SCOTT RITTER: Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains

Russia is no longer fighting a Ukrainian army equipped by NATO, but a NATO army manned by Ukrainians. Yet, Russia still holds the upper hand despite its Kharkiv setback.

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

The Ukrainian army began a major offensive against Russian forces deployed in the region north of the southern city of Kherson on Sept. 1. Ten days later, the Ukrainians had expanded the scope and the scale of its offensive operations to include the region around the northern city of Kharkov.

While the Kherson offensive was thrown back by the Russians, with the Ukrainian forces suffering heavy losses in both men and material, the Kharkov offensive turned out to be a major success, with thousands of square kilometers of territory previously occupied by Russian troops placed back under Ukrainian governmental control.

Instead of launching its own counteroffensive against the Ukrainians operating in the Kharkov region, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) made an announcement many people found shocking: “To achieve the stated goals of a special military operation to liberate the Donbass,” the Russians announced via Telegram, “it was decided to regroup Russian troops…to increase efforts in the Donetsk direction.”

Downplaying the notion of a retreat, the Russian MOD declared that “to this end, within three days, an operation was carried out to curtail and organize the transfer of [Russian] troops to the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

During this operation,” the report said, “a number of distractions and demonstration measures were carried out, indicating the real actions of the troops” which, the Russians declared, resulted in “more than two thousand Ukrainian and foreign fighters [being] destroyed, as well as more than a hundred units of armored vehicles and artillery.”

To quote the immortal Yogi Berra, it was “déjà vu all over again.”

Phases of the War

Russian bombardment of telecommunications antennas in Kiev, March 1, 2022. (Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine/Wikimedia Commons)

On March 25, the head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy, gave a briefing in which he announced the end of what he called Phase One of Russia’s “special military operation” (SMO) in Ukraine.

The goals of the operation, which had begun on Feb. 24 when Russian troops crossed the border with Ukraine, were to cause “such damage to military infrastructure, equipment, personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” to pin them down and prevent any significant reinforcement of the Ukrainian forces deployed in the Donbass region.

Rudskoy then announced Russian troops would be withdrawing and regrouping so that they will be able to “concentrate on the main thing — the complete liberation of Donbass.”

Thus began Phase Two.

On May 30 I published an article in Consortium News where I discussed the necessity of a Phase Three. I noted that

“both Phase One and Phase Two of Russia’s operation were specifically tailored to the military requirements necessary to eliminate the threat posed to Lugansk and Donetsk by the buildup of Ukrainian military power in eastern Ukraine. … [A]t some point soon, Russia will announce that it has defeated the Ukrainian military forces arrayed in the east and, in doing so, end the notion of the imminent threat that gave Russia the legal justification to undertake its operation.”

Such an outcome, I wrote, would “leave Russia with a number of unfulfilled political objectives, including denazification, demilitarization, permanent Ukrainian neutrality, and NATO concurrence with a new European security framework along the lines drawn up by Russia in its December 2021 treaty proposals. If Russia were to call a halt to its military operation at this juncture,” I declared, “it would be ceding political victory to Ukraine, which ‘wins’ by not losing.”

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This line of thinking was predicated on my belief that “[w]hile one could have previously argued that an imminent threat would continue to exist so long as the Ukrainian forces possessed sufficient combat power to retake Donbass region, such an argument cannot be made today.”

In short, I believed that impetus for Russia expanding into a third phase would arise only after it completed its mission of liberating the Donbass in Phase Two. “Ukraine,” I said, “even with the massive infusion of military assistance from NATO, would never again be in a position to threaten a Russian conquest of the Donbass region.”

I was wrong.

Anne Applebaum, a neoconservative staff writer for The Atlantic, recently interviewed Lieutenant General Yevhen Moisiuk, the deputy commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, about the successful Ukrainian offensive operation. “What really surprises us,” Moisiuk said, “is that the Russian troops are not fighting back.”

Applebaum put her own spin on the general’s word. “Offered the choice of fighting or fleeing,” she wrote of the Russian soldiers, “many of them appear to be escaping as fast as they can.”

According to Applebaum, the Ukrainian success on the battlefield has created a new reality, where the Ukrainians, she concludes, “could win this war” and, in doing so, bring “about the end of Putin’s regime.”

I wasn’t that wrong.

Soviet and NATO Doctrine

Russian military vehicles bombed by Ukrainian forces, March 8, 2022. (Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine/Wikimedia Commons)

War is a complicated business. Applebaum seems ignorant of this. Both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries are large, professional organizations backed by institutions designed to produce qualified warriors. Both militaries are well led, well equipped, and well prepared to undertake the missions assigned them. They are among the largest military organizations in Europe.

The Russian military, moreover, is staffed by officers of the highest caliber, who have undergone extensive training in the military arts. They are experts in strategy, operations, and tactics. They know their business.

For its part, the Ukrainian military has undergone a radical transformation in the years since 2014, where Soviet-era doctrine has been replaced by a hybrid one that incorporates NATO doctrine and methodologies.

This transformation has been accelerated dramatically since the the Russian invasion, with the Ukrainian military virtually transitioning from older, Soviet-era heavy equipment to an arsenal which more closely mirrors the organization and equipment of NATO nations, which are providing billions of dollars of equipment and training.

The Ukrainians are, like their Russian counterparts, military professionals adept at the necessity of adapting to battlefield realities. The Ukrainian experience, however, is complicated by trying to meld two disparate doctrinal approaches to war (Soviet-era and modern NATO) under combat conditions. This complexity creates opportunities for mistakes, and mistakes on the battlefield often result in casualties — significant casualties.

Russia has fought three different styles of wars in the six months since it entered Ukraine. The first was a war of maneuver, designed to seize as much territory as possible to shape the battlefield militarily and politically.

The operation was conducted with approximately 200,000 Russian and allied forces, who were up against an active-duty Ukrainian military of some 260,000 troops backed by up to 600,000 reservists. The standard 3:1 attacker-defender ratio did not apply — the Russians sought to use speed, surprise, and audacity to minimize Ukraine’s numerical advantage, and in the process hoping for a rapid political collapse in Ukraine that would prevent any major fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces.

This plan succeeded in some areas (in the south, for instance, around Kherson), and did fix Ukrainian troops in place and caused the diversion of reinforcements away from critical zones of operation. But it failed strategically — the Ukrainians did not collapse but rather solidified — ensuring a long, hard fight ahead.

The second phase of the Russian operation had the Russians regroup to focus on the liberation of Donbass. Here, Russia adapted its operational methodology, using its superiority in firepower to conduct a slow, deliberate advance against Ukrainian forces dug into extensive defensive networks and, in doing so, achieving unheard of casualty ratios that had ten or more Ukrainians being killed or wounded for every Russian casualty.

While Russia was slowly advancing against dug in Ukrainian forces, the U.S. and NATO provided Ukraine with billions of dollars of military equipment, including the equivalent of several armored divisions (tanks, armored fighting vehicles, artillery, and support vehicles), along with extensive operational training on this equipment at military installations outside Ukraine.

In short, while Russia was busy destroying the Ukrainian military on the battlefield, Ukraine was busy reconstituting that army, replacing destroyed units with fresh forces that were extremely well equipped, well trained, and well led.

The second phase of the conflict saw Russia destroy the old Ukrainian army. In its stead, Russia faced mobilized territorial and national units, supported by reconstituted NATO-trained forces. But the bulk of the NATO trained forces were held in reserve.

The Third Phase – NATO vs. Russia

Russian withdrawal from Kharkiv on Sunday. (Russian Ministry of Defense)

These are the forces that have been committed to the current fighting. Russia finds itself in a full-fledged proxy war with NATO, facing a NATO-style military force that is being logistically sustained by NATO, trained by NATO, provided with NATO intelligence, and working in harmony with NATO military planners.

What this means is that the current Ukrainian counteroffensive should not be viewed as an extension of the phase two battle, but rather the initiation of a new third phase which is not a Ukrainian-Russian conflict, but a NATO-Russian conflict.

The Ukrainian battle plan has “Made in Brussels” stamped all over it. The force composition was determined by NATO, as was the timing of the attacks and the direction of the attacks. NATO intelligence carefully located seams in the Russian defenses and identified critical command and control, logistics, and reserve concentration nodes that were targeted by Ukrainian artillery, which operates on a fire control plan created by NATO.

In short, the Ukrainian army that Russia faced in Kherson and around Kharkov was unlike any Ukrainian opponent it had previously faced. Russia was no longer fighting a Ukrainian army equipped by NATO, but rather a NATO army manned by Ukrainians.

Ukraine continues to receive billions of dollars of military assistance, and currently has tens of thousands of troops undergoing extensive training in NATO nations.

There will be a fourth phase, and a fifth phase … as many phases as necessary before Ukraine either exhausts its will to fight and die, NATO exhausts its ability to continue supplying the Ukrainian military, or Russia exhausts its willingness to fight an inconclusive conflict in Ukraine. Back in May I called the decision by the U.S. to provide billions of dollars of military assistance to Ukraine “a game changer.”

Massive Intelligence Failure

Russian military intelligence (GRU) headquarters, Moscow. (Hagidza/Wikimedia Commons)

What we are witnessing in Ukraine today is how this money has changed the game. The result is more dead Ukrainian and Russian forces, more dead civilians, and more destroyed equipment.

If Russia is to prevail, however, it will need to identify its many failings leading up to the successful Ukrainian offensive and adapt accordingly. First and foremost, the Ukrainian offensive around Kharkov represents one of the most serious intelligence failures by a professional military force since the Israeli failure to predict the Egyptian assault on the Suez Canal that kicked off the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The Ukrainians had been signaling their intent to conduct an offensive in the Kherson region for many weeks now. It appears that when Ukraine initiated its attacks along the Kherson line, Russia assumed that this was the long-awaited offensive, and rushed reserves and reinforcements to this front.

The Ukrainians were repulsed with heavy losses, but not before Russia had committed its theater reserves. When the Ukrainian army attacked in the Kharkov region a few days later, Russia was taken by surprise.

And then there is the extent to which NATO had integrated itself into every aspect of Ukrainian military operations.

How could this happen? A failure of intelligence of this magnitude suggests deficiencies in both Russia’s ability to collect intelligence data, as well as an inability to produce timely and accurate assessments for the Russian leadership. This will require a top-to-bottom review to be adequately addressed. In short, heads will roll — and soon. This war isn’t stopping anytime soon, and Ukraine continues to prepare for future offensive actions.

Why Russia Will Still Win

In the end, I still believe the end game remains the same — Russia will win. But the cost for extending this war has become much higher for all parties involved.

The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive needs to be put into a proper perspective. The casualties Ukraine suffered, and is still suffering, to achieve this victory are unsustainable. Ukraine has exhausted its strategic reserves, and they will have to be reconstituted if Ukraine were to have any aspirations of continuing an advance along these lines. This will take months.

Russia, meanwhile, has lost nothing more than some indefensible space. Russian casualties were minimal, and equipment losses readily replaced.

Russia has actually strengthened its military posture by creating strong defensive lines in the north capable of withstanding any Ukrainian attack, while increasing combat power available to complete the task of liberating the remainder of the Donetsk People’s Republic under Ukrainian control.

Russia has far more strategic depth than Ukraine. Russia is beginning to strike critical infrastructure targets, such as power stations, that will not only cripple the Ukrainian economy, but also their ability to move large amounts of troops rapidly via train.

Russia will learn from the lessons the Kharkov defeat taught them and continue its stated mission objectives.

The bottom line – the Kharkov offensive was as good as it will get for Ukraine, while Russia hasn’t come close to hitting rock bottom. Changes need to be made by Russia to fix the problems identified through the Kharkov defeat. Winning a battle is one thing; winning a war another.

For Ukraine, the huge losses suffered by their own forces, combined with the limited damage inflicted on Russia means the Kharkov offensive is, at best, a Pyrrhic victory, one that does not change the fundamental reality that Russia is winning, and will win, the conflict in Ukraine.

Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. His most recent book is Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, published by Clarity Press.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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70 comments for “SCOTT RITTER: Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains

  1. Arnieus
    September 15, 2022 at 09:34

    Russia refuses to bend the knee to the great-reset bolshevik mafia. Why would US ship tens of. billions of $$ (and probably some of the trillions missing from the Pentagon) to Ukraine but not spend pocket change to secure the border with Mexico? If you can’t answer that question you don’t have a clue about what is going on.

  2. Tedder
    September 15, 2022 at 09:28

    I am not quite agreeing with the otherwise brilliant Scott Ritter. My informants claim that Russia began withdrawing forces and evacuating civilians well before the offensive so that little more than 2000 lightly armored or unarmored ‘police’ force was occupying Kherson. If it had wanted, Russian General Staff could have sent its newly mobilized corps to Kherson, but it did not. Instead, it ran a deception operation signaling the arrival of reinforcements for major defense, when actual force simply set up a defensive line on the edge of Kharkiv. Perhaps it was a tactical error on the part of the Russians, but the result was the destruction of much of the invading force by artillery and air power, probably diminishing its ability to continue its advance or move to another assault point.

  3. Alexandru
    September 15, 2022 at 03:10

    I want to preface this by telling you that you are my favorite analyst of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Your analysis is engaging, attractive and right on.
    In want to understand one point that you made in the latest Sputnik interview about Russia making an economic mistake if they were to decree general mobilization. I understand that general mobilization is only possible in case of war declaration.
    When I was in the military academy we were smirking when we were told that the infantry is the “Queen of the Battle” (I was part of biological and chemical warfare division). Only later I understood that without “boots on the ground” you cannot conquer anything.
    Currently, Russian troops are vastly outnumbered so no matter how much artillery superiority they have ultimately, they would be overwhelmed by waves of infantry. You are right that Russia has many other international fronts that has to tend but I am not sure that bringing volunteers for Chechnya (even if those are formidable fighters) would fill the void.
    I also think that Russia does not have to win militarily this war because it is enough to win the economic war, which is what they are doing.
    You stated that a general mobilization would wipe out the gain in the economic war but you did not elaborate on the matter. One can stipulate that you meant that more soldiers require more economic resources, but on the other hand that would shorten the war and thus the drain on the economical resources. Furthermore, there is no way that Russia can achieve her prior intervention stated objectives if the war continues in the current status quo.
    Maybe you can elaborate.

  4. Arch Stanton
    September 14, 2022 at 17:38

    The only way NATO loses or Russia wins is through a nuclear ending, much like Japan.
    The satanic neocons and the military industrial complex will never stop unless their pet project receives a ‘Hiroshima’ moment

  5. peter mcloughlin
    September 14, 2022 at 08:29

    The conflict cannot be seen in terms of “victory” or “defeat”, because it is moving towards world war, that Deterrence Doctrine was – is – supposed to prevent. But the proponents of this theory look incapable of stopping the scenarios that will lead to nuclear conflict, and blind to this reality. Look to history and how all empires get the war they are trying to avoid, but convince themselves they won’t. I explore this in my free e-book that anyone can download. Search:

    A free ebook: The Pattern Of History and Fate of Humanity

  6. Nika
    September 14, 2022 at 07:34

    NATO no longer hides its involvement in this war. From all sides there is a “barking” about the destruction of Russia and all Russians – a great example of “high diplomacy”. The doors to the hell of the third World War are open. Once again, America and Europe did not hear the voice of Russia, or rather they do not want to hear. Just do not accuse Russia of inciting of this war. Zelensky, in a frank interview with the BBC, said that “….. we (the Ukrainian prostitute) started the war earlier …..” The masks have been dropped, gentlemen.

    • Jon Adams
      September 14, 2022 at 19:46

      The “NATOstans” scream it out loud: their desire that Russia be dismantled. They are so stupid to be so candid. They are giving the Russians a reason to fight.

      • Nika
        September 15, 2022 at 12:58

        Yes, yes. These screaming idiots do not understand that Russia will otherwise fight for its security.

  7. September 14, 2022 at 03:37

    I like Scott Ritter’s posts and he is MOSTLY right But “mostly” isn’t the same as “always”. As you can see here: hxxps://

    Scott makes a few obvious errors. One is to say that the Russians “hoped” that Kiev would capitulate after their strike through the lines to Kiev early in the SMO. Nobody knows what they “hoped”. Rather we have to look at what they actually did and the results. Their force was too small to take the city — just large enough to establish a presence and tie up reserves in the area — which allowed them to isolate UAF groups in the South using air attacks.

    Did they “hope” that Kiev would capitulate really? Of course. But ‘hope” and “expect” are different. Capitulation would have meant agreement to demilitarize and denazify. How likely would that be?

    Similarly, Scott understands that the Russians are doing “mobility” warfare. Just not the kind that the Marine Corps does, where the goal is securing territory within a certain window of time. Rather, the Russian’s window of time should be open because the proxy war waged by the West is just one facet of a hybrid economic, psy war against Russia. The US Defense industry may make money in the short term but a some point, economic fundamentals will cripple them.

    Demilitarization means just that: it means destroying the UAF. It is not about territory. To kill the UAF they have to be persuade to come out of their “maginot grid” of fortified towns and fight – which the are now doing.

    Will the people of Ukraine know that the Russians can’t protect them from Banderite atrocities? They had 8 years without any help at all. Now they have help.

    But let us keep in mind, that it is help only. Most of the fighting is done by the DPR and LPR militias themselves. The RF supports. It does not dominate the action. As the Banderites commit atrocities, they also undermine their own psywar narrative – and contribute to denazification.

  8. Ivan
    September 14, 2022 at 00:53

    1. “The Russian military, moreover, is staffed by officers of the highest caliber, … experts in strategy, operations, and tactics.” That actually made me laugh. (Everybody else watching the incompetence of the Russian army in this war is probably laughing as well) As somebody who served in one of the armies of the Eastern Block, I know firsthand about the “quality” of the Russian officers. Even if that was quite a few years ago, I don’t think there are any major improvements today, with the system so inert and resistant to change.
    2. The author states in the Kharkiv offensive “Russian casualties were minimal, and equipment losses readily replaced”. Hundreds of tanks and heavy vehicles lost is not minimal. Only Wikipedia experts still believe the hype about the thousands of tanks the Russians have in storage readily available. Russian military is already experiencing a deficit of modern (by their standards) weapons.
    3. “The casualties Ukraine suffered… to achieve this victory are unsustainable” What is this statement based on? Russian DOD spokesman? Ukraine is a big country with enormous human reserves. And I haven’t seen anything, even from the Russian propaganda, suggesting the Ukrainians having huge losses that might cripple their army.
    4. “In the end, I still believe… Russia will win.” What do you consider a win, Mr. Ritter? Occupation of whole Ukraine? I don’t think there is anybody left, who believes this is possible anymore. There is no end game for Russia. Do you think 40 million Ukrainians will stop fighting and accept being conquered? Do you think the United States will stop its support and supply of weapons, and accept Ukrainian defeat that will be world changing, and have enormous consequences for us here as well?

    • Tedder
      September 15, 2022 at 09:36

      The “end game” has nothing to do with “conquer”. What we all ultimately believe is that the Ukrainian people will wake up and throw off this putrid tyranny that has captured its government and return to filial cooperation with Russia. Likewise in Europe whose people prospered with free trade with Russia for grain, gas, and oil. When the Western peoples are hungry and cold, they will face an existential choice: continue this delusional Russophobia and Russia-hatred or die.

  9. September 13, 2022 at 17:33

    A couple of questions:

    1) Ritter notes in this piece that Russia was expecting a collapse of Ukraine. That seems to conflict with some of his earlier analysis that suggested that the Russian were not seeking a collapse by Kiev, but merely shaping the battlefield. Am I confused? Have objectives been revised?

    2) I read in several places that just 30% of the US. military arms were reaching the troops at the front. And while Congress authorized something like $40 billion in military aid, nowhere near that has actually been provided in actual weapons. And then there is a question of timing of the weapons from US to Ukraine forces. The there is assimilation of these weapons and training on how to use them, So, given all that, how can US/NATO weapons explain this apparent resurgence of Ukraine? What am I missing?

  10. William Waugh
    September 13, 2022 at 17:00

    What prizes can Russia “win”, Mr. Ritter? What is the endgame for Russia? Shall Russia enjoy an opportunity to pull out of the Ukraine and still maintain the integrity of the Russian state? What will conditions look like after that pullout? What will Russia have accomplished, that will show up as different conditions, more favorable to Russian security, than those that prevailed before the invasion?

    • Rob Roy
      September 15, 2022 at 00:36

      Mr. Waugh,
      Russia’s “win” will be what was intended, retention of Crimea (belonging to Russia since 1773) and the Donbas with its Russian speakers in the two republics being free of the Nazi militarism of the Ukraine which the Clinton administration inflicted on them with the US coup of 2014 followed by the eight years of the murdering of 14000 Russian speakers by the Nazi Azov Battalion, Right Sector and Bandera-ites. As for the rest of Ukraine, Russia didn’t want it. NATO is the culprit here, backed by the odious Clintons who have headed toward regime change in Russia since Bill became president about the same time Putin became president. When Zelensky and Putin made a 15 point peace agreement in April, barely two months into the war, the US/UK said NO, no peace treaty. That’s what horrors the US and UK are in this world, war-mongers.

  11. robert e williamson jr
    September 13, 2022 at 16:37

    Knowing that second guessing Scott might well be a fools errand, especially with him having enormous experience in this field and the connections he has I’ll not question his take here. I have no information that would justify such a stance. I

    The problem I have is the information I do have tells me this situation in undoubtedly the most needless expense of treasure and life I’ve witnessed in my life after Vietnam and Iraq. Two wars that in the end made no sense at all.

    This conflict in Ukraine involves a nuclear power, which actually may make it even more senseless.

    These conflicts have done nothing to improve life on the planet for humans instead burning up time and treasure that would best be used addressing climate change and hunger world wide.

    We know what could be gained by all if resources were channeled into proper positive efforts to affect change in who we all live.

    All in all a pretty piss poor example of leadership by world leaders. This BS is getting pretty old and time is running out. Definitely nothing that would build anyone’s confidence.

    And so what is it we hear now? Can she really be serious? The Queen of Chaos trying to break back into presidential politics. Can the democrats be serious? Evidently not.

    You cannot make this stuff up!

    • CNfan
      September 13, 2022 at 20:28

      You are completely correct. None of this is being done for any of the populations involved. It is being controlled by and for a few people behind the scenes.
      War Profiteer Story
      [To use link delete all asterisks and replace XX by tt.]

      • robert e williamson jr
        September 15, 2022 at 13:03

        CNfan FYI do a search this can be found everywhere The irrepressible Pepe Escobar writes Germany’s Energy Suicide: An Autopsy

  12. Dan D
    September 13, 2022 at 16:36

    I still don’t know if this was a defeat for Russia or a strategic with drawl or elements of both. The only thing I think I might know is that it appears this will result in an all around escalation, more NATO and less SMO and more war. A bad development.

  13. Martin
    September 13, 2022 at 16:18

    Interesting article. But not convinced that Kherson was a feint. The region is of major strategic importance and Ukraine committed huge numbers (and losses) to it. Isn’t it more likely that Ukrainians intended to stretch Russian’s limited numbers by forcing them to fight on 3 fronts – Kherson, South and Kharkiv – and against large well-trained and equipped forces.

    In which case, Ukrainian success in North-East was due less to a Russian intelligence failure and more to Russian commanders recognising they were being dangerously over-stretched. The only viable option was to surrender NE and move troops to the South – where Ukrainians are massing troops and equipment to launch the 3rd and possible the main counter-offensive.

    So the North East was sacrificed at great political, morale and propaganda cost. But Kherson and the South are of far greater strategic importance.

    Another big propaganda win and morale boost for Ukrainians and West was that Russia appeared caught by surprise and in some disarray by the Ukrainian offensives in Kherson and Kharkov – which adds to the view that there was a failure of some sort.

    But is it possible that Russia could only initiate its strategy at the last minute to avoid giving their plan away? Having decided on their course of action, the Russians needed Ukraine to commit troops and equipment to the offensive in the North East and to launch their attack. Liberated territory absorbs Ukrainian soldiers and equipment to secure and defend it.

    Russia could then frustrate Ukraine’s attempts to move a large section of this well-trained heavily equipped army South to support the 3rd counter-offensive – i.e. by hitting power stations to shutdown railways and bomb important rail hubs.

    Of course, all this is big time conjecture. But beginning to feel that there is a lot going on in this war that only the top commanders on both sides are privy to. Which makes it hard for those on the outside to grasp what is happening until quite some time later.

    But happy for Scott to explain why the conjecture above is unlikely and that it’s very much a Russian intelligence failure.

  14. LItchfield
    September 13, 2022 at 16:05

    “And then there is the extent to which NATO had integrated itself into every aspect of Ukrainian military operations.”

    To me this is a pretty dangerous sign.

    It shows that NATO has gone all in on “interoperability” with the Ukrainian military.
    This is what it does to bind states to itself. Of course the US MIC makes out like bandits.
    But it may be very hard to undo once set in place.

  15. Ian Stevenson
    September 13, 2022 at 15:45

    “Russia has more strategic depth”. Yes, and numbers. It is willing to attack the civilian infrastructure of power and water which as Scott says may ‘cripple the Ukrainian economy”.
    The ten to one casualty ratio is not one I have seen elsewhere but that would not be sustainable.
    However, the Ukrainians continue to fight despite the losses.
    The morale of the Russian forces is monitored by picking up their radio communication. It seems to be falling. The key question is will the defeat galvanise a response and renewed effort or will disillusion sweep through the army? Their slow advance during the summer cost tens of thousands of casualties and now they have lost territory and face a better armed enemy. The Russian air force has not been able to assert air superiority despite the numbers. Ukraine is a long way from being able to win the war but Russia might yet lose it.

  16. Curt Nichols
    September 13, 2022 at 14:00

    Putin needs to grow a spine. He jacked around fighting a limited war while NATO resupplied. And now they are starting a second front in Armenia. He needs to mobilize. He is fighting a SMO. The West is fighting a war. Mobilize or Russia gets ground down.

  17. September 13, 2022 at 13:45

    I wonder if this Ukrainian offensive might be compared with the WW II “Battle of the Bulge,” where the Wehrmacht took the Allies by surprise and achieved initial success, but ended in defeat and severe losses, apparently speeding up Germany’s final defeat.

    • evelync
      September 13, 2022 at 16:41

      Yes, Daniel Borgström, you’re not alone in this thought!

      On his channel The New Atlas, Brian Berletic made your comparison as well!

      Starting at around 17:00 on this video, he compares this to the Nazi Ardennes offensive :

  18. Charles
    September 13, 2022 at 12:53

    Ritter says,”Both militaries are well led, well equipped, and well prepared to undertake the missions assigned them. They are among the largest military organizations in Europe. The Russian military, moreover, is staffed by officers of the highest caliber, who have undergone extensive training in the military arts. They are experts in strategy, operations, and tactics.”

    See “How Putin pumped money into Russia’s army for more than two decades, and what came of it,” by Farida Rustamova, Aug 30, 2022 at

  19. Michael Perry
    September 13, 2022 at 12:45

    We will have no winners. … That – is a big for sure…

    It took a 150 years to create the investor owned totalitarian “.. race to bottom ..”
    … Along with their faciest owned corporate globaliztions…

    This world was created with a hookah using “.. crude ..” cocaine…
    … And, the world is just far to small now…

    You are going to think that I ‘am “.. high ..”
    … But, the countries have to have International Regulatory bodies, and fast…
    … And, especially with the “.. crude ..” it should be tightly regulated for weapons and shipping, etc..
    ….. But, in 20 years, you will not think that I ‘am “.. high ..”….

    The cia created Zelensky. … And, those fools should accepted the Minsk Accords…
    … Chalk up another one for the memories of – major mistakes…

  20. kurt
    September 13, 2022 at 12:41

    Russia will not win even if they’re successful in keeping control of Luhansk, Donetsk, and the Crimea. The capitalist west will not allow the capitalist east to win. The west will continue to funnel billions to the Ukrainians until there are no Ukrainians left to fight, and then they will replace them with NATO troops. The ruling class will not allow their plans to destroy the bourgeois nationalist Putin, break up Russia into vassal states, and prepare for war against China be defeated. The ruling class doesn’t care that Russia has one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons, they’re willing to gamble their voracious and lustful greed for Russia’s resources over the lives of everyone on the planet. They will not stop in their capitalist quest to subjugate the global working class to the American way of misery and despair. Their ultimate goal is to do on to China what they want to do to Russia.
    The only way forward is for the global working class to rise up and destroy the capitalists system and abolish the antiquated nation states and create a socialist society, free. from nationalism, where the needs of humanity takes precedent over the profit of the few. There is no other avenue, nor capitalist reformism that will save us. Many can sit there and say this is dreaming of Utopia, that this will never happen, but I would ask them, “what other solution is there?”
    Capitalism and nationalism are chaining humanity to thermonuclear war. Are we going to continue to fly our blood stained flags and wallow in patriotic lunacy, or are we going to unite the working class to end wars of greed for peaceful human need? As Marx and Engels said in the Communist Manifesto, ” …either a revolutionary constitution of society at large or the common ruin of the contending classes.”

    • Carl Zaisser
      September 13, 2022 at 13:59

      I would guess, perhaps even bet, that a lot of the ‘working classes’ in all the countries that are supporting the US led resistance to Russia in Ukraine actually are big believers in the Washington propaganda line about what this war is all about. I don’t think we can count on the fact that the ‘working class’ is doing much to inform themselves about the US program for global hegemony.

      • Geoffrey hughes
        September 13, 2022 at 22:32

        Who is pulling the puppet Zelensky strings?

    • September 13, 2022 at 17:18

      Sounds sensible to me. American political hegemony has to be stopped because they have proved conclusively they don’t care about human life, they don’t care about our planet, in their sick minds is just one thought. “We, America are number 1”

      • Geoffrey hughes
        September 13, 2022 at 22:33

        Oh how true!

    • Wolfgang
      September 14, 2022 at 19:20

      You, sir, are RIGHT ON.

    • Rob Roy
      September 15, 2022 at 00:41

      Thanks, Kurt,
      Well said.

  21. Janon
    September 13, 2022 at 12:39

    When you say “Russia will still win” – what is your definition of victory?
    Is it conquest of vast territory, installation of a puppet government with minimal losses, a welcoming population, and a landlocked Ukraine? This was the original plan and will never happen.

    What do you NOW consider victory conditions? Every possible remaining scenario, even before this offensive, was disastrous.

    • Rob Roy
      September 15, 2022 at 00:42

      That was never the original plan.

  22. Phil
    September 13, 2022 at 12:06

    I see a parallel with the Soviet war against Afghanistan 1979-1989. The US supported the Jihad, and it was game changer similar to NATO’s taking over the Ukrainian military campaign. However, the political will in 1989 (the year the USSR withdrew from Afghanisan) was different. It was when Gorbachev was in power, and his policy of Glasnost and reconciliation with the West was in force. Strained by the costs of war, and betrayed by the West, the USSR collapsed a few years later in 1991. Putin will not let the same thing happen again. The Afghan/US-USSR war lasted 10 years. The current war will not be over by Christmas.

  23. evelync
    September 13, 2022 at 12:04

    I wish, Mr. Ritter, that this was a world in which people with your honesty, judgement, intelligence, experience, integrity and most of all good will would be highly sought after by an honest, intelligent, well informed, well intentioned Head of State to serve our country well in what is acknowledged is a multipolar world…..
    A leader who could earn at least the respect of most people that is a basic necessity for a united, cohesive country…which we have not had for decades and is getting worse.

    (I remind people that Bernie Sanders was trusted all around. Sadly, he has retreated to doing the noble work of supporting working people without trumpeting that as long as our resources are criminally diverted to our for profit wars, working people in this country will not have a chance.)

    Alas we have corrupt short sighted idiots running amok on behalf of a failed ideology of Anglo Saxon white supremacist Russophobic and Sinophobic hysteria who seem intent on bringing this country to her knees and possibly the world to nuclear armageddon.

    A hollowed out industrial base, diverted resources siphoned off for our for-profit aggressions, $30trillion in the hole and counting, no plan to stabilize our economy and our budget, just short sighted thinking.

    With no Statesman or Stateswoman with the integrity or courage to stand up and say – the Emperor Has No Clothes, we’re on the wrong path, we’re not even a democracy we’ve become a self-serving oligarchy with no vision for this country just driven by ignorance and greed.

  24. AnotherConsideration
    September 13, 2022 at 11:20

    “the Kharkov offensive turned out to be a major success, with thousands of. square kilometers of territory previously occupied by Russian troops placed back under Ukrainian governmental control.”

    Mr. Chou en Lai was once asked whether the French Revolution had been a success and he responded like Mr. Presley by saying – It too soon to know

    • Dennis
      September 13, 2022 at 14:43

      FYI: According to former U.S. diplomat Chas Freeman Jr., who translated for Richard Nixon during his meeting with Mao Tse-tung (spelled Mao Zedong these days), the question and response was in reference to the French student uprising of 1968, not the French revolution of the 18th century.

      • AnotherConsideration
        September 14, 2022 at 10:32

        “According to former U.S. diplomat Chas Freeman Jr., who translated for Richard Nixon during his meeting with Mao Tse-tung (spelled Mao Zedong these days), the question and response was in reference to the French student uprising of 1968, not the French revolution of the 18th century.”

        The illusions that translation is achievable and reliance on interpretation is always a weakness.

        Pity the conversation was between Mr. Chou en Lai and a journalist conducted in French.

        The “journalist” interpreted that Mr. Chou en Lai meant May 1968 and subsequent, whilst Mr. Chou en Lai meant July 1789 and subsequent, the story subsequently being told by Mr. Chou en Lai as a joke – he had a very attuned sense of the ridiculous.

        • Dennis
          September 14, 2022 at 18:02

          Call me dense, but I can’t make out whether you’re claiming that the question was actually put by a journalist to Zhou, with an errant translation conducted in French, or whether you’re merely constructing a hypothetical for amusement.
          But for clarity’s sake, according to Freeman, Henry Kissinger put the question to Zhou in casual conversation. The confusion over to which French revolution Kissinger was alluding resulted from the fact that in both the 1968 and the 18th-century uprisings terms such as “Paris commune” were in use. Zhou apparently was responding to the 1968 upheaval in France when he said it was too early to determine its legacy. Since I wasn’t there, I can only cite what I’ve read in numerous accounts, the link below being one of many.


  25. Peter
    September 13, 2022 at 10:58

    This whole article reads like a massive dose of Copium.

    • John Leka
      September 13, 2022 at 20:13

      War is never simply fought just on the battlefield, this one in particular. Russia’s task was to project strength and resolve without having to actually utilise its full capacity. The conventional wisdom these last few months has been that it is in NATO’s interest to encourage a prolongation of conflict. This may well be the case: old animosities, petty jealousies and strategic interests have seen to it. But what they miscalculated was thinking that Russia would be diametrically opposed to such aims. In fact, Russia decided to accept and adopt the same philosophy once it became clear there was not going to be a popular uprising to overthrow the Zelensky government. Engage enough military strength to achieve the limited military objectives so as not to overwhelm the opposition thereby making it politically and militarily imperative for the other side and its sponsors to continue sinking more resources into the quagmire. Russia needed time for the Western sanctions to backfire and their economies to begin to feel the pain of the conflict they instigated and to realise that Russia is not for turning. NATO, not Ukraine would need to realise that the answer needs to be political, not military.
      To that end, Russia occupied more territory than it intended to absorb. The old Sun Tzu maxim of building your adversary a golden bridge from which to retreat comes to mind.
      What seems to be happening is that at the instigation of EU, serious negotiations for a lasting settlement may have already begun. The retreat from Kharkiv is a PR victory EU and Ukraine need having boxed themselves into the corner about a certain Russian defeat.
      Putin having made his point on the other hand will weather the storm by not yielding to the patriotic lobby. This show of restraint and moderation will be far more appealing than the irrational call to arms. He will cash in the various concessions coming his way from USA et al.
      Ukraine’s economic recovery will be left into the hands of the West who will lose interest when the money dries up or local oligarchs become an impediment to the asset stripping of the national wealth by multinationals. In the long run, Ukraine may well remain a troubled borderland between Russia and the rest of Europe: the ideal buffer zone. The end

  26. C. Kent
    September 13, 2022 at 10:36

    Ritter can conjecture as he pleases, as it’s just editorializing piffle. He & we know just about nothing about the management of this conflict, we know just about nothing of the Russian citizen’s willingness to engage in this war. Russia could very well consider what they have today a completed project for a variety of reasons from cost to disinterest to impracticality of further advance.

    The US will never run out of money to waste on paying Ukrainians to fight for them. US politics is complete bullshit such that the will of Americans is of no consequence as to whether the support is maintained. The Neocon philosophers at Arlington & Langley will get their money to play war in Ukraine. The nationalist philosophers in Kiev will get the US $$ to build their police state. That is a lock and if anyone thinks otherwise they haven’t been paying attention while the US wasted $10 trillion on military boondoggle over the last 25 years.

    The only method Russia has to prevail in time to satisfy war aficionados who read here is to up the ante; to cause massive casualties across Ukraine, including civilians. You either break Ukraine or you suffer US foreverwar.

    The Russian reluctance or willingness to do that will decide the forward course. And if Russia were to harden what it has now it is still up against a full bore militarized enemy across the front line that will build up it’s capacity to make further war every year. I’d decapitate the Ukrop leadership tomorrow morning, then do it again when it reformed. Let disorganized rats run the ship, get them fighting amongst themselves, get Ukraine going downhill asap. Or give them back everything, including Crimea.

    • Carl
      September 13, 2022 at 14:05

      interesting….but I wouldn’t count Scott Ritter’s analyses out.

    • davidgmillsatty
      September 13, 2022 at 16:30

      Decapitation of Ukraine is the only solution. This is an easy proxy war for the US. Somebody else willing to do the dying. $50 billion is chump change. The warmongers in DC will gladly throw $4 or 5 trillion at Ukraine if given the chance. Does Russia understand this?

  27. onno37
    September 13, 2022 at 10:33

    The difference is that UA reports are based on UA PROPAGANDA, Russian advances are omitted by Western politicians & MEDIA!!

  28. Drew Hunkins
    September 13, 2022 at 10:32

    “…There will be a fourth phase, and a fifth phase … as many phases as necessary before Ukraine either exhausts its will to fight and die, NATO exhausts its ability to continue supplying the Ukrainian military, or Russia exhausts its willingness to fight an inconclusive conflict in Ukraine…”

    Russia exhausting its will to fight the Washington-militarist-Wall Street empire (absurdly referred to as “NATO”) means a return to the 1990s for the Russian people.

  29. Si1ver1ock
    September 13, 2022 at 10:31

    I’m wondering why we don’t see more air power. It seems like Russian heavy bombers should be able to take out almost any defensive positions in the Donbass region.

  30. renate
    September 13, 2022 at 10:29

    I am with Scott Ritter. I am just an average citizen and see only the big picture. I see Biden and the neocons SLAUGHTER the European NATO members economically with sanctions and expect them to fund and arm the Ukrainians and absorb millions of refugees from the ME. Their clowns in government are leading the nations to their slaughter.

    Russians must watch gleefully how US/NATO self-destructs by destroying their own nations’ economies on orders of Washington. Three countries of the G-7 insist on the price cap on Russian energy, the US, UK, and Canada against France, Germany and Italy, and the EU, all are opposed, they are also the ones who will have to pay the price for the insanity.

  31. Rudy Haugeneder
    September 13, 2022 at 09:41

    Europeans slaughtering Europeans, socially, economically, and militarily. East and South Asians must be amazed at how they have changed from a colonial super power towards being a constantly weakening self-defeating region that need massive infusions of Brown immigrants to slow down their demise. The same applies to Canada, the USA, and Australia, where this shift is well under way, and won’t be slowed unless Climate Change and/or nuclear war prevent it, events that are increasingly likely as the near future approaches with deadly speed.

  32. Kev
    September 13, 2022 at 09:31

    Thank you for the analysis Mr. Ritter. Some points of concern were raised, such as the end result, and the degree of NATO’s involvement.

    How can this end?
    If Russia folds up its tent and goes home, NATO /US will tighten its noose on Russia and Russia will have to respond. The weaker Russia gets, the more likely it is to use nukes.
    Or, if Russia gets control of strategic areas of Ukraine, NATO will drop the pretence and come to Ukraine with boots on t(e ground.

    In other words, this thing can only escalate. As it does, the thread of nukes, from either side, grows.

    One way out might be if NATO nations decide to crawl out from under America’s skirts because of geopolitical realities such as climate crisis and economics, and a distaste for further American aggression (eg with China).

    • Ltpar
      September 13, 2022 at 14:32

      One way for the Ukraine war to end will be with Republicans taking control of Congress and ending the funneling of billions of American tax dollars to the corrupt Ukraine. The Biden Administration is sending money we do not have and adding to the National Debt. Wonder if the Soros/Biden Cabal might be trying to bankrupt the United States to achieve their goal of destroying the country?

      • William Waugh
        September 13, 2022 at 17:15

        You really think that self-described “Republicans” would cut the funding?

      • J Anthony
        September 15, 2022 at 15:41

        That’s funny…the feds and The Fed can’t run out of money, no matter what. That’s why it’s so easily wasted on whatever they want. Many people don’t understand this because we’ve been conditioned to think the government operates financially like the rest of us, with some sense of restraint. They don’t have to do that, as they create the money, out of debt, which creates an illusion of restraint, but that’s all it is, a mirage. No private institutions should ever have the power to create money at-will, and run the monetary-system and our economy like their own private Monopoly-game. But that’s what’s happening. Now it’s time to put all that $ back in the box and start over- but they won’t do that unless they’re made to.
        Maybe it’s possible, should brand (R) get back in, that they will start defunding the Ukraine fiasco, just out of political spite, because that’s what they do. But they will piss off a lot of people in the military/defense/intelligence-industrial complex, so maybe not.
        As far as a cabal with the goal of destroying this country- more like the entire global oligarchy, regardless of whether they hate each other or not, seem bent on destroying the world, thinking they’ll escape into outer-space or a luxury bunker a few miles underground.

  33. September 13, 2022 at 09:27

    Excellent piece, Scott. Thanks.

  34. Hannibal
    September 13, 2022 at 09:24

    The worst outcome for Russia is not in the battlefield but in the political battlefield worldwide where countries are working hard to adjust their economies to this new reality. Showing off limited strength to repel opponents after seven months of a special military operation does not give a solid about confidence on the Russian strategy. No leader can risk the well being of millions of citizens in their countries to backup something which does not convince about anything in the long game. They all know what happens for those who turn their backs to the US empire – economic sanctions, sponsored terrorism made by Al Qaeda under CIA flag boosted with money to destabilize not mentioning local elites provoking insurgences to remove leaders and neutralize local elites not aligned with Washington.
    Putin knows better his country and Europe but he is losing many other countries worldwide who were thinking about to give a go on this new reality opened by Russia.
    I’m a zero about real war but I’m an expert about life. I know where it hurts and I would not give a damn about an arrogant and incompetent military campaign leaded by Russia with all means to shut down NATO satellites among many other things to neutralize the enemy and its possibility to inflict damage in Russian soldiers. One life lost due to arrogance is too much if I can avoid it. Perhaps Russia has too much faith in itself and the coming winter or I have little faith counting on luck and fate to beat the odds where I’m weak.

  35. Pete Corning
    September 13, 2022 at 05:18

    Hmm… I’m a bit more on the meh.. side of this.

    Scott’s analysis seems legit enough, but Russia’s ability to fight depends on mobilization. This should have been done 6 months ago, and without this Russia cannot win. Their dwindling manpower and lack of reserves to rotate in and out of the front lines is devastating.

  36. Francis Lee
    September 13, 2022 at 03:53

    This was always a war by NATO (orchestrated by the US and its minions in Europe) which, not by accident, has been on the cards since NATO launched a concomitant political and military build-up beginning almost immediately in 1990; a build-up which was given a bogus seal of approval and an American promise of ‘not one-inch’ to further western military and political expansion eastwards – which of course was a lie.

    The build-up started in earnest after the march to the East by the combined forces of the American empire with Europe brought into line and sacrificed for American interests circa 1990. Ex-soviet states were conscripted into the NATO behemoth joining the Western European military and beefing up the Euro-NATO Army. The intention has all along been to overwhelm and occupy Russia. How long this will play out is anybody’s guess, but the omens suggest that this latest attempt of a conquest and occupation of Russia will meet the same fate as all previous attempts at invasions from the west with a view to the imposition of hegemony is no more likely than previous western military/political strategies.

    A particular study of invasions of Russia by a British Soldier W.G.F.Jackson – Seven Roads to Moscow – first published in 1957 – gave solid arguments why invading Russia has never been a good policy and never with the exception of Rurik in 862 until 1228 and the rise and fall of Kiev Russia, every subsequent attempt to fight and conquer Russia has failed. Political and military conditions have transmuted since this early time ever since the Rurik and the emergence of Charles King of Sweden, Napoleon, Hindenburg and Hitler. But the study of these campaigns particularly the last three, is not merely academic. Recent weapons have not entirely neutralised Russian geographical advantages: the vast extent of Russia remains a most powerful defensive asset, even when troops and supplies are airborne. The moral factor, which permits the Slavs to abandon whole tracts of territory without a sense of psychological defeat, is still operative; it may even be intensified by the present political organization.

  37. Realist
    September 13, 2022 at 01:56

    Aren’t the Ukrainian attackers now occupying Kharkov in what the Russians call a cauldron, especially since the line of contact is now very close to the Russian border. If Russia had enough units ready, positioned where most advantageous on their own turf, might they not just as quickly recover the Ukie acreage and, more importantly, capture most of those troops. Might this situation not be very similar to the proverbial spider inviting the fly into her parlor?

    Now that we have reached the Russian version of shock and awe with the objective of depriving the Ukrainians heat, light and power for the long coming winter, would the author care to discuss the possibility of keeping the power off indefinitely without smashing the infrastructure creating a years’-long rebuild after the shooting stops by using some form of non-nuclear EMP pulse or cyber attacks that shut down the power plants (but not the generators that keep the water circulating in the cooling ponds for the spent fuel rods, and the active rods which would have to be pulled). I’m sure if the Ukies had the capability of cyber-attacks on Russia, they’d have already played this card. Hell, they’d have already exploded nukes if they had them. I am sure the Russians want to avoid deploying any nukes in light of the hysterical and hypocritical response they’d probably get from Washington and Nato as they immediately adopt the very actions they supposedly deplore.

  38. Laurie
    September 13, 2022 at 01:31

    As the Russian spox said on 28 April 2022:

    “Russia did not refuse to talk with NATO, despite its adversarial policies. We put forth numerous practical de-escalation and confidence-building proposals for the continent. The Alliance has disregarded all of them. The United States and its allies refused to respect our main interests and concerns or the philosophy we offered.

    This was accompanied by NATO’s expansion, the increased scale of military exercises, the deployment of strike systems near the Russian border, and the aggressive attempts to militarise the post-Soviet space and to turn it into a hostile bridgehead on our doorstep.

    Instead of reducing military-political tensions, the NATO countries […] are using Ukrainian nationalists to wage a proxy war against Russia.

    […] We strongly recommend that the United States and NATO countries harbour no illusions that their aggressive behaviour towards nations will remain unpunished.

    They should start thinking about the possibility of resuming discussions on a new architecture of European security after what they have done and intend to do. […]

    We urge our colleagues to sober up and to ask themselves how they can implement the political obligations on the indivisibility of security in Europe, which they adopted at the top level during the OSCE summits in 1999 and 2010.”

    Ukraine is part of the ‘the main thing’, but only a part. It is simply a more pressing or vivid instance of what NATO has done in Romania and wants to do in Poland: surround Russia with a nuclear first strike capability. As the Russian President said 27 May 2016

    “…some time ago the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Missile Defence Treaty and started what amounts to undermining the fundamentals of international security. Yet another step has been made now.

    Since the early 2000s, we have been persistently repeating the same thing, like a mantra: we will have to respond to it in some way. Nobody listens to us, nobody is willing to have talks with us, we do not hear anything but platitudes, and those platitudes mainly boil down to the fact that this is not directed against Russia and does not threaten Russia’s security.

    Let me remind you that initially there was talk about thwarting a threat from Iran, it was all about the Iranian nuclear programme. Where is the Iranian nuclear programme now? It no longer exists. The Unites States themselves initiated the signing of the treaty with Iran. The Iranian nuclear threat does not exist, while the US anti-missile deployment area is being created and was commissioned in Romania.

    What is this? These are launch pads and radar stations. Today, 500-kilometre range Iskander land-based missiles are being deployed; in a few years they will be 1000-kilometre range missiles. We even know the approximate date when such missiles will be deployed. How can this not be a threat to us? It is a clear threat to our nuclear forces.

    However, there is something else that is even worse: these compact launch pads can accommodate assault missiles with a 2,400-kilometre range, and replacing the missiles is no problem, one only has to change the software, and nobody is going to notice anything, even the Romanians. Isn’t it a threat to us? It certainly is.

    That is the reason we have to respond now, and if yesterday some areas in Romania did not know what it is like to be a target, today we will have to take action to ensure our security. Let me repeat, these are response measures, a response only. We were not the first to take such steps.

    The same will be done with regard to Poland. We will wait for certain actions to be taken in Poland. We are not going to do anything until we see missiles on the neighbouring territory. And we have the necessary resources. You saw, the whole world saw our capabilities in terms of medium-range sea and air based missiles. We are not violating anything, but the Iskander land-based missile systems have a brilliant record.”

    Ukraine is not at the beginning of the end. No, once Ukraine is settled, it is then the end of the beginning.

    On top, Russia promises United States and NATO countries will be punished for their aggressive behaviour to unspecified ‘nations’. Well, Europe is self punishing, but nothing has happened to US yet.

    And which countries will do the ‘punishing’? How?

    There is much to unfold, and there is no hurry, it seems.

  39. Pete Lincoln
    September 13, 2022 at 00:16

    What if the Russians just had so few forces in Kharkiv it didn’t really have to move much? To disguise that they invent the story of moving these Ghost Soldiers to Donetsk so Ukraine would think twice about taking Donetsk. And what if there are very few Russian Forces in the Donbass besides DPR? This would seem to leave Donetsk wide open if Ukraine decided to use whats left of their Army and it would probably end the SMO if they succeed.

    I really hope thats not the case but I never really understood the slow progress in the Donbass and what seems to be a progressive escalation of attacks on Donetsk civilian population centers with not much protest from Russia.

    Not a military guy so what do I know but with Rains and then Winter coming its not a good time to be losing ground.

  40. willow
    September 13, 2022 at 00:03

    Why hasn’t Russia done more to prevent the AFU/NATO weapons, supplies and troops from reaching the battlefront(s)? According to the recent censored NBC investigation, only 30 percent of that donated weaponry reaches the battlefield and 70 percent is sold on the black market. Perhaps Russia should beat then at their own game and simply purchase the remaining 30 of NATO black market weapons so zero makes it to the front.

    • renate
      September 13, 2022 at 10:34

      Why should they? They are watching how the USA SLAUGHTERS the NATO allies economically. The Biden neocons are making enemies all over the globe, without NATO they are alone against Russia.

    • Ian Stevenson
      September 14, 2022 at 08:11

      Most of the supplies have been heavy artillery, anti-aircraft missiles, armoured personnel vehicles and trucks, plus ammunition. Who would suggest is buying it and how would it get there?
      Or is that most of the supplies were held back to train the soldiers to operate it?

  41. George
    September 12, 2022 at 22:55

    Kherson it was treachery on the highest military level. The plan was to blow up Antonivka bridge on the 24 of February. It did not happen. Russian took Kherson without a shot, and this action opened the road to Mariupol and killing of Azov. After the war, I don’t think there will be reconciliation between Azov and Zielinski Government

    • Andrii
      September 13, 2022 at 00:12

      Azov is fascists. I am from Mariupol, I lived near them for 8 years. The rest are waiting for a well-deserved tribunal and the death of the president and government of Ukraine

      • renate
        September 13, 2022 at 10:38

        In the end, Russia must set up a war crimes tribunal, my guess and hope are that they will do it. It can’t happen soon enough.

    • Jüri Eintalu
      September 13, 2022 at 02:54

      Russians knew at least two weeks beforehand about the Ukrainian attack in Kharkiv region. All Russian military channels in Telegram wrote about it.

      • WillD
        September 13, 2022 at 23:40

        Agreed, so there is no case to suggest it was an intelligence failure on the part of the Russians. I think it would be foolish to suggest that they didn’t know, or miscalculated. We must remember they are less concerned with the appearances than the reality. It was already clear that they had been reducing the number of troops in the area, and the speed and efficiency of the withdrawal suggests they had planned it in advance.

        However, it is now clearly time for Russia to take the gloves off. Perhaps the strike on the electricity grid is the first sign that they are escalating. In my view they need to ramp up their operations, speed things up, and target the decision centres as they originally threatened to do. NATO has got too close, and the disguise is wearing thin. Next thing will be the Ukrainian forces putting on NATO uniforms and abandoning the pretence of not having ‘boots on the ground’.

        A secondary, but possibly ultimately more important aspect is the one of the attitudes of the people in the ‘liberated’ areas towards the Russians’ ability to protect them from Ukrainian recriminations and collaborator witch-hunts. This so-called defeat will certainly have shaken their confidence in Russia’s ability and willingness to protect them.

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