Upcoming Events

no events match your query!

Blog Feeds

Anti-Empire

Anti-Empire

offsite link ‘Reduced Service’ Sat Jun 18, 2022 11:37 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Inconvenient Questions for the “Specia... Wed Jun 15, 2022 16:32 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Who Dares Apply Anti-Interventionist Ana... Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:15 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Kiev Puts Its Military Deaths at 10,000 ... Mon Jun 13, 2022 05:58 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Rosgvard Wasn’t Told They’d Be Going... Sun Jun 12, 2022 14:24 | Rolo Slavsky

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan: an attempt at a color revolution from the West? Mon Jul 04, 2022 10:46 | amarynth
By Guilherme Wilbert for the Saker Blog Uzbekistan, a relatively small country wedged between landlocked Turkmenistan to the south and Kazakhstan to the north, is undergoing state reshaping and suffering

offsite link What the Yellow Vests can be: a group which can protect Liberalism?s rights, at least Mon Jul 04, 2022 10:17 | amarynth
By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog Now available! This book has just been published in paperback and E-book form, and in French too! ?All the chorus of calumny, which

offsite link Lugansk PR liberated. 3M22 Zircon as strategic factor Sun Jul 03, 2022 21:38 | amarynth
Please visit Andrei?s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspo... and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/beP...

offsite link Open thread for today, dedicated to the complete liberation of the Lugansk People?s Republic Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:25 | amarynth
?? Statement by Russian Defence Ministry ?? Today, on July 3, 2022, the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation General of the Army Sergey Shoigu reported to the Supreme

offsite link Things Are Not Looking Good For Japan?s Sovereignty Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:32 | amarynth
By Thorsten J. Pattberg for the Saker Blog China, India, Russia and other free nations face difficulties of mutual respect and trust when engaging with the rulers of Japan, because

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link RTE bias complaint

offsite link Fergus Finlay and the maternity hospital ‘gotcha’ trap Anthony

offsite link Irish Examiner and fake news Anthony

offsite link Labour Party: The unvarnished truth Anthony

offsite link Humanity: Zero chance of survival Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Anti-Empire - Sat Jun 18, 2022 11:37

Doing some traveling. Gonna be less content than normal until mid-July.

Doing some traveling. Gonna be less content than normal until mid-July.

Anti-Empire - Wed Jun 15, 2022 16:32

First read: Who Dares Apply Anti-Interventionist Analysis to Russia?


Having briefly looked at the outcome of the "special military operation" by the yardstick of its declared goals, let's expand our anti-interventionist analysis of it. Are there any other aspects of this fratricidal bloodletting of choice that are questionable, imprudent, or troubling? Let's ask some questions to discover.

First question: what is the exit strategy? How does Russia bring the war to an end? Fighting has settled into positional warfare where soldiers continue to die but little ground changes hands. Has Moscow any other strategy for winning than fighting Ukraine — composed of "people close to us" per Putin — into utter economic and demographic exhaustion?

Wars can be ended by inflicting poverty and death on a large scale but especially if one is fighting own kin having a robust alternative would seem to be desirable and important.

Another question to ask is how should Russian citizens feel about the war being sprung on them as an utter surprise? Bush started the Iraq War after a cynical year-long propaganda campaign built on fearmongering and lies. But is the Kremlin presenting the demos with a fait accompli and going into Ukraine without a national debate, and after months of false assurances that war is impossible an improvement?

Or what of the Russians' civil liberties? What of the harassment of antiwar Russians? If there is a case for the Russian war in Ukraine there is also a case against it. (You could ask Tolstoy or Poklonskaya.) Nobody is more aware of that than the Russian government which in January still publicly deemed war with Ukraine "unthinkable" and the suggestions that Moscow would embark on one as a "medical diagnosis".

Yet now Russian citizens can be harassed for merely agreeing with the government's own declared position from a couple of months ago. They can find themselves in trouble for merely deeming what is taking place a war which constitutes "spreading false information about the Special Military Operation." So you have a government which lied that it would not start a war going after people who call its war a war as liars. There is no escaping that this is Orwellian. How should this make us feel? What would we say if the US reached for such methods?

What of the fact that instead of properly articulating the case for war (such a case did in fact exist) the government instead commissioned ludicrous FSB fabrications? What of the fact that even now Moscow can not articulate what this war is about, or for? The war is literally branded as "Z". But "Z" is literally just a shape. It is one-hundred-percent content free. People are literally being invited to kill and to die for a certain shape.

The war's official motto is "We do not leave ours behind." (Who does??) But who is the "we" in this sentence, and who are the "ours" who are not being left behind? Not specified. Once again it's content-free. It's a motto for the sake of having a motto. It's literally a war with Ukrainians who Putin says are one people with the Russians yet the government war advertising speaks of "ours" who will under no circumstances be "left behind". (But maybe they should be if the alternative is cruise missile-ing them??)

What of the fact that albeit the war is said to be absolutely necessary, high-stakes, and just, nobody inside Russia is actually being asked to sacrifice anything for it? TV talking heads will speak of the importance of "supporting the Z" and invite people to do so, but this "support" demands nothing more than going about your daily business. At the most, it means wearing a Z ribbon or attending a pro-war event.

Supposedly this is a war that was imposed on Russia, one that was unavoidable and necessary and is 100% justified. It has been said by Putin that it is a war to save Donbass from genocide, by Lavrov that it is an existential war for Russia, and by a high-ranking general that Russia is now at war with virtually the entire world. Yet at the same time there is no mobilization, serving conscripts are undeployable, and even professional soldiers can tear up their contracts and refuse deployment with little legal repercussion. How come? Isn't this a very strange situation?

Which one is it? Is this an imposed high-stakes war for lofty goals that would justify a national effort or is it not? The front situation is certainly screaming out for such an effort so why is the Kremlin acting as if its existential-lofty-imposed war is not worth it? Is it a war that is only worth killing for, but not dying for? Why, if Ukrainians are as Rus as the Russians themselves? Why is the war worth hitting Ukrainian-Russian conscripts in their barracks with cruise missiles as they sleep, but not worth sending Russian-Russian conscripts into battle?

This is a war that is beyond all reproach yet rather than appeal to Russian patriotism and civic duty, the Kremlin is trying to address its gapping manpower shortage with mercenaries. Rather than telling men it is an honor to serve the motherland in such a good war, the Kremlin is trying to buy them, offering them brief 3-month stints for massive payouts. Why? Why is the Kremlin itself so timid to ask the nation to bear sacrifices for such a lofty war? And if it is that unsure should then its war even be fought? It's a fair question to ask.

Another question to ask is why are sacrifices for this war distributed so unevenly among members of the "Russkiy Mir". A 20-year-old conscript hailing from Crimea who has 10-months of service and is properly trained and integrated into a capable Russian military unit will not be sent into Ukraine but will be left behind at base as the rest of his unit ships out. A 45-year-old bricklayer from Donetsk meanwhile will be mobilized, given zero training, thrown into a newly-created unit surrounded by people like himself whom he has never met in his life, and they will be sent to the front. How is this fair? (Or good warmaking??)

Or what of the fact that the Russian MoD refer to Ukrainian soldiers exclusively as "nationalists and militants"? (Except if they surrender at which point they become "servicemen.") A typical RUMOD report will include language like "militants of the Ukrainian armed forces have equipped a stronghold" or "The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 170 nationalists." Numerous Russians have relatives in Ukraine. Relatives who may not appreciate Moscow deciding to settle inter-Slavic squabbles by force or might just not have found a way out of conscription. Relatives that may end up charred to death in a thermobaric artillery strike. How are these Russians supposed to feel about their government insisting their dead or at-risk relatives are "nationalists" and "militants"? How should anyone who has sympathy for Russians and Ukrainians both, as any proper "pro-Russian" should? Why this Orwellianism? The troops on the other side are not "nationalists" and are not "militants." They are just normal people usually from the underprivileged strata. Often Russian-speaking. Everybody knows this.

 


End of Part II.

First read: Who Dares Apply Anti-Interventionist Analysis to Russia?


Having briefly looked at the outcome of the "special military operation" by the yardstick of its declared goals, let's expand our anti-interventionist analysis of it. Are there any other aspects of this fratricidal bloodletting of choice that are questionable, imprudent, or troubling? Let's ask some questions to discover.

First question: what is the exit strategy? How does Russia bring the war to an end? Fighting has settled into positional warfare where soldiers continue to die but little ground changes hands. Has Moscow any other strategy for winning than fighting Ukraine — composed of "people close to us" per Putin — into utter economic and demographic exhaustion?

Wars can be ended by inflicting poverty and death on a large scale but especially if one is fighting own kin having a robust alternative would seem to be desirable and important.

Another question to ask is how should Russian citizens feel about the war being sprung on them as an utter surprise? Bush started the Iraq War after a cynical year-long propaganda campaign built on fearmongering and lies. But is the Kremlin presenting the demos with a fait accompli and going into Ukraine without a national debate, and after months of false assurances that war is impossible an improvement?

Or what of the Russians' civil liberties? What of the harassment of antiwar Russians? If there is a case for the Russian war in Ukraine there is also a case against it. (You could ask Tolstoy or Poklonskaya.) Nobody is more aware of that than the Russian government which in January still publicly deemed war with Ukraine "unthinkable" and the suggestions that Moscow would embark on one as a "medical diagnosis".

Yet now Russian citizens can be harassed for merely agreeing with the government's own declared position from a couple of months ago. They can find themselves in trouble for merely deeming what is taking place a war which constitutes "spreading false information about the Special Military Operation." So you have a government which lied that it would not start a war going after people who call its war a war as liars. There is no escaping that this is Orwellian. How should this make us feel? What would we say if the US reached for such methods?

What of the fact that instead of properly articulating the case for war (such a case did in fact exist) the government instead commissioned ludicrous FSB fabrications? What of the fact that even now Moscow can not articulate what this war is about, or for? The war is literally branded as "Z". But "Z" is literally just a shape. It is one-hundred-percent content free. People are literally being invited to kill and to die for a certain shape.

The war's official motto is "We do not leave ours behind." (Who does??) But who is the "we" in this sentence, and who are the "ours" who are not being left behind? Not specified. Once again it's content-free. It's a motto for the sake of having a motto. It's literally a war with Ukrainians who Putin says are one people with the Russians yet the government war advertising speaks of "ours" who will under no circumstances be "left behind". (But maybe they should be if the alternative is cruise missile-ing them??)

What of the fact that albeit the war is said to be absolutely necessary, high-stakes, and just, nobody inside Russia is actually being asked to sacrifice anything for it? TV talking heads will speak of the importance of "supporting the Z" and invite people to do so, but this "support" demands nothing more than going about your daily business. At the most, it means wearing a Z ribbon or attending a pro-war event.

Supposedly this is a war that was imposed on Russia, one that was unavoidable and necessary and is 100% justified. It has been said by Putin that it is a war to save Donbass from genocide, by Lavrov that it is an existential war for Russia, and by a high-ranking general that Russia is now at war with virtually the entire world. Yet at the same time there is no mobilization, serving conscripts are undeployable, and even professional soldiers can tear up their contracts and refuse deployment with little legal repercussion. How come? Isn't this a very strange situation?

Which one is it? Is this an imposed high-stakes war for lofty goals that would justify a national effort or is it not? The front situation is certainly screaming out for such an effort so why is the Kremlin acting as if its existential-lofty-imposed war is not worth it? Is it a war that is only worth killing for, but not dying for? Why, if Ukrainians are as Rus as the Russians themselves? Why is the war worth hitting Ukrainian-Russian conscripts in their barracks with cruise missiles as they sleep, but not worth sending Russian-Russian conscripts into battle?

This is a war that is beyond all reproach yet rather than appeal to Russian patriotism and civic duty, the Kremlin is trying to address its gapping manpower shortage with mercenaries. Rather than telling men it is an honor to serve the motherland in such a good war, the Kremlin is trying to buy them, offering them brief 3-month stints for massive payouts. Why? Why is the Kremlin itself so timid to ask the nation to bear sacrifices for such a lofty war? And if it is that unsure should then its war even be fought? It's a fair question to ask.

Another question to ask is why are sacrifices for this war distributed so unevenly among members of the "Russkiy Mir". A 20-year-old conscript hailing from Crimea who has 10-months of service and is properly trained and integrated into a capable Russian military unit will not be sent into Ukraine but will be left behind at base as the rest of his unit ships out. A 45-year-old bricklayer from Donetsk meanwhile will be mobilized, given zero training, thrown into a newly-created unit surrounded by people like himself whom he has never met in his life, and they will be sent to the front. How is this fair? (Or good warmaking??)

Or what of the fact that the Russian MoD refer to Ukrainian soldiers exclusively as "nationalists and militants"? (Except if they surrender at which point they become "servicemen.") A typical RUMOD report will include language like "militants of the Ukrainian armed forces have equipped a stronghold" or "The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 170 nationalists." Numerous Russians have relatives in Ukraine. Relatives who may not appreciate Moscow deciding to settle inter-Slavic squabbles by force or might just not have found a way out of conscription. Relatives that may end up charred to death in a thermobaric artillery strike. How are these Russians supposed to feel about their government insisting their dead or at-risk relatives are "nationalists" and "militants"? How should anyone who has sympathy for Russians and Ukrainians both, as any proper "pro-Russian" should? Why this Orwellianism? The troops on the other side are not "nationalists" and are not "militants." They are just normal people usually from the underprivileged strata. Often Russian-speaking. Everybody knows this.

 


End of Part II.

Anti-Empire - Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:15

As early internet coincided with the "Global War on Terror" it so happened that one of its best parts was the breadth of writings shining a critical light on America's wars of empire. Progressives, libertarians, and conservatives alike contributed common sense critiques of these costly wars of choice from a broadly anti-interventionist standpoint.

When these anti-interventionists took a look at the wars of Bush and Obama they did not raise the flag of Mullah Omar, Sadam Hussein, or Abu Musa al-Zarqawi. Their argument wasn't that the other side was the side of good and ought to win. There was no sense in which the likes of Alexander Cockburn, Justin Raimondo, or Pat Buchanan were Islamists or anti-Americans.

On the contrary, their argument was often that the wars were bad for America and its interests. They often spelled out a reality where the anti-interventionists were the true patriots, and where the War Party had harmed America more than its enemies ever could, all the while making these enemies stronger and more of a threat.

By and large, they did not do so by breathing fire but by posing the most pedestrian questions. A favorite approach was to take the declared goals of the intervention at face value but ask rudimentary questions such as: How do these means get us those ends? Once we start this, what is the exit strategy, how do we get out? Will the enemy get a vote on that? What about blowback? What about the human cost?

It did not speak to the strength of the pro-war position that warmongers felt threatened by such elementary questions and would respond with ad hominems before falling back on talking points.

What I learned reading this stuff for many years wasn't that specifically America's wars are bad. What I learned was more broadly the folly of interventionism and the wisdom of staying clear of it. There is no mess so bad that it cannot be made worse by adding in politicians and bombs. Non-interventionism requires making a level of peace with an unappealing and imperfect reality. But frequently interventionism means paying the cost of intervention and then having to make peace with an even poxier reality.

For all its interventionism the US ended up with a stronger and more legitimate Taliban than ever, an Iran-friendly Iraq where Tehran has a strong proxy presence, and Somalia ruled by its erstwhile Islamic Courts Union enemies but now recipients of American support against the even more radical Al-Shabaab. Not the greatest of scoreboards. These wars were not just crimes, they were blunders.

With the non-mainstream media so well-versed in non-interventionist arguments, I thought respect for the general wisdom of non-interventionism was our thing here in the alternative space. Perhaps, I was wrong. Because now that Russia has given the interventionism roulette a spin I don't see anyone examining the wisdom of this Russian war for Russia in the same way.

To be fair, the bigger part of alt-media simply doesn't ever cover Russia so it's not really their job to do so. But there are plenty of us who do cover Russia and who were die-hard anti-interventionists when it came to America's wars. But if this is the lens through which we see the world why stop its use when the gaze falls upon Russia? Are the wisdom and boon of non-interventionism fit only for the United States but not for Russia?

Is non-interventionism good for America but not for Russia? Perhaps that is so. And perhaps this war will yet conclude as a success that left Russia better off. Perhaps. But if no one is willing to explore also the negative aspects of the intervention then how can we possibly ever have an answer? Surely that requires weighing any positive results as well as any negative ones at the same time.

I have seen some critiques of Russia's escalation by people who enthusiastically backed every American war. These are hypocrites of the highest order. But are we the mirror images of them? Is that who we are now? Are we to roll out anti-interventionism for the US, then turn around and unquestioningly build monuments to Kremlin's adventures as solid 5D gold?

Or is it the case that as the Empire can overreach and shoot itself in the foot, so can the much smaller Russia? If anything it sounds like its margin for error is much smaller. It is less well-positioned to absorb the consequences of error to begin with. But then also has to contend with powerful enemies standing at the ready to pounce on any of its mistakes. In such a situation anything but the best-conceived intervention threatens to backfire spectacularly.

The full anti-interventionist examination will have to wait for another time. But for this introductory installment let us briefly look at Kremlin's stated goals, and ask ourselves if war is a means that can deliver such ends?

The Kremlin has declared it seeks a demilitarized Ukraine. So to "demilitarize" a state you involve it in a major conventional war? How exactly does that work?

Another declared goal is "denazification". Well now that Russia has gone out of its way to advertise that Nazis participated in the defense of the Ukrainian state and bore sacrifices to do so is their future status in Ukraine supposed to drop? How?

Putin complained that Ukraine was too anti-Russian, but now the only war Ukrainians will have ever fought as Ukrainians will be against Russia. How is that supposed to help things?

Moscow complained that Ukraine had too many ties to NATO — well the escalation of February 24 has opened the floodgates on that. Ukrainian-NATO cooperation has shot up by orders of magnitude.

You could say that in all of these aspects Ukraine was already trending in a negative direction anyway, but what is gained by supercharging the drift?

The Kremlin's justification for war revolved around what Ukraine had become. But in terms of changing what Ukraine is, the war has backfired spectacularly. On those terms, the war is an astounding failure. Sure enough, Russia will inflict a defeat on Ukraine. But does inflicting defeat on the other side means that you yourself have won? I don't think so. I think winning a war entails improving the situation you complained about. If you set for yourself war goals that can not be attained by war then you are setting yourself up for defeat regardless of how the fighting goes.


End of Part I.

As early internet coincided with the "Global War on Terror" it so happened that one of its best parts was the breadth of writings shining a critical light on America's wars of empire. Progressives, libertarians, and conservatives alike contributed common sense critiques of these costly wars of choice from a broadly anti-interventionist standpoint.

When these anti-interventionists took a look at the wars of Bush and Obama they did not raise the flag of Mullah Omar, Sadam Hussein, or Abu Musa al-Zarqawi. Their argument wasn't that the other side was the side of good and ought to win. There was no sense in which the likes of Alexander Cockburn, Justin Raimondo, or Pat Buchanan were Islamists or anti-Americans.

On the contrary, their argument was often that the wars were bad for America and its interests. They often spelled out a reality where the anti-interventionists were the true patriots, and where the War Party had harmed America more than its enemies ever could, all the while making these enemies stronger and more of a threat.

By and large, they did not do so by breathing fire but by posing the most pedestrian questions. A favorite approach was to take the declared goals of the intervention at face value but ask rudimentary questions such as: How do these means get us those ends? Once we start this, what is the exit strategy, how do we get out? Will the enemy get a vote on that? What about blowback? What about the human cost?

It did not speak to the strength of the pro-war position that warmongers felt threatened by such elementary questions and would respond with ad hominems before falling back on talking points.

What I learned reading this stuff for many years wasn't that specifically America's wars are bad. What I learned was more broadly the folly of interventionism and the wisdom of staying clear of it. There is no mess so bad that it cannot be made worse by adding in politicians and bombs. Non-interventionism requires making a level of peace with an unappealing and imperfect reality. But frequently interventionism means paying the cost of intervention and then having to make peace with an even poxier reality.

For all its interventionism the US ended up with a stronger and more legitimate Taliban than ever, an Iran-friendly Iraq where Tehran has a strong proxy presence, and Somalia ruled by its erstwhile Islamic Courts Union enemies but now recipients of American support against the even more radical Al-Shabaab. Not the greatest of scoreboards. These wars were not just crimes, they were blunders.

With the non-mainstream media so well-versed in non-interventionist arguments, I thought respect for the general wisdom of non-interventionism was our thing here in the alternative space. Perhaps, I was wrong. Because now that Russia has given the interventionism roulette a spin I don't see anyone examining the wisdom of this Russian war for Russia in the same way.

To be fair, the bigger part of alt-media simply doesn't ever cover Russia so it's not really their job to do so. But there are plenty of us who do cover Russia and who were die-hard anti-interventionists when it came to America's wars. But if this is the lens through which we see the world why stop its use when the gaze falls upon Russia? Are the wisdom and boon of non-interventionism fit only for the United States but not for Russia?

Is non-interventionism good for America but not for Russia? Perhaps that is so. And perhaps this war will yet conclude as a success that left Russia better off. Perhaps. But if no one is willing to explore also the negative aspects of the intervention then how can we possibly ever have an answer? Surely that requires weighing any positive results as well as any negative ones at the same time.

I have seen some critiques of Russia's escalation by people who enthusiastically backed every American war. These are hypocrites of the highest order. But are we the mirror images of them? Is that who we are now? Are we to roll out anti-interventionism for the US, then turn around and unquestioningly build monuments to Kremlin's adventures as solid 5D gold?

Or is it the case that as the Empire can overreach and shoot itself in the foot, so can the much smaller Russia? If anything it sounds like its margin for error is much smaller. It is less well-positioned to absorb the consequences of error to begin with. But then also has to contend with powerful enemies standing at the ready to pounce on any of its mistakes. In such a situation anything but the best-conceived intervention threatens to backfire spectacularly.

The full anti-interventionist examination will have to wait for another time. But for this introductory installment let us briefly look at Kremlin's stated goals, and ask ourselves if war is a means that can deliver such ends?

The Kremlin has declared it seeks a demilitarized Ukraine. So to "demilitarize" a state you involve it in a major conventional war? How exactly does that work?

Another declared goal is "denazification". Well now that Russia has gone out of its way to advertise that Nazis participated in the defense of the Ukrainian state and bore sacrifices to do so is their future status in Ukraine supposed to drop? How?

Putin complained that Ukraine was too anti-Russian, but now the only war Ukrainians will have ever fought as Ukrainians will be against Russia. How is that supposed to help things?

Moscow complained that Ukraine had too many ties to NATO — well the escalation of February 24 has opened the floodgates on that. Ukrainian-NATO cooperation has shot up by orders of magnitude.

You could say that in all of these aspects Ukraine was already trending in a negative direction anyway, but what is gained by supercharging the drift?

The Kremlin's justification for war revolved around what Ukraine had become. But in terms of changing what Ukraine is, the war has backfired spectacularly. On those terms, the war is an astounding failure. Sure enough, Russia will inflict a defeat on Ukraine. But does inflicting defeat on the other side means that you yourself have won? I don't think so. I think winning a war entails improving the situation you complained about. If you set for yourself war goals that can not be attained by war then you are setting yourself up for defeat regardless of how the fighting goes.


End of Part I.

Anti-Empire - Mon Jun 13, 2022 05:58

Zelensky's adviser Arestovich estimates that about 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed so far.

It was also reported in the Washington Post that Arestovich said in the same talk that Ukrainian daily losses have now reached 200-300 per day. It turned out this was a misreport and a bad translation. Arestovich did not actually say that.

Arestovich said that Ukraine was suffering around 100 deaths per day early in the war, but that the Russian dead is at least 200-300 daily, but that it fluctuates to as many as 600 daily.

So the 200-300 figure is actually Arestovich's claim about Russian losses.

— On April 15 Zelensky stated that Ukraine had lost 2500-3000 soldiers dead, which works out to 50-60 daily.

— On May 24 Zelensky stated that 50-100 Ukrainian soldiers were dying daily counting only the most active part of the front in the east. Not counting the Kherson front and any troops killed with cruise missiles in barracks and training camps.

— Then on June 1 Zelensky upped his number to 60-100.

— Then on June 9 a Zelensky adviser said the number had recently hit 100-200.

— Then on June 10 Arestovich spoke about 100 deaths per day, and 10,000 in total so far.

The Zelensky admin is somewhat consistent in the numbers it is giving out. Every estimate it has ever given falls between 50 and 200 soldiers killed daily.

There is a noticeable trend where since May 24 Kiev is now talking about its losses much more often than before.

This coincides with an intense, coordinated push by Kiev (and cooperative Westerners) to get more arms, ammunition, and money.

On the one hand, revealing the grim reality of a high casualty toll can complicate conscription, but on the other hand, it creates media pressure on the West to provide more backing.

On May 21 I said that Ukrainian KIA could be anywhere between 6,000 and 18,000. That was day 86 of the war. The war has now gone on for 109 days.

With another 23 days of the war and Arestovich confirming about 10,000 Ukrainian deaths, I would take that as the lower bound, with 25,000 as the very upper bound. Point estimate would be closer to 10K than 25K.

These are already very high losses (as well as incredibly tragic).

However, figures like 60,000 Ukrainian dead that are being thrown around are not convincing. Each side has as few as 120,000 men on the front at any one time. It is not plausible that such a grouping of forces can lose 60,000 dead in under four months and continue to offer stiff resistance. (The 25K number I offer as the max already strains credulity in that respect.)

On a side note, losses reported by Donetsk Republic show a declining trend. The weekly  wounded have declined from 700-900 from early March to late April, to 400-500 from late April to late May, to 250-300 in the last two weeks.

Some of that is explained by the Mariupol battle having been wrapped up (active fighting was over in late April), but could also indicate that fighting has become less intense or involves fewer forces. (At least fewer Donetsk forces.)

Zelensky's adviser Arestovich estimates that about 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed so far.

It was also reported in the Washington Post that Arestovich said in the same talk that Ukrainian daily losses have now reached 200-300 per day. It turned out this was a misreport and a bad translation. Arestovich did not actually say that.

Arestovich said that Ukraine was suffering around 100 deaths per day early in the war, but that the Russian dead is at least 200-300 daily, but that it fluctuates to as many as 600 daily.

So the 200-300 figure is actually Arestovich's claim about Russian losses.

— On April 15 Zelensky stated that Ukraine had lost 2500-3000 soldiers dead, which works out to 50-60 daily.

— On May 24 Zelensky stated that 50-100 Ukrainian soldiers were dying daily counting only the most active part of the front in the east. Not counting the Kherson front and any troops killed with cruise missiles in barracks and training camps.

— Then on June 1 Zelensky upped his number to 60-100.

— Then on June 9 a Zelensky adviser said the number had recently hit 100-200.

— Then on June 10 Arestovich spoke about 100 deaths per day, and 10,000 in total so far.

The Zelensky admin is somewhat consistent in the numbers it is giving out. Every estimate it has ever given falls between 50 and 200 soldiers killed daily.

There is a noticeable trend where since May 24 Kiev is now talking about its losses much more often than before.

This coincides with an intense, coordinated push by Kiev (and cooperative Westerners) to get more arms, ammunition, and money.

On the one hand, revealing the grim reality of a high casualty toll can complicate conscription, but on the other hand, it creates media pressure on the West to provide more backing.

On May 21 I said that Ukrainian KIA could be anywhere between 6,000 and 18,000. That was day 86 of the war. The war has now gone on for 109 days.

With another 23 days of the war and Arestovich confirming about 10,000 Ukrainian deaths, I would take that as the lower bound, with 25,000 as the very upper bound. Point estimate would be closer to 10K than 25K.

These are already very high losses (as well as incredibly tragic).

However, figures like 60,000 Ukrainian dead that are being thrown around are not convincing. Each side has as few as 120,000 men on the front at any one time. It is not plausible that such a grouping of forces can lose 60,000 dead in under four months and continue to offer stiff resistance. (The 25K number I offer as the max already strains credulity in that respect.)

On a side note, losses reported by Donetsk Republic show a declining trend. The weekly  wounded have declined from 700-900 from early March to late April, to 400-500 from late April to late May, to 250-300 in the last two weeks.

Some of that is explained by the Mariupol battle having been wrapped up (active fighting was over in late April), but could also indicate that fighting has become less intense or involves fewer forces. (At least fewer Donetsk forces.)

Rolo Slavsky - Sun Jun 12, 2022 14:24

Source: Occidental Observer

I’d like to introduce “Comrade Krieger,” a soldier who was deployed into Ukraine in the early days of the special operation. Comrade Krieger is, quite obviously, a nom de guerre of this young man. I spoke to him to get his account of what went down during the push to Kiev. He is currently not deployed and filling up on shashlik and Vitamin D at his dacha. Like many of the young men who actually serve Russia, he does not hail from a big city and his attitudes and beliefs are fairly consistent with what you would expect from young patriotic Russians in the hinterland. I’ve broken up his story into parts, and I’ve tweaked it here and there to make the story flow, while trying to translate the Russian tone as much as the actual Russian words used. Comrade Krieger is an unapologetic Russian nationalist patriot.

My name is Comrade Krieger, and I serve in the National Guard, the internal army as it were, and my story begins on the 12th February in Russia, when I was called up to take part in a military training exercise. These are fairly standard practice, and most of the time we get together to brush up on old skills and learn a few new tricks as well.

This time around, we spent our days learning how to set up field camps, doing routine ammo checks, cleaning our kits, “yes sir, no sir.” go over there and fetch that and come back — just getting into the rhythm of regular army life and that sort of thing.

But then, suddenly, we were told to load up the vehicles and to move out. Where to? We didn’t know, but we took it all in stride.

As we were driving along, we couldn’t help but notice that we’d crossed the border into Belarus. There was no checkpoint or anything, it was as smooth and easy as pulling into a parking lot, really. It was my first time in Belarus, and even if we hadn’t seen the sign, we certainly noticed that the weather was warmer, and everything was generally better maintained and cleaner.

At this point, no one had told us where we were going, but we had started to suspect that this wouldn’t be a routine drill when they started handing out real ammo. We stopped in a field somewhere in Belarus, near a large forest and set up camp. The OMON guys and the Chechens had already started fires and we followed suit, getting as comfy as we could. Our commander dropped a hint that things were about to get very interesting.

Night came and we finally got confirmation that at 5am the next day we were heading into Ukraine and that at 8pm we’d be in Kiev. We tried to sleep as best we could, but you know how that goes. Anyways, morning came and we got into our vehicles and rolled out.

We were supposed to cross some pontoon bridge along the border with Belarus and Ukraine, but it turned out that it was blown up before we got there, so we returned to camp and spent the day there. The next day, another attempt was made to cross a river, possibly the same one. We got into our vehicles as usual, but turned back halfway — the bridge had been blown up again. When we returned to camp, we were amused more than we were disgruntled or anything like that. Finally, the decision was made that we would simply cross at another point, across the land border. We re-entered our vehicles and set out and got about 100 kilometers behind us before we had a blowout.

We fixed the wheel soon enough and, finally, after many false starts, started our adventure in Ukraine.

I sat in the back and watched from the back window, where I saw a shot-up and abandoned car — one of ours — come into view. It turns out that the advance column had gotten hit by sniper fire and the driver of the vehicle had been killed. Shortly after, our commander decided to play it safe and told us to close up the windows. The car started getting incredibly hot and we started sweating and cooking in our seats. To make matters worse, because of all the false starts, we were now running low on water.

It was an armored car, by the way. I had trained in the Urals before, but this was a newer version – an Ural VV, 2019 model.

Soon after, our commander relented and the windows reopened just in time for us to see the first villages and towns, some which were on fire and a smattering of corpses along the road.

“How are you feeling?” I asked my friend sitting next to me.

“I’m a bit shook,” he replied. “And you?”

“Me, I’m not. I’m excited,” I replied and gave him a grin.

We pulled over to let some columns pass ahead of us because, technically, we weren’t supposed to be on the front lines. After all, we were just the National Guard. The rules of this special operation were a bit unclear, and no one seemed to understand how exactly this whole thing was supposed to work out. But that didn’t bother us much.

We ended up camping in the field for a few days where we had pulled over to let the column pass.

We found some water at a well, which was a relief and shared rumors that had passed up from the front from the people who had gone on ahead. The column that we had just seen had gotten shot up by 40mm guns (АГС) and those were the first losses from our side that I personally heard about.

We weren’t far from a village and as we began to dig in, we were given more equipment. I was given a sniper rifle and told to do my best with it.

I should probably say a few words about my kit at this point. I had a ВСС Винторез (VSS Vintorez):

And a СВД (Dragunov sniper rifle):

Also, I had a standard Ярыгина (MP-443 Grach):

I decided to get my sleeping bag and put it on the BTR as a cushion so that I could be comfy while also perched at a higher vantage point. But just as I finished setting up, the commander told us that we have to move out, and that people in black were seen nearby. The problem with this information was that we didn’t know what to make of it. See, our OMON guys also wear black. So no one knew who it was and the commander, after some deliberation, ordered a few of us to go out and to ask them, “hello, who are you?”

Our lads jogged off in the direction that the commander had indicated and then came hurrying back.

It wasn’t OMON. And it turns out that the Ukrainians had been sitting on the other side of the same village where we had made camp since we arrived — we simply hadn’t noticed one another. Both sides began firing at each other soon after. I ran to the BTR and got up on the side to get a view of the forest and the clearing. I couldn’t see anything, but the shooting continued. Eventually, I had to hop off as the BTR rolled out to take some shots at the men in black from the other side of the village.

I quickly realized that I had a slight problem to deal with. See, we had these regular, standard-issue helmets and I had a sniper rifle. That meant I couldn’t use the optics while wearing it because the visor got in the way. So, naturally, I took my helmet off and lowered my eye to the scope. My sergeant, who was running by my position saw this and ordered me to put my helmet back on immediately. I told him, “yes, sir,” but as soon as he had finished dressing me down I took it off again, and propped my gun on it.

Almost as soon as the shooting started, it came to a stop though. It was unclear what had happened, but new orders came through. We were told to move on to a new village, so we packed up and rolled out again. This time around, as soon as we reached the village, we began knocking on doors and asking the locals if they saw any soldiers in their village or nearby. They said no, and we left it at that. We didn’t bully or harass them in any way. Soon after, we left again.

Next, we rolled into a small town still further south. We were running low on supplies and so we went looking in the stores, but found that they were already thoroughly looted. There were no products left except frozen mush in the freezers that had spoiled. The town had lost its electricity and gas and the people were suffering from this worse than we were. Luckily, we found some potatoes and pickles and ate our fill.

We didn’t stay in the town and moved back into the fields. While we were setting up a camp, news filtered in that the forward columns had moved away to a different sector and that we were the only ones left in the area. To make matters worse, we were told that a counterattack was coming. We asked many questions, but got even fewer answers. One thing we did learn was that the counterattack was expected that night. So we dug in as fast as we could, and did the best we could with our defenses. Evening came and we sat in our foxholes and near our vehicles with our weapons ready, stressed out, sure that the fighting would start soon. Every second felt like the moment when the war would finally begin for us.

But we heard only silence and the regular noises of the field as the night dragged on.

Finally, the order was given to go check out what was going on in the forest near our position from which we expected the counter-attack to come and we rose to make our patrol. Just as we did so, the locals in the village about 300 meters away from us decided to launch some fireworks. We thought it was a signal to commence an attack and we rushed back to our positions and gripped our weapons tightly.

But nothing came.

We started to relax ever so slightly until we noticed a red glow coming from the village. “This is it,” I thought to myself and sweated some more. But it turned out that a fire had started in someone’s house. Possibly from the fireworks.

Another false start.

Some of the soldiers began to nod off, but then an explosion ripped through the night and we jolted back to readiness. “This time for sure,” I thought. But we got word that a boiler in that same village had exploded.

So again, nothing.

Night passed into morning and no counter-attack came. We sat in our positions, blinking and yawning and waited impatiently for new orders.

End to Part I.

Source: Occidental Observer

I’d like to introduce “Comrade Krieger,” a soldier who was deployed into Ukraine in the early days of the special operation. Comrade Krieger is, quite obviously, a nom de guerre of this young man. I spoke to him to get his account of what went down during the push to Kiev. He is currently not deployed and filling up on shashlik and Vitamin D at his dacha. Like many of the young men who actually serve Russia, he does not hail from a big city and his attitudes and beliefs are fairly consistent with what you would expect from young patriotic Russians in the hinterland. I’ve broken up his story into parts, and I’ve tweaked it here and there to make the story flow, while trying to translate the Russian tone as much as the actual Russian words used. Comrade Krieger is an unapologetic Russian nationalist patriot.

My name is Comrade Krieger, and I serve in the National Guard, the internal army as it were, and my story begins on the 12th February in Russia, when I was called up to take part in a military training exercise. These are fairly standard practice, and most of the time we get together to brush up on old skills and learn a few new tricks as well.

This time around, we spent our days learning how to set up field camps, doing routine ammo checks, cleaning our kits, “yes sir, no sir.” go over there and fetch that and come back — just getting into the rhythm of regular army life and that sort of thing.

But then, suddenly, we were told to load up the vehicles and to move out. Where to? We didn’t know, but we took it all in stride.

As we were driving along, we couldn’t help but notice that we’d crossed the border into Belarus. There was no checkpoint or anything, it was as smooth and easy as pulling into a parking lot, really. It was my first time in Belarus, and even if we hadn’t seen the sign, we certainly noticed that the weather was warmer, and everything was generally better maintained and cleaner.

At this point, no one had told us where we were going, but we had started to suspect that this wouldn’t be a routine drill when they started handing out real ammo. We stopped in a field somewhere in Belarus, near a large forest and set up camp. The OMON guys and the Chechens had already started fires and we followed suit, getting as comfy as we could. Our commander dropped a hint that things were about to get very interesting.

Night came and we finally got confirmation that at 5am the next day we were heading into Ukraine and that at 8pm we’d be in Kiev. We tried to sleep as best we could, but you know how that goes. Anyways, morning came and we got into our vehicles and rolled out.

We were supposed to cross some pontoon bridge along the border with Belarus and Ukraine, but it turned out that it was blown up before we got there, so we returned to camp and spent the day there. The next day, another attempt was made to cross a river, possibly the same one. We got into our vehicles as usual, but turned back halfway — the bridge had been blown up again. When we returned to camp, we were amused more than we were disgruntled or anything like that. Finally, the decision was made that we would simply cross at another point, across the land border. We re-entered our vehicles and set out and got about 100 kilometers behind us before we had a blowout.

We fixed the wheel soon enough and, finally, after many false starts, started our adventure in Ukraine.

I sat in the back and watched from the back window, where I saw a shot-up and abandoned car — one of ours — come into view. It turns out that the advance column had gotten hit by sniper fire and the driver of the vehicle had been killed. Shortly after, our commander decided to play it safe and told us to close up the windows. The car started getting incredibly hot and we started sweating and cooking in our seats. To make matters worse, because of all the false starts, we were now running low on water.

It was an armored car, by the way. I had trained in the Urals before, but this was a newer version – an Ural VV, 2019 model.

Soon after, our commander relented and the windows reopened just in time for us to see the first villages and towns, some which were on fire and a smattering of corpses along the road.

“How are you feeling?” I asked my friend sitting next to me.

“I’m a bit shook,” he replied. “And you?”

“Me, I’m not. I’m excited,” I replied and gave him a grin.

We pulled over to let some columns pass ahead of us because, technically, we weren’t supposed to be on the front lines. After all, we were just the National Guard. The rules of this special operation were a bit unclear, and no one seemed to understand how exactly this whole thing was supposed to work out. But that didn’t bother us much.

We ended up camping in the field for a few days where we had pulled over to let the column pass.

We found some water at a well, which was a relief and shared rumors that had passed up from the front from the people who had gone on ahead. The column that we had just seen had gotten shot up by 40mm guns (АГС) and those were the first losses from our side that I personally heard about.

We weren’t far from a village and as we began to dig in, we were given more equipment. I was given a sniper rifle and told to do my best with it.

I should probably say a few words about my kit at this point. I had a ВСС Винторез (VSS Vintorez):

And a СВД (Dragunov sniper rifle):

Also, I had a standard Ярыгина (MP-443 Grach):

I decided to get my sleeping bag and put it on the BTR as a cushion so that I could be comfy while also perched at a higher vantage point. But just as I finished setting up, the commander told us that we have to move out, and that people in black were seen nearby. The problem with this information was that we didn’t know what to make of it. See, our OMON guys also wear black. So no one knew who it was and the commander, after some deliberation, ordered a few of us to go out and to ask them, “hello, who are you?”

Our lads jogged off in the direction that the commander had indicated and then came hurrying back.

It wasn’t OMON. And it turns out that the Ukrainians had been sitting on the other side of the same village where we had made camp since we arrived — we simply hadn’t noticed one another. Both sides began firing at each other soon after. I ran to the BTR and got up on the side to get a view of the forest and the clearing. I couldn’t see anything, but the shooting continued. Eventually, I had to hop off as the BTR rolled out to take some shots at the men in black from the other side of the village.

I quickly realized that I had a slight problem to deal with. See, we had these regular, standard-issue helmets and I had a sniper rifle. That meant I couldn’t use the optics while wearing it because the visor got in the way. So, naturally, I took my helmet off and lowered my eye to the scope. My sergeant, who was running by my position saw this and ordered me to put my helmet back on immediately. I told him, “yes, sir,” but as soon as he had finished dressing me down I took it off again, and propped my gun on it.

Almost as soon as the shooting started, it came to a stop though. It was unclear what had happened, but new orders came through. We were told to move on to a new village, so we packed up and rolled out again. This time around, as soon as we reached the village, we began knocking on doors and asking the locals if they saw any soldiers in their village or nearby. They said no, and we left it at that. We didn’t bully or harass them in any way. Soon after, we left again.

Next, we rolled into a small town still further south. We were running low on supplies and so we went looking in the stores, but found that they were already thoroughly looted. There were no products left except frozen mush in the freezers that had spoiled. The town had lost its electricity and gas and the people were suffering from this worse than we were. Luckily, we found some potatoes and pickles and ate our fill.

We didn’t stay in the town and moved back into the fields. While we were setting up a camp, news filtered in that the forward columns had moved away to a different sector and that we were the only ones left in the area. To make matters worse, we were told that a counterattack was coming. We asked many questions, but got even fewer answers. One thing we did learn was that the counterattack was expected that night. So we dug in as fast as we could, and did the best we could with our defenses. Evening came and we sat in our foxholes and near our vehicles with our weapons ready, stressed out, sure that the fighting would start soon. Every second felt like the moment when the war would finally begin for us.

But we heard only silence and the regular noises of the field as the night dragged on.

Finally, the order was given to go check out what was going on in the forest near our position from which we expected the counter-attack to come and we rose to make our patrol. Just as we did so, the locals in the village about 300 meters away from us decided to launch some fireworks. We thought it was a signal to commence an attack and we rushed back to our positions and gripped our weapons tightly.

But nothing came.

We started to relax ever so slightly until we noticed a red glow coming from the village. “This is it,” I thought to myself and sweated some more. But it turned out that a fire had started in someone’s house. Possibly from the fireworks.

Another false start.

Some of the soldiers began to nod off, but then an explosion ripped through the night and we jolted back to readiness. “This time for sure,” I thought. But we got word that a boiler in that same village had exploded.

So again, nothing.

Night passed into morning and no counter-attack came. We sat in our positions, blinking and yawning and waited impatiently for new orders.

End to Part I.

Jason Melanovski - Sat Jun 11, 2022 11:28

Source: LGBTQ Nation

As a collective, the mighty men and women of the Azov regiment attained near-mythical status in the eyes of the public for holding the Russian army at bay in Mariupol while holed up in an underground steel plant for weeks. With their brave exploits playing out in real time amidst a relentless siege by Russia, a common criticism came to the forefront.

The Azov stood accused of being Nazis, of being anti-Semitic nationalists, and of hating the LGBTQ community.

In light of the recent mass shooting in Buffalo where a white supremacist terrorist was seen to have invoked similar imagery to the Azov, both their accusers and defenders felt it necessary to parse the group’s insignia for meaning, look at words spoken over the last decade, to speculate on the members’ actions and intent. The battalion’s special forces patch included a German medieval symbol that was adopted by the Nazis.

While the group had used the insignia since 2014, it has been used as “proof” for false Russian allegations that Ukraine was run by Nazis. Ukraine’s president is Jewish.

However, as controversy swirled about them, and Russian forces advanced, these proud warriors were humbled by the support they got from one particular organization: the LGBTQ group, UKRAINEPRIDE.

During the earliest days of the newest chapter in a now eight-year war between Russia and Ukraine, UKRAINEPRIDE felt called to honor the many LGBTQ soldiers serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces by raising money for any military group that needed financial assistance. Soon, among those who came calling on the nation’s eponymous Pride organization for help was the Azov.

According to EuroNews, the fabled fighters “expected to be ‘cancelled’ by the organization,” due to their conservative beliefs and didn’t anticipate their request being fulfilled.

It was.

Eventually, the Azov received over $10,000, a donation which they put toward communications equipment.

In speaking to Vogue Ukraine about the gift, Sofia Lapina a member of UKRAINEPRIDE made it clear that the LGBTQ community in Ukraine was not in conflict with the Azov, saying, “We have never had direct conflicts with representatives of the regiment. In recent years, Azov has not been among those who attack LGBTQ people.”

Going further, Lapina assigned blame on Russia for disparaging the reputation of the Azov and making up lies over their alleged anti-LGBTQ behavior, with Russian actors being the actual perpetrators of hate against the broader queer community.

“This is being done by other Russian-sponsored radical groups. It is to visualize pro-Russian propaganda about so-called ‘Ukrainian neo-Nazism’.”

In an interview, Yulia Fedosyuk, the wife of an Azov soldier, also confronted the rumors of Azov intolerance against gays and lesbians.

“I, my husband Arseniy, and many Azov soldiers are conservatives, but none of us have ever supported violence against members of the LGBTQ community,” she told LGBTQ Nation.

She explained where the seeds of negativity about the Azov were sown.

“I am grateful to the organization for its financial assistance, as the regiment’s reputation, which has been built over the years by architects of Russian propaganda in the Western media, is, to put it mildly, untrue. “

Lapina is not the only LGBTQ defender of the Azov.

LGBTQ Nation spoke directly with multiple queer-identifying people who are familiar with the controversies surrounding the Azov’s interactions with those who fall under the LGBTQ umbrella.

On record, and on background, statements ranged from effusive praise to grudging respect.

Dima, from Kyiv, refuted Vladimir Putin’s propaganda pitch against the Azov.

“They are not Nazis of Ukraine, they are patriots of the country,” they said.

“I’m sure our people are all leaning towards the left, in all the ways,” Eugene from Rivne wrote when asked about the political leanings of the Azov, before admitting to being biased toward the patriots who serve his country.

Artur stated that they are “very well received,” and Kirill acknowledged that while he didn’t agree with them on everything, those who wore the Azov emblem “are necessary to win the war.”

One gender non-conforming leader of a large activist network in Ukraine was circumspect in their answer, stating that while their reputation was problematic in many ways, they had not seen or heard of any direct links between the Azov and intimidation of queers.

A feminist lesbian, who leads a national humanitarian organization, expressed gratitude to the Azov for what they had done in defense of Ukraine.

After Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) alluded to the Azov in a tweet meshing the Pride flag with the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine’s flag, asking “Do the Nazis in the Ukrainian army know?”, LGBTQ Nation reached out to several people with close ties to the Azov, and while some refused to comment, one person, who served with the Azov in 2014 and works with them today answered simply, it means “LGBT.” It didn’t cause any consternation like Greene had implied that it would.

While there has been at least one instance of Azov symbols being present during an attack against gays, at a 2016 movie screening, those present were never identified as actually being members of the highly selective cohort.

Furthermore, according to BuzzFeed News, in 2019 and 2020 when queer-hating, American neo-Nazis came to Ukraine to try and join the Azov without invitations and without going through, “official channels,” they were summarily expelled and banned from the nation.

Much of the discussion surrounding the regiment has simmered down since the mass evacuation of many of its members from the Azovstal plant in late May. In the middle of March and yet again a few days ago, members of the Kharkiv branch of the Azov were sported with modern insignia on their uniforms, patches befitting their position as the modern, forward-facing beacons of hope and heroism that the Ukrainian LGBTQ community proclaims them to be.

The wolfsangel symbol had been replaced with the golden trident national symbol used by other military forces in the country.

Source: LGBTQ Nation

As a collective, the mighty men and women of the Azov regiment attained near-mythical status in the eyes of the public for holding the Russian army at bay in Mariupol while holed up in an underground steel plant for weeks. With their brave exploits playing out in real time amidst a relentless siege by Russia, a common criticism came to the forefront.

The Azov stood accused of being Nazis, of being anti-Semitic nationalists, and of hating the LGBTQ community.

In light of the recent mass shooting in Buffalo where a white supremacist terrorist was seen to have invoked similar imagery to the Azov, both their accusers and defenders felt it necessary to parse the group’s insignia for meaning, look at words spoken over the last decade, to speculate on the members’ actions and intent. The battalion’s special forces patch included a German medieval symbol that was adopted by the Nazis.

While the group had used the insignia since 2014, it has been used as “proof” for false Russian allegations that Ukraine was run by Nazis. Ukraine’s president is Jewish.

However, as controversy swirled about them, and Russian forces advanced, these proud warriors were humbled by the support they got from one particular organization: the LGBTQ group, UKRAINEPRIDE.

During the earliest days of the newest chapter in a now eight-year war between Russia and Ukraine, UKRAINEPRIDE felt called to honor the many LGBTQ soldiers serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces by raising money for any military group that needed financial assistance. Soon, among those who came calling on the nation’s eponymous Pride organization for help was the Azov.

According to EuroNews, the fabled fighters “expected to be ‘cancelled’ by the organization,” due to their conservative beliefs and didn’t anticipate their request being fulfilled.

It was.

Eventually, the Azov received over $10,000, a donation which they put toward communications equipment.

In speaking to Vogue Ukraine about the gift, Sofia Lapina a member of UKRAINEPRIDE made it clear that the LGBTQ community in Ukraine was not in conflict with the Azov, saying, “We have never had direct conflicts with representatives of the regiment. In recent years, Azov has not been among those who attack LGBTQ people.”

Going further, Lapina assigned blame on Russia for disparaging the reputation of the Azov and making up lies over their alleged anti-LGBTQ behavior, with Russian actors being the actual perpetrators of hate against the broader queer community.

“This is being done by other Russian-sponsored radical groups. It is to visualize pro-Russian propaganda about so-called ‘Ukrainian neo-Nazism’.”

In an interview, Yulia Fedosyuk, the wife of an Azov soldier, also confronted the rumors of Azov intolerance against gays and lesbians.

“I, my husband Arseniy, and many Azov soldiers are conservatives, but none of us have ever supported violence against members of the LGBTQ community,” she told LGBTQ Nation.

She explained where the seeds of negativity about the Azov were sown.

“I am grateful to the organization for its financial assistance, as the regiment’s reputation, which has been built over the years by architects of Russian propaganda in the Western media, is, to put it mildly, untrue. “

Lapina is not the only LGBTQ defender of the Azov.

LGBTQ Nation spoke directly with multiple queer-identifying people who are familiar with the controversies surrounding the Azov’s interactions with those who fall under the LGBTQ umbrella.

On record, and on background, statements ranged from effusive praise to grudging respect.

Dima, from Kyiv, refuted Vladimir Putin’s propaganda pitch against the Azov.

“They are not Nazis of Ukraine, they are patriots of the country,” they said.

“I’m sure our people are all leaning towards the left, in all the ways,” Eugene from Rivne wrote when asked about the political leanings of the Azov, before admitting to being biased toward the patriots who serve his country.

Artur stated that they are “very well received,” and Kirill acknowledged that while he didn’t agree with them on everything, those who wore the Azov emblem “are necessary to win the war.”

One gender non-conforming leader of a large activist network in Ukraine was circumspect in their answer, stating that while their reputation was problematic in many ways, they had not seen or heard of any direct links between the Azov and intimidation of queers.

A feminist lesbian, who leads a national humanitarian organization, expressed gratitude to the Azov for what they had done in defense of Ukraine.

After Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) alluded to the Azov in a tweet meshing the Pride flag with the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine’s flag, asking “Do the Nazis in the Ukrainian army know?”, LGBTQ Nation reached out to several people with close ties to the Azov, and while some refused to comment, one person, who served with the Azov in 2014 and works with them today answered simply, it means “LGBT.” It didn’t cause any consternation like Greene had implied that it would.

While there has been at least one instance of Azov symbols being present during an attack against gays, at a 2016 movie screening, those present were never identified as actually being members of the highly selective cohort.

Furthermore, according to BuzzFeed News, in 2019 and 2020 when queer-hating, American neo-Nazis came to Ukraine to try and join the Azov without invitations and without going through, “official channels,” they were summarily expelled and banned from the nation.

Much of the discussion surrounding the regiment has simmered down since the mass evacuation of many of its members from the Azovstal plant in late May. In the middle of March and yet again a few days ago, members of the Kharkiv branch of the Azov were sported with modern insignia on their uniforms, patches befitting their position as the modern, forward-facing beacons of hope and heroism that the Ukrainian LGBTQ community proclaims them to be.

The wolfsangel symbol had been replaced with the golden trident national symbol used by other military forces in the country.

Anti-Empire - Sat Jun 11, 2022 10:32

Ukraine says it is almost out of 152mm artillery shells. That sounds plausible, but that has been floated as true since April so who knows if it's really the case.

Ukraine is using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, according to Skibitsky. “We have almost used up all of our artillery ammunition and are now using 155-calibre Nato standard shells,” he said of the ammunition that is fired from artillery pieces.

“Europe is also delivering lower-calibre shells [122mm] but as Europe runs out, the amount is getting smaller.”

Ukraine also says it is consuming over 5000 shells a day. That contradicts its earlier claim in a joint report by Ukrainian and Western intelligence that Ukraine's ammunition expenditure is 40 times smaller than Russia's. If Ukraine is firing 5000 shells daily then Russia would have to be firing 200,000 shells daily — which is impossible. (A shell like that weighs 50 kg. Just 20 of them weigh a ton.) Both of these things can not be true at the same time.

Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now reliant almost solely on weapons from the west to keep Russia at bay.

“This is an artillery war now,” said Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. The frontlines were now where the future would be decided, he told the Guardian, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”.

“Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us,” said Skibitsky. “Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10% of what they have.”

It increasingly sounds like everything Ukraine says is in the service of extracting more support from the West. The claim that the Russians now have 10 to 15 times more artillery pieces could be an interesting one. One that could tell us something about Ukrainian artillery losses so far. Sadly that estimate can not be trusted because the Ukrainians would be saying that whether they thought it was true or not. Just as they claim to be going through 5000 shells daily and the Russian 40X that.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, praised the UK’s support for Kyiv on Friday and reiterated his call for more weapons, as the UK defence minister, Ben Wallace, made an unannounced visit to Ukraine.

“Words turn into actions. That’s the difference between Ukraine’s relationship with Great Britain and other countries,” Zelenskiy said in a video statement. “Weapons, finance, sanctions – on these three issues, Britain shows leadership.”

Skibitsky emphasised the need for the west to supply Ukraine with long-range rocket systems to destroy the Russian artillery pieces from afar. This week the Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych told the Guardian that Ukraine needed 60 multiple-rocket launchers – many more than the handful promised so far by the UK and US – to have a chance of defeating Russia.

Ukraine’s military intelligence believes that Russia can continue at its current rate without manufacturing more weapons or mobilising the population for another year.

Ukraine says it is almost out of 152mm artillery shells. That sounds plausible, but that has been floated as true since April so who knows if it's really the case.

Ukraine is using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, according to Skibitsky. “We have almost used up all of our artillery ammunition and are now using 155-calibre Nato standard shells,” he said of the ammunition that is fired from artillery pieces.

“Europe is also delivering lower-calibre shells [122mm] but as Europe runs out, the amount is getting smaller.”

Ukraine also says it is consuming over 5000 shells a day. That contradicts its earlier claim in a joint report by Ukrainian and Western intelligence that Ukraine's ammunition expenditure is 40 times smaller than Russia's. If Ukraine is firing 5000 shells daily then Russia would have to be firing 200,000 shells daily — which is impossible. (A shell like that weighs 50 kg. Just 20 of them weigh a ton.) Both of these things can not be true at the same time.

Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now reliant almost solely on weapons from the west to keep Russia at bay.

“This is an artillery war now,” said Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. The frontlines were now where the future would be decided, he told the Guardian, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”.

“Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us,” said Skibitsky. “Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10% of what they have.”

It increasingly sounds like everything Ukraine says is in the service of extracting more support from the West. The claim that the Russians now have 10 to 15 times more artillery pieces could be an interesting one. One that could tell us something about Ukrainian artillery losses so far. Sadly that estimate can not be trusted because the Ukrainians would be saying that whether they thought it was true or not. Just as they claim to be going through 5000 shells daily and the Russian 40X that.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, praised the UK’s support for Kyiv on Friday and reiterated his call for more weapons, as the UK defence minister, Ben Wallace, made an unannounced visit to Ukraine.

“Words turn into actions. That’s the difference between Ukraine’s relationship with Great Britain and other countries,” Zelenskiy said in a video statement. “Weapons, finance, sanctions – on these three issues, Britain shows leadership.”

Skibitsky emphasised the need for the west to supply Ukraine with long-range rocket systems to destroy the Russian artillery pieces from afar. This week the Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych told the Guardian that Ukraine needed 60 multiple-rocket launchers – many more than the handful promised so far by the UK and US – to have a chance of defeating Russia.

Ukraine’s military intelligence believes that Russia can continue at its current rate without manufacturing more weapons or mobilising the population for another year.

Sophie Mellor - Sat Jun 11, 2022 07:53

Editor's note: Sanctions mean that Russians are leaving over 30 dollars on the table for every barrel sold (very bad for Russia). But the winners are not Europeans who end up paying more for their energy — but the Chinese and the Indians, who get to load up on that cheap Russian crude.


Source: Fortune Magazine

Beijing is in discussions with Moscow to buy additional supplies of crude oil, according to a new Bloomberg report—a sign that China is strengthening its energy ties with Russia as the country stands largely isolated after waging its war against Ukraine.

While it is not yet clear how much oil China intends to buy or whether an agreement will be made, it isn't the country's first time buying Russian oil.

Iran’s crude exports to China have fallen sharply since the Ukraine war began, according to a new report by data and analytics firm Kpler, indicating Beijing has been buying up Russian Ural—the benchmark for Russian crude—at a heavy discount since February.

While the price of oil has rallied above $110 in Western markets since Europe began preparing a ban on the export, Russian Ural is trading at a $34 discount to brent per barrel.

“China is now clearly buying more Urals cargoes. Exports of Urals to China have more than tripled. That comes despite a weakening in Chinese imports,” Homayoun Falakshahi, a senior analyst at Kpler said in Al Jazeera.

While the U.S. and U.K. have both outright banned the import of Russian oil, the European Union has been taking similar steps in the same direction.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a ban on all Russian oil from Europe in early May, telling the European Parliament: "Putin must pay a price, a high price, for his brutal aggression."

Since the import ban, there has been a shift in the way global oil markets operate, with analysts predicting the 2.5 billion barrels of oil a day that was originally headed to the EU will no longer find a home.  

“We’re going to see a structural change in the global oil market, really, in the form of Europe no longer being reliant on Russian energy,” Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at London-based economic research firm Capital Economics, previously told Fortune.

“It is a permanent shift, not a temporary response.”

But while Western countries turn their noses up to Russian oil, the heavy discount may be too good an opportunity for Asian countries to pass up.

India has also been trying to negotiate deeper price cuts on Russian oil, aiming for deals as low as $70 a barrel, Bloomberg reported .

While China and India may still willing to buy up the remaining oil, they also face higher transportation costs.

Redirecting Russian oil by sea to China and India would require supertankers making weeks-long journeys from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and then through the Suez Canal before reaching Asian ports. [A more complicated voyage than buying in the Persian Gulf.]

Even if prices were low enough to make such trips worthwhile, many shipping companies would likely shy away from the mammoth task for fear of being hit by sanctions.


Source: Bloomberg

Global oil markets -- and governments trying to punish the Kremlin for its war in Ukraine -- have been grappling with a difficult question since the invasion began: just how much is a Russian barrel worth?

The nation’s own data reveal an answer: it’s pretty cheap.

The price of Urals, Russia’s main export blend, averaged $73.24 a barrel between mid-April and mid-May, according to Russia’s Finance Ministry. That’s almost 32% lower than the average for Brent oil futures over the same period.

While Urals has traditionally traded at a discount to Brent, the current gap is unusually wide, signaling that Russia, a top-three global oil producer, can’t fully benefit from crude’s rally.

Urals has sunk 23% from levels seen in mid-February to mid-March, when Russia prepared and initiated its invasion, Finance Ministry data show. Brent has risen 2.5%, and this week hit a two-month high above $120 on recovering Chinese demand and a European Union plan to ban Russian seaborne oil.

The Russian grade’s discount to Brent has widened as traditional buyers of the crude retreat due to a mixture of official restrictions and self-sanctioning.

That withdrawal has prompted Russia to divert shipments to Asia, meaning the country’s seaborne exports are currently still robust and proceeds continue to flow to the Kremlin. Its oil and gas revenues in April reached 1.8 trillion rubles ($29 billion), the highest monthly level since at least 2018, ministry data show.

Yet Urals’ discount may deepen further. While Russia has been able to find new buyers, Asian clients have taken advantage of the sanctions to secure lower prices. And with the EU proposing to shut off Russian seaborne flows in the coming months, the squeeze on Moscow’s energy revenues is set to tighten.

Editor's note: Sanctions mean that Russians are leaving over 30 dollars on the table for every barrel sold (very bad for Russia). But the winners are not Europeans who end up paying more for their energy — but the Chinese and the Indians, who get to load up on that cheap Russian crude.


Source: Fortune Magazine

Beijing is in discussions with Moscow to buy additional supplies of crude oil, according to a new Bloomberg report—a sign that China is strengthening its energy ties with Russia as the country stands largely isolated after waging its war against Ukraine.

While it is not yet clear how much oil China intends to buy or whether an agreement will be made, it isn't the country's first time buying Russian oil.

Iran’s crude exports to China have fallen sharply since the Ukraine war began, according to a new report by data and analytics firm Kpler, indicating Beijing has been buying up Russian Ural—the benchmark for Russian crude—at a heavy discount since February.

While the price of oil has rallied above $110 in Western markets since Europe began preparing a ban on the export, Russian Ural is trading at a $34 discount to brent per barrel.

“China is now clearly buying more Urals cargoes. Exports of Urals to China have more than tripled. That comes despite a weakening in Chinese imports,” Homayoun Falakshahi, a senior analyst at Kpler said in Al Jazeera.

While the U.S. and U.K. have both outright banned the import of Russian oil, the European Union has been taking similar steps in the same direction.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a ban on all Russian oil from Europe in early May, telling the European Parliament: "Putin must pay a price, a high price, for his brutal aggression."

Since the import ban, there has been a shift in the way global oil markets operate, with analysts predicting the 2.5 billion barrels of oil a day that was originally headed to the EU will no longer find a home.  

“We’re going to see a structural change in the global oil market, really, in the form of Europe no longer being reliant on Russian energy,” Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at London-based economic research firm Capital Economics, previously told Fortune.

“It is a permanent shift, not a temporary response.”

But while Western countries turn their noses up to Russian oil, the heavy discount may be too good an opportunity for Asian countries to pass up.

India has also been trying to negotiate deeper price cuts on Russian oil, aiming for deals as low as $70 a barrel, Bloomberg reported .

While China and India may still willing to buy up the remaining oil, they also face higher transportation costs.

Redirecting Russian oil by sea to China and India would require supertankers making weeks-long journeys from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and then through the Suez Canal before reaching Asian ports. [A more complicated voyage than buying in the Persian Gulf.]

Even if prices were low enough to make such trips worthwhile, many shipping companies would likely shy away from the mammoth task for fear of being hit by sanctions.


Source: Bloomberg

Global oil markets -- and governments trying to punish the Kremlin for its war in Ukraine -- have been grappling with a difficult question since the invasion began: just how much is a Russian barrel worth?

The nation’s own data reveal an answer: it’s pretty cheap.

The price of Urals, Russia’s main export blend, averaged $73.24 a barrel between mid-April and mid-May, according to Russia’s Finance Ministry. That’s almost 32% lower than the average for Brent oil futures over the same period.

While Urals has traditionally traded at a discount to Brent, the current gap is unusually wide, signaling that Russia, a top-three global oil producer, can’t fully benefit from crude’s rally.

Urals has sunk 23% from levels seen in mid-February to mid-March, when Russia prepared and initiated its invasion, Finance Ministry data show. Brent has risen 2.5%, and this week hit a two-month high above $120 on recovering Chinese demand and a European Union plan to ban Russian seaborne oil.

The Russian grade’s discount to Brent has widened as traditional buyers of the crude retreat due to a mixture of official restrictions and self-sanctioning.

That withdrawal has prompted Russia to divert shipments to Asia, meaning the country’s seaborne exports are currently still robust and proceeds continue to flow to the Kremlin. Its oil and gas revenues in April reached 1.8 trillion rubles ($29 billion), the highest monthly level since at least 2018, ministry data show.

Yet Urals’ discount may deepen further. While Russia has been able to find new buyers, Asian clients have taken advantage of the sanctions to secure lower prices. And with the EU proposing to shut off Russian seaborne flows in the coming months, the squeeze on Moscow’s energy revenues is set to tighten.

Andrey Biryukov - Sat Jun 11, 2022 06:35

Source: Военное обозрение (Military Review)

The abundance of political experts on television and on the Internet, who talk about the future and make various, often loud, forecasts, today is amazing. However, few people thought about the quality of these forecasts and the extent to which these experts give adequate estimates. After all, journalists almost never ask them to compare their forecasts with what actually happened.

That is, the main problem is that the same experts and political scientists wander from show to show, making more and more “predictions”, but no one asks them which, in fact, of your predictions came true? Agree, the question is quite logical, but it is not asked. Experts voice low-quality forecasts, and sometimes they even speak outright nonsense, because they know that they will still be invited to federal channels.

Many will say — so what, some guys in jackets talked to the camera about this and that, what is the harm from such forecasts? Without understanding the answer to this question, you do not realize the essence of the problem, so we will try to reveal it in sufficient detail.

What is the harm of false predictions?

Often we can read high-profile predictions that are actually made “out of the blue”, not supported by facts and driven by the desire of an expert, for example, to flatter the political leadership. Or, to put it another way, the intention is to give such a forecast that management wants to hear.

After all, it must be admitted that most of the forecasts that we are now seeing in the media are not aimed at actually predicting the future, but are made only in order to assure the public that everything will happen according to the expected scenario and that all hopes and expectations will be justified. Quite often, in such cases, an illusory picture is created that can mislead, and, as practice shows, not only ordinary citizens.

Let's take a few specific examples. Let's start with the statement of the well-known expert and political scientist Rostislav Ishchenko, whom I have already mentioned in my previous articles. In February 2021, he stated that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have no experience in conducting combat operations according to modern standards, in fact there is no aviation and air defense, so no one will resist the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Ukraine will not even resist the Russian army, and Lvov and Dnepropetrovsk will compete in who will give her flowers faster... The Ukrainian military does not have the necessary range of weapons and sufficient funding.

Three years earlier, in 2018, the Vzglyad publication published an article “How the Russian army will force Ukraine to peace.” Its author, in fact, who answered the question indicated in the title, was military expert Yevgeny Krutikov:

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have any ability to resist the Russian army. Especially if we also remember the quality of the equipment available to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the morale of the personnel.

All Russian units are fully equipped, provided with ammunition and fuel in reserve. They do not need to work out additional coherence, since the level of combat training is constantly supported by exercises and checks. If we limit the operation to pacify the raging Kiev to a week, then the massive use of high-precision weapons and aviation can stop a potential Ukrainian offensive in just a few hours. All the rest of the time will be spent on the formation of a front configuration that is more acceptable from a military and political point of view. And this issue is more political, since the main military task is to destroy the combat capability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the east of Ukraine,”

Even more entertaining is the commentary given in November 2021 to Svobodnaya Pressa by political scientist, Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Alexander Perendzhiev:

Neutralizing the enemy or forcing him to peace consists in strikes against his command posts, as well as at the locations of large formations, especially their transport communications. In addition, in this case, electronic suppression of all enemy control systems will be carried out: communications, radar stations and video surveillance. That is, we are talking about a significant weakening of the enemy's activity, bringing him to a stationary, or very inactive state. For these purposes, just the Black Sea Fleet will suffice. But we are talking about units that are located not only in the Black Sea area, but also on land.

We believe that these examples will suffice. One can, of course, also recall the statements made by Yakov Kedmi, a frequent guest on federal channels, two days after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, that “the Ukrainian army has been defeated”, and therefore “the Armed Forces of Ukraine will no longer be able to carry out sabotage on Russian territory and on the territory of the LPR and the DPR. But there were too many such “predictions”, and it makes no sense to list them all. We have the opportunity to compare all these forecasts with what happened in reality.

Therefore, it's time to move on to answering the main question - why are forecasts "from the ceiling" are not only harmful, but also dangerous? Because they create illusions that begin to be perceived as reality. Thomas' theorem says:

"If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."

It is obvious that initially the military operation proceeded precisely from the assessments that we read on the pages of the media. And incorrect assessments led to the setting of incorrect tasks.

Initially, the SVO was not planned as a real war, otherwise the RF Armed Forces would not have launched an offensive in several directions at once with the numerical superiority of the enemy, and in some cases without air cover, and would not have refused missile attacks on the barracks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the first weeks of the operation.

There was a hope that Zelensky was fleeing from Kyiv, and that is why such “ducks” were spread in the media: as soon as the Russian army was a few kilometers from the Ukrainian capital, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not offer serious resistance, he would capitulate along with the Ukrainian regime.

This calculation was not justified. And those who gave false forecasts about the situation in Ukraine are also to blame for this. If initially the political leadership of the Russian Federation had real information, then perhaps the situation would have developed according to a different scenario. As Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for the Development of Civil Society, General Vladimir Shamanov, said:

Those who expected that we would be greeted with flowers... This is one of the main mistakes that we felt very keenly in the first five days of the special operation.

 

Source: Военное обозрение (Military Review)

The abundance of political experts on television and on the Internet, who talk about the future and make various, often loud, forecasts, today is amazing. However, few people thought about the quality of these forecasts and the extent to which these experts give adequate estimates. After all, journalists almost never ask them to compare their forecasts with what actually happened.

That is, the main problem is that the same experts and political scientists wander from show to show, making more and more “predictions”, but no one asks them which, in fact, of your predictions came true? Agree, the question is quite logical, but it is not asked. Experts voice low-quality forecasts, and sometimes they even speak outright nonsense, because they know that they will still be invited to federal channels.

Many will say — so what, some guys in jackets talked to the camera about this and that, what is the harm from such forecasts? Without understanding the answer to this question, you do not realize the essence of the problem, so we will try to reveal it in sufficient detail.

What is the harm of false predictions?

Often we can read high-profile predictions that are actually made “out of the blue”, not supported by facts and driven by the desire of an expert, for example, to flatter the political leadership. Or, to put it another way, the intention is to give such a forecast that management wants to hear.

After all, it must be admitted that most of the forecasts that we are now seeing in the media are not aimed at actually predicting the future, but are made only in order to assure the public that everything will happen according to the expected scenario and that all hopes and expectations will be justified. Quite often, in such cases, an illusory picture is created that can mislead, and, as practice shows, not only ordinary citizens.

Let's take a few specific examples. Let's start with the statement of the well-known expert and political scientist Rostislav Ishchenko, whom I have already mentioned in my previous articles. In February 2021, he stated that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have no experience in conducting combat operations according to modern standards, in fact there is no aviation and air defense, so no one will resist the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Ukraine will not even resist the Russian army, and Lvov and Dnepropetrovsk will compete in who will give her flowers faster... The Ukrainian military does not have the necessary range of weapons and sufficient funding.

Three years earlier, in 2018, the Vzglyad publication published an article “How the Russian army will force Ukraine to peace.” Its author, in fact, who answered the question indicated in the title, was military expert Yevgeny Krutikov:

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have any ability to resist the Russian army. Especially if we also remember the quality of the equipment available to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the morale of the personnel.

All Russian units are fully equipped, provided with ammunition and fuel in reserve. They do not need to work out additional coherence, since the level of combat training is constantly supported by exercises and checks. If we limit the operation to pacify the raging Kiev to a week, then the massive use of high-precision weapons and aviation can stop a potential Ukrainian offensive in just a few hours. All the rest of the time will be spent on the formation of a front configuration that is more acceptable from a military and political point of view. And this issue is more political, since the main military task is to destroy the combat capability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the east of Ukraine,”

Even more entertaining is the commentary given in November 2021 to Svobodnaya Pressa by political scientist, Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Alexander Perendzhiev:

Neutralizing the enemy or forcing him to peace consists in strikes against his command posts, as well as at the locations of large formations, especially their transport communications. In addition, in this case, electronic suppression of all enemy control systems will be carried out: communications, radar stations and video surveillance. That is, we are talking about a significant weakening of the enemy's activity, bringing him to a stationary, or very inactive state. For these purposes, just the Black Sea Fleet will suffice. But we are talking about units that are located not only in the Black Sea area, but also on land.

We believe that these examples will suffice. One can, of course, also recall the statements made by Yakov Kedmi, a frequent guest on federal channels, two days after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, that “the Ukrainian army has been defeated”, and therefore “the Armed Forces of Ukraine will no longer be able to carry out sabotage on Russian territory and on the territory of the LPR and the DPR. But there were too many such “predictions”, and it makes no sense to list them all. We have the opportunity to compare all these forecasts with what happened in reality.

Therefore, it's time to move on to answering the main question - why are forecasts "from the ceiling" are not only harmful, but also dangerous? Because they create illusions that begin to be perceived as reality. Thomas' theorem says:

"If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."

It is obvious that initially the military operation proceeded precisely from the assessments that we read on the pages of the media. And incorrect assessments led to the setting of incorrect tasks.

Initially, the SVO was not planned as a real war, otherwise the RF Armed Forces would not have launched an offensive in several directions at once with the numerical superiority of the enemy, and in some cases without air cover, and would not have refused missile attacks on the barracks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the first weeks of the operation.

There was a hope that Zelensky was fleeing from Kyiv, and that is why such “ducks” were spread in the media: as soon as the Russian army was a few kilometers from the Ukrainian capital, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not offer serious resistance, he would capitulate along with the Ukrainian regime.

This calculation was not justified. And those who gave false forecasts about the situation in Ukraine are also to blame for this. If initially the political leadership of the Russian Federation had real information, then perhaps the situation would have developed according to a different scenario. As Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for the Development of Civil Society, General Vladimir Shamanov, said:

Those who expected that we would be greeted with flowers... This is one of the main mistakes that we felt very keenly in the first five days of the special operation.

 

Kim Sengupta - Fri Jun 10, 2022 14:35

Editor's note: There's is a synchronized offensive to pressure DC into delivering more support uniting Kiev and the Western media — and now Ukrainian and Western intel agencies working in concert. There has been a small avalanche of articles like this recently that emphasize how grim things look for the Ukrainains if they don't receive Western arms soon. What sets this one apart is that Western and Ukrainian intel indirectly helped wrote it. (The article retells the findings of an intel report that was basically written to explain why Ukraine needs American rocket artillery and now.)


Source: The Independent

Ukrainian troops are suffering massive losses as they are outgunned 20 to one in artillery and 40 to one in ammunition by Russian forces, according to new intelligence painting a bleak picture of the conflict on the frontline. [That's normally called "ammunition expenditure". 40-to-1 is huge. I wonder if this isn't an exaggeration given the incentives.]

A report by Ukrainian and Western intelligence officials also reveals that the Ukrainians are facing huge difficulties responding to Russians shelling with their artillery restricted to a range of 25 kilometres, while the enemy can strike from 12 times that distance. [Apples and oranges. Comparing howitzers to guided missiles.]

For the first time since the war began, there is now concern over desertion. The report, seen by The Independent, says the worsening situation in the Donbas, with up to a hundred soldiers being killed a day, is having “a seriously demoralising effect on Ukrainian forces as well as a very real material effect; cases of desertion are growing every week”.

At the same time, as the Russians capture territories in the east, and consolidate their control over the seized cities of Mariupol and Kherson, the bargaining position of the Ukrainian government is being weakened by acute disparity in the numbers of prisoners being held by each side.

The total number of Russian soldiers being held by Ukraine has fallen to 550 from 900 in April after a series of exchanges. Moscow meanwhile has more than 5,600 Ukrainian troops in captivity, the figure enlarged by the surrender of 2,500, including members of the Azov Battalion, in Mariupol.

This difference in numbers between the two sides is being revealed as both Kyiv and Moscow hold highly-publicised trials of prisoners of war.

Ukrainian courts in Kyiv and near Kharkiv have convicted Russian soldiers on war crimes charges, handing out lengthy sentences. Iryna Venediktova, the country’s prosecutor general, said on Wednesday she has filed eight more cases.

Two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who were captured serving with Ukrainian forces in Mariupol are on trial in the separatist Donetsk People's Republic, where prosecutors say they face the death penalty for “terrorism” and being “mercenaries”.

Russian state media announced on Wednesday that more than 1,000 Mariupol prisoners have been transferred to Russia for “investigation.” Politicians in Moscow and the separatist republics have threatened to carry out “Nuremberg-type” trials of the Azov prisoners who they accuse of being neo-Nazis.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, making a visit to the frontline in Donbas on Monday, demanded the Kremlin hand over the Mariupol prisoners. Negotiations are ongoing, he said, but “they are unfortunately in the hands of the Russian Federation, which cannot be trusted”.

The intelligence report says: “Russians insist on a one-to-one prisoner exchange. This means that under the status quo, 4,500 Ukrainian prisoners may be in Russian jails until there is a peace deal. Moscow is likely to use this as a lever to internally destabilise Ukraine unless there is social protection for their families and clear communications.”

The assessment was compiled before the announcement by the British government that it will supply a small number of M270 multiple-launch rocket systems, but after the reported US supply of Himars truck-based mobility rocket systems.

Britain is sending only three of the systems for the time being, and Washington has sent four. Ukrainian officials say they need much more to halt the Russian advance, let alone reclaim lost territory, and that it will take time to deploy the systems to the frontline while the Kremlin continues its fierce offensive in the Donbas.

“We are, of course, very grateful to our allies for their support,” said one Ukrainian official. “The new weapons are welcome, but when they announce they are sending military aid to Ukraine, the Western government should perhaps clarify to their public the quantities involved.”

Reporting on the ground backs up claims of rising Ukrainian losses due to Russian firepower. The Independent last week witnessed losses being inflicted on the Ukrainian military and the lack of long-range firepower to fight back; one soldier interviewed in Lysychansk has since been killed and another three injured.

The intelligence report states: “It is plain that a conventional war cannot be won if your side has several times fewer weapons, your weapons hit the enemy at a shorter distance and you have significantly less ammunition than the enemy.”

It continues:

“The tactical situation on the Eastern front is as follows… the Ukrainian side has almost completely run out of stocks of missiles for MLRS of Smerch and Uragan types, which made it possible to effectively deter Russian offensives in the first months of the war at distances of 60 to 80 km.

“Today, the maximum range of fire of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is 25 km. This is the range at which 152/155mm calibre artillery and the Grad MLRS units remaining in service can fire.”

“At the same time, the enemy strikes at concentrations of Ukrainian forces from a distance of 300 km with Iskander tactical ballistic missiles, 70 to 80 km using the Smerch MLRS and Tochka-U, from 40 to 60 km using MLRS Uragan.”

[That they're run out of Smerch and Uragan rockets could be true, but it also sounds suspiciously like an argument tailor-made to force US' hand into delivering more M270.]

The report continues:

“This creates a situation of absolute inequality on the battlefield, not to mention the complete dominance of enemy aircraft in the air, which can only sometimes be corrected by the use of the Stinger and mistakes of Russian pilots.”

The assessment warns that the Russians are fully aware that a relatively small number of Western weapons have been sent and the delivery into combat positions is slow. “The Russians are seeking to utilise their advantage in the time they have by using their artillery to try and break through Ukrainian defences in the Donbas,” it says.

It stresses that Javelin and NLAW anti-tank systems supplied by the US and UK have proved effective in the battlefields around Kyiv and Kharkiv and remain so in the Donbas. Switchblade attack drones have also inflicted significant damage on the Russians.

However, it points out that anti-tank weapons “cannot counter Russian artillery and rocket launchers”.

“The enemy is encircling Ukrainian forces concentrated in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk,” it says. “It has become extremely difficult to defend these two cities, since the enemy exercises 80 per cent fire control on the roads transporting supplies.”

Editor's note: There's is a synchronized offensive to pressure DC into delivering more support uniting Kiev and the Western media — and now Ukrainian and Western intel agencies working in concert. There has been a small avalanche of articles like this recently that emphasize how grim things look for the Ukrainains if they don't receive Western arms soon. What sets this one apart is that Western and Ukrainian intel indirectly helped wrote it. (The article retells the findings of an intel report that was basically written to explain why Ukraine needs American rocket artillery and now.)


Source: The Independent

Ukrainian troops are suffering massive losses as they are outgunned 20 to one in artillery and 40 to one in ammunition by Russian forces, according to new intelligence painting a bleak picture of the conflict on the frontline. [That's normally called "ammunition expenditure". 40-to-1 is huge. I wonder if this isn't an exaggeration given the incentives.]

A report by Ukrainian and Western intelligence officials also reveals that the Ukrainians are facing huge difficulties responding to Russians shelling with their artillery restricted to a range of 25 kilometres, while the enemy can strike from 12 times that distance. [Apples and oranges. Comparing howitzers to guided missiles.]

For the first time since the war began, there is now concern over desertion. The report, seen by The Independent, says the worsening situation in the Donbas, with up to a hundred soldiers being killed a day, is having “a seriously demoralising effect on Ukrainian forces as well as a very real material effect; cases of desertion are growing every week”.

At the same time, as the Russians capture territories in the east, and consolidate their control over the seized cities of Mariupol and Kherson, the bargaining position of the Ukrainian government is being weakened by acute disparity in the numbers of prisoners being held by each side.

The total number of Russian soldiers being held by Ukraine has fallen to 550 from 900 in April after a series of exchanges. Moscow meanwhile has more than 5,600 Ukrainian troops in captivity, the figure enlarged by the surrender of 2,500, including members of the Azov Battalion, in Mariupol.

This difference in numbers between the two sides is being revealed as both Kyiv and Moscow hold highly-publicised trials of prisoners of war.

Ukrainian courts in Kyiv and near Kharkiv have convicted Russian soldiers on war crimes charges, handing out lengthy sentences. Iryna Venediktova, the country’s prosecutor general, said on Wednesday she has filed eight more cases.

Two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who were captured serving with Ukrainian forces in Mariupol are on trial in the separatist Donetsk People's Republic, where prosecutors say they face the death penalty for “terrorism” and being “mercenaries”.

Russian state media announced on Wednesday that more than 1,000 Mariupol prisoners have been transferred to Russia for “investigation.” Politicians in Moscow and the separatist republics have threatened to carry out “Nuremberg-type” trials of the Azov prisoners who they accuse of being neo-Nazis.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, making a visit to the frontline in Donbas on Monday, demanded the Kremlin hand over the Mariupol prisoners. Negotiations are ongoing, he said, but “they are unfortunately in the hands of the Russian Federation, which cannot be trusted”.

The intelligence report says: “Russians insist on a one-to-one prisoner exchange. This means that under the status quo, 4,500 Ukrainian prisoners may be in Russian jails until there is a peace deal. Moscow is likely to use this as a lever to internally destabilise Ukraine unless there is social protection for their families and clear communications.”

The assessment was compiled before the announcement by the British government that it will supply a small number of M270 multiple-launch rocket systems, but after the reported US supply of Himars truck-based mobility rocket systems.

Britain is sending only three of the systems for the time being, and Washington has sent four. Ukrainian officials say they need much more to halt the Russian advance, let alone reclaim lost territory, and that it will take time to deploy the systems to the frontline while the Kremlin continues its fierce offensive in the Donbas.

“We are, of course, very grateful to our allies for their support,” said one Ukrainian official. “The new weapons are welcome, but when they announce they are sending military aid to Ukraine, the Western government should perhaps clarify to their public the quantities involved.”

Reporting on the ground backs up claims of rising Ukrainian losses due to Russian firepower. The Independent last week witnessed losses being inflicted on the Ukrainian military and the lack of long-range firepower to fight back; one soldier interviewed in Lysychansk has since been killed and another three injured.

The intelligence report states: “It is plain that a conventional war cannot be won if your side has several times fewer weapons, your weapons hit the enemy at a shorter distance and you have significantly less ammunition than the enemy.”

It continues:

“The tactical situation on the Eastern front is as follows… the Ukrainian side has almost completely run out of stocks of missiles for MLRS of Smerch and Uragan types, which made it possible to effectively deter Russian offensives in the first months of the war at distances of 60 to 80 km.

“Today, the maximum range of fire of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is 25 km. This is the range at which 152/155mm calibre artillery and the Grad MLRS units remaining in service can fire.”

“At the same time, the enemy strikes at concentrations of Ukrainian forces from a distance of 300 km with Iskander tactical ballistic missiles, 70 to 80 km using the Smerch MLRS and Tochka-U, from 40 to 60 km using MLRS Uragan.”

[That they're run out of Smerch and Uragan rockets could be true, but it also sounds suspiciously like an argument tailor-made to force US' hand into delivering more M270.]

The report continues:

“This creates a situation of absolute inequality on the battlefield, not to mention the complete dominance of enemy aircraft in the air, which can only sometimes be corrected by the use of the Stinger and mistakes of Russian pilots.”

The assessment warns that the Russians are fully aware that a relatively small number of Western weapons have been sent and the delivery into combat positions is slow. “The Russians are seeking to utilise their advantage in the time they have by using their artillery to try and break through Ukrainian defences in the Donbas,” it says.

It stresses that Javelin and NLAW anti-tank systems supplied by the US and UK have proved effective in the battlefields around Kyiv and Kharkiv and remain so in the Donbas. Switchblade attack drones have also inflicted significant damage on the Russians.

However, it points out that anti-tank weapons “cannot counter Russian artillery and rocket launchers”.

“The enemy is encircling Ukrainian forces concentrated in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk,” it says. “It has become extremely difficult to defend these two cities, since the enemy exercises 80 per cent fire control on the roads transporting supplies.”

Anti-Empire >>

© 2001-2022 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy