52 thoughts on “The Ukraine War”

  1. Russia will be stuck in Ukraine as long as Putin is alive. Funny thing about dictatorships…

    1. What would happen if Putin said, “OK, lets end the war right now.” Would Ukraine keep fignting? Would the West continue support? Would Russia have to give up any land?

      1. Would Ukraine keep fighting

        Would the West continue support?
        Maybe. Only as long as Ukraine “co-operates”.

        Would Russia have to give up any land?
        While Putin is alive, no. After he’s dead? Yes, when those land masses declare their independence (again) after Russia loses interest. Interestingly enough, they might not end up being Ukrainian either.

      2. If you mean just a ceasefire in place, and Russia gets to keep all the land it’s conquered since Feb 24th, of course Ukraine would keep fighting; they aren’t suicidal.

        The problem is that Russia holds much of the south of Ukraine, and holds areas around Kherson City west of the Dnipro River. So, even if Ukraine was willing to surrender so much territory (and thus hand over the people in those areas for genocide), Russia would simply rebuild its forces and try to wipe out Ukraine again, no matter what Russia promises, and the bridgehead over the Dnipro River puts Russia in an ideal geographic position to do exactly that.

        Would the West continue to support Ukraine if Ukraine refuses a Russian offer for such a suicidal ceasefire-in-place? If it had any sense, yes, though that remains to be seen. My fear is that this will be another Munich, where the UK and France gave away the Czech Sudetenland to Hitler for “peace in our time”.

        1. In this case it will be Germany doing it for gas this winter. Germany has to get this over with by September or a lot of Germans are going to freeze in the dark this winter.

      3. What would happen if Putin said, “OK, lets end the war right now.”

        This sort of thing misses two obvious problems. First, what are the terms and conditions? After all, Putin already said the above when he first invaded. It was just conditional on an abject surrender by Ukraine.

        Second, why are we to believe Putin? How does Ukraine know this is not a ruse to merely regroup, rearm, and reinvade in a few months? They’ll want more than just a few weeks or months of ceasefire.

  2. I will believe it when I see it. So far in this war the so-called experts have been wrong every time.

    1. Everything we “know” about the war has one of two sources: Russian propaganda and Ukrainian propaganda.

  3. Eric,
    Those looking for wisdom from Clowns are just coming up with a bunch of bozo’s. Rand just can’t seem to stay away from the Clowns.

  4. There are only two ways Russia’s bleeding can stop. Either the Ukrainians have to give up on Donbas, which is extremely unlikely, or Russia will have to lose.

    Russia has already lost more KIA than the US has since 1968 in all our wars and conflicts combined. If Ukrainian figures are correct (and I have good reason to think they’re undercounting because many losses aren’t seen by Ukraine), Russia is suffering combat deaths at an average rate of about 270 per day. On a per-capita basis, that’s like us losing 600 a day. Only four months in and it is likely that over a third of the Russian army’s total ground force of 280,000 is killed or wounded, with those losses concentrated among their elite assault forces.

    Russia pulled out of Afghanistan because they were losing 1,500 per year. Their current loss rate is 65 times higher than Afghanistan, which was a quagmire.

    If you annualize that rate, they’re at 100,000 KIA per year. The US hasn’t suffered that many KIA in all our combined conflicts since WW-II. In 1968, the worst year of Vietnam, US combat deaths came to 8.5 per 100K of US population (the same basis usually used for measuring homicide rates). Russia is looking at 65 per 100,000K. For France in 1916, the 300 days of Verdun were at 500 per 100,000K. Russia is at 14% of a Verdun, but without any mass mobilization, in a war of convenience that was supposed to be a nearly bloodless annexation. Ukraine is in an existential war, having been invaded. From everything I’ve seen, they’re will to fight a full-on Verdun.

    If you toss in a rough estimate of Russia’s wounded as being twice as large as their KIA, their losses in Ukraine, if the rate is maintained for a whole year, is larger than the size of their entire land army of 280,000. Long before that point is reached, without a massive call-up that might lead to Putin’s ouster, their army won’t be able to hold ground because they’ll be running out of front line troops.

    What remains is too small to fully man an active front line, so the front will remain porous to Ukrainian infiltration, which will keep the Russia casualty rates high. As Ukraine gets more and better artillery and rocket systems, Russia’s problems will grow worse.

    Russia got into this mess by trying to attack on a front longer than the WW-II Eastern Front with only about 190,000 men instead of several million. By soldiers per square mile to conquer, or soldiers per civilian population to be conquered, or soldiers per linear mile of front, Russia has never had anywhere near a historical estimate of required troops to accomplish their goals. They tried to use a small army to accomplish a task that would require a very big army. As a result, as long as Ukraine keeps it up, they’re going to lose their small army or they’re going to withdraw it. Given Putin’s actions so far, I’m betting they’ll lose it, or that he’ll get desperate and start acting even crazier.

    1. How long can Ukrainian sustain their losses? They have done a great job of grinding Russia down but at a high price themselves.

      Assuming they don’t run out of people, things favor Ukraine the longer this goes on because of support from the West but our economic foundation is shaky right now and a crazy Putin or someone else could cause us a lot of problems.

      I wish our leadership was focused on getting our house in order but it looks like they want to crash the economy as part of a transition to Progressive Marxism and then we won’t be winning any wars or helping anyone else win wars.

      1. Well, the greatest thing Russia has going for them is Biden, Blinken, Austin, and Milley, who could lose a war with Jamaica. But much of Europe (France and Germany excepted) has found spine enough to keep Ukraine supplied, and they’re dragging Biden along.

        As a proxy war, assuming no significant Chinese support, Russia’s block is outnumbered 6.5 to 1 in population, and around 40 to 1 in GDP. Even though Russia’s military spending has always been far higher than the West’s on a percent of GDP basis, they’re still so wildly outmatched that the West can outspend them without even breaking a sweat. Perhaps more significantly, the West doesn’t have to spend a fortune on new weapons because they can just supply Ukraine from existing stockpiles of weapons whose sole purpose was to blow up Russian equipment anyway. If most of Russia’s tanks get blown up in Ukraine, those weapons won’t be needed later because nobody else near Europe has massive numbers of tanks that might need blowing up.

        I think the only way Russia can actually win is if Ukraine and the West decide to let them win, on some cost benefit analysis or just war weariness. Striking Ukrainian shopping malls with cruise missiles is not going to help that happen. Russia keeps making huge unforced errors like that, and like Bucha, that stiffens Western resolve. Ukraine has been quite good at not screwing up like that, although they possibly made a battlefield error in so doggedly defending Sverdlosk despite massive Russian artillery advantages. But Russia casualties were also reportedly very high in that operation, so perhaps it’s a calculation of who wins in a battle of attrition. Those are usually not good for morale, so perhaps Ukraine should avoid them when possible.

        1. Striking Ukrainian shopping malls with cruise missiles is not going to help that happen. Russia keeps making huge unforced errors like that, and like Bucha, that stiffens Western resolve.
          As we have seen in the past when it comes to Russian forces. A lot of these decisions are not being made at the top.

          1. check out today’s moon of alabama with post with links debunking the shopping mall propaganda.

        2. Well, the greatest thing Russia has going for them is Biden, Blinken, Austin, and Milley, who could lose a war with Jamaica.

          I’m still waiting for them to offer Grenada back to the Cubans.

        3. “Ukraine has been quite good at not screwing up like that”

          Would our media report on Ukrainian atrocities?

          “Russia’s block is outnumbered 6.5 to 1 in population, and around 40 to 1 in GDP. ”

          Oh, if/when we actually go to war, the population of the supporter countries would matter. We have 100k troops in the region plus whatever weaponry. In that contest, Russia wouldn’t do well at all.

          GDP analysis would make sense in normal times but we aren’t in normal times. We are dangerously close to economic collapse because Biden is intent on creating an economic disaster to justify the amazing transition and that wont change until the Democrats are out of power plus a few years for oil and a few more for controlling spending if the jackwagon Republicans even try and balance the budget.

      2. “How long can Ukrainian sustain their losses? ”
        What choice do they have.
        It seems the people that Russian capture is not a good look. Russia propaganda is they going nuke countries, and attack other European countries.
        Russia simply is not giving Ukrainians any other choice but some form of suicide.
        Even if Ukrainian govt surrendered, the war doesn’t end. This war goes on with or without Ukrainian govt, and it seem Ukrainian govt just smart enough to know this.
        Everyone is losing this war, the only way to shorten it, is Russia loses.
        Because Russian govt is not governing, nor is any govt in world governing.
        It is disadvantage to having a weak US president, but one might hope for some leadership from some part of the world.
        Anyhow, it seems it will take a long time for Russia to lose this war {which they have already lost- as has everyone involved].

        1. “What choice do they have.”

          That’s a good point.

          “Everyone is losing this war, the only way to shorten it, is Russia loses.”

          I agree or Russia could declare victory and enter negotiations. IMO, a negotiated settlement would leave Russia with most everything they have right now, which would probably be fine with everyone except Ukraine.

          I don’t know if Ukraine would, or could, continue the fight. They didn’t have much luck pushing Russia out of the contested regions prior to this latest invasion.

          1. Prior to this latest invasion, the Ukrainians weren’t being showered with donated weapons and ammo either. This is becoming the War of the Warehouses. The U.S. and NATO have more weaponry stored away than the Russians do.

    2. Taking casualty figures seriously during a war between one country that’s fighting for it’s life and another where propaganda is a way of life is a bad bet. The only thing we know for sure is that the war has been going on for 4 months and the Ukrainans haven’t lost or begged for peace yet.

      1. Ukraine still only has so many men they can put in the field, regardless of them fighting for their existence and Ukrainian propaganda has been top notch. Did people in the West even hear about the Ukrainian losses?

        They weren’t reported by Russia but by Ukraine. I have no idea about Russian losses other than the vehicle count is something that can be verified. I don’t know how many troops they have lost but it certainly isn’t an insignificant number.

        Both countries are paying the butcher’s price in this war.

        1. Ukraine is conscripting pretty much its entire military-age male population. Russia is not. By the time Russia could start to do so, it is likely to have no weapons left to issue to new troops.

          1. Also does Russia leadership want so many Russian people having military weapons.
            Assuming every Russian was insanely loyal to the leadership, they still have long history of being fickle.

      2. IIRC, counting the ‘probable kills’ and the like the US Army Air Force shot down about TWICE as many aircraft than the Germans produced for the Luftwaffe in total… Body Counts, don’t take them seriously.

    3. Interesting analysis. Thanks George. But I agree with Wodun, Ukrainian forces are also taking it on the chin. Have you done a similar analysis against Ukrainian losses?

      Assuming Ukraine gets the longer range artillery and rockets how does it stack up?

      Again, it may not matter. The front may stabilize along a line where each side can sustain the rate of casualties. Peace will only come when one side capitulates and one side in particular won’t capitulate without the death of its leader. The West is boxed in in this regard. Can’t give Ukraine enough offensive capability to threaten the Russian State w/o risk of an all out nuclear exchange. Can’t refuse to supply Ukraine with enough weapons to defend itself against a Russian onslaught, without it being conquered and putting other former Soviet (and more importantly NATO) states at risk. Worse, unlike me, Ukraine isn’t likely to settle the war by accepting the loss of the Donbas and much of its coastline. Ukraine isn’t an ally. More like an untrustworthy sidekick from an old Western movie. So stalemate. Too violent to be a cold war, too passive to be a nuclear hot war. A lukewarm war.

      Once Sweden and Finland join NATO we should immediately put back the equivalent of forward based nuclear armed IRBMs and nuclear tipped cruise missiles. Reset the Zero Option. I’m willing to bet it will be negotiated back again in under a year. Otherwise, Russia will know it won’t even get 12 minutes of existence. The point being to de-nuclearize that front. Which is to the West’s advantage and improves stability. I want Russia to re-think it’s conventional forces and align them more against the Nordic States. More incentive to get the hell out of Ukraine.

      1. Instead of land-based missiles, we could do similar with nuclear armed attack subs. But they aren’t visible, unlike the Doomsday Machine.

      2. “I want Russia to re-think it’s conventional forces and align them more against the Nordic States. ”

        They should worry about China.

  5. I’ve been going out of my way to get a both sides perspective and while Russia is paying a high price, the war isn’t as one sided as our media portrays. I don’t think this war will end with Russia losing territory, for a variety of reasons, but I want to be wrong.

    Russia’s opening gambit failed but there is a lot of butchery in the east and Ukraine is losing a lot of people. A week or two ago, Ukraine was reporting 100-200 deaths a day with hundreds more casualties on top.

    It is easier for us to get examples of Russian losses but that isn’t the whole picture.

    I don’t like that we have troops in Ukraine.

  6. I don’t like that we have troops in Ukraine.

    Troops or “volunteers”? The latter concept can be useful in war avoidance.

    1. NYT reported we have special ops and CIA in Ukraine. CIA is to be expected but not active duty military. This is aside from the vets and other volunteers that are over there.

      1. CIA is to be expected but not active duty military.
        To me this is a fine line with little distinction. Special ops have always been pretty much hand-in-glove along with CIA operatives. I specifically remember Afghanistan in the early days of the Northern Alliance. They are not US Forces, but ‘contractors’ working in the host country. Up until they become US Forces. These special ops guys are trained and know what they are setting themselves up for. If they are captured, killed or executed on the battlefield there is nothing the US government will do in response, because anything else would be an admission they are there. Spy vs spy. Or as the self-destructing tape in Mission Impossible says: “If any of your IM force is caught or killed, the ‘Secretary’ will disavow any knowledge of your actions.” Eventually, if captured and not executed, they may someday be exchanged for Russian spies. Interestingly enough, their families back home seem to do just fine for a family with no apparent source of income.

  7. This war can’t still be going on. The Russians ran out of ammo two and a half months ago according to western reports three months ago.

    1. What sort of ammo? I bet Russia isn’t using cruise missiles as frequently as it used to. My take is that the transition to artillery bombardment is due to Russia wanting to preserve its armor and planes. But they’ll need to make more shells at some point.

      1. Russia traditionally stockpiles everything and doesn’t throw away older equipment instead they warehouse it. Is the old equipment properly maintained — doubtful. In fact last year I recall a series of major ammunition dump explosions in Russia — were they rotating Cold War Era ammunition in preparation for use in the Ukraine? (Old ammunition — ick!!)

        TL/DR: they may soon run out of “smart weapons” and go back to WW1 / WW2 ‘Walking Barrages’ through occupied Ukrainian cities.

        1. In the battle of the warehouses it also matters how well you can maintain that equipment and munitions. My suspicion is that Russia will have as much trouble with that as they did with maintenance of their active duty gear.

          TL;DR: 10k more tanks don’t matter if they can’t be driven and a zillion artillery shells don’t matter if they don’t go boom.

          1. Artillery shells that don’t go boom can still be effective from a psy-ops perspective along with the overall kinetic impactor effect that they would still have.

            If I were a military unit being handed decades-old artillery shells, I’d be more worried about them jamming, mis-firing, or otherwise blowing up in the breach than I would be anything else.

      2. “My take is that the transition to artillery bombardment ”

        Have they transitioned or have they been doing artillery bombardment all along?

        1. Have they transitioned or have they been doing artillery bombardment all along?

          They were trying maneuver tactics and combined arms for the first few weeks.

      3. Just maybe they did a Musk and built the machine that builds the machines. They aren’t stupid, unlike much of the West nowadays.

        1. I have a feeling you wouldn’t be so uncertain if they had really done that.

          They aren’t stupid, unlike much of the West nowadays.

          I hope you aren’t referring to Russia. That ship has sailed and run aground due to some western-level brilliance.

  8. I don’t know the truth about casualties & resources. But if my job was to liquidate Ukraine’s military force at the cheapest cost, I would do exactly what Russia is doing. Good riddance to Ukraine Nazis.

    1. David, if that were my job, I’d do it without invading at all. Infiltrate them with a number of spies and then catch them on video committing crimes or bragging about what they’re going to do when they get a taste of real power – Nazis gotta nazi, right? I’m sure Russian intelligence would be slick enough to frame other people else for the leaks too.

      Then it’s Ukrainian versus Ukrainian without a Russian casualty in sight (well at least that would need to be acknowledged). And last I checked, those guys might have support among 2% both in the general public and the Ukrainian military. They aren’t going to win.

      That’s the cheapest cost.

      Invading with ~200k troops and engaging in a war that kills and injures a huge amount of non-Nazis on all sides? That’s not cheapest cost.

      My take is that the Russians didn’t care in the least about Ukrainian Nazis until they needed to come up with some pretexts for an invasion back in 2014. And they’ve just been reusing that excuse ever since. Think about it.

  9. Bleeding Russia dry? I can think of a fair number of domestic projects here in the US that would benefit greatly from diverting spending from our military and from foreign aid

  10. In a thread from a couple weeks back Trent Telenko observes that at the rate Russia has been firing shells/rockets into Ukraine over the past few months, their stock is being consumed at a rate faster than the entire world — much less Russia’s manufacturing capacity taken alone — can supply. What can’t go on forever won’t.

  11. Normal person:
    Russia will run out of soldiers and rockets – they are losing, and the death burden is horrendous!

    We need to get rid of our stockpiled weapons, the maintenance costs are eating into my Champaign bathtub fund. I know – we’ll get all the people in prison, give them stuff from the warehouses, and send them to get killed! I don’t have to pay for prisoner care or warehouse costs! More Champaign for me!

    Psychopaths are not normal people.

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