countries have wages a lot lower, which distorts the structure pretty badly and is far from ideal, but maybe given enough time this will tend more towards equality. Still, there’s a reason the poor areas are poor, and there are also variations of wage level within the countries, so any levelling up will take a long time and will always vary depending upon current technologies and what value can be produced in each location.

    Russia could have been included in that. May require too much sovereignty to be given up by Russia, though, and it’s obvious that the EU method of making rules isn’t the best. Though the ideal of a central authority that does the best it can for its citizens is always alluring, in practice it moves slowly and can’t properly control supply and demand, leading to periodic gluts and shortages of the necessities of life.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    Looking over various news sources today, it looks like things are proceeding as I expected them too (though still have a week or two before the Winter Offensive gets going full speed).

    Saw one report that Putin is giving Mr. Z. one more chance to capitulate and save a few tens of thousands of Ukrainian lives. So far no news of any reply. This is in keeping with the Stated Goal of minimal damage and minimal loss of life upon the first entry, and in keeping with the thesis that Putin wanted that. But it also looks like “one last hurrah” for that idea; now that NATO has cocked it all up with $Billions and massive arms flows. So, OK, IMHO, Mr. Z. (and his handlers) will choose “the hard way” with the massed Russian troops.

    Reports of large massed Russian Troops (and reports that the retreading training up of the reservists has completed). Other reports of preparation for a Major Offensive. So that’s happening as expected.

    Then there’s the route of Ukrainian troops holding on in Basmuth (sp? I’ve mostly just heard the name – pronounced badly too …) That’s in keeping with the notion that there’s been a switch from the Wagner Group running a small “meat grinder” there where “holding it” kept attracting more “reinforcements” from Kiev Leadership, so a constant supply of men & material showing up for the Wagner Group to shoot up (in keeping with the “de-militarize” goal stated at the start). But now Regular Russian units have been added, unified command over all of the operation (including Wagner Group) has been put in place; and the actions now look a whole lot more like “final clearing out of Donbas” prior to the start of the Winter Offensive. Expect a string of small villages and towns and maybe a couple of big ones to change hands (going to Russia) this next week as that “finish up with Donbas” gets done

    Oh, and also reports of significant Russian Air support being staged along with extra armor moved up…

    Meanwhile USA production rate for 155 mm shells is about 500 / day while Ukraine was shooting them off at 7000 / day; but is now down to 2000 / day. V.S. Russians 20,000 / day and not slowing down. Reports of NATO / EU tapped out on supply and USA trying to talk some FSU Easter European nations to start making 152 mm shells (as that would be the tooling they had); yet none have said they can do it. All in line with the notion that NATO is running out of gear to lend, supplies to send.

    IF (and it’s a big if…) I’ve got my estimating right, Ukraine is going to be running very low to almost out of at least artillery rounds just as the Russian Major Offensive launches. Their Rail will be mostly dead (presently it is sporadic with electricity repairs in spurts; but I expect a strong barrage of Russian Missiles at the start of the offensive to blow up rail supplying sub-stations in particular along with cutting some of the tracks. Ukraine will be dark, cold, paralyzed, and running out of food, fuel, and ammunition just as the major offensive gets rolling. Not good for Ukraine.

    It is so sad to see so many Ukrainians dying for nothing. Yes, Putin is being an abusive bully. Show me any war where folks are all sweetness and light… It just isn’t the case. Wars start because diplomacy fails and folks get pissy. Doesn’t matter what war or which people.

    There’s some reports of USA & EU politicians starting to realize that Ukraine is lost and there’s no way out. THE big problem with this is “With whom can Putin negotiate?” Everyone on “our side” has the burden of about 15 to 20 years of flat out lies, broken promises and broken treaties and agreements hung on their necks. Simply put: There is nobody that Putin can trust to stick to any deal made; so making a deal is “stupid” and unreliable. My guess is that the war continues until Ukraine unconditionally surrenders… and that Putin knows this and is in control of it. (i.e. Putin has no reason to stop, once the offensive begins.)

    Weather Reports for the USA have a big arctic plunge this coming week or two. Assuming similar timing in Asia, I’d put start of the offensive at about 10 Dec 2022. (Though a case could be made that it is already underway in the “early position troops and get everyone stocked up and briefed” stages; with clearing the staging area (Dombas) and prepping everything. But I’m thinking the major bombardment and start of hard core aggressive attacks at about 10-Dec.

    Oh Well. It would have been vastly better if The West had just honored the Minsk Accords, and not expanded NATO nor turned Ukraine into an Armed Camp Money Laundry. 100,000+ less dead, for one thing. Apparently Ursula blurted out that Ukraine had 100,000 dead soldiers… This also, BTW, implies 500,000 to 1 M “casualties” including injuries, wounded, and mental issues. That’s a huge number given the population size of Ukrainian men, 18 to 30. About 7% of 43 Million:
    https://www.populationpyramid.net/ukraine/ or 3 million total (including those sick, frail, left the country, etc…. so not all 3 million of military grade to begin with)

    Oh Well. Can’t go back. Can’t get NATO to catch a clue. Can’t do much of anything but watch as the Russian Military Machine grinds them up and spits them out.

    Do note that as this Prep / Clearance of Donbas continues, and then the offensive begins: It will be ever harder for The West to maintain the fiction that Ukraine was ever winning. I’m of the Karate School POV that “When two tigers fight, one dies and the other is seriously wounded”; so not interested in anyone having done this fight; nor really interested in “who wins” since that is a “Mu! – (whack with the stick)” thing. Nobody wins. Just one gets mauled to death and the other one counts their dead while claiming victory.

    Russia will have succeeded at their stated goals:

    1) Stop the shelling and attacks on Ethnic Russians in the Donbas.
    2) De-militarize Ukraine. (In this case by destroying the military).
    3) De-Nazify Ukraine. Azov battalion is already gone I think, and no surviving government will be able (or willing I expect) to support such again.
    4) Prevent NATO expansion into Ukraine.

    But they will also get the bonus benefits of;

    5) NATO tactics and equipment evaluated.
    6) NATO supplies seriously degraded / used up.
    7) EU instability with probable collapse.
    8) Government “turn over” in several nations to more Russian Friendly.
    9) EU citizenry livid at their governments over the economy.
    10) Biden and the Democrats looking seriously weak and stupid on the world stage.
    11) BRICS growing great guns and recruiting dozen+ scale of countries looking to dump the $US and US, UK, EU abuse and domination.
    12) Highly expanded markets and trade with a more reliable and diverse set of nations.

    Those are just reality. And we (The West) could have avoided all of it by not being pissy assholes and instead being honest brokers for the Minsk Accords. Instead of vilifying Russia, to have invited it into The West. Oh Well, too late now.


    While pondering the US desire for intervention; notice that we’re mucking about in Ethiopia (where “our side” has had issues) and look ready to invade Haiti (maybe The Clintons need more little girls?…/snark;) Is there anyplace in the world that the US & UK are unwilling to mess up and invade? Oh, and Turkey is about to invade Syria and kick butt on the folks the USA has been supporting. Yeah, one NATO member (Turkey) at risk of assaulting another NATO Member (USA) as they reach the oil fields we stole from Syria…

    So that’s what, 3 fronts so far, or is it 4? Then if Taiwan goes up… all while we’re tapped out on loaner military gear and low on rounds. FJB is doing great…

  38. The True Nolan says:

    @EM: “THE big problem with this is “With whom can Putin negotiate?” Everyone on “our side” has the burden of about 15 to 20 years of flat out lies, broken promises and broken treaties and agreements hung on their necks. Simply put: There is nobody that Putin can trust to stick to any deal made; so making a deal is “stupid” and unreliable.”

    That is the truly heart breaking part of the equation. NONE of this murder needs to have taken place. It has been said that politicians (note that I do not say “statesmen”) are professional liars. Unfortunately, politicians kill people when they lie. Our professional liars have played with fire to such an extent that now the house is burning down and we find that they have sold off the sprinkler system for scrap metal.

  39. Graeme No.3 says:

    The mainstream media will switch headlines and coverage to the Big Freeze and claims that it is caused by people using the dreaded CARBON. Meanwhile people in Europe will be burning everything they can lay their hands on to keep warm, especially as those “wonderful” wind turbines and solar panels won’t be working.
    A week of that will make the general population upset, 2 weeks and they will be feeling rebellious and politicians had better watch out.

    As for the EU surviving; Hungary* would lead the way out, followed quickly by Bulgaria*, Serbia* and Italy*. Neither Czechia nor Slovakia are that keen on belonging right now, nor Greece, Malta and Cypress. Spain is at odds with France (as they have been since the 1600’s) because the French government won’t allow a big new gas pipeline to bring African gas to Europe (via Spain for a percentage).
    Then France is having trouble with their nuclear plant leaving them short on electricity supply; they also have a shortage of diesel (and petrol) due to strikes, and with the general public disgruntled with Macron, it might be time for another French Revolution (they’ve had practice).

    *Currently buying Russian gas or coal (Italy) despite EU diktats.

  40. jim2 says:

    Re: EU. The Stupid, if only it burned!

  41. another ian says:


    “Re: EU. The Stupid, if only it burned!”

    Can’t have that! They’d vastly exceed the dreaded +1.5 degrees increase in global average temperature!

  42. Keith Macdonald says:

    A few stray thoughts, loosely related:

    Our IT department was on a routine upgrade cycle, to upgrade end-of-life servers. I say “was” because it turns out no rack servers available from HP or Dell for several months. Then supplies come in drips and drabs, with no consistent specifications. Upgrading old servers to extend their lives turns out to be just as difficult. RAM modules not available or three times the price two years ago.

    One of our favourites: Raspberry Pi. How long have Raspberry Pi4’s been unavailable now? The reason give was/is shortage of critical components from China/Taiwan/whatever. Have they really stopped producing them?

    The relevance to the Ukraine situation is all our high-tech toys (including high-tech miltary stuff) are totally unreplaceable or useless when the supply chain breaks down (or all diverted elsewhere).

    “Prepper” traditions and mindset seems stronger in the USA, not so much in the UK & EU. But it feels like attitudes are quietly changing. “Middle of the road” folks I know (non-political types) quietly mention they are getting in more supplies of essentials “while it’s still available”or “before the price goes up again”.

    Now getting warnings in the UK MSM that electricity might be rationed this winter. Most folks in the UK have been repeatedly requested to get “smart meters” installed, being told “because climate change, it will help you reduce consumption”. Without actually explaining how that actually works. It turns out smart meters also have a Remote Disconnect “feature”.

    Join the dots.

    Most living in cities and major towns “on the grid” clearly depending on permanently available electricity and gas. But we don’t need to be in the Ukraine to lose that!

    Those of us living “out in the sticks” in small villages never had that luxury, still depending on heating oil, coal, firewood etc. Now it might turn out to be a blessing.

    We’ve just got in a supply of stove coal for the winter (normal stuff for this winter, not prepper to the next five years). Two years ago, was c.£50 for 100Kg loose tipped (depending on grade), or £10 per 20Kg bagged, is now £13 for the same qty, so 30% extra. I guess we’re getting desensitised to inflation, my spouse says “only 30% is a good thing” :-)

    Plus a little lamp oil for the kind of lamp our great-grandparents used to have, to keep the lights on.

    Kiln-dried logs (ready to burn) now c. £100 per cubic metre. We used to cut and prep our own firewood from our own trees. Can’t do that now, all the trees in our parish have a Tree Preservation Order from the county council (because environment).

    Keep Calm And Carry On.

  43. another ian says:

    Very “All quiet on the Ukraine front” lately

  44. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Only in the western media…

    Russia is about to capture a major area where the Ukrainians have been sending in large numbers of “reinforcements”. I think it’s spelled something like Bakhmut, centered in the map here (if this works…)

    This is an important hub (several roads near / cross it along with other things) and is the gateway to further cities / towns further into Rump Ukraine. (Though British news is calling it unimportant…)

    Once it falls, a lot of northern Ukraine is open for attack. It is presently nearly surrounded and is reputed to have something like 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers in it (who will all most likey die…)

    Russia has already captured a bunch of little towns (more like suburbs) around it.

    Then there’s the reports / intel saying Russia is building up a massive rocket / drone attack on the order of 900 to 1000 or so; probably to be launched as the opening salvo of the Major Winter Offensive.

    So Russia has shifted from a more genteel “don’t kill if you can avoid it and only destroy military stuff” to a “prepare for full on ‘break things and kill people’ war with destruction of infrastructure and killing as many soldiers as possible”. This entails bringing another 300k to 400k soldiers and their gear up, integrating with the 250k already “in theater” and then just rolling over Ukrainian defenses. It also included a “rationalization” of the front lines (so leaving Khearson City) and “moping up” so eliminating Ukrainian forces still inside The Donbas. Mostly that’s been small villages, but now the Big Magilla of Bahkmut is about to be wrapped up.

    Once that “clean up” is done (so nothing big is left behind their lines) and the weather is right (fully frozen ground), then the major offensive will launch. It will start with a massive air barrage and then the ground forces will start grinding forward at speed. I expect Kiev to fall in a week or two after this starts.

    Oh, and the Russians are doing a slow crawl forward all the time while this goes on. Build defenses and fortifications, Ukraine attacks them and loses a bunch of men, Russia moves up and build more pill boxes, defenses and fortifications… rinse and repeat. It isn’t dramatic, and is Russia “winning”, so doesn’t make Western News.

  45. another ian says:


    That video reminds me of a comment from one of our agricultural advisers

    “Having a business plan that you ignore has an unintended consequence – failure comes as a complete suprise”.

  46. jim2 says:

    @Keith Macdonald – Buying stuff now before the price goes up is a normal response to inflation. This will happen whether people expect the EOTWAWKI or not.

  47. E.M.Smith says:

    Something is up, but what is not clear.

    It looks like Ukraine hit a couple of Russian air bases inside Russia (theoretically beyond their drone range… so either launched from inside Russia or a different / new gadget in use…)

    Russia then launched a very large “reply” of missiles & drones.

    That much is clear. Everything else is mud.

    Alexander M. has a video out 8 hours ago saying basically that, but unwilling to say how large until he gets some confirmation of it being really big. Western news, of course, is saying Ukraine shot down either “all of them” or “over 70” or similar and praised the Great Patriotic Strike to the very heart of Russia. (yeah, they lay it on that thick…)

    So the facts as we know them so far is that this is the ordinary tit for tat of daily exchanges in any war. The suspicion is that it might be the start of the Winter Offensive by Russia. All the news I’ve checked is talking about Silly Stuff, not Ukraine, or is issuing the same canned report.

    I guess we won’t know for a couple of days just how big and what damage was done.

  48. jim2 says:

    Ukraine said Russia had destroyed homes in the southeast and knocked out power in many areas with a new round of missile attacks as the West imposed a price cap on Russian seaborne oil to try to limit Moscow’s ability to finance its invasion.

    A new barrage had been anticipated for days and came on a day when emergency blackouts were due to end, with previous damage repaired. The strikes plunged parts of Ukraine back into freezing darkness with temperatures nationwide now firmly below freezing. However, Kyiv said its air defences limited the damage.

    Russian forces have increasingly targeted Ukrainian energy facilities in recent weeks as they faced setbacks on the battlefield, causing major power outages as winter sets in.

    “Don’t ignore the alarm,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff.

    At least four people were killed in the Russian missile attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, adding that most of some 70 missiles were shot down. Energy workers had already begun work on restoring power supplies, he said. 


  49. rhoda klapp says:

    Those who have been reading my comments here might have noticed my views are at odds with our host. Never mind, time will prove both of us wrong I’m sure. In the meantime here’s a quote I saw posted over at Bishop Hill, hat tip Tomo. It’s by George Orwell and relates to his experience in the Spanish Civil War in the late thirties.

    “Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various “party lines.”

    Have times (or Times) changed? No.

  50. Simon Derricutt says:

    Rhoda – “I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various “party lines.””

    Yep, situation normal…. I think we’re all aware that a lot of what we read in the news is various shades of truth and lies, and that working out what actually happened is rarely possible. EM had a post a while back about situations he’d been in where what was reported as happening differed significantly from what he actually saw happening at the time. A while back I saw data from the UK police that showed that eyewitness reports often didn’t agree, either.

    The presence of dead bodies and destroyed buildings is incontrovertible data, but we don’t really know who did it or why. Actually, these days we can’t even trust the initial pictures or videos of such events, given the ease of photo/video modification, but you can at least go and look for yourself in some cases.

    Thus the analysis here is “best guess as to the truth”, and a dissension with reasons why is always useful. Might change the “best guess”.

    Interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the people who end up in power in politics are nearly always very certain that their interpretation is correct, and manage to ignore any data that goes against their view. The followers won’t bring up that data, either, since they’d be cancelled one way or another if they did so. Most-permanent cancellation being high-velocity injection of Lead, but removing their access to money works pretty well, too.

  51. Taz says:

    I’m not convinced ANY American or Russian really knows what is happening in Ukraine or how everyone got here. Nor do I buy ANY of the stories being pushed by right wing or left wing news channels as the history of this conflict.

    I do think that ultimately Russia will regret this invasion and will have many decades ahead to ponder it. The Ukrainians were essentially their brothers. Both countries have a long history together and based just on language, customs and genetics – Ukraine was destined to remain in “the Russian camp” forever.

    Until the invasion.

    Do I think that inside and outside scoundrels played a role in this sorry affair? Yes. But their actions still don’t justify the invasion, and most Ukrainians will always feel betrayed.

    Everyone always seems to play fast and loose with “US did this”, US did that”. I’m skeptical. Our people just aren’t that good or competent.

    Nope. This is Russia’s mess they made for themselves. And with every Ukrainian death – they just dig themselves deeper.

    The Russian people just failed to keep their creep in check. Mush like we did with George Bush. Putin is no brainiac mastermind. He’s a tiny narcissistic man. Whut could go wrong with such players over an infinite presidential term?

    China has apparently ceased all investment into their Silk Road initiative. It’s now zero, I think they have a clear understanding of this war’s consequences. More will drop soon. Be glad you aren’t a poor Russian citizen with no voice – who now gets to pay for Putin.

  52. Ossqss says:

  53. another ian says:

    “COVID 19 Was Created in Wuhan Lab and Funded by the United States AND Fauci Does Remember”


  54. another ian says:

    Oops! Wrong thread

  55. Taz says:


    Hahahahahaha….our gutless wonders. Thanks. Missed that one.

    As for myself, I hope that all substation transformers in Moscow are destroyed on Christmas night with zero human casualties.

    Every one of them on back order :)

  56. another ian says:


    Those comments get a mention here –

    “Peace-Mongering, Ukraine style”


  57. AC Osborn says:

    YMMV says: 9 December 2022 at 5:25 am
    Funny, non of those will load for me, they all come back as “secure connection failures”.

  58. another ian says:


    All work OK here

  59. another ian says:

    “The Continuing Propaganda on the Ukraine War”


  60. YMMV says:

    RT is often blocked, since it is Russian.
    Die Zeit will sell you the full article for 7 Euros; I passed on that.
    Other sites don’t say very much; the interview must have been mostly about other things.



    Recent comments by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel shed light on the duplicitous game played by Germany, France, Ukraine and the United States in the lead-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

    While the so-called “collective west” (the U.S., NATO, the E.U. and the G7) continue to claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an act of “unprovoked aggression,” the reality is far different: Russia had been duped into believing there was a diplomatic solution to the violence that had broken out in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 U.S.-backed Maidan coup in Kiev.

    Instead, Ukraine and its Western partners were simply buying time until NATO could build a Ukrainian military capable of capturing the Donbass in its entirety, as well as evicting Russia from Crimea.

    In an interview last week with Der Spiegel, Merkel alluded to the 1938 Munich compromise. She compared the choices former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had to make regarding Nazi Germany with her decision to oppose Ukrainian membership in NATO, when the issue was raised at the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.

    “War, it seems, was the only option Russia’s opponents had ever considered.”

  61. another ian says:

    “The War in Ukraine: Past, Present and Future: A Conversation between Michael Vlahos and Douglas Macgregor”

    In 3 parts


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