Ukraine – Going Big or Just A Distractor? New Shelling. Maybe…

This is the first report I’ve run into that claims a large new shelling campaign is underway along the “whole Donbas front”. Emil Cosman has a very “direct” style. I’ve not found him lying about anything yet. But I’ve also only watched “his stuff” for a couple of weeks now.

I’m not sure where he is, or is from. His accent, to my ear, sounds a bit like Romanian or the Swiss Romansch. He has trouble pronouncing some Slavic place names, so not a Slav. It isn’t German, French, Spanish or a few others I’m very familiar with. There are some aspects that sound Latin Based which would imply not Celtic nor Basque. All of which leads toward Eastern Europe somewhere, but not Slavic parts.

He has a slight “Pro Russia” bias (or he just rigorously reports The Truth and in our Media Web Of Lies and Propaganda Pro Left / Pro Ukraine, it ends up sounding a bit pro Russia… I’ve been accused of that too…) But I’ve also seen him toss some rocks at Russia when they were deserved.

So since he’s “first out the gate”, here’s his posting (turning on captions helps).

I suppopse we’ll see in the next few hours if this is an accurate report (and completely blows out of the water the “Russia out of artillery ammo narrative.,), or if it is just a feint, or if it is the start of the much anticipated Winter Offensive. Or maybe the whole thing is just a Fog Of War False Narrative.

But in any case, it is a “Watch This Space” to see if we’re at the leading edge of W.W.III or the end of the S.M.O; or what. Time to wake up, smell the coffee, and check for “new news”…

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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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40 Responses to Ukraine – Going Big or Just A Distractor? New Shelling. Maybe…

  1. AC Osborn says:

    Even the BBC has reported the new Russian offensive, with cliams that they may have taken Soledar.

  2. another ian says:

    “Russia Claims Soledar Victory, Trap Ukraine Troops in Bakhumt; Ukraine Soledar Counterattacks Fail”

    I haven’t watched as yet but going on his reports of the last few days it would only be a suprise to the YSM

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Alex Christoforu has a video up today saying a big rocket / drone attack has started. But it could just be another 100+ barrage as they have done before.

    Just after the display of Putin acting healthy, at about 1:40 starts the missile discussion.

    Given that surprise is a big element of any attack, it could just be that Russia is modulating the day to day attack level so when they do launch something big; Ukraine spends a day or two thinking “It will be over tomorrow”…

    So if it IS the start of something bigger, it will take several days to know for sure.

  4. Keith Macdonald says:

    The knock-on effects continue to multiply. Here’s some more reheasing-my-excuses in Germany, for the expected power rationing.

    I quote:

    Klaus Müller, the president of the German Federal Network Agency [which regulates gas and electricity], has warned that the growing number of private electric car charging stations and electric-powered heat pumps could overload the power grid in Germany. “If very large numbers of new heat pumps and charging stations continue to be installed, then we’ll have to worry about overload problems and local power failures … if we do not act” … Even in the event of power rationing, private charging stations would be able to draw enough power to charge an electric vehicle battery within three hours for a range of 50 kilometres, he said. Additionally … “nearly trouble-free continued operation” should still be possible for a large number of heat pumps.

    The Ukraine war is a catastrophe, but it has done us at least one crucial favour, by accelerating the German energy crisis. Because the truth is that we were always going to end up here, with too many electrical things and too little electricity to power them. It was just supposed to happen two or three decades from now, long after the reigning cast of Green luminaries had retired from public life. Instead, all of these clowns are facing the mathematically certain and long-predicted consequences of their false promises right now. And it looks like their most committed supporters will be the first to suffer for their foolishness.

  5. Keith Macdonald says:

    More from Moon Of Alabama:

    One commentator says:
    “Dutch port of Vlissingen today. Disembarking 90 Abrams tanks and 170 Bradley fighting vehicles, 15 Paladin 155mm howitzers and hundreds multi-wheel armoured vehickes …”

    Is that the same Bradley that appears in the Pentagon Wars?

    Presumably these will get to the Ukraine via Poland?

    One thing puzzles me: why so little in the MSM about all the Ukrainian civilians who are fleeing north and west? Or where they will end up?

  6. another ian says:


    “Nicolai Petro’s The Tragedy of Ukraine”

    I also saw a mention somewhere that there is a religious element in there too – western Polish Roman Catholic vs Eastern Russian Orthodox

  7. John Hultquist says:

    Both the religious and the exodos aspects were covered last summer.
    In the US, other issues have grabbed the headlines so you have to search.
    Two places to start.
    Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
    Russkiy mir (Russian world)
    How many Ukrainian refugees are there and where have they gone? – BBC News
    The MSM in the US has been distracted by UK Royals, the Nov. elections, chaos at the southern border, classified documents, football, storms in California, “unidentified aerial phenomena”, and others.

  8. Ed Forbes says:

    The interesting point on the new air strikes on Kiev was not that it was ongoing but that air defense warnings didn’t go off until the strike went in. This was a first.
    If Ukraine air defense is going blind, this causes Ukraine all sorts of problems. The big one is it allows for effective Russian close air support at the front lines. This would absolutely kill Ukraine artillery support. No where to hide at this point.

  9. another ian says:

    John H

    Some comments on the Ukrainian refugee situation in Poland in here – amongst other things

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ed Forbes:

    Russia has begun converting aircraft to carry the hypersonic Zircon Missile, perhaps it was one of those? IF Russia really has run the Ukrainian air defenses ragged, then yeah, Ukraine is rapidly toast.

    Russia has a neat little missile thing that mimics various aircraft and big missiles. They send a few of these in (being relatively cheap) and then when the air defense missiles are launched they do an immediate counter battery fire and take out the air defense launcher / radars. Perhaps the Ukrainians were trying to avoid that trap by not firing at what they thought was a probe / decoy and not a real explosive missile?

    Who knows…


    Yes, same Bradley. Loved the movie. I was working on the Bradley when they were first being made. It was not at all like in the movie. It succeeded in passing the required Armor live fire testing. (IIRC, 30 Cal was specified). Then they hit it with a lot of “out of spec” stuff (and, IIRC, armor piercing 50 Cal) and that DID penetrate the “Aluminum Armor”, so it was decided to add an internal blanket of Kevlar too.

    The whole point of the Bradley is that it is NOT a Tank. It is personnel carrier. So it is one hell of a lot better than a canvas covered truck bed on a “Deuce & 1/2” truck. The ?25 mm? cannon on it does a dandy job taking out various “small stuff” like other vehicles and going through cinderblock walls. Then the TOW missiles are good for tank busting if you run into one of them.

    It’s actually a pretty good vehicle for its intended use: Keeping a half dozen guys reasonably safe from shrapnel and light arms fire while transporting them fast enough to keep up with tanks. Then when you engage the enemy, the infantry guys hop out to support the tanks. All while it provides some local pretty serious fire support to the guys via that gun and anti-tank ability.

    Just don’t expect it to survive any incoming from “big stuff” like a full tank, armor piercing 50 Cal and larger, an antitank weapon, or an A-10 Warthog mini-gun (also 25 mm AP rounds of Depleted Uranium…)

    Also realize that unlike a tank, it is light enough to operate where tanks sink, and can be rapidly transported in numbers by air. This matters a lot too. It can cross bridges that an Abrams would crush.. and you can put more than one in a big cargo transport aircraft.

    But that doesn’t make for a fun movie… so they, um, “embellished” it… a lot…

    The one they shot up in acceptance testing was displayed in the FMC Corp building where I worked and employees were allowed to look over the damage. The general “story” was “It passed acceptance testing, so you did a good job; but this is what it looks like if more powerful weapons are used. If you can think of a way to improve it to stop this damage from killing folks, bring it up as staff meeting.”

    Nobody was hiding the limitations and everyone knew that to meet the design goals of light weight, maneuverability, and significant self defense / squad support: it was NOT going to be a Tank and it was NOT going to survive “big guns”.

    All that said: The movie is a real hoot and does parody the kind of posturing and stupid stuff that happens to very great effect. Loved it, just loved it. Anyone who has had “mission creep” and “constant change orders” knows that feeling they showed. There was some of that in the program, just not nearly as crazy town as in the movie.

  11. Keith Macdonald says:

    I didn’t expect this – how to solve the UK NHS waiting list crisis, with the help of the Ukraine.

    “Ukrainian refugees who travelled to the UK to escape the war are risking their lives by returning to their homeland to seek urgent medical treatments after giving up on the NHS. Due the NHS pressures and long waiting lists for procedures, Ukrainians living with families across the UK are taking the perilous trip back into a war zone where they are treated by doctors immediately despite Russian bombardments of their towns and cities.”

    Note for non-UK readers:
    This NHS issue is a permanent crisis, as demand always exceeds capacity. But some people do “drop off” the waiting list – and reduce the demand – by dying.

  12. Keith Macdonald says:

    A UK blog says what we already know:
    “The British Government will be donating 14 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine to assist in the ongoing fight against Russian fascist invaders.”

    And then expands:
    “The British Army has over the last year donated a very significant amount of supplies, vehicles and ammunition to the Ukrainian armed forces, at the cost of depleting its own reserves. To add both 14 Challengers and potentially 30 AS90s’ is a huge reduction in UK capability (representing not far off 10% of the planned future UK tank fleet and about 30% of the active AS90 force). ”

    Scraping the barrel and depleting our own reserves? Sounds familiar?

    That blog concludes:
    “For Ukraine the real goal is likely to be to get their hands on large numbers of Leopard 2 tanks”

    More here:

    But BBC TV News tonight mentions that the Leopard tanks promised by Germany might not be ready until 2024.

    In the same broadcast, a BBC reporter in Ukraine shows video of UK-supplied missiles being fired, then laments they are in drastically short supply.

  13. H.R. says:

    @Kieth M: Is there anyone in the Ukraine military who is trained and proficient in using those tanks?

    I honestly don’t know.

  14. another ian says:


    Alexander M points out that the Ukraine started with hundreds of tanks and seems to have peed them in the wind. So questions the fate of any hundreds more.

  15. The True Nolan says:

    @another ian: “Alexander M points out that the Ukraine started with hundreds of tanks and seems to have peed them in the wind.”

    Maybe Ukraine can start getting their US military equipment shipped in from Afghanistan.

  16. H.R. says:

    @TTN & another ian: Being out of tanks, what I was wondering was if they were also out of trained, skilled tanks crews. And without tanks, how do you train new crews?

    But I figured that Ukraine would never say anything about the number and capability of any of their troops. TMI for the enemy.

    If you ask for the tanks, Russia has to assume you have the crews. But that isn’t necessarily so.

  17. The True Nolan says:

    @HR: “I was wondering was if they were also out of trained, skilled tanks crews.”

    Maybe “tank crews” is what he will ask for next. Or maybe he plans on selling the tanks on the black market, and so does not need crews. Or maybe the companies that make tanks have bribed him to ask for some. Or maybe the “send me more tanks!” is only a public distraction so that when Congress sends him more liquid funds, people will just assume the grant was for tanks. Or maybe the entire reason for the war is to suck weaponry out of NATO and the US, so that the West becomes that much weaker (at least as far as conventional warfare goes).

  18. H.R. says:

    @TTN – I think your speculation is probably pretty close to the mark.

    $112 billion so far and nobody knows where it all went. Well, besides secret bank accounts.

    I’m beginning to think that leaving all that equipment in Afghanistan was a planned part of the lead-in to the Ukraine’$ congre$$ional $hower of ble$$ings.

  19. Keith Macdonald says:

    Talking of equipment…

    For the big-picture strategic view:

    For the very personal, close to the ground view:
    An International Legionnaire’s Guide to Useful and Useless Kit
    (A British volunteer back from the Ukraine)

  20. another ian says:

    Alexander M

    The VERY interesting part (IMO) is after about 45 minutes where he quotes Bloomberg as now discovering that Russian oil exports are back to last April levels. And where he raises the point that the penny is dropping in some places but hasn’t dropped in political US/EU that the Ukraine conflict is existential for the US also, He weaves more ifs and buts into that .

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    Am I the only one who thinks that soldier reminds of the guy from Red Dwarf? (with hair shaved off…)

    @Another Ian:

    Yup. It is slowly dawning on The West that having a huge GDP made up of accountants, politicians, lawyers, doctors, waiters and waitresses, car wash staff, and dozens of other “services”, is just not the same as having Uranium Mines, refineries, fuel rod fabricators, missile factories, chemical plants making explosives & fertilizer, fuel, etc. etc.

    While we are all busy trading Quatloos with each other, Russia is busy making real stuff of real inherent value. While we spend $Billion on one airplane, they crank out a dozen or two that price at less in $US and we conclude “Our Military is BIGGER!” because our price is 10 x higher… Just Nuts.

    But that’s the fundamental nature of the present Woke US & EU Economic Mindset.

    What is stupidly called “Modern Monetary Theory”, for example, says that a country can spend all the money it wants as it can always just print more. No Problem. Completely ignoring the German Hyperinflation and all of the Latin American government collapses of the last century…

    So when inflation turned the $1 of my youth into the modern $1 that is worth about 3 ¢ of that earlier dollar, our military must have gown by (100/3) times since now that’s how much we spend for same physical value delivered…

    What they ought to be doing is looking at the 4,000 or 5000 tanks Russia has and the big factory making more of their most modern and compare that to the few hundred (or less) most Western Countries have… And at the German Economy struggling to make things like refined metals, plastic, glass, rubber; and realize that means making both cars and tanks problematic… Russian Gas is needed to just keep warm and keep the lights on. Maybe they can use US Gas (at 3 or 4 times the cost…) to make enough supplies to make a few tanks, but…

    Russia focuses on the Real Economy (real stuff, real resources, real energy, real weapons) while The West, due to things like Modern Monetary Theory, counts paper credits and pontificates on theories.

    I regularly watch Baklykov Live as he just wanders the streets of various Russian Cities. Brightly lit at night. LOTS of newish cars. Clean streets and people in clean new clothes going out for the night. Not a lot of traffic jams, but smoothly flowing cars. Beautiful public spaces, statues, etc. Then there’s a lot of English signage on various businesses. These folks are comfortable in both scripts and many seem to know English. Stores full of goods at lower prices than ours. Puts the lie to “running out” due to sanctions crap.

  22. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M.: “Russia focuses on the Real Economy (real stuff, real resources, real energy, real weapons) while The West, due to things like Modern Monetary Theory, counts paper credits and pontificates on theories.”

    Brilliant comment, the whole thing, and something that few people seem to realize. “Wealth” does NOT equal “Money”. In fact, considering our profligate use of ones and zeros as if they were more than abstractions, even “money” no longer equals “money”.

    It’s an old joke, but one I am unembarrassed to repeat: Four economists are stranded on a desert island. After a few months, they still do not have huts, fishing nets, or gardens — but they are all now millionaires by trading an old hat back and forth between themselves.

    In a related joke: Four people are stranded on a desert island, a Chinese man, a Dutchman, a Japanese man, and an American. Immediately the Chinese guy begins building a hut. The Dutch guy starts a small garden plot. The Japanese guy begins making fishing nets. But the American guy just sits there. When asked why he is not working, he replies. “No need. YOU are all working. You need me. I am the consumer.”

  23. Power Grab says:

    This reminds me of something that happened when I was working in a college of business a long time ago. I typed lots of research papers and journal articles for lots of (usually) economics professors.

    One of the most senior of them was on a bit of a rant one day. I don’t remember what subject he was dissing, but he said something like, “I’d rather work on something that’s real…”

    Then he suddenly stopped talking.

    I looked at him.

    I suspected he was expecting me to pop off about how his subject wasn’t all that real.

    But I didn’t say anything.

    However, I did think what he thought I was going to say.

  24. Graeme No.3 says:

    Haven’t seen this before but quite interesting selection of opinions not normally presented in the Main Stream.

  25. another ian says:

    An update on “The Doings of Davos” via Covid and Coffee

    “It’s not just politicians and billionaires gathered in Davos this week for the WEF’s annual meeting. The Daily Mail UK ran a titillating story yesterday headlined, “Tricks Of The Trade: $2,500-A-Night Prostitute Reveals How Business Rockets At This Week’s Davos Summit – And Why She Wears Business Clothes To Blend In And Never Gossips About Elite Clients.”

    “According to the “professionals” interviewed by the Mail’s diligent reporter, going rates for “consultations” during the gala political event are $760 per hour, or $2,500 per night at a bulk discount.

    Between appointments, the 600 CEO’s and 50 heads of state allegedly attended sessions yesterday on issues including gender parity, the return of manufacturing, the green transition, efforts to end tuberculosis, and the intersection of food, water and energy, whatever that is, some sessions featuring actor Idris Elba.

    An ACTOR. Of course. What else?”

    Windfall profits tax?

  26. another ian says:

    Alexander M

    “Russian economy collapse narrative makes a comeback”

    Brings to mind

  27. another ian says:

    Second try – Alex M

    “Russian economy collapse narrative makes a comeback”

    Brings to mind as suitable theme music

  28. Keith Macdonald says:

    Did we worry too much? But – just to confuse us – this is the futures market, not actual current prices. Can anyone make sense of this?

    “Natural Gas Futures in Europe Plunge 15% Today, Down 84% from Crazy Spike – The price of Dutch front-month TTF Natural Gas Futures – a benchmark for northwest Europe – plunged 15% today to €54.85 per megawatt-hour (MWh), and has now collapsed by 84% from the crazy spike in the summer of 2022. The price is now back where it had first been in early September 2021 (data via”

  29. Keith Macdonald says:

    Re: “Am I the only one who thinks that soldier reminds of the guy from Red Dwarf? (with hair shaved off…)”

    The resemblance to Craig Charles (Lister in Red Dwarf) is uncanny. Not just the appearance, but also the voice. They are both from Liverpool.

  30. E.M.Smith says:


    “The cure for high prices is high prices”. There was a huge spike in gas prices. A whole lot of people and companies will have stopped using it, leading to a price drop.

    One example? Look for a Small Aluminum Jon Boat. Makers looked at horribly high aluminum prices and decided to just make the bigger boats with high enough profit margins to cover the aluminum costs. So less total aluminum bought.

    German glass making was shut down. One restaurant owner said his gas bill was so high he had to shut down. Etc. etc.

    With eggs through the roof on pricing ($8 for a $4 carton… ) I’ve swapped over to other things for breakfast and stopped putting hard boiled eggs in salads.

    Oh, and note that Futures Contracts are often driven up and down fast and far based on nothing but news and rumors. So on news of the NordStream pipeline being blowen up, a big up spike. Then later, hearing that Norway (say) was opening a just finished pipeline or that Germany was converting Gas Generators back to coal… those can cause a huge plunge in futures trading.

  31. David A says:

    WEF, the intersection of food, water and energy“

    Well thats simple. ( no idea what hash they made of it) The intersection is CO 2 emissions from very efficiently produced “energy”, growing more food on less water.

  32. Ed Forbes says:

    Couple of end of the day updates on the Russian-Ukraine lines. Ukraine lines are getting stretched and starting to crack.


  33. Keith Macdonald says:

    On the supply (or not) of the fabled Leopard tanks.

    I’m told that:
    “there is a panic at KMW and Rheinmetall as some of their customers are having to admit to their political masters how few of those tanks are ready for deployment and in a state to be transferred should the German government agree. The type doesn’t have the best reputation for spare parts availability and some operators manage the problem by breaking down tanks to get spares which is not the best way to keep vehicles in service”

    So the Ukrainians might get a few of the oldest spare-parts models. But they might have to reassemble the parts. And if they’re lucky, all the parts will be for the same models. Otherwise it might turn into a Johnny Cash Cadillac tank ( “One Piece At A Time”)

    Then there’s the small question of would the version(s) “available for export” be any good anyway?

    e.g. the Leopard 2A4 model sold to Turkey and used in Syria:

    “The 2A4 model was the last of the Cold War–era Leopard 2s, which were designed to fight in relatively concentrated units in a fast-paced defensive war against Soviet tank columns, not to survive IEDs and missiles fired by ambushing insurgents in long-term counterinsurgency campaigns where every single loss was a political issue. The 2A4 retains an older boxy turret configurations which affords less protection from modern antitank missiles, especially to the generally more vulnerable rear and side armor, which is a bigger problem in a counterinsurgency environment, where an attack may come from any direction.”

    More here:

  34. another ian says:

    A lot of reading here but the headlines give a nutshell view


    Admittedly only one set of opinions but somewhat tested

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    I think most folks expected an “offensive” to be lead off with a monster shelling and drone and rocket barrage. Likely due to the history of W.W.I

    But right now it looks like Russia has started broad attacks on about 3 places (on the Eastern side) with some decent vigor. But not a giant “Launch it all”.

    Which leaves me wondering if this is The Winter Offensive underway now? Or is it a Prelude To Winter Offensive (to draw in more Ukrainian troops to the Donbas Kill Box; to be followed up by a Big Offensive from all over with all those Russians on the boarders? Or is Russia just making sure things are “secure” with all those folks on all the borders as ready reserves, and is just going to let Wagner Group chew through what is left of the Ukrainian Army?

    It’s clear something is up; but what it really is, is a bit obscure…

    FWIW, The Duran and the two Alex’s are on my daily watch list…

  36. Ed Forbes says:

    Found something worth watching. A full movie by the Wagner group on urban warfare. Well done.
    I was expecting a propaganda film, but nothing of the sort. The only way to tell the difference between the 2 sides is by the color of their armbands. It is a typical Russian film though in that almost everyone on both sides dies. Death and destruction is the main theme in the close combat scenes with neither side giving, or asking, for quarter and that nothing changes much day after day.
    Best in Hell w/English subtitles

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ed Forbes:

    Heard a report of a Wagner Group action the other day. “Straight out of a movie” was the tag line.

    Seems a truck load of them dressed up in Ukrainian Uniforms, drove up to the command bunker of a Ukrainian Tank Unit. Got out, killed everyone, and drove off in the Ukrainian tanks….

    Now that’s one gutzy group of guys…

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