Is Ukraine Winning the War Against Russia?

 

I have been reading recent posts on social media claiming that Ukraine is recapturing dozens of square miles of territory from Russia, Russian troops are taking heavy casualties, and many Russian troops are cut off from supply lines.

It seems that the western nations are pouring weapons into the Ukraine military, which has outperformed expectations in using these weapons to their advantage. It’s starting to look like Russia’s military is not the second best military in the world, but rather the second best military in Ukraine.

One doesn’t want to read too much into these social media reports of Ukraine’s success. Who knows what is really going on over there? But former General of the US Army in Europe, Ben Hodges, says that Ukraine will recapture Crimea in a year. He seems to have backed off his earlier prediction that Ukraine would retake all of the territory it lost after February 22, 2022, by the end of summer (which would be right about now, it would seem).

Still, I bet that if Putin had known how badly this invasion would go and how unified the liberal-democratic world would be in supporting Ukraine, he would not have ordered the invasion of Ukraine.  This shows how wars can start based on miscalculation, the underestimating of the opposition. In any case, we will have to watch over the next month or so to see if Ukraine is able to keep this counter-attack going.

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  1. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    HeavyWater: Still, my bet is that if Putin had known how badly this invasion would go and how unified the liberal-democratic world would be in supporting Ukraine, Putin would not have ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

    Much of it seems to have been that a lot of the “Western World” ignored Biden’s signals that Putin would receive minimal pushback.  Just one more example of why nobody should ever believe Joe Biden, even if he’s just saying that his name is Joe Biden.

    • #1
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The September 8 update from the Institute for the Study of War. I find their daily updates give a realistic look at the problems that both Russian and Ukrainian forces face on a daily basis. They avoid what I call cheerleading for either side, as well leaving out the lofty claims from either side.

    Ukrainian successes on the Kharkiv City-Izyum line are creating fissures within the Russian information space and eroding confidence in Russian command to a degree not seen since a failed Russian river crossing in mid-May.

    Ukrainian military officials announced that Ukrainian forces advanced 50km deep into Russian defensive positions north of Izyum on September 8, but the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) notably did not issue any statement regarding Ukrainian advances in Kharkiv Oblast.

    Ukrainian successes and the Russian MoD’s silence prompted many Russian milbloggers to criticize and debate Russian failures to retain control over the city of Balakliya, approximately 44km northwest of Izyum. Some milbloggers claimed that Russian forces fully or partially withdrew from Balakliya in good order, while others complained that Ukrainian forces beat Russian forces out of the settlement.

    Others noted that Rosgvardia units operating in the area did not coordinate their defenses or have sufficient artillery capabilities to prevent Ukrainian counterattacks in the region. Milbloggers warned about an impending Ukrainian counteroffensive northwest of Izyum for days prior to Ukrainian advances, and some milbloggers noted that Russian command failed to prepare for “obvious and predictable” Ukrainian counteroffensives.

    Others noted that Ukrainian forces have “completely outplayed” the Russian military command in Balakliya, while others encouraged readers to wait to discuss Russian losses and withhold criticism until Russian forces stabilize the frontlines.

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    kedavis (View Comment):

    HeavyWater: Still, my bet is that if Putin had known how badly this invasion would go and how unified the liberal-democratic world would be in supporting Ukraine, Putin would not have ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

    Much of it seems to have been that a lot of the “Western World” ignored Biden’s signals that Putin would receive minimal pushback. Just one more example of why nobody should ever believe Joe Biden, even if he’s just saying that his name is Joe Biden.

    When did Joe Biden make a correct call on foreign policy?

    • #3
  4. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    HeavyWater: Still, my bet is that if Putin had known how badly this invasion would go and how unified the liberal-democratic world would be in supporting Ukraine, Putin would not have ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

    Much of it seems to have been that a lot of the “Western World” ignored Biden’s signals that Putin would receive minimal pushback. Just one more example of why nobody should ever believe Joe Biden, even if he’s just saying that his name is Joe Biden.

    When did Joe Biden make a correct call on foreign policy?

    Many of the nations that were once under the boot of Soviet imperialism were much more concerned about Russia’s intentions prior to the February 22.  

    Sweden didn’t initially believe that Russia was going to invade Ukraine.  But the US shared its intelligence with Sweden and more recently Sweden’s foreign minister said publicly that the Americans were right.  

    • #4
  5. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Russia still controls more Ukrainian territory than Germany lost in the Treaty of Versailles.

    • #5
  6. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    • #6
  7. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    HeavyWater: Still, my bet is that if Putin had known how badly this invasion would go and how unified the liberal-democratic world would be in supporting Ukraine, Putin would not have ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

    Much of it seems to have been that a lot of the “Western World” ignored Biden’s signals that Putin would receive minimal pushback. Just one more example of why nobody should ever believe Joe Biden, even if he’s just saying that his name is Joe Biden.

    When did Joe Biden make a correct call on foreign policy?

    Many of the nations that were once under the boot of Soviet imperialism were much more concerned about Russia’s intentions prior to the February 22.

    Sweden didn’t initially believe that Russia was going to invade Ukraine. But the US shared its intelligence with Sweden and more recently Sweden’s foreign minister said publicly that the Americans were right.

    My comment related to Biden’s assessment of pushback to a Putin invasion.

    • #7
  8. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    The Russians seized Crimea in 2014, and were fighting in eastern Ukraine before that. My inexpert opinion is that Ukraine has been preparing to fight since then.  Ukraine’s success has been surprising but they’ve had years to prepare by organizing and training.  The weapons and supplies that the rest of the world has poured into Ukraine could have easily been squandered if Ukraine hadn’t been ready to use them effectively.  See Afghanistan.

    • #8
  9. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    We’ll know Ukraine is really winning when they start airstrikes on the Kremlin.

     

    • #9
  10. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    We’ll know Ukraine is really winning when they start airstrikes on the Kremlin.

     

    From your lips to God’s ears.

    • #10
  11. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    Many of the nations that were once under the boot of Soviet imperialism were much more concerned about Russia’s intentions prior to the February 22.  

    And yet, they stuck NATO in Putin’s eye instead of going for a 100% maximum porcupine strategy everywhere. This seems pretty stupid, but what do I know?

    • #11
  12. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Does anybody have an opinion about the energy/sanctions game of chicken?  It seems important. lol

    • #12
  13. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Does anybody have an opinion about the energy/sanctions game of chicken? It seems important. lol

    Heh. Really important.

    Meanwhile, our “new Churchill” can’t stop with the publicity stunts.

    • #13
  14. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    We could have paid the Israelis to give Putin a porcupine strategy nightmare all the way from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. Hell, even I thought of it and I didn’t even know it had a name. 

    You would have to figure out how to deal with Ukraine’s corruption, but that is mostly their problem after you start helping them. 

    I’ve been listening to a lot of complicated crap about the EU and the EMU. There is an argument that they are absolutely petrified of the rest of the world and they will do anything to try to turn themselves in to a version of the USA so they can compete. If I were doing that, I would turn on the clean coal and the nukes.

    Personally, I just see a bunch of globalist idiots over there.

    • #14
  15. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    Ukraine may not be winning yet, but they’ve stopped losing. They’ve recovered more territory in the last few days than Russia won in months with thousands of casualties.

    It’s still not clear whether the Kharkiv breakout was a calculated one-two ‘rope a dope’ punch coordinated with the Kherson advance, or whether it was a target of opportunity attack that succeeded big time. Apparently it hit a collection of Donbas conscripts of poor morale and a few Russian light infantry units, which broke wide open. Ukraine seems to have bagged a senior Russian general, which suggests they got all the way into the rear areas of that section of front.

    It’s actually not at all clear (to those without spy satellites) what assets the Ukrainians have on the ground in Kharkiv. They’ve been pretty careful to only publish pictures of grinning infantrymen in front of town signs and meeting the inhabitants. The only geolocated pics with equipment that I’ve seen had at most Humvees, M113s, and some trashed Uk BMPs. The only heavy stuff was captured Russian T72s.

    But regardless, Ukraine has turned a locked defensive line into a meeting engagement with the presumed Russian theater reserve. That’s worth a lot. And if this morning’s unofficial reports turn out true, they have totally severed the line of communication from the north into the Izyum pocket held by Russia. That leaves only a secondary road to the East, that’s in range of Ukrainian HIMARS and artillery, to reinforce or evacuate the Izyum forces. If Izyum falls, the whole Northern part of Russia’s Luhansk front collapses, and they can kiss off taking Sloviansk any time soon.

    But the Russians have a lot of geographical depth. East of Kupiansk is Ukrainian territory that was taking with very little fighting in the first days of the war. Can and will Russia use that depth, or throw their reserves into a meat grinder with little planning? Their (Putin’s?) generalship has not impressed so far…

    • #15
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I can’t determine if the analogy for Ukraine’s current counterattack is the Russian victory at Stalingrad, or the German disaster in the Battle of the Bulge.  Time will tell.

    It does seem unlikely to me that the Russians are at the end of their resources, as the Germans were at the Bulge.  The Russian forces committed to Ukraine so far are quite small, by historic standards.

    I also think that the main focus of the Russians is the capture of the remainder of Donetsk.   I think that this is their announced goal.  They seem to have been making extremely slow advances in this area, for about a month or two.  If I remember correctly, the Russians announced a goal of capturing all of Donetsk by the end of August, which they did not accomplish.

    I’ve heard a report — from Douglas Macgregor, I think — that the Russians were massing their forces on the eastern (Donetsk) front, which would likely make them a bit weaker in the north (Kharkov) and south (Kherson) areas.

     

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    The September 8 update from the Institute for the Study of War. I find their daily updates give a realistic look at the problems that both Russian and Ukrainian forces face on a daily basis. They avoid what I call cheerleading for either side, as well leaving out the lofty claims from either side.

    Ahh, you beat me to linking them..

    Every day the Ukrainians haven’t lost, they’re winning.

    Every day the Russians haven’t won, they’re losing.

    • #17
  18. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    HeavyWater: Still, my bet is that if Putin had known how badly this invasion would go and how unified the liberal-democratic world would be in supporting Ukraine, Putin would not have ordered the invasion of Ukraine.  This shows how wars can start based on miscalculation, the underestimating of the opposition. 

    Weakness is provocative.

     

    • #18
  19. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):
    Weakness is provocative.

    And Biden’s weakness provoked it. Putin would not have tried this with Trump in the White House.

    • #19
  20. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    JoelB (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):
    Weakness is provocative.

    And Biden’s weakness provoked it. Putin would not have tried this with Trump in the White House.

    Trump wasn’t going to let NordStream 2 go operational. Russia was paying Ukraine billions to get gas through Ukraine to Europe. NordStream 2 more than doubles the capacity of NordStream 1, and allows Russia to bypass Ukraine. Biden gave Putin a huge gift by lifting sanctions that allowed it to be completed. Though not yet operational, when it is, NordStream 2 makes Putin no longer dependent on Ukraine.

    Of course, now we have this war and Putin’s cut off all supply.

    Yup. Methinks Trump was right and Biden wrong. Again.

    • #20
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    As a side note, probably for future reference, one of the points on those discussions I was listening to is Germany doesn’t give a crap about inflation anymore. Nobody is going to stop it in the EMU. 

    • #21
  22. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Another big picture thing is, capital gets allocated because of politics. That is overriding actual investment analysis. Too much government, too much central banking, too much outsourcing to the Chinese mafia, and two little global security.

    • #22
  23. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    An interesting aside, in a development of todays modern warfare, I read that The Ukrainians are using honeypots communicating via text and photos with Russian soldiers. When the Russians respond with selfies, The Ukrainians are gleaning the digital footprint and location data from the photos and aiming their HIMARS, taking out said troops.  Allegedly, this is how they have taken out a number of higher ranking Russian officers along with the support troops . “Loose lips sink ships”, has transformed into “horny young soldiers kill comrades”.

    • #23
  24. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Another big picture thing is, capital gets allocated because of politics. That is overriding actual investment analysis. Too much government, too much central banking, too much outsourcing to the Chinese mafia, and two little global security.

    This is also why Ricochet’s Leading Never Trumper™ needs to stop using Ronald Reagan etc. in his thinking.

    I heard another good point on a different podcast this morning. When central banks force an interest rate as opposed to the other things they should be doing or could be doing, since it creates winners and losers on the spot, that is a political decision. It’s no different than any other unnecessary thing the government central plans politically. 

    • #24
  25. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    In military news outside Ukraine Poland is going to purchase 96 Apache helicopters. They have purchased 250 M1 Abram’s tanks, although they have not been delivered.  The M1 Abrams can fire while moving unlike Russian tanks and they have a night fighting ability that Russian tanks do not have.

     

    • #25
  26. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    In military news outside Ukraine Poland is going to purchase 96 Apache helicopters. They have purchased 250 M1 Abram’s tanks, although they have not been delivered. The M1 Abrams can fire while moving unlike Russian tanks and they have a night fighting ability that Russian tanks do not have.

     

    I realize you mentioned that Poland purchased these helicopters and tanks.  But I think all of the modern weapons that dozens of nations have been giving to Ukraine has played a key role in tilting things in Ukraine’s favor.  

    Russia is forced to use tanks built in the 1960s.  That’s not a good position to be in.  

    • #26
  27. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    OMG click into this. They better hurry up on Ukraine. 

     

     

    That was re-tweeted by a guy named Harald Malmgren, who is insanely smart.

    • #27
  28. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    In military news outside Ukraine Poland is going to purchase 96 Apache helicopters. They have purchased 250 M1 Abram’s tanks, although they have not been delivered. The M1 Abrams can fire while moving unlike Russian tanks and they have a night fighting ability that Russian tanks do not have.

    I realize you mentioned that Poland purchased these helicopters and tanks. But I think all of the modern weapons that dozens of nations have been giving to Ukraine has played a key role in tilting things in Ukraine’s favor.

    Russia is forced to use tanks built in the 1960s. That’s not a good position to be in.

    Russia is electronically challenged. The Ukrainians are paying a high price for the amount of intelligence NATO nations are getting on Russia’s warfighting capabilities. One could look at the map and be impressed by what Russia controls in Ukraine, but Ukraine is 89% of the land area of Texas. This war is going to last far longer than we might believe.

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    Many of the nations that were once under the boot of Soviet imperialism were much more concerned about Russia’s intentions prior to the February 22.

    And yet, they stuck NATO in Putin’s eye instead of going for a 100% maximum porcupine strategy everywhere. This seems pretty stupid, but what do I know?

    Number of NATO countries invaded by Russia since the end of the Cold War: 0

    Number of non-NATO countries invaded by Russia since the end of the Cold War: 2 or 3 (Ukraine, Georgia, and arguably Chechnya was a de facto independent country when it was invaded)

    Seems to me that NATO membership works.

    • #29
  30. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    Many of the nations that were once under the boot of Soviet imperialism were much more concerned about Russia’s intentions prior to the February 22.

    And yet, they stuck NATO in Putin’s eye instead of going for a 100% maximum porcupine strategy everywhere. This seems pretty stupid, but what do I know?

    Number of NATO countries invaded by Russia since the end of the Cold War: 0

    Number of non-NATO countries invaded by Russia since the end of the Cold War: 2 or 3 (Ukraine, Georgia, and arguably Chechnya was a de facto independent country when it was invaded)

    Seems to me that NATO membership works.

    Then they should have hurried up about letting Ukraine in. Gee, why didn’t that happen? Otherwise, stop poking Russia in the eye. 

    The porcupine strategy still stands. It’s obvious. There is no reason the whole area shouldn’t be maxed out on it.

    • #30
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