Black Mountain Analysis: War Analysis .. Perceptive take imo
Posted by t on May 26, 2023, 6:45 pm
Olympus has fallen. That is a very good description of what happened on May 20th. A milestone event. Which milestone? Well, I pointed out in this article how the Russian strategy could potentially look. And I also defined the battle around Artemovsk as one of five milestones.
Okay again, not Olympus but Artemovsk has fallen. Which is a key event after General Valery Gerasimov nominally took over control of the SMO in January 2023.
It has plenty of major implications. And I’m going to go through them in this article along with several other topics.
As you maybe already know I do not repeat myself in my articles. Hence, if you want to understand everything that follows, I strongly recommend that you read the following articles first:
Potential Russian strategy.
Russian military doctrine. Absorption then counteroffensive.
Description of the concept of combat effectiveness.
Potential development of a Ukrainian offensive in Donbass.
Artemovsk has fallen. And it has not fallen because Wagner finally has defeated the Ukrainians within Artemovsk. It has fallen because there has been a decision in Moscow to take it now.
I pointed out earlier that Russia could have taken Artemovsk some time ago, but it was General Surovikin’s strategy to use Artemovsk as a meatgrinder for the Ukrainian forces. Moreover, I pointed out that Russia’s strategy is most likely goal-driven and not date/time driven. Hence, if this and that event/milestone took place, the next phase of the strategy starts. See my quoted previous articles.
One of the preconditions/events that had to take place before the taking of Artemovsk was that Russia had to complete preparation of everything else for the further development of the war. Hence, Russia’s defensive and offensive potentials in Ukraine are now in a state to fulfill the tasks given by the political leadership in Moscow. A very good indicator for this is that Russia had the ability/luxury to choose the timing of the fall of Artemovsk – on the one-year anniversary of the fall of Mariupol. I don’t believe in coincidence.
Wagner and Prigozhin are a big fat sparkling carrot. There are writings on that carrot. On one side of the carrot, writings go like “We are so weak, we are so few, we have no ammunition or support”. Etc. etc. Sometimes the Russians turn the carrot around and on the other side are more writings: “Zelensky, you are so weak, send all your men, we kill them all. Are you a man or not? Send the kids home and bring the big boys in”. Etc. etc. Well, NATO/Ukraine are the donkey chasing this carrot.
Please keep in mind, Wagner did not destroy almost a hundred Ukrainians brigades on its own. That is utter bullshit. I will write later more about Wagner (GRU!) but for now it is important to understand that Wagner did three things:
Wagner conducted reconnaissance-in-force within the town to identify enemy positions. They went in small groups to make the enemy identify itself.
Wagner called in artillery and CAS (close air support), which essentially destroyed 80% of the enemy manpower and equipment. The majority of the artillery rounds were from the Russian army and not from Wagner. Wagner had other responsibilities.
Wagner cleared the just-destroyed buildings while the enemy was still shell shocked.
How do I know? I don’t. But many men of my family and people living around my house in the neighborhood here served in assault detachments which were taking hundreds of kilometers of villages in the nineties in former Yugoslavia. Most of them were volunteers. And that’s what they told me was going on. And I believe they are right. There is far more to say, but not now.
If Wagner would have fought single handedly, house by house, given its equipment and personnel numbers they would have been out of men within the first month of combat.
Nevertheless, I need to say that until Wagner took over most of the city, there had been more door kicking and clearing because of the civilians. But at least for the last three months it was almost solely grinding.
Conclusion: The Russian army took over the mass killing of the Ukrainian soldiers and equipment. Wagner pulled them out of their holes and conducted the cleaning after the artillery barrages. Later, army tanks joined the game to reduce Wagner losses by providing fire support on buildings.
I will spare you all the ugly details. And there are a lot of ugly details.
Well, Artemovsk was well defended. In fact, it was the town which was ideal to defend. It had depth in the rear to secure reinforcements and resupply. This is now gone. More about potential future developments later.
I’ve talked a lot about the Russian goal to collapse the Ukrainian armed forces. In a way, that would ensure that Ukraine depleted itself of its most fanatic individuals and all of its military potential. In a place where it is favorable to Russia.
Well, I want to announce that with the fall of Artemovsk I can declare that, according to the Black Mountain Analysis definition, the collapse of Ukraine has begun.
What does that mean? The war is over? Unfortunately, far from it.
The collapse of the German Wehrmacht began 1943. Some would argue after the battle of Stalingrad and some would argue after the battle of Kursk. Both took place in 1943. Unfortunately, after these triggering events the fighting continued for two years and took several millions of further casualties on all sides.
The End of Combat Effectiveness
The plan for Artemovsk was conceived by General Surovikin to destroy Ukraine’s manpower and equipment, and consequently its combat effectiveness. I wrote extensively about the concept of combat effectiveness and unit cohesion here.
According to my definition in this article, Ukraine’s combat effectiveness fell after the fall of Artemovsk either to the lowest level (see the screenshot) or close to it. I strongly recommend that you re-read the mentioned article to recall the concept.
Why am I not sure that Ukraine is already in the lowest combat effectiveness level? It has something to do with the alleged 70,000 western trained troops who are prepared for the Ukrainian offensive. I believe that Ukraine now has some 200,000 combat ready troops left, of which 70,000 are western-trained. The rest are mobilized, untrained or poorly trained troops, directly caught on the street and briefly prepared and sent to the front to hold the line.
As long as the western-trained guys are around we can’t talk about a collapse in full swing. We will come to this point in a few weeks/months.
Good Fight Over, Slaughter Starts
I recall the first interview that General Surovikin gave back in August 2022. There he talked about his strategy to grind the Ukrainians down. That’s what he did in Artemovsk, while concurrently setting up a sophisticated defense in the rear.
General Surovikin also said something else. He said that he is looking forward to having a good fight with the Ukrainians, and that he would be happy to have good ties with the Ukrainians again after the fight is over.
I want to join in that sentiment. The Ukrainians have truly given a good fight. I give them credit for their fight and struggle. I want to highlight that this credit is not referring to the Ukrainian Nazis and their actions against civilians. They are only scum.
Moreover, I want to highlight that I absolutely understand and respect the Ukrainian attacks against the Russian mainland. These guys are at war and they are losing disastrously. As I wrote once, the continuation of the war on the Ukrainian (NATO) side is a big war crime. Perhaps they will be held to account in some way for that one day. And since there is no other way to fight back while the army is dying like no army has died in a long time, Ukraine is conducting such “James Bond” attacks against Russia, always orchestrated and supported by the British.
Why always the British? I explained this previously. The US is always sending the British for such attacks to have plausible deniability in case of retaliatory strikes by Russia. Hence, if Russia should get fed up one day, then the UK will sink in the ocean and the US can say they had nothing to do with it. Whether Russia will think the same way is another question.
Well, Surovikin’s good fight is over. There are a few air defense assets here and there but they should be depleted as well within the next few days/weeks.
Unfortunately, what will follow the pending Ukrainian offensive is what I described in the beforementioned article about combat effectiveness. A hot knife through butter. Or in other words – a slaughter. In a few weeks it will metaphorically look like a kid stomping on a huge pile of ants, destroying them all. Russia being the kid in this case. That has nothing to do any longer with a good fight. I’m sure General Surovikin won’t be happy about that…
Realization in Ukraine That it's Over
Judging by several comments from several high-ranking Ukrainians, it looks to me that the realization that it is over is finally sinking in. And that every soldier committed to future battles is a dead man walking. Recently, an interesting interview with the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK (Vadym Prystaiko) was shown. He admitted more or less openly that Ukraine is being pressured into the coming offensive even though it is clear that there can’t be any expectation of great results. To the contrary, he fears that it will cost a lot of lives and equipment.
This seems to be the general mood in Ukraine. Especially within the military leadership as well.
For what? I described in previous articles many reasons why this offensive is planned. But for sure the US elections next year play a role as well. Perhaps President (???) Biden wants the mess in Ukraine to be done before the election campaign? That the shitstorm, which will inevitably follow after Ukraine’s collapse, is over before the election campaign starts? Who knows? This is only one of many possible reasons that I have pointed out already.
I’m sure the Ukrainians are not that happy to die en masse for an American election campaign. Running into an unwinnable fight, hoping that the US or NATO will intervene, just to find out that you are worth nothing… That is the destiny of ANY US ally/vasal/colony. Hello Europe.
Well, President (???) Zelensky has been so far on a big world tour but he hasn’t shown up in Ukraine for a while. Allegedly he recently visited the front line in Donbass. Is it real? I don’t know. We will see. What I can say for sure is that I absolutely don’t believe that he is hiding from Russian missile strikes. He has nothing to say in Ukraine and he is only an actor for the public.
If WW3 would break out, all the European politicians (???) would immediately lose all power over their military and all control over all European countries would immediately and permanently switch to the US military high command. All functions, both civilian (industry, etc.) and military. That is what happened in Ukraine as well.
The drone attack on the Kremlin was highly likely ordered by the British and executed by the Ukrainian SBU or GUR. The British received their orders from the Americans. Plausible deniability. The British should start to realize that they are no better than Ukraine or Zelensky if a war should break out.
Well, Zelensky is actually favorable for Russia, since he is a total idiot. Literally a clown. It is great to have such a guy as the nominal leader of the opponent. No way that Russia would attack him.
Since the situation is going south in Ukraine and the collapse has started to unfold, I feel that the US is step-by-step losing its control over Ukraine. In a situation where all the people in power are looking to save their lives either literally or for the time after the war, things are likely starting to become very ugly in Ukraine and Kiev. You can think of “Game of Thrones”. Here: Game of Kiev. I expect more infighting and killings/incidents to come soon to Kiev.
In such a situation it makes sense to get the important people for the war out of harm’s way. Zelensky is traveling the world in his “snow”-white sled like Santa Clause. Here he can’t be touched by the SBU/GUR/Kraken/Azov and other highly motivated and ideologically confused people. And the military leadership seems to be unreachable as well. I don’t expect Zelensky to come to Ukraine any time soon. Hence, I do not really believe that he came back to Ukraine and visited the frontline. But it is possible.
What I certainly can say is that the overt lack of motivation for the mass suicide (sorry, “counteroffensive”) is in some way suppressed since President (???) Biden lectured President (???) Zelensky about where his place is and that he has to follow orders. The Kiev structures suddenly started to talk again of a looming offensive. (Which of course is already very unsuccessfully underway).
There are rumors that high-ranking Ukrainian generals such as Syrskyi and Zaluzhny have been killed in a Russian strike. This is entirely possible and also very probable. But is it true? I don’t know and I have no way of knowing it.
But here are some more scenarios:
Dispersed command bunkers:
Arguably the last organized and well-equipped large-scale offensive by Ukraine should have started two or three weeks ago. And Mike Mihajlovic and I think that it started about that time. I’ll come to that later.
In such a situation it would be normal to disperse the top leadership in several remote command bunkers to avoid decapitation strikes.
This is exactly what Russia did during the first several months of the SMO. Minister Shoigu and General Gerasimov went missing (allegedly both dead) for several months. No one saw them. I wrote back in the first half of 2022 an analysis for another outlet about that. It is clear that they went off the screen. It was not clear whether the West would intervene in any way, hence the military doctrine requires pre-assigned command bunkers for the top military leadership across Russia. All far away from each other. There have been flights recorded at the beginning which could have been tracked from Moscow to such destinations.
It is common sense and I assume the Americans would do the same. See NORAD etc.
It is possible that the Ukrainian generals are currently in such command bunkers, and you would hear nothing from them during the period of the offensive.
Dead or wounded:
There are also reports that they are dead or wounded. Struck by Russian missiles.
Also probable. Especially if we take into consideration that all the Nazi formations (Aidar, Kraken, Azov etc.) started to pop up again in a large scale. If the top military leadership is dead then one would expect some kind of infighting for the top positions. Game of Kiev.
The generals could perhaps have seen the writing on the wall, and managed to flee abroad. To where? To Russia of course. I won’t go deeper into that now, even though there are many arguments for such an outcome.
For now, unfortunately, I don’t think that this is very probable.
It would be wrong to argue that the Generals Zaluzhny and Syrskyi are bad generals. I think they are capable people. And that’s why they arguably often argued against President (???) Zelensky and the West against suicidal offensives. Probably, they were taken out/prisoner by the SBU/GUR or taken prisoner and replaced by someone more motivated to command 70-100,000 people into suicide?
And President (???) Zelensky fled the country consequently to avoid retaliation by the military or by people loyal to these two generals?
Game of Kiev, Baby.
Probability? I would also say low, but who knows…
Counteroffensive and Western Trained Troops
Recently, I wrote an article about the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which is in fact an offensive and not a counteroffensive. In that article, you will find everything that I think is relevant for the time during the offensive. Essentially, whatever happens, you should be able to evaluate the event against the article to get some understanding.
Nevertheless, I have a few details to add.
First, a clarification:
As the article described, it is very possible that Russia might lose some ground here or there and retreat. Keep that always in mind! The front line is prepared, the civilians are evacuated, Russia can play the mobile defense, and retreat within its multi-echeloned defensive system as long as needed. Except in some particular cases, like in Mariupol or Artemovsk/Soledar. Hence, should there be some retreats in the next weeks, don’t panic! You also don’t need to scream: “Shaaaiguuu”. No. Let the military do its work. It is about saving lives and not holding territory.
Remember, every kilometer that the Russians retreat is measured in thousands of lost Ukrainian lives and many fewer Russian lives lost. Keep that in mind before starting the doomsaying.
Second, I want to highlight that the offensive has been in full swing since the start of May. Noticeably, the first moves were made two weeks ago against Artemovsk/Soledar; in particular by nationalist formations such as Azov, Kraken, and Aidar. Since these formations lost, on a particular day, about 1,750 people in the offensive against the flanks of Artemovsk, I assume that it was a real offensive and not recon-in-force.
Perhaps the thinking was that the Russian paratroopers would retreat to avoid casualties, which would be correct. Ukraine could have taken the flanks and opened up the supply line to Artemovsk. And AFTERWARDS Ukraine could have proclaimed that the offensive had already started and had their first successes. Ukraine is still not claiming the start of the offensive because they would have to admit that it had failed. If it hadn’t started, then how can it fail? Well, it is already failing dramatically, and big time.
The paratroopers haven’t been alone. The Russian Air Force has actively joined the fight and this is exactly what happens if your (Ukraine) air defense is almost gone. Remember the kid stomping on ants. Usually, an approach on a particular front line section is carried out by a regiment with approximately two battalions. On this particular day, it seems to me that two battalions were wiped out upon their approach.
The big question is, has this been a deception offensive to divert Russian resources there only to start the main thrust somewhere else? Zaporozhe? Energodar? Kharkov? I don’t know but we will find out in the coming days.
What I certainly can say is that Russia is actively trying to do everything in its might to destroy the accumulation of Ukrainian offensive potential while it is still in the rear. No offensive is better than even a weak offensive. As I described earlier, every force-on-force combat brings unfortunately also Russian losses, which should be avoided as much as possible in a SMO.
Hence, there is a real possibility that we will see no further big offensive moves by the Ukrainians at all, since the Russians are actively bombing Ukraine’s rear and staging areas.
And if we see an offensive, it is highly likely that it will be so weak that it is more a mass suicide due to lack of weapons, ammunition, equipment, people, etc. than a real offensive. This is the reason why the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK is whining on TV that we should expect nothing big from the offensive and that they are being forced/pressured into mass suicide.
Unfortunately, there is a big problem left:
An estimated 70,000 NATO-trained Ukrainian troops. They are highly motivated and ideologically confused. We remember the stated political goals of the SMO.
Other goals that are not important for this section.
These people are well trained and highly motivated fighters for the Ukrainian side. Denazification and demilitarization both apply to them. What now follows does not represent my opinion, my wishes, or hopes. It is a dry analysis of the facts on the ground.
There is no way on earth that anything resembling the end of the SMO or similar could happen before these guys are all dead or have fled abroad. None whatsoever. Russia can’t let them back into the (then Russian) Ukrainian society since they are highly toxic and a multiplier of the nationalistic ideology. As long as they are part of the population of the future territory of Ukraine, there can be no real peace and reconciliation.
Everyone knows that. The Russians, the Ukrainians, the West. Before anything significant can happen, these guys need to die. And they will die soon. In fact, they are dead men walking, doing now some last activities of their lives. This is one part (of many parts) of the denazification and demilitarization effort.
In fact, through the current bombings on the Ukrainian rear and the staging areas in Kramatorsk, Slavyansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, etc., I assume that there have been plenty of casualties of these guys already.
Well, either they will launch some kind of concentrated offensive against a place (unknown to me), or they will choose to throw themselves into further meatgrinders such as Adveevka and Marinka until they are gone. And with them goes the Ukrainian offensive. Which of the scenarios will materialize depends on how much equipment and ammunition is still left after the Russian bombing campaign. Certainly, the status of the Ukrainian frontline air defense assets plays a role as well. I won’t make any predictions here.
The bottom line is, these troops will be “used” until they are gone. Whether the West and Ukraine will mark this “usage” as an offensive or normal combat remains to be seen. Maybe the West and the MSM will go with the “The offensive is still to come” narrative until there has been some kind of little withdrawal by Russia, or until the total collapse of the Ukrainians. In this way Ukraine can maintain some deniability that it is losing or not achieving anything.
Delivery of Western Weapons
Currently there are talks about F-16s for Ukraine. I will come later to that. But first of all, I want to highlight something I wrote about in a previous article, that the West will ship EVERYTHING to Ukraine, step-by-step, that does not fall into the following categories:
Contains some high-tech on board which the West doesn’t want to get into Russian hands.
Nothing the American MIC wants to sell in the future. Everything will be destroyed and such bad pictures would be poison for sales. Hence, most of the equipment delivered to Ukraine is decades old. I have to admit that the Patriot system which was recently destroyed is an anomaly, since it was the most recent configuration. That was a major embarrassment.
Nothing will be delivered that would be able to inflict serious casualties or damage on the Russians. As long as these weapons motivate the Ukrainians to commit further suicide and keeps them continuing the war against Russia, everything is fine.
Essentially, the US is getting rid of old stuff within the USA and allied countries, only to start a further period of time where it can re-equip itself and its allies with very expensive new stuff. Destroyed F-16s are great. There are many F-16s around the world and all will need to be replaced by F-35s because the whole world can see downed F-16s in Ukraine. Fantastic. But more later about the F-16.
Since American weapons are, by many orders of magnitude, more expensive than they should be, this is nothing less than a huge corruption scheme. Everyone in the MIC chain earns something from the flowing money and the biggest part goes back as donations to the politicians. Whose money? Yes, you are right. Your money. Your tax money. You who read this. There is a probability of 60% that you who read this are paying for this scheme since the US is taking this money all over the world from tax payers. At least for the time being… this could change quickly.
So, I come back to my initial statement. Everything will be delivered to Ukraine which fulfills the criteria mentioned above. And it’s okay.
The third criterion is crucial. If Ukraine would get something with which it could inflict serious damage (is there something like that at all?) on Russia, then this would escalate the retaliatory strikes against NATO. Since I don’t see such a wonder weapon, I have no headache at all (yet).
Ukraine is currently using up most of the stock of Soviet aircraft from countries that had them in service. Not all, but most of them indeed. Hence, Ukraine is losing since the begin of the SMO daily between one and two planes and/or helicopters. This is not only mind boggling in terms of materiel but even more in the loss of highly-trained human lives. These are brave men, but should they simply get into the plane to commit suicide?
Almost yes. There is little purpose in the usage of planes by Ukraine since they get shot down in 33% of the sorties. At least this is my estimation, and I could be wrong here of course. Do their sorties have any effect on the battlefield? Yes and no.
Their only purpose is to deliver an explosive device to a target. At the beginning it was almost impossible since they used gravity bombs (“dumb bombs”). And there was little chance to reach the battlefield close enough to drop such a bomb on target. But from time to time they went through and did some damage. Especially at the beginning of the SMO, when the Russian battlefield air defense hasn’t been set up entirely.
Nowadays the Russia AD works properly and is well configured. There is no chance to approach the line of contact, hence the pilots need to use air launched missiles from a standoff distance to achieve a kill without being killed before the missile has been launched. In many cases they don’t survive the launch.
So the big effect, for which the US is gathering all Soviet planes around the world and sacrificing the best trained Ukrainian pilots, is to inflict from time to time a small hit on the battlefield? No, that would be BS.
Here are the reasons:
Russia needs to maintain 24/7 a well configured and well deployed/dispersed deeply layered air defense in Ukraine which uses up resources that would be more favorably used in other functions. Russia needs to keep up a defense against all kinds of aerial vehicles such as: Planes, helicopters, drones, missiles, gliding bombs, rockets etc.
Psychological support for their own troops as long “our guys are still in the skies”.
Getting rid of very good working planes all across the US-controlled world. They will need to be replaced by expensive next generation planes that are only working as long as the US keeps them activated. There is no danger that they could change sides because the US can turn off F-35s remotely. Every downing of a plane in Ukraine is being celebrated in the USA in the MIC and congress at least with a good bottle of champagne.
The US is learning a lot about the algorithms and radar signatures of the Russian integrated air defense. As long as they keep the “Ukrainian” birds flying and dying and the American AWACS are nearby the Americans can collect as much information as needed and even more.
And here we come to the F-16.
It is pretty simple. Ukraine will get, IF it gets them before it’s over, the F-16 in a configuration similar to the former Soviet birds. To continue exactly what they did until now, when the supply of Soviet made planes is over. It is essentially a 1:1 exchange and continuation of what Ukraine has been doing up to now. They will never, ever get the most modern F-16s, which are actually very capable fighters if not being used in an environment with deep layered integrated and automated air defense.
And if they get them nothing will change. It will go on exactly as before. There is a chance that the first several waves could do some damage, and this will be celebrated in the MSM. But only until the air defense has been properly adjusted to the new threat. Essentially, the AD has all parameters already, since the plane is old, but you can mount new weapons on them whose performance perhaps is not entirely known. And if launched from Romania, then these birds could come from an entirely new angle, which also needs to be taken into consideration. For example, they could directly approach Crimea or, God forbid, the Black Sea Fleet.
I’m entirely relaxed with this scenario, except with the threat against the Black Sea Fleet if approached from Romania. I guess this is a red line which doesn’t need to be communicated at all. (Later more about red lines).
These birds might be stationed wherever they want. Poland, Romania, USA. It doesn’t matter. Yes, Russia can express publicly some dissatisfaction but that’s all, since it is no real threat at all. And since these birds can only be flown by NATO pilots the Russians would additionally have the effect of demilitarizing NATO pilots as well. This is nothing new or special. The Russians did it in Vietnam and Korea as well in the cold war.
The F-16s of course have restrictions. The needed logistics chain, its reach without air refuel, extensive maintenance, requirements for the runway etc.
If stationed in Poland or Romania it will not have a very big reach. Although Romania would be close enough for Crimea…
If stationed in Ukraine it would have major problems and challenges with concealing and replenishment since it needs a lot of care and a clean runway. Hence, it is very hard to imagine how NATO could operate them out of the forest, as they do with the Soviet planes.
But since NATO is realizing all thinkable logistical efforts within Ukraine which is close to insanity, I do not exclude that this will be realized as well.
The other option is that the setup of the infrastructure and logistics (pilots are NATO anyway) will be too late to have an impact and there won’t be F-16s at all. I don’t know, we will see.
Hypersonic Attacks on Patriot Missiles
The patriot system used in Kiev against the Kinzhal missiles was the latest configuration. That was very interesting to me, since it was not a wise choice. These are the best AD assets the US has, and now it has been showcased that they can’t protect America or its allies against Russian attacks. And it was the “baby hypersonic” missile. Daddy “Zircon” or uncle “Avangard” are far more sophisticated and faster.
That was not a wise choice. But it leads me to think that the Americans ACTUALLY thought that this configuration could shoot down the Kinzhal. There is no other reason why they would have chosen to station it in the middle of the danger zone.
I found the whole process very impressive. The video is 7 minutes where the patriot system is being depleted and destroyed. At the beginning it discharged its 32 missiles on “something”. On what? Clearly not on the Kinzhal. The Kinzhal flies at hypersonic speed, hence it would have been way too early to fire those interceptors. Geranium drones? You don’t fire patriots on Geraniums. There are other systems in place to deal with them. Patriots are there for cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
Other missiles as decoys in advance? No, I don’t think so.
Why were they discharged minutes before they Kinzhal arrived? No one that I read has asked that question.
Well, here are some options:
Russia has some EW capabilities to illuminate virtual targets on enemy radars. Considering that the missiles were fired off in all directions this could be one explanation.
The Americans could have located the launch of the missiles from several directions in the direction of Kiev and could have decided to launch the missiles in advance and hope to be able to hit the approaching missiles.
The Americans could have located the launch and estimated that the patriots were being targeted, and decided to discharge to get as much explosive materiel as possible out of the way. There are estimates that some $500 million worth of equipment and missiles were destroyed. These estimates include the value of the additional missiles that were in the vicinity for reloading.
All three options have some likelihood, and combinations are also conceivable. I did some calculations, and the flight time of the Kinzhal from the (estimated) firing point to Kiev is exactly the time from the first interceptor launch to the impact.
I personally believe that Russia had several goals here:
Show to the world, that the best American AD cannot protect either America or its allies(colonies).
Cause massive financial damage, which would also cause massive domestic problems within the USA between Democrats and Republicans in terms of supply of weapons.
Cause this damage by destroying the systems and the stored missiles for reloading. I’d argue that they were hit as well from the video but I can’t verify this nor have I read it somewhere else.
I only can conclude that delivering this AD system to Ukraine was a BIG geopolitical mistake by the USA.
Missiles vs Bombs
Since Russia is decoupling successfully from the Dollar and from Western imports, Russia mostly pays for the war efforts and for armament in Rubel. Since Russia owns the Rubel and the demand is high domestically for Rubel, the war effort can be financed in various ways. Concealed ones as well. In fact, Russia can produce all war equipment, materiel, ammunition etc. like sausages without thinking too much about the financial part. It would go too far to deliver the macro economical explanation for this here, hence I hope you simply believe me at this point.
Nevertheless, there are physical constraints. The production facilities need to be set up and the personnel need to be hired and trained to be able to achieve the desired production numbers.
I also wrote about this in a prior article in more detail. Nevertheless, it looks to me now that General Surovikin’s strategy, to defend the line until everything is prepared for the counter offensive, has paid off:
The enemy depleted itself of men and material.
The internal production capacities are able to deliver enough materiel to the troops for an army of 800,000 men in Ukraine. I wrote months ago that Russia’s industry is not yet ready for that. But it looks to me that they reached that level now or will reach that level soon.
Big missile strikes are now delivered by Russia almost daily. Russia has received a huge batch of gliding bombs.
The combination is absolutely devastating Ukraine’s rear and the frontline positions. Bombs are far better to destroy huge structures and fortifications whereas missiles are good to strike important objects in the rear to render them unusable for some time.
Both variants are now fully deployed.
GRU is the military secret service of the Russian Federation. These are the guys who are carrying out secret operations in the enemy’s rear, and gathering military intelligence from the enemy’s military. Operations inclusive of killings with plausible deniability.
Moreover, they are responsible for deception and making the enemy believe something that is far from the truth.
These are very bad-ass guys and when they are used, the shit has already hit the fan. Personally, I hoped to never see these guys in action since I knew that when you see them in action, we are in deep shit like WW3.
Here is a list of activities as example:
Blowing up enemy infrastructure in the enemy hinterland. Logistics nodes in the USA or Germany, for example, or communication hubs. There are GRU hit squads pre-positioned (GRU Spetsnaz) in NATO countries at strategic positions to carry out raids against high value targets. (Black ops)
Killing of high value enemy targets in the enemy rear. (Black ops)
Carrying out a large-scale military deception campaign to defeat the enemy on the battlefield. See Wagner and Prigozhin. (Grey ops)
Counter-espionage within the Russian army. (Green ops)
Wagner is a rather small unit with highly professional GRU Spetsnaz operators who are commanding a far bigger “Wagner expendables” volunteer unit which is conducting the penetration and dying. These guys are not GRU 😊
Prigozhin has the task to keep them motivated to form unity and brotherhood by constantly ranting against “Shoigu and Gerasimov”. Pro-hint: Shoigu and Gerasimov are his bosses. They are in charge of the GRU 😊
Well, the meatgrinder worked only by delaying the capture as long as possible by taking the city step by step in urban combat. I described it already above. This is connected with high losses. Hence, you need to motivate people to also run into this much smaller meatgrinder constantly for months even though they know that the Russian army is there and could blow the place up within days with no enemy having a chance of surviving.
I think, apart from the deception for the enemy, to suck him into Bakhmut, as described many times by myself, the task of Prigozhin’s rants has been to motivate the Wagner expendables to “follow him into death”.
The whole affair is deeply cynical; that’s why I didn’t write about it for months even though I had the whole analysis ready some time ago. It is cynical, but at the end it saved tens of thousands of Russian soldiers by sacrificing maybe 5-10,000 Wagner “expendables”. How? By sucking the enemy into Artemovsk and destroying them with artillery and tank fire. Otherwise ordinary Russian soldiers would need to take town by town with heavy losses throughout Ukraine.
I want to make something clear. The first stage of activation of the GRU has been done. This is Wagner. Hence, grey ops. Let’s all pray together that we will not experience the activation of GRU Spetsnaz within NATO countries. Then we are in WW3. I had some thoughts in my head when the US experienced all those train derailments but later I thought, no, the American infrastructure simply is just short of collapsing because all the American (people’s) money goes abroad.
Border Crossing by Ukrainians
Recently, a group of Ukrainian operatives conducted an incursion into the Belgorod oblast in Russia. I will keep this section short.
Who invaded? Some highly professional Ukrainian GUR operatives directed this insertion operation. They simply organized dozens or hundreds of ideologically confused and highly motivated people (Russians and Ukrainians) to stir up some trouble. The confused people became expendable cannon fodder in the end. I assume that the GUR operatives were evacuated to safety shortly after the photo op. The cannon fodder have been left behind to deal with the incoming Russian army and FSB.
Diversion from what happened in Artemovsk.
Propping up motivation of the Ukrainians. See, we are taking Russian main land. (Public and soldiers, earmarked for the offensive).
Stimulating separatist sentiments in Russia. This is a slow process but one that mustn’t be underestimated.
Also, cynical 😊
Often there is talk about crossed Russian red lines. There are indeed red lines that were agreed or at least communicated between Sergey Naryshkin and William Burns in Ankara last year.
If these red lines, which NOT ONE of us knows about, are crossed then we are all ####ed. Simply and plainly said. I’m absolutely sure that these red lines won’t be crossed. I often stated that the owners of the USA don’t want to die and they will do nothing that could risk their extinction.
Which red lines then? Community red lines? Twitter red lines? Telegram red lines?
I don’t know.
If Ukraine carries out some crazy “James Bond” attack within Russia with several dead Russians everyone calls for nuking Kiev and they talk about red lines. Which red lines? President Putin is the only one who can draw them or delegate the drawing to, for example Sergey Naryshkin, and I did not hear or read any statement of President Putin with such red lines.
The next time you call for nuking something (Kiev and Ukraine are Russia. Why should Russia nuke Russia?) consider this: Russia is killing daily between 300 and 1,000 Ukrainians on the battlefield. Since the Ukrainians have no other chance than conducting diversion, they manage to kill sometimes a few Russians within core Russia. Okay. That’s war. They are daily avenged by the Russian army, manifold. 10 dead Russians in a blown-up oil depot? Okay. The next day 1,000 Ukrainians die on the battlefield. What do you want more? 10,000? At the end, all who deserve to die will die.
Well, as soon as the estimated (if still alive in full strength) 70,000 highly motivated and NATO-trained, ideologically confused Ukrainian soldiers have been committed to some kind of offensive and are dead, then it’s Russia’s turn. Then the big collapse will begin, as opposed to the current pre-collapse. Then I expect bigger Russian moves. Big arrows? Never. Big arrows = Big suicide. Ask the Ukrainians about that. When the Russians start to move, then there will only be meat in their way and no longer a professional and well-organized army. Remember the Knife and Butter? Remember the kid, stomping on ants? Until then, a lot of fighting still has to be done.