On this day a year ago
Thought for the day
“We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further; it may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
Across that angry or that glimmering sea.”
[James Elroy Flecker, The Golden Journey to Samarkand]
“Now I go East and you stay West
And when between us Europe lies
I shall forget what I loved best
Away from lips and hands and eyes.“
[James Elroy Flecker, The Sentimentalist].
The horrible bloody mess gets worse. The Russian General Staff and GRU, as previously blogged, both need shaking up. Much. Also, it seems obvious that those orgs, and the FSB, and possibly SVR, are (to quote Major Strasser in Casablanca) “riddled with traitors“, in this case probably in the pay of Western intelligence agencies.
Russia has been here before, in the First World War, when a combination of incompetence, negligence, and treachery led to huge losses against the German Empire of the time.
The lost war, effectively a lost war, of 1914-1917 led directly to the first Revolution of early 1917, followed some months later by the Leninist/Bolshevik seizure of power.
As previously blogged, if Russian forces had executed in Kiev and elsewhere the kind of swift and overwhelming Blitzkrieg and coup seen in Kabul in 1979, there would have been almost no civilian harm, little bloodshed, and we would not be seeing the present agony, which will be made even worse now by the funnelling of Western arms to the forces of the Kiev regime.
As the military commentators in London and Washington have noted recently, and many others saw weeks ago, the Russian military machine is sluggish, as it has been throughout much of Russian history. I admit that I myself thought that the reforms and upgrading since 2005 must have improved Russia’s capabilities. Seems that I was too optimistic in that. If so, I was not alone. Putin, too.
The problem Russia has may lie partly in the inflexibility of its officer training. When German forces attacked Russia in 1941, intercepts of Red Army communications recorded Red Army and Air Force officers frantically asking Moscow by radio and telephone, “We are under heavy attack by German forces. What shall we do?“
The German officers of the 1930s and early 1940s, including general officers, were famous for their quick reactions and boldness, which resulted in stunning victories on all fronts.
The Israeli Army (IDF) learned lessons from the Germans of WW2. It is said that their General Staff officers in training are given a week to formulate a plan of attack on specific criteria of geography, forces, equipment, supply etc. A day before the presentation, they are told that the criteria have changed radically; they are ordered to formulate a new plan. A short time before the presentation, perhaps only 10 minutes, they are told that the situation on the ground has changed completely again, and that a new plan must be immediately adopted. The exercise then proceeds on that basis.
That is the kind of flexible improvization that the Russian command structure seems to lack.
As blogged yesterday, Kryvyi Rih [Krivoy Rog] is the only large urban area between where the Russian forces west of the Dnieper now are, and Kiev. However, the distance in between is 260 miles.
If the Russians can take Krivoy Rog, and hold it (the pre-invasion population was 635,000), then the southern flank of Kiev lies open.
The Russians cannot lose the war, as such, unless they become so depleted in men, arms, and supplies that they have to withdraw from areas now under their control or, ultimately, into Russian Federation territory. That last would be taken to be a defeat in the whole enterprise, and is very unlikely.
The Ukrainians, by contrast, cannot win the war in the sense of defeating the whole Russian Army, Navy, and Air Force, but what they can try to do is to hang on to their main fortress-cities of Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, and Dnipro [former Dnepropetrovsk], the four largest cities of Ukraine, and to carry on a kind of guerrilla war (but with advanced weaponry) elsewhere, as well as denying Russia occupation of most of western Ukraine.
Next moves? I cannot see Putin simply giving up. That would be psychologically and indeed politically crushing for him. In any case, his forces are carrying out the present plan, but at only glacial speed.
Kiev is slowly being encircled. Other cities, in the east and south, the same. There is a slow, agonizing, vice-grip closing on the southern coastal cities. Odessa is being rocketed and shelled now, from the sea.
All of the southern and eastern cities (except Odessa), and Kiev, must be running out of food. The Russian forces may also be running low, but can be resupplied.
The Ukrainians (Kiev regime) say that Kiev cannot now be taken. A bold claim. I have no idea whether that claim is true. Is there a city which cannot be taken?
There is, I suppose, a “Devil’s alternative” possibility, that Putin will all but destroy the remaining eastern and southern cities, and drive out the whole Ukrainian population of those cities to the west and to other countries. That would be a terrible thing to do, a terrible thing to happen.
As expected. How long, though, can a city continue to resist when food stocks run very low? There were 400,000 civilians stuck in Stalingrad when the city was attacked. Stalin refused to allow evacuation. However, the Soviet forces and others could be resupplied, up to a point, across the Volga.
If Kiev were to be surrounded, which as yet has not happened, the Russian forces would interdict resupply to the city, which still has, it seems, about a million civilians and others within its boundaries.
I am presuming that, following bombardment, the battle-hardened Syrian mercenaries being recruited by Putin via President Assad of Syria will be used for the inevitably brutal close-combat penetration into the central parts of Kiev.
An example of the human cost of the war. The Kiev regime has made the most of the public relations aspects of the conflict, to which (outside Russia itself) Putin seems oblivious and uncaring.
Putin may consider that there is no point now in trying to show any better side to the world. That being so, he may have few scruples in pulling out all the stops to achieve something that can look (especially within Russia itself) like “victory”.
As for the peace talks, it seems doubtful that they can succeed, even in bringing about a temporary all-Ukraine ceasefire.
If a ceasefire occurs, it gives the Ukrainian side the opportunity to import more free advanced weaponry from the USA, UK and elsewhere. True, the Russians would have the same kind of opportunity (resupply of arms and ammunition from plants and factories in Russia), but they need it less. Hard to see how a ceasefire could benefit the Russian side.
The Zelensky government is not going to agree that the “Russian” provinces of the southeast can break away and either join Russia as annexes, or become autonomous republics of Ukraine, let alone independent republics.
Likewise, Russia gains little from any Ukrainian pledge (even if credible) not to apply or to join NATO, in view of the fact that NATO at present is disinclined to admit Ukraine anyway.
If Russia withdraws its forces from Ukraine, it will have, without question, lost this war, and Ukraine will in time then build up a formidable army, and maybe even a nuclear weapons capability.
There is another point: even were there to be a quasi-permanent “peace” agreement going beyond a mere temporary ceasefire, the Western sanctions will continue, perhaps indefinitely; certainly as long as Putin rules Russia. Where, then, is his incentive to sue for peace?
More tweets seen
Anyone who still believes a single word that issues from the part-Jew/Levantine liar and chancer “Boris” is beyond hope.
How absolutely disgusting. The parents or whoever else did this should be whipped.
“Come, friendly Russian bombs…” (with apologies to John Betjeman…).
Spring, and the arrival of eternal hope.
P & O Ferries
What shabby behaviour by the P & O management and ownership. Where is decency? Where is loyalty?
Interesting that news organizations seem wary of giving even the name, let alone personal details, of P & O management. They must be in fear that “action directe” may occur…
I used to travel almost every week cross-Channel, usually on the excellent Brittany Ferries from Plymouth, occasionally from Poole or Portsmouth. Had to go P&O from the Kent ports a few times. Rubbish.
“Long live freedom!“…oh, no, wait…
This whole “trans” thing has become completely ridiculous.
That “banned” tweet should be copied and pasted everywhere by every thinking British person. After all, if it wakes up even one person…(especially if that one person then takes action for the future of race and culture).
The deliberately-chosen “wrong questions”…