Text of Putin Speech Announcing Partial Mobilization

Below is the Russian transcript of Putin’s morning speech announcing a partial mobilization of Russia starting September 21. There is apparently not an official English translation up yet, and in any event, the Kremlin site is blocked in the US (which it hasn’t been since early in the Special Military Operation) and even to friendly VPN users in some countries in Asia. So we are also posting a machine translation and will replace it with an official English translation when one becomes available. Update 6:30 AM EDT: official translation now posted below.

We are also posting an English version of the mobilization order, which here and apparently in the original Russian has Item 7 missing. You can theoretically find the order here: http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69391

What makes the partial mobilization a partial mobilization that it targets only experienced personnel, as in those who have served and have a military specialty.

As you can see, Putin refines and extends his critique of the “collective West” and its campaign to preserve the unipolar order at the expense of the Global South, and its campaign against Russia. Towards the end, Putin states:

In its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed every line. We constantly hear threats against our country, our people. Some irresponsible politicians in the West not only talk about plans to organize the supply of long-range offensive weapons to Ukraine – systems that will allow strikes against the Crimea and other regions of Russia.

Such terrorist strikes, including with the use of Western weapons, are already being carried out on the border settlements of the Belgorod and Kursk regions. In real time, using modern systems, aircraft, ships, satellites, strategic drones, NATO carries out reconnaissance throughout southern Russia.

In Washington, London, Brussels, they are directly pushing Kyiv to transfer military operations to our territory. No longer hiding, they say that Russia should be defeated by all means on the battlefield, followed by the deprivation of political, economic, cultural, in general, any sovereignty, with the complete plunder of our country.

Nuclear blackmail was also launched. We are talking not only about the shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is encouraged by the West, which threatens a nuclear catastrophe, but also about the statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia – nuclear weapons.

For those who allow themselves to make such statements about Russia, I would like to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for some components more modern than those of the NATO countries.

And if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It’s not a bluff.

A video that oddly omits the first two paragraphs of Putin’s speech:

I have yet to find much out about Sergey Shoigu’s speech. If I get a transcript, I will update the post and embed it below.

I must confess to not having a good feeling about the timing, even aside from the fact that the speech was hastily announced (as Moon of Alabama pointed out) and then completely out of character, rescheduled.

Despite the bad look of the much over-hyped Kharkiv offensive, Russia looked to be able to sustain operations at pretty much current levels, particularly given the return of the Chechens, the in-process amping up of the Wagner Group, and the addition of the mysterious Third Group to the militia forces, while they finished clearing Donbass. That would mean Russia would continue grinding down Ukraine forces from more or less current positions.

The better time to increase operations would have been later…when the weather changed (both fall mud and winter cold favor Russian equipment over Ukraine’s and the West’s) and when the EU would be in even worse condition as its refusal to open Nord Stream 2 resulted in more and more damage to the core of European economies.

So why the rush?

It could be that Putin and his fellow officials felt pressured by the domestic reaction to the Kharkiv counteroffensive to Do Something, and something pretty big. But this would point to a major failure to manage public relations and expectations in Russia. The evidence keeps growing that the Kharkiv counter-offensive at best caught the tail end of a planned Russian retreat. Even so, Russia incurred very few losses, inflicted quite a few on Ukraine and the mercenaries along for the ride, and has held the line at the Oskil River. There are claims that they were evacuating locals well and closely before the counter-offensive. Yet from what I understand, no one in an official capacity felt compelled to present the Russia version of what happened, even after the troops were out. Sooner in this sort of situation is better than later, since early impressions harden quickly.

A second theory is the Western forces are planning a big-before-mud-season operation and Putin felt he needed to overprepare so as not to be accused of failing to take the gloves off after Kharkiv. Putin can’t well take another high profile even if ultimately not-very-consequential setback.

A third is as reported elsewhere, the various liberated territories are pressing for earlier rather than later referenda to join Russia. Announcing that would also be seen as a major escalation and would serve as the basis for unleashing more terrorist-style attacks against civilians in those areas and Russia. So the muscling up could also be to provide more protection in the major cities in those areas.

Upon further reflection, at 7 AM, a forth reason could be that Russia assessed how many mercenaries the West might round up to augment Ukraine forces and decided they needed more manpower to prosecute a winter offensive, particularly since the most likely target, Odessa, would result in Russia having to defend an even longer front line than now. But the haste seems inconsistent with this factor being a main driver.

Nevertheless, even though a move along these lines may have been inevitable, Ukraine forces and Europe’s economies were weakening. I can’t prove it but from my very far remove, the timing looks sub-optimal. But perhaps we’ll get some clues as to what caused the rush.

00 Putin 9-21 Speech Official translation
00 Putin's 9-21 Mobilization Address (in Russian)
00 Text of Russia September 21 partial mobilization order
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170 comments

  1. Cristobal

    Surprisingly, Europa Press has a decent coverage of the speech (in spanish). This is the first time I have seen a remotely even-handed coverage if one of a Russian goverment speech. Is this a tiny crack? The governnent thought is all-in with NATO.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Well it has been sold as “Putin escalating the conflict”, so I would say the usual blame it all on Putin and preparing further escalation by the other side. We are being prepared to direct NATO-Russia confrontation. And Russia as well if the referendums take place and Donbas join the Russian federation.

      No reason to feel optimistic about coverage

      Reply
    2. Michaelmas

      Shoigu’s speech delivered after Putin’s made two points after stating that Russia wasn’t fighting just Ukraine but the the US-NATO-EU. Shoigu stated that —

      [1.] US-NATO C&Cs exist in Kiev and elsewhere in the Ukraine and they’re where the foreign military commanders largely directing the war are.

      [2.] US-NATO military and “civilian” satellites and such are being used actively against Russia.

      The obvious prognosis: after the referendums proceed, the West (US-NATO) will refuse to accept their legimitacy and tell Ukraine to continue attacking what will then be Russian territory by Russia’s lights. Shoigu is threatening serious escalation at that point, with Russia directly targeting, especially, US-NATO C&C centers and,generally, Ukrainian infrastructure.

      Simultaneously, the EU nations will be experiencing the effects of a wintertime energy crisis. Interesting times.

      Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        your point #3. pretty soon the west will be de facto/de jure attacking Russian soil

        The West is stumbling to WW3-lite as no one in the White House is understanding Russia’s red lines.

        Reply
        1. Michaelmas

          The West is stumbling to WW3-lite

          Could be. All the intransigent stupidity displayed in the run-up to WWI is again on display here.

          The fools. The fools. The fools.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            From Western press outlets, being the example i bring El Pais in Spain, Putin’s speech is reduced to the mobilization and that supposed threatening with nukes brought by interested misinterpretation of Putin words. This is interpreted as sign of supposed Russian weakness. We go on with the narrative, double down again, and this IMO is the preparatory rationale for more direct intervention by NATO. Joe Biden has already said something about this supposed nuclear threat.

            It is spiralling down fast to WW3-lite or maybe not so lite.

            Reply
      2. ChrisRUEcon

        The west doubled down by upping “lethal aid” and providing direct logistical support, so now Russia is forced to triple down. It could get ugly, but looming as the sun sinks southward is the winter of Western Europe energy discontent. Let’s see if EU citizens stand for freezing their asses off while their governments pump billions into the union’s lapdog support of US belligerence.

        Reply
        1. Werther

          …freezing their asses off…
          Maybe in Poland, the mountainous areas etcetera, depending on the differing climate zones. But for instance in the Netherlands, the mean temperature in the last thirty years is almost 3 degrees higher. The last severe winter, which would have seriously impacted our energy-poor families, was 1997. Sure, it will be chilly. Lots of people will be in a state of discontent, scaling up to fury (yesterday the royal family was ‘boooed’ on their passage to the opening of the parliamentary year).
          But the connection with the sanctions isn’t made (or is ‘to tight to mention’). What people seem just to want is that the government compensates. We’re going to find out if there will be a lot to compensate when commodities run out of stock…

          Reply
          1. ChrisRUEcon

            > the mean temperature in the last thirty years is almost 3 degrees higher. The last severe winter, which would have seriously impacted our energy-poor families, was 1997.

            Did not have “climate-change as a hedge against European energy demand” on my 2022 Neoliberal Morass bingo card … but yet, here we are … :)

            The sellers won’t care anyway … but at least the demand won’t be as high as it would have been in say, the nineties.

            > But the connection with the sanctions isn’t made (or is ‘to tight to mention’). What people seem just to want is that the government compensates.

            Disappointing, but given the role of media in the messaging, unsurprising. Governments could compensate, but the fiscal inflationists in policy-making won’t let governments use the purse for public good. Energy subsidies are an answer, albeit one that still rewards the gouging. ECB is loth to act as a lender of last resort, so one can’t expect much help there. How much pain can people take before they melt their VW’s and Volvos into pitchforks?!

            Reply
          2. Ian Howie

            There are many etcetera places in Europe over and above “Poland the mountainous areas” The winters all over Central Europe are very cold, Hungary, Check Republic, Eastern Germany, Ukraine, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and countries surrounding the Alps, Austria, Italy, France, Germany etcetera, all of them part of the EU. They need heat to survive. This will be a long hard winter, that will take the lives of many in these areas, let’s see how the people react.

            Guess if you are in Southern Italy, Spain, France etc no big deal, but the cost of living is increasing significantly and when the oil “cap” kicks in we could see inflation rise significantly with living standards going in the opposite direction. On top of the freezing conditions across much of the EU, Interesting times ahead for the people of Europe……

            Reply
  2. timbers

    So far, not seeing conclusive indications that legal constraint of the SMO (not allowing attacks on infrastructure and government decision makers) will be dropped. Although making the 4 Oblasts part of Russia does bring added military freedom of action, that will take a least a bit more time. If Putin believes his own words – that the West has dropped all pretense of destroying Russia, crossed every line, is using terrorism and nuclear threats – its puzzling say the least that Russia is still not targeting infrastructure and is not acting as if it believes Putins own words. Side note…think moving speech to later time was to make it easier viewing to its intended audience, India and China.

    Reply
    1. Anon

      Because they have a semblance of humanity left within them, and recognize there is little strategic advantage to mobilizing the citizenry of The West against them by overtly ending their civilization. They want customers, not refugees. As you allude, that ‘weakness’ is being exploited, see: human shields.

      We are all hostages, and it is astonishing to witness the enthusiasm many have for their own destruction.

      Reply
  3. alfia

    I watched and listened to the original Putin speech and some time later watched the BBC Breakfast commentary on the same speech. BBC breathtakingly distorted everything that was said by Putin. The level of brainwashing by the media currently in Britain is astonishing and exasperating at the same time. I am not able to currently access RIA news and some other Russian news online in the UK – it looks like these have recently been blocked.

    Reply
    1. Stephen

      Yesterday evening here in the UK I met a former colleague with whom I have not caught up for two years.

      We got talking about Ukraine because another mutual former colleague is Ukrainian and has left their employer here seemingly because it is not sufficiently pro Ukraine for her.

      Anyway, he senses that the western coverage is pure propaganda so tends not to watch the BBC. But he does read The Economist and trusts it. So he buys into the whole false Russian military incompetence, awesome Kharkov offensive, defeat in front of Kiev narrative. I explained that I canceled my subscription a long time ago and that in my view The Economist is total corporate propaganda, given its ownership and editor.

      I simply asked him where the pictures are of Russian prisoners marching into captivity and what happened to the great Kharkov offensive over the past week. Also how was it that the Russian column in front of Kiev was able to stay there so long and simply drive away when it wanted to. Then I showed him a couple of pictures that Jacob Dreizen posted in the Spring of happy civilians being “liberated” in Mariupol and a child holding a Z placard. He then started to think. The clincher for some serious reflection was when I asked if any western politicians are trying to broker peace.

      He seems to be like many smart people here. They sense the narrative is flaky but trust certain sources that expound it. They then lack the data points needed to form a different perspective that recognizes that the morality is two sided and the bitter reality that the west is clearly (in my view) the party most at fault. To knowingly create and perpetuate a war in which other people die must be one of the most morally reprehensible acts that any government can carry out.

      Reply
      1. YankeeFrank

        Western governments have become utterly immoral, treating their own people like pawns and enemies and the world like a trash can. Just to focus on the citizens they nominally serve: have we yet forgotten the treatment of those who refused uninformed consent vaccine mandates? Whether you think the vax worked or not, its highly unethical and immoral to force an experimental vax on citizens. Yet they did it and have harshly ostracized and punished those who refused. They imposed austerity on us for over a decade while flooding banks with money. They have broken every law against surveilling their own citizens for decades and now march us into energy hyperinflation (what do you call a 10-20x rise in cost of heating, etc?!) all so they can carry out their insane grand ambition to destroy Russia who simply refuses to be pillaged and looted. A project for which the actual citizens of the west have not been consulted nor even honestly informed and which provides to us no benefits, only immiseration. Everything they say is lies as they attempt to whip us all up for WWIII.

        The reason Putin has done this and done it so hastily is he sees the West deluding itself to such an extent that direct war is almost inevitable and he realized he has to get ahead of this immediately or there will be a world war. The west needs a punch in the gut to shake it from its delusions.

        The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, to their ultimate discredit, has not moved their silly clock since January, when they set it at the same place as they set it when Trump was in office since he was supposedly such a belligerent man. We are closer to nuclear war than we’ve ever been, given our incompetent and delusional leadership and their totally unnecessary actions in Ukraine.

        Reply
      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Stephen.

        The Economist has been like that for decades, well before the Agnelli family and Zanny Minton-Beddoes arrived.

        What is odd is that the Agnelli group of companies, led by the Americanised Elkann branch, is out of step with the rest of the Italian business establishment. The Italian employers’ trade body, Confindustria, has been critical of western policy in Il Fatto Quotidiano.

        I worked for Deutsche Bank until the summer of 2021 and keep an eye on what happens in Germany. The business establishment no longer dares say anything out of the mainstream. Firms and their leaders fear being targeted.

        Russia has failed in its PR war. By vacating territory, willingly or otherwise, Russia invites stunts like Bucha and Yzium, which make it harder for alternative voices in the west to put their heads above the parapet. In addition, vacating territory allows such moves to be spun as defeats, so why risk speaking out.

        Reply
        1. Stephen

          Thanks.

          Yep, it took me a while to wake up with respect to The Economist.

          Agree with you on Russia. The real PR campaign they are waging I think is the one in Samarkand last week. That one seems to be going ok.

          Given up with waging any form of PR campaign within thr west. Or maybe they never tried.

          Reply
        2. Ignacio

          I would specify that Russia has failed its PR war in the collective West which is something that could be easily expected given the state of the media, the banning of Russian media etc. So, no real failure there IMO. It had to be so.

          Reply
        3. OIFVet

          The simple fact of the matter is that the people of the “Western world” are being brainwashed on a massive scale and are subjected to massive and incredibly sophisticated propaganda and PsyOps operations, backed by heavy censorship of both alternative Western voices and Russian media outlets. It’s a battle that Russia is destined to lose. What I see is that Russia and China are aiming at winning the minds, if not the hearts, of the rest of the world in pursuit of their stated agenda to replace the US rules-based hegemony with a multipolar world based on the rule of international laws and freedom from arbitrary and capricious US interference in the internal affairs of nations. It’s a winning strategy and one that ultimately should prevail.

          As to us in the West, it’s up to our own efforts as citizens to get ourselves out of this mess. I can’t see any other way.
          Here in Europe, we don’t have access to any Russian media, except TASS (though I haven’t checked lately whether TASS has also been thrown down the memory hole). Now, if we were so sure in our Western righteousness and ideas, would we be compelled to censor “the other?” I submit that our Western misleadership knows that their continued control is heavily dependent on their ability to control our minds, thoughts, and beliefs. Hence our misleadership is also engaged in warfare against us, the citizens. The problem is that it is so subtle and effective that most of our fellow citizens don’t even know that a war has been waged against them.

          These are my thoughts on this worrying day. Worrying because I have ZERO confidence that our misleadership possesses even an ounce of reason, and plenty of confidence in their ability to be supremely cruel, stupid, and hubristic. I hope to be proven wrong, by I wouldn’t bet on it.

          Reply
      3. Harry

        I think this is also true for me. I will shop around for a source which I trust, and then rely on that until the trust is broken.

        Im beginning to think the problem is with trust itself.

        Reply
    1. griffen

      I’m taking the long view here, that the oft cited Rapture Index does march it’s way higher to the all time high of 189. And though I’ve not checked that index this week as yet, the day is young!

      Reply
  4. Paradan

    This morning I made the call
    The one that ends it all
    Hanging up I wanted to cry
    But damn it this well’s gone dry…

    Seems like a good time for some Megadeth.

    Reply
      1. tindrum

        And here’s a look at the closing numbers: racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot
        The House claims all ties
        Jobs are down, money is scarce, and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading

        Reply
      2. Eureka Springs

        Nice warm peace blankets, scarves, hats, socks and gloves would sell like crazy this winter.

        My country, its leadership, is insane. No hell hot enough, nor prison cell cold enough for all of them. All they have to do is stop. Just stop!

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          The Neo-liberal western political leadership is like the American DNC. It cannot ‘stop,’ it can only ‘be stopped.’
          Ambiguity is our friend!

          Reply
      1. griffen

        Rage Against the Machine has some excellent protest songs. Plus, one gets a Harvard trained guitarist as a bonus. I have no idea if Morello fully graduated from Harvard or not.

        Reply
    1. HotFlash

      Here’s a few more:

      Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”, by Pete Seeger, this version is part of a medley of anti-war songs Pete sang on the Smothers Brothers Show in 1968. There is one of the comments that said this show was never aired, and was one of reasons leading to their cancellation.

      Eric Bogle “And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda”

      Jimi Hendrix “Machine Gun”, this at the Filmore. Excellent commentary here by the late Douglas Herman.

      and moving into more contemporary territory, at least for us olds, Michael Franti and Spearhead from 2008, “Yell Fire”.

      And here’s a mixed bag o’classics over some (not so recent) decades.

      Reply
      1. Late Introvert

        I nominate Everything Must Go by Steely Dan. I was chilled to the bone at how dark it was back when it came out, but nobody else seems to have noticed. Even musically, the sheen has a very chilling edge.

        The Last Mall is track 1 and sets a party-time in the end-days atmosphere.

        Reply
  5. SocalJimObjects

    Even with experienced personnel, presumably it would take some time (3 months or more) to mold them into a coherent fighting force? That brings us into December, the very depth of winter. Presumably by then the Europeans have had enough freezing themselves for Ukraine or what have you. In other words, the timing might not be so bad?

    Reply
    1. Brian Beijer

      According to Mike’s video on YouTube last night (I earlgrey), each oblask (?) or county? has been calling for at 1,000 volunteers from former servicemen for at least the past month or two. Mike said that the Leningrad region’s volunteers seem ready to deploy now. He also said that if this call for voluteers is successful in every county(?), it would mean 83,000 volunteers joining the front. I’m assuming that these volunteers are in addition to the 100,000 being mobilized today. Mike also mentioned that he’s been seeing videos that show a mass deployment of troops already heading for Ukraine….although he wasn’t sure if these videos were legit or just another feint by Russia.

      Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      Well, Russia has existing coherent fighting forces in Central and Eastern Military Districts, parts of which have already rotated trough Special Military Operation. Some unit several times already.

      With very little risk to national defense Russia can transfer those troops relatively quickly to Ukraine while the newly mobilized men take their place.

      Although currently I’m presuming that in a week or so, some 120,000 (or more) members of Donbass militias and other volunteers will find themselves as “mobilized” part of Russian Armed Forces and will start receiving better equipment, ammunition and logistics. And their command structure will be much more unified.

      Reply
      1. Lex

        Yes. The big things in this are the increased support and pay to the militias. They’re Russian soldiers now. And the parsimonious use of actual Russian troops has been modified. I think the latter was an attempt to keep this small and limit the potential for escalation, which failed. It was a proxy war; it is no longer a proxy war but a NATO-Russia war fought in Ukraine.

        Mobilization will be for maintaining the rear, security (lots will be needed since Kiev is all in on terrorism now) and as you said, replacing currently cold areas like other NATO borders.

        Reply
        1. Cristobal

          And how fortunate is the blessed US that all it’s wars are fought somewhere else!! Will that ever change? Could that have something to do with it’s habit of always doubling down?

          Reply
      2. SocalJimObjects

        From Putin’s speech: “Those called up for military service before being sent to the units will necessarily undergo additional military training taking into account the experience of a special military operation.”

        Reply
    3. fajensen

      Sorry, but, we will be ok.

      I remember the oil crisis, my parents house used 6000 litres of oil every two months, we had certain days when no cars were allowed, but, what I don’t remember is freezing.

      Russia will follow the trajectory of OPEC, back on the day, only, their economy is already the size of Belgium.

      Maybe Brexiteers and Putineers share similar core beliefs – that everyone will eventually do their bidding either in return for money or in the case of Russia, for gas!?

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        Belgium? That’s a new yard stick.

        Depending on how one calculates, Russia’s economy could be like Germany, Italy or Spain, if not bigger than the oft mentioned trio.

        There are lies, damned lies, statistics and statistics from BSers in financialised and hollowed out western economies, BSers I often work with.

        Reply
        1. Jorge

          I would be interested in an “Autarky Domestic Product”, that is, a measurement of economic independence for a given country. The amount of domestic demand that is, or rather could be, satisfied by domestic production.

          Reply
  6. Polar Socialist

    Something possibly relevant from Putin’s yesterday meeting with managers of defense industry:

    I would like to remind you in this context that this year I have resolved to deliver additional weapons and equipment to the armed forces and, consequently, to allocate funds for acquisition and maintenance. Production capacities must be increased and, if necessary, modernised at several defence enterprises. Much has been done to attain this goal.

    For example, the following decisions were taken to ensure the uninterrupted production and repair of weapons and equipment: contract and pre-contract procedures have been simplified considerably, the timeframe for signing state contracts with a sole provider and the relevant pricing procedure have been reduced, and the amount of prepayment has been increased.

    I would like to note that Promsvyazbank has reaffirmed the terms for low-interest loans for the pre-schedule delivery of weapons. In addition, labour laws have been amended to allow the heads of defence enterprises and design bureaus to authorise overtime pay for designers, engineers and workers.

    Measures have been taken in connection with manufacturing optimisation. I will not list them now because all of you are well aware of them. This has been done on your recommendation.

    Defence industry organisations must ensure the provision of the necessary weapons, equipment and munitions to the armed forces as soon as possible.

    We must also ensure the timely and full provision of modern Russian-made components, parts, units and materials to defence industry companies. The defence industry is the sphere where all import substitution programmes must be implemented without fail. This may not be so important or even necessary in other areas, because we do not need one hundred percent import substitution. But we must do it in this area. Therefore, production capacities must be increased without delay, equipment must be used to the fullest, technological cycles must be streamlined, and production deadlines must be reduced without hurting quality.

    It seems that also the industry is being mobilized in very practical terms.

    Reply
    1. Sibiryak

      industry is being mobilized in very practical terms

      Good point. Putin touched on that topic in his speech:

      …the Executive Order on partial mobilisation also stipulates additional measures for the fulfilment of the state defence order. The heads of defence industry enterprises will be directly responsible for attaining the goals of increasing the production of weapons and military equipment and using additional production facilities for this purpose. At the same time, the Government must address without any delay all aspects of material, resource and financial support for our defence enterprises.

      Reply
      1. Late Introvert

        Holding the C-suite accountable.

        This too:

        In addition, labour laws have been amended to allow the heads of defence enterprises and design bureaus to authorise overtime pay for designers, engineers and workers.

        Those damn Commie Nazis!

        Reply
  7. Jeotsu

    While I can’t guess why the announcement was done as it was (rushed?), the timing might make sense for a winter offensive. Those reservists will take a couple of months to get re-trained, equipped, and formed into coherent units. That would make them available in numbers by December.

    Alternatively, those reservists could be used to fill in for current active units which can be shifted from other military districts to participate in the Ukraine operation. The Russian General staff might be taking the risk that NATO (or another other power) is not in a position is rush-attack, so having still-training reservists on other frontiers filling in for the regular troops is an acceptable risk.

    My gut instinct (which is wrong as often as right) says that they are acting on information that has not yet been disclosed, but was consequential for them. If it was ‘just’ that Kharkiv offensive PR problem, it could be addressed with more nuance. It is uncharacteristic for Putin to act like this, and this feels similar to Feb 2022, when he felt he was forced into the sudden SMO announcements by the shelling and poised-to-go Ukrainian attack in Donbass. What is he reacting to this time?

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      Expecting NATO to denounce any and all outcomes of the referendums that are not complete supplication of Donbass to Kiev.

      Stoltenberg for example has already dismissed the announcement of the referendums in quite harsh terms.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        The only referenda that matter to neoliberals are foreign private property purchases. “What markets have joined together, let no man put asunder.” /s

        Reply
  8. hk

    To be a bit of contrarian, I do think this is tacit admission that SMO as was being conducted, say, a month ago, has failed, although not for the reasons the West thinks.

    First, 6000 KIA is a pretty sizable number for a modern professional army, even without counting militias. Probably means 15,000-25,000 casualties, including wounded, and out of a professional force of around, say, 500,000 (not counting conscripts), and casualties were likely disproportionately heavy among combat troops, who in a modern army make up fairly small proportion): these would be enough to seriously hinder operations, especially given requirements elsewhere–I base this on the US Army experience in Iraq.

    The strategy that Russia seemed to have settled on was to stay on the defensive mostly, with fairly limited offensive operations with lots of firepower. This is sensible strategy if the opponent lacks an ability to mass troops and maneuver and you can control the tempo of the war. IF the Ukrainian army has been almost completely worn down and no longer had serious ability to mass troops and launch large coordinated operations, then that’s a sensible strategy. But, regardless of how badly Russians mauled the Ukrainian forces in Kharkov and Kherson, the fact remains that Ukraine was able to mass forces and launch coordinated operations. So Russia lacks the ability to control the tempo of the conflict to its liking, after all, not with the resources it is willing to allocate to Ukraine at the past present. If you will, I’d say the Ukrainians pulled a Tet.

    I don’t think this means an immediate escalation in terms of forces allocated: proper mobilization takes time, after all. But it does mean a recognition on the part of Russia that a more “serious” effort, with concomitant resources, is necessary to actually break Ukrainian ability to engage in serious military action.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      Supposedly NATO is now training Ukrainian forces outside of Ukraine. Meaning that conscripts are transported to say UK, where they go through bootcamp etc, and then transported back to Ukraine to fight.

      If true, that is something quite different from handing out rifles to raw conscripts and driving them to the front like what seemed to be the case early on.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Supposedly NATO is now training Ukrainian forces outside of Ukraine.’

        Been happening for a very long time but has been kept quiet. Like in France for example-

        ‘According to an unnamed adviser to the French defense minister, unlike the UK, France has decided against conducting massive training exercises with Ukrainian troops. Officially, since the start of the Russian military operation in late February, it has prepared a total of 40 Ukrainian soldiers, focusing on how to operate French CAESAR self-propelled howitzers.

        Unofficially, however, the adviser hinted that Ukrainians may be receiving more in-depth instruction on French soil. “The UK has chosen to forge ahead with basic training. We are doing more specialized training,” he told Politico. “We are not going to tell you everything that we do.’

        https://www.rt.com/news/563007-france-ukraine-training-secret/

        Reply
      2. WJ

        It is pretty clear that both are happening.

        Some conscripts are driven to the front to occupy trenches and be cannon fodder while others, probably professional soldiers, are trained and armed in UK or Poland and then shipped back in to the country, into Lviv or Kiev. The counter-offensive in Kherson and Kharkov made use of a bunch of conscript cannon fodder to take Russian fire while also deploying the trained troops en masse in blitzkrieg-type US-type rapid assault teams. Many of these teams were also composed of “mercenaries” at least some of whom were likely NATO soldiers or veterans who ‘retired’ and then “volunteered” for Ukrainian army.

        Reply
      3. David

        As I recall, most militaries divide training into basic training (you’re a soldier), specialist training (you’re an artilleryman or a signaller) and collective training, which is where individuals in units, and units in larger units, train together. Basic training, which is what the UK is apparently doing, produces nothing more than cannon fodder who can fire a rifle. For those people to collectively turn into an all-arms Brigade, for example, would take years.

        Have a look at the structure of a US Brigade Combat Team, for example, and see how complex it is, and how many separate types of units there are, including logistics, engineering and communications. This is why the fuss over basic training of recruits, and even the presence of small numbers of experienced western soldiers, has always seemed beside the point to me. The only thing that will really help the Ukrainians is new formed units, unless all your seeking are temporarily warm bodies to fill one type of hole before filling another.

        Reply
        1. hk

          Or, possibly, modern day equivalents of the Blue Division or Condor Legion, wholly formed units coming directly from NATO countries with Ukrainian armbands.

          Reply
          1. David

            I believe the Condor Legion were regulars, even if theoretically “volunteers.” Much of the Blue Division was made up of regular soldiers given leave, and many of the rest had fought in the Civil War, as regulars or members of the Falange. This was early enough in the war that for all practical purposes they were just slotted into the regular organisation of th Wehrmacht as a leg infantry division. The Italians, Rumanians, Hungarians etc. did send regular divisions, of course.

            Even then, the main virtue of these forces was political, to show the international coalition against Communism. And I’m not sure a leg infantry division armed with just small arms and light weapons is going to be of very much use in Ukraine.

            Reply
            1. hk

              I doubt NATO countries would send “volunteers” who are thinly disguised regulars only to have them deployed as light infantry. No, NATO could escalate by shiipping obviously NATO heavy gear–tanks, waplanes, and the like, and claim that they are manned by “members of Ukrainian armed forces,” which would be technically true, but no more than the Condor Legion being “Spanish.”. But with the properly trained Ukrainian cadres having largely become casualties and the recruits taking too much time to be properly trained–especially in NATO equipment, the “expedient” solution is to send “volunteers” of regulars under suitable legal fiction. (This was, btw, how the Chinese intervened during the Korean War–technically, legally, US and PRC have never been at “war,” as the million plus Chinese troops mobilized for their intervention were all “volunteers,” thus “People’s Volunteer Army.” Dealing with this obviously and baldfacedly thin disguise was a part of the dilemma facing US and her allies in the winter between 1950 and 1951.)

              Reply
          2. hk

            PS, wholly formed regular units from their militaries, that is. This is my Tet Offensive analogy: Tet Offensive effectively annihilated the Viet Cong (much the way trained forces of Ukraine is or will soon be, I suspect). VC kept up the fighting with entire regiments of North Vietnamese regular army being transferred to the South. So NATO could conceivably have Ukraine keep up the fighting via “transferring” whole battalions of regular NATO troops in thin disguise

            Reply
    2. Lex

      I don’t think you’re wrong. The SMO was designed to minimize the potential for escalation with the West, that is, it would be a proxy war where Russia contributed some troops and material to Donbas forces knowing the west would at least provide intelligence, sanctions and financial support. The massive injection of material and now – apparently – large scale injection of western troops with western command and control changes everything. That is, Russia tried to keep it to a regional conflict and the west escalated it into a fairly global conflict and now Russia needs to respond.

      Reply
  9. Foy

    The Youtube video above of Putin’s speech is labelled his speech from 20 Sept but it appears to be his speech from February at the start of the SMO, it’s not todays speech. The words don’t match the text that has been embedded in this post. In the above video he has a reddish purple tie, but in today’s speech he had a blue dotted tie, looking at video excerpts elsewhere on Youtube.

    Reply
  10. hk

    PS. More thoughts on the Tet analogy, which might be a bit different from what people are thinking. As a military matter, Tet was a total failure for Viet Cong: they lost practically all military resources that they had husbanded in the South and had to rely completely on materiel and troops sent from the North after Tet. This is likely also the state of the Ukrainian military now. But this also struck at the paradox of the Johnson administration’s attitude towards the war: keeping the conflict sufficiently low key, but not wanting to end it. This, of course, requires cooperation from the opponent–they should be mostly incapacitated d, but not actually “dead” so that you can keep “fighting,” but only with minimal effort, on your terms. This seems analogous, in a sense, to Russia today, with more justification than US in Vietnam: if the “real” war is the economic one against the West, it is indeed to Russia’s advantage to keep the war going for a while at a manageable intensity, with Moscow controlling its tempo. If so, Ukraine needs to be just weak enough that it can only fight haphazardly.

    How would Russia use the to-be-mobilized resources? I suspect that they will have to get more active, in hunting down and destroying the ability of Ukrainians to pull off large coordinated operations completely. This does mean taking “serious” war to Kiew, Lwow, and other places that have not been hit too badly, at least, although I have no idea how this might unfold. I do suspect that there are plenty of ways that they can mess things up, though….

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Ukraine is not executing large coordinated operations now. They don’t have air support. Videos by Ukrainians of their short-lived crossings of the Oksil River (pushed back by Russia) showed them using passenger cars.

      The problem for Russia is and remains what to do about the Western part of Ukraine. Even if/when they take the Black Sea coast and make the unliberated parts of Ukraine economic basket cases, it’s too big to garrison.

      Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Oops. Thanks! Typed in haste after a long search for that video. So, will Hungary make a move on Transcarpathia now? In the EU’s eyes, that would make it a real democracy now.

            Reply
        1. Stephen

          People often forget or are not told in the standard histories that Poland participated in the 1938 carve up of Czechoslovakia by entering Teschen. So there is precedent.

          Eastern European geo politics tends to be complex!

          Of course, Poland is not as far as I can tell offering reparations for that.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            A safe pair of hands on Galicia means capitalism still has property to accumulate, albeit not the chernozem they wanted or needed. EU won’t mind a nice, pliant buffer state to keep the blowback and the worst of Nuland’s familybloggery out of Western Europe.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              And I am sure that all those neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists armed to the teeth with western weapons will welcome the Poles to occupy their heartland, a people whom they already hate and who are probably on their to-settle-with list.

              Reply
              1. Polar Socialist

                Galicia used to stretch almost up to Katovice in Poland, so maybe what-will-be-known-as-Ukraina will just move 300 km to the West.
                As you said, there are armed and willing groups who believe it’s their heartland…

                Reply
        2. Sibiryak

          …Poland is considering making a move on western Poland-

          Only with Zelensky’s blessing, after hopes for a Ukrainian victory over Russia fade.

          Reply
      1. Sibiryak

        Ukraine is not executing large coordinated operations now.

        That appears to be true, for now.

        On the other hand, the brazen shelling and rocketing of civilian areas is increasing–and seems unstoppable. Dead bodies in the streets, blood-soaked victims, children blown apart — it’s all being shown on Russian TV, all day long. Then there are the entirely credible reports of horrific Ukrainian atrocities against “collaborators”, while Russia is accused of ever more war crimes and a new Bucha horror story is concocted. All this has become an almost intolerable daily torture for the Russian people. Popular discontent was threatening to explode.

        The bigger military picture is this: The West’s decision to back Ukraine to the hilt with more and more money, more and more weapons, more training, more mercenaries, military intelligence, military planning, etc., has in fact turned out to be a “game-changer”. Scott Ritter was right.

        In response to that new military reality, Russia carefully prepared an integrated response. The retreat from the Kharkov region, the intensified campaign in northern Donetsk, the active consolidation of global support (China, India etc.), the referenda decision, and the partial mobilization order—all these actions can be seen as parts of a unified strategy.

        The referenda decision means that the Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye regions will become part of Russia itself, and that means the Russian armed forces will be compelled to effectively defend those regions. The threats of military incursions, sabotage, terror attacks and shelling of civilian areas will have to be dealt with. This is not an easy task, since, as Russian Defense Minister Shoigu pointed out, there is now a line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian forces that is more than 1,000 kilometers long. It’s only logical that this line needed to be reinforced.

        Beyond that, an effective defense of these new Russian territories will likely require offensive action to, at the very least, create a substantial buffer zone (including Odessa and Kharkov regions eventually, or not), which, again, will require an enlarged military force. That enlargement has begun.

        Anyway, that’s my take at this point as a диванный аналитик.

        Reply
        1. Tom Bradford

          An outcome whereby Russia takes a bloody nose in liberating Donetsk etc. and then has to sink substantial resources into holding a 1,000km border against pin-prick attacks from Ukraine while it rebuilds and rearms over the course of one, two, perhaps three or even five years with constant talk of recovering its lost territory might suit NATO/the US very well.

          I see this as THE major problem facing the Russians – it cannot and does not want to take the whole of Ukraine, yet if it doesn’t – or even if it does – it’s going to have to create and maintain a militarily-reinforced iron curtain along its new border against a West happy to use the Ukrainians to cause trouble there and keep up the pressure.

          Peace-deals with the Ukrainians won’t be worth the paper they’re written on, as Maidan proved. Russia’s only option is to bring the West to its knees with the at-least tacit support of China, India and the other big players of the East and keep it there, but while Europe’s idiot leaders continue preening themselves in the light of the US’s guttering candle I’m doubtful of that happening.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            It looks like General Winter will be taking care of the EU for the Russians and if the US goes ahead with secondary sanctions on oil shipments, General Blowback will be crunching the US economy.

            Reply
      2. hk

        Neither could Viet Cong for a while after Tet: most of their operatives we’re dead, all their maieriel we’re exhausted or destroyed, and they had to wait for reinforcements from the North who were unfamiliar with local conditions and couldn’t blend in as easily. One major difference is that the replacement for the cadres that Ukraine has lost in Kherson and Kharkov would have to be genuine “foreigners.” Whatever troops the West is training from Ukrainian recruits, they won’t be ready in numbers enough for anything for a while yet. So whatever happens, if “Ukraine” does anything biggish now, it will be with thinly disguised Polish, German, and French units, I imagine, much the way VC post Tet were regular North Vietnamese Army troops transported by whole regiments to the South. Can this dangerous charade be kept up, even “diplomatically”?

        Reply
        1. hk

          PS. I guess the big question is whether Poland, Germany, and France (and others, including US) will be sending whole battalions or brigades of their troops in thin disguise to fight in Ukraine as did North Vietnam did after Tet. The latter was, as we know in retrospect, a no brainer. We have trouble imagining the former at the moment, but I don’t think it is beyond the current Western “leadership.”

          Reply
  11. Patrick Donnelly

    Armenia and Tajikistan ….

    I still think a Neutron enhanced, antimatter triggered, Tritium device took out that power station. First use of battlefield nukes to the Rus.

    Still NATO ignore the pushback and avoid negotitation in good faith.

    Aceh took place without warning and during a ceasefire. NATO cannot be trusted.

    Pass the popcorn!

    Reply
    1. Greg

      Sorry which power station? I haven’t seen any explosions that looked nuclear, even low yield, and I’ve seen a lot of explosions.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    I’ll just note something here. Russia is mobilizing 300,000 people but as they have 2,000,000 reservists, that is only a small fraction of what they can draw on. But those 300,000 will be important. They will be able to secure the Ukrainian-Russian borders from Ukrainian sabotage teams and they will also be able to patrol the liberated regions and put a stop to those Ukrainian murder/sabotage groups. Putin said that NATO was pushing the Ukraine to put more of these teams into Russia proper so stopping them will be a priority. And with these numbers, the Russians will now have the men to go on the offensive themselves so maybe soon they will advance on Transnistria and isolate Odessa on the way. Now would be a good time to open up peace negotiations but we all know that that will never happen.

    Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        25 million seems high, but IIRC the conscript term of active service is 1 year. If mobilizable reserve status lasts throughout a person’s life, it would require the training of on order 600,000 conscripts per year, which does not seem unreasonable.

        Reply
  13. Bugs

    This is very anxiety-provoking, but then what fresh news hasn’t been over the past few years.

    Re the referenda – I don’t see how one could consider them legitimate when so many people have left the oblasts and the region is currently getting bombed by UKR. Crimea was much more believable. The West is going to use this as a new stick to beat the drums of war, as Macron did at the UN yesterday. It’s unfortunate, but it does fit the narrative from the Kremlin pov.

    Reply
    1. John k

      The west doesn’t want and/or refuses to believe in these votes, no matter Kosovo is the example they provided. As I recall they gave little credence to the 90% crimea vote, too.
      Many people left ukr, from east and west. Some don’t want to be in a war zone, some non-Russian speakers maybe went west realizing they are heavily outnumbered in the e. Oblasts – will these ever return? Those still there have been signing up for Russ passports… these are the ones planning to stay even if their families might have left until things calm down.
      4 oblasts voting now. 9 went for the russ-leaning guy in 2014, since then they’ve been shelled for 8 years; my guess it will be more lopsided this time. Granted ukr will do everything they can to disrupt it.
      It’s neither possible or critical for the west to accept the votes – the important thing is for asia/global south to accept. Hopefully there will be Indian observers.

      Reply
  14. David

    I assume that the plan all along was to incorporate the oblasts into Russia, thus enabling conscripts to be deployed there, freeing professionals for operations elsewhere. If I understand correctly, these are recently-released conscripts, so they will need relatively little training, and would presumably be deployed in less demanding tasks. We can speculate about timing, but it may be a mixture of the need to Russian manage public opinion, the desire to make faster progress, and, most of all I think to send a message to the West.

    Because this is escalation, albeit that I think it was in the plan all along. (Remember Putin saying “we’ve hardly started”? Moreover, it’s a studied kind of escalation to which the West has no response available in any reasonable timeframe. The Russians have kept national service, and the infrastructure for fighting a long, high-intensity war. So did the Ukrainians. The West hasn’t. Although former regulars in western militaries generally have a reserve obligation as individuals of a number of years, it’s not clear that it would be politically feasible to invoke it, especially for a long period. European states, at least, don’t have formed reserve units for high-intensity operations. (The British have a volunteer Army Reserve of part-time soldiers who serve about a month each year, but can only be mobilised under situations of national emergency). As I’ve pointed out many times, the infrastructure to train, house and deploy larger military forces no longer exists, and can’t be reconstituted any time soon.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Possibly the timing has to to with the potential deployment of long-range missile systems in Ukraine by NATO if the Russians sense that this is coming soon. Russians might be trying to anticipate that possibility.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        There is a rumour going around that the Ukraine has already received a few of these long-range weapons systems which would have been a bridge too far for Russia. Everybody knows that the purpose of them will be for the Ukrainians to hit Russian towns and cities rather than Russian military targets. They cannot resist the temptation to kill civilians in terror attacks. About a dozen or more civilians were killed in Donetsk city a coupla days ago and those were delivered from M-777 howitzers.

        Reply
        1. WJ

          I have seen several claims on Telegram and Twitter to the effect that the military aid the US has given Ukraine in weaponry exceeds in number and type what has been officially acknowledged by Pentagon reports. Shoigu claimed just this in his speech from last night.

          Certainly there are US advisors “unofficially” throughout Ukraine “advising” on the use and deployment of the HIMARS systems; there are military and intelligence advisors in Kiev and Lviv; there are almost certainly “unofficial” CIA paramilitary officers working in various capacities throughout the country. None of this being official, of course.

          So I would not at all be surprised if the US has already delivered weaponry that it has not yet officially acknowledged, as it is still prepping the US domestic populace to accept the delivery of such systems.

          Reply
      2. Rolf

        This is what I wonder about as well. There was some musing along similar lines IIRC last night on Moon of Alabama’s site.

        Reply
    2. Ignacio

      Another explanation for the timing of the announcement is more simple: just after the meeting in Samarkand, suggesting China, India, Turkey were briefed before.

      Reply
      1. Greg

        I have been pondering the similarity to the February Winter Games Putin/Xi discussions. Perhaps the SCO has a “no surprises” clause.

        Reply
    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      Further to your mention of reservists and former regulars, although employers say they welcome such employees, the reality is increasingly different, so many volunteers are giving up their part time roles. That has been particularly the case since the pandemic and its impact on the availability of labour.

      Former Tory politician, Dominic Greave, has been on UK and French airwaves in the past fortnight. He mentioned his army officer son is training Ukrainian soldiers, but gave the impression that the trainees are specialists, not the usual infantry.

      I stayed at the former barracks in Epernay from the week-end. The barracks were closed in 2008.

      Reply
  15. Alice X

    To repeat points already made but in a slightly different way. The West will accept the outcome of the referenda only if they fall its way. They talk up democracy except when they don’t like the outcome.

    Reply
  16. Polar Socialist

    According to Ukraine Support Tracker [via Kiel Institute for the World Economy] The West is spending about €400 million per day on Ukraine. Apparently government-to-government transactions, meaning the money that actually goes to Ukraine and not Military Industrial Complex. As people say, a hundred million there and a hundred million here, soon we start talking about real money.

    They also state that (as of 18th August) that support is drying up. What money still moves are mostly from old pledges, according to the site no new pledges for support are being made.

    Reply
  17. Andrey Subbotin

    After the Kharkov towns were thrown to the wolves, the pro-Russian administrations of 4 oblasts panicked and started pushing for referendum as a guarantee that the same would not happen to them. That put Russia into a put-up-or-shut-up position. Not taking them in could have been interpreted as a preparation for some kind of managed defeat. And, fairly or not, the perception that we are losing would have killed the recruiting. Taking them in is locking Russia into a win-or-lose war with no possibility of negotiated settlement in sight.
    Also possibly this set of measures was on hold until SCO meeting, and something happened there.

    Reply
    1. Stephen T Johnson

      I think both of those are correct. Allowing the UAF to retake anywhere where there’s been a civil-military authority and the issuance of Russian passports is highly problematic, so yeah, it seems like incorporating the newly liberated regions into the RF is an obvious confidence building move.
      And I’m sure as sure that Putin & Co. filled in countries like China, India and Iran on the plan – looking not so much fore formal endorsement (highly unlikely) but an agreement not to meaningfully oppose.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Russia had only just started and per TASS all 500 who’d gotten passports were evacuated. But this makes sense. An unanticipated second order effect of the withdrawal.

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      When Zelensky rejected the Minsk II Accords, it was then certain that Russia would ‘accept’ the mainly ethnic Russian oblasts into the Russian Federation.
      The Ukrainians were practicing ‘slow’ genocide against the ethnic Russians. What else was Russia to do?

      Reply
    3. HotFlash

      Taking them in is locking Russia into a win-or-lose war with no possibility of negotiated settlement in sight.

      The West’s, excuse me, I mean Ukraine’s refusal to negotiate reinforced by the insane Western sanctions, has already locked them in.

      Reply
    4. hemeantwell

      Andrey, how much do Russian speakers in the Donbass continue to resent Moscow for its laggardly response to AUK assaults in 2014? Zhuchkovsky’s 85 Days in Slavyansk steadily conveys intense frustration with Russia’s unwillingness to offer timely support, only finally providing it about 1.5 months after Slavyansk fell at the beginning of July. As Zhuchkovsky tells it the Slavyansk defense had quite an Alamo ring to it. Is that accurate?

      Reply
  18. Irrational

    Thanks for the coverage!
    I find it interesting that all this is happening at the same time as the UN General Assembly and wonder whether it is deliberate.
    In any case, it is surreal to see Western leaders condemning Russia (all that makes it into the MSM, of course) and Qatar, Senegal, Turkey, Mexico calling for negotiations. I envision a Chinese-Indian-Turkish-African UN peace keeping force deployed along the line of contact – the irony would be delicious – to distract myself from thinking about our “dear leaders” refusing to fold although they hold a terrible hand.

    Reply
  19. Lex

    The reporting on partial mobilization is a bit overblown. The US did plenty of partial mobilizations to sustain Iraq and Afghanistan without a global freak out. Calling up US reserves and sending national guard units to foreign wars is partial mobilization just as Russia is doing it.

    What is significant is that Russia has now publicly accepted that it is at war with the entire west and will behave accordingly. Until today there was the potential to mend fences, that may be gone.

    I’m not sure it was hasty. Putin has withstood public pressure to do more on this since 2014. On the delay I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that it was so that the Far East wouldn’t wake up to the news. Not because I “trust” Putin but because he has an unbroken record of wanting to explain himself directly to the Russian people. I also think there might have been a bit of trolling involved to gauge reaction and let the west have both a little freak out and not do it in the heart of the western (US) news cycle. It’s a subtle indication of Russia’s turn to Asia.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      The difference is that this is Russia doing it against a nominally European nation, not NATO blowing up the middle east for dubious reasons. Thus Russia is in the wrong for violating the sacrosanct European peace…

      Reply
      1. hk

        As several people noted when the whole thing began in February, Serbia in 1998 did not count as a “nominally European nation.”

        Reply
      2. OIFVet

        Add the fact that it’s war against white people, even if they are Slavs. Killing black and brown people is one thing, killing white people is another. The fact is, much was made in the collective West of how the Ukrainian refugees were different from other refugees in that they are white. It was casual racism on mass display across the civilized, democratic, and woke Western leadership and media. Shocking and barbaric to wage war on white people, ya know… /sarc

        Reply
  20. britzklieg

    There was a comment at MoA yesterday that said the speech was pre-recorded and that the original broadcast was re-scheduled, not cancelled. I have no idea if it’s true.

    In any event, quite a distressing and seriously dangerous situation and I see no reason not to believe that it’s precisely what the “west” intended. Stephen Cohen wrote a book about it 3 years ago which I’ve linked to several times since it was published: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/War-With-Russia/Stephen-F-Cohen/9781510755468

    Reply
  21. Sibiryak

    The partial mobilization order was necessitated by the decision to hold referendums.

    The timing of the referendums decision was determined primarily by military exigencies and domestic political considerations.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      This is my understanding. There has been mounting pressure from liberated/occupied areas to clarify their position (Russian withdrawal from Kharkov did not help the matter) and do something for the constant shelling of civilian targets.

      I read that two villages/cities in Nikolaev oblast asked to join Kherson oblast in order to participate in the referendum. And those two are right on the frontline. People there are taking a tremendous risk by publicly “going Russian”, so they must assume a big pay-off.

      Reply
    2. Jack

      I agree. I also think the mobilization is a result of the outcome of the recent SCO summit in Samarkand. I think Putin basically got the green light from everyone to do what he thought was necessary. Another factor is the current Armenian/Azerbaijan conflict, which I am sure Russia sees as being instigated by the US. The mobilization is preparation for the result of the referendum. Once the Donbass becomes Russian the SMO is over. Any attack after that requires the Russian Army to take action, not the Donbass militia, which has been doing all of the infantry fighting. I think up to this point, the militias ran things and the Russians assisted. After the referendums the militia will be subordinate to the regular Russian Army. One more point. The Russians don’t have to wait on the training of the reserves that are called up. They can dispatch active duty Russia troops to the Ukraine front and use the reserves to replace the active duty units.

      Reply
  22. voteforno6

    It’s in everyone’s interests to end this war as quickly as possible. I don’t think everybody believes that, though. This is a risky escalation by Russia, perhaps to deal a knockout blow to Ukraine. What if that doesn’t work? More escalation? NATO & the US would probably be able to live with a stalemate, but I don’t think Russia would. The Russian public may be behind this move now, but would they still feel the same if this war drags on for another six months or a year, with no apparent end in sight?

    That’s the thing with war. It’s a lot easier to start a war than to end one. How does this one end?

    Reply
    1. juno mas

      …with the EU in economic depression and distressed individuals in the streets. It is clear that Russia will defend against NATO (US) to the end.

      Reply
  23. Tom Stone

    Any analysis of this situation should recognize that the “Western” elites who started this war are neither sane nor rational.
    That is not, unfortunately, hyperbole.
    And Biden’s cognitive deficits are not minor.
    The people who are making the decisions in the West are delusional to the point that they believe a Nuclear Exchange can be limited and be survivable.
    And they clearly believe that the Russian Nation can be intimidated, which is almost unbelievably stupid.

    In other bad news it’s raining in the Wine Country with temps expected to hit 90F tomorrow, you can kiss the wine grape crop and the outdoor cannabis crop goodbye.

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      Completely agree. For years, neocons have been deluded into thinking they could pull off a decapitating first strike. Scary, dangerous to realize this is who’s in power in the West.

      Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    I’m willing to bet that Zelensky will be in a panic right now. So many of the decisions in this war by the Ukrainians have been taken on political grounds rather than military grounds as we have seen and we are about to see it happen again. In the next few days those referendums will take place and shortly after that, the Ukrainians will be facing the full force of the Russian army rather than a patchwork quilt of Russian, Donetsk, Lugansk, Chechen, Cossack, Wagner, etc. troops. To his mind those referendums have to be stopped. And the only way to do that will be to launch a full scale attack along the entire 1,000 kilometer front with everything available. His generals will object but he will be backed by NATO officers here. There will be no time for preparations or stockpiling supplies or anything but they will have to go in with whatever they have. Right out in the open and right up against those battle lines. And if the Russians can hold and just do minor temporary retreats, those Ukrainian forces will be absolutely hammered. And when most of their vehicles get destroyed, that will be about it. They won’t have much more and the west is already tapped out as they have sent nearly everything that they have. So maybe this war might be over sooner rather than later.

    Reply
    1. trapped in Europe

      Ukraine will also try to kill as many civilians at the polling stations as possible. That could be rather gruesome regarding the fact that Russian Forces so far have not been able to stop these terrorist attacks.

      Reply
    2. marku52

      Fair point. There is great danger for Z to give the Russians time to complete this reinforcement after the presumed result of the referendums. It seems he would be force to act now.

      Reply
    3. anon in so cal

      Today Zelensky is meeting in Austin,Texas with US weapons manufacturers:

      Zelensky is following the Wall Street appearance with a show prepared for a major U.S. military-industrial conference on Sept. 21 in Austin, Texas, hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s minister of defense, is also scheduled to speak.

      NDIA includes defense industry giants like Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

      Eight defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed and General Dynamics — attended an April Pentagon meeting to discuss how the U.S. could increase arms production for the Ukraine proxy war.

      https://www.struggle-la-lucha.org/2022/09/14/biden-adds-billions-in-ukraine-aid-pushing-total-to-70-billion/

      Reply
  25. trapped in Europe

    I never know what to do with these embedded documents, as i can neither print nor save them (except as images, each page a file, which is a bit cumbersome). Am i missing a simple trick to print these files or save them as a pdf? Kremlin site seems to be down, too.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      For me, the “Download PDF” button is second from the right, on the bottom, and opens a new tab for the PDF file alone when clicked.

      Some Western users are reporting no access to kremlin.ru. I suspect their ISPs are blocking it because team. I can reach it with no problem through my ISP.

      Reply
    2. junkelly

      There’s a download button that works for me, entire document, not individual pages. Try using a different web browser or go into your settings for saving and displaying PDFs? I am using firefox.

      Reply
  26. Bill

    Alexander at the Duran was referring to Shoigu’s comments on the partial mobilization. Shoigu said 300,000 reservists with military skills (but will require some retraining), out of 2.5 million reservists. “Most will never even see the enemy even with binoculars.” Drivers, gunners, supplies, engineers, in support units. Mentioned all the support needed to get Howitzers in position, get ammunition to them ,etc.

    They may be beginning it now simply because it takes time.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that he is doing that in a video hook-up rather than in person. Probably those MICC corporations did not want to pay him his regular appearance fee.

      Reply
  27. Kengferno

    We’re in a bad state when the best hope for de-escalation are energy riots in Europe which pressures the ruling class to make concessions.

    Reply
  28. ChrisRUEcon

    #TheCleaningLadies

    Following from Lambert’s hunch on where the spies may actually be within Zelensky’s nest:

    Could it be that crucial information about more imminent threats has been obtained from the cleaning ladies? Could it also be that information about the where and the who of NATO support is sufficiently verified now to enable Russia to come good on the threat of retaliation? In other words, the danger of swift and surgical retaliation is real, because Russia now has crucial information to act.

    Reply
    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      ChrisRUEcon:

      Would this mean (evil laugh) that the Russians know full well that Victoria “Vicki the War Criminal” Nuland is baking cookies in some secret NATO lair in Lviv and that it may time to take out Vicki, her bevy of Harpies, the NATO trainer boy-toys, and the Tollhouse Cookies of Coup d’Etat?

      If Ukraine is indeed crawling with NATO troops, the Russians have been studiously ignoring them. Yet sending some officers home in boxes may give pause to the U.S. political elites (accurately described above as insane).

      Reply
      1. ChrisRUEcon

        DJG, R.Cz.

        LOL

        If only! But sadly, further rumination make be feel like it’ll be more of the Azov tactics of making sure targets are hidden among civilian infrastructure like hospitals, apartment buildings and so on. We’ll see …

        Reply
      2. Greg

        I believe there were a number of boxes sent home to the states and elsewhere after the strike on the officers club with the airforce meeting. Didn’t seem to make much difference to the decisions of the NATO planners.

        Reply
  29. Altandmain

    I think that the Russians feel that they are in a war of national survival. Militarily, they are grinding down the Ukrainians with time, but they want this over too. Scott Ritter was calling for additional troops earlier as well given the situation.

    My guess is that Zelensky knows that he has been waging a propaganda war and one where many of his decisions are made with no military consideration in mind. Actually, they are quite harmful to the Ukrainian’s long term military situation, as forces are expensed in offensives that needlessly result in heavy casualties.

    Behind closed doors, the Ukrainians undoubtedly know that they are mostly fighting the Donbass Militia and that the Russians only have a small amount of troops committed. Now though their numbers are about to increase just after the Ukrainians sent their reserves in a costly offensive.

    The better time to increase operations would have been later…when the weather changed (both fall mud and winter cold favor Russian equipment over Ukraine’s and the West’s) and when the EU would be in even worse condition as its refusal to open Nord Stream 2 resulted in more and more damage to the core of European economies.

    Mobilization takes months to do. If Russia wants troops in the fall and winter, now is the time to start doing it. Even in lower intensity wars, that’s the case. I’ve had acquaintances sent to Afghanistan and it takes time to get reserves up to speed.

    It is not a process that can be done “just in time”. In many cases, troops need additional training to refresh their old knowledge, as combat skills and especially specialized skills are highly perishable.

    Zelensky has few options here. He could launch a new offensive, but that would be very costly and the Western world is clearly showing strains as far as depleting their equipment and ammunition reserves. Worse, he might end up expending his best remaining troops. The Russians could just set up defensive positions and give ground to minimize losses. Then wait it out for their backup before launching counterattack.

    For Putin, he likely feels he has the backing of his allies after Samarkand and he knows that time is not on Europe’s side. It will be cold for Europe this winter.

    From their current positions, once Ukraine expends its reserves, the Russians will advance towards Odessa and retake control of the predominantly ethnic Russian areas. Then they will have their objectives met, and they will want to remove groups like Azov.

    Reply
      1. Altandmain

        Russian Defence Minister Shoigu himself has indicated that they are going to be training troops as well.

        It looks like this is being done in a manner where the mobilized troops will be well trained and equipped for the task at hand.

        Alexander Mercouris has more information about this:

        https://youtu.be/bZq06Isx7xI

        Note that conscripts are not going to be sent into direct combat.

        Reply
  30. Louis Fyne

    Iranian and Chinese cargo planes having beem streaming into Moscow in the last week.

    Proxy wars work both ways….the Iranians and PRC are more than happy to help Russia defeat Biden

    2022-2024 will be one hot mess for the history books

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Mercouris says the new Iranians suicide drones have been very effective, way better than anything the US or Russia has. Can take out howitzers. But who knows what else Russia is buying.

      Reply
  31. Hickory

    Thanks for reposting the speech.

    There’s one interesting inconsistency – Putin said the primary goal was liberating the Donbas, but early on the two clear goals were denazification +demilitarization, which he didn’t explicitly acknowledge here.

    Reply
  32. Donald

    What is the best mainstream (or close to mainstream) source on the Ukraine War? By mainstream I mean something like the NYT (which, however, is often very propagandistic) or the BBC or some other source that would be usually given credence by the liberal PMC. What I am asking for is reporting and analysis of the war which is reasonably objective–where, whatever the views of the morality of either side, the outlet tries to report what is happening as accurately as is possible under the circumstances.

    I realize that the answer might be “There aren’t any mainstream sources which fit that description.” If not, are there any specific reporters who can be trusted? I have noticed in the NYT coverage of the Syrian War it was usually very propagandistic, but there was a long superb piece in the Sunday Magazine several years ago (by Robert Worth, I think) which seemed to me to be about as good as you would expect anywhere–I didn’t necessarily agree with all of it, but I thought the writer was being honest as he could about the actions and crimes of both sides and gave a fair rendering of the reasons why Syrians could be found on one side or the other.

    I remember seeing one piece on the Ukranian War by Carlotta Gall in the NYT which seemed to fit my description, but have forgotten the details.

    Reply
    1. Altandmain

      To be honest, I don’t think there is a good mainstream source as you’ve hinted.

      Independent outfits like the Duran have had a far more objective pulse on the situation.

      Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      France 24 or DW (Deutsche Welle in English) and ironically enough RT (the old Russia Today).

      F24 and DW available on youtube in English and many other languages

      with the big asterisk in that they have their own biases, just not as bad as BBC or US media.

      Reply
      1. C.pipp

        I think it’s called . It’s Indian. Seemed mainstream for them. Seemed to have both sides?
        50/50

        Disappointed in Chomsky. He makes excellent points but doesn’t seem to recognize the SMO on A. 51 by UN. But everything else? He knows? Why does he say SzmO illegal and warcriк? Did he think this could have been worked out diplomatically ? After a big fat no?
        No one has pressed him on this? . But he saysWarCrime by RF.

        I’ve read only a few Al Jz Gore stories a few times, not enough for an opinion.

        I can’t recall. I mean. Gonzalo Lira II is there on YouTube . He’s moving to rumble. An English journalist on the ground is there. I’d have to find him. Scott Ritter is great. Many interviews to look for. Consortium News. Maybe. Slanted and marginalized World Socialist work And A veterans Friday night chat.

        I

        Reply
    3. Polar Socialist

      CGTN (China Global Television Network) seems to report from both sides, may have a Russian bias (haven’t checked it out enough to say) and doesn’t really seem to be that interested in the conflict that far away, so there’s not that much reporting.
      They did have a corresponded with DNR for awhile, I think.

      Reply
      1. Greg

        Is CGTN one of the Chinese networks that has embeds in Donbass?
        That might be a point against them for the request here, as those with embeds seeing the carnage in Donetsk tend towards a Russia-friendly view (perfectly reasonable in my opinion).

        Reply
    4. Cat Burglar

      The only way to do it is to dip into all of it, and make your own judgements.

      Mainstream reporting can be useful, but they are by definition partisans of the NATO side in the war. Never forget the notorious false NYT article during the Iraq war, sourced to a man in a baseball hat — they will lie their heads off, and without apology. Still, it is worth trawling through their stuff, even if just to find out what they want you to believe, and you may pick up a few real facts. In depth reporting is the best, because it gives you more time to watch their hands. Even lies are good, because knowing what a con artist wants you to think is the first step in figuring out the con — NPR can be indispensible for this. Seen right, the propaganda campaign is part of the news.

      But if you’re resolved that the mainstream is what you want to read, then really read it — I mean, read the Russian mainstream, too! Why assume the press of one oligarchy is superior to another? Sometimes the truth is the most effective propaganda, and you may find something.

      Especially read US reporters that have been accused of spreading Russian propaganda for doing independent reporting. In previous wars, independent non-conforming reporters were usually found to be more accurate than mainstream spear-carriers. (This blog was accused of it during the Washington Post-PropOrNot scandal a few years ago, and the smearers backed off when threatened with legal action.)

      You weren’t born yesterday – and neither was the war. History is old news, so it is not reported, so you have to read it. To understand the now, you have to read up on what happened in 1990, or 1992, or 2014, or you won’t know where you are.

      Reply
      1. Tom Pfotzer

        Well done, Cat Burglar.

        There is no substitute for intellectual effort. There is no trustable “one source”.

        There are many sources, each must be found and read and thought about.

        The more any one source attempts to discredit or obliterate or ignore the other sources, the more you need to read the other sources.

        In order to survive as an MSM, you must toe the line. What line? Well, that’s what you need to decide.

        One key element to making that decision is to ask yourself “are the interests of the oligarchs the same or different than mine?”

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          Another key element is don’t get your news through your ears, use your eyes…it’s a more discriminating method of ingesting information. No reverb or the accompanying vocal fry…plus reading is faster…

          Reply
    5. Jack

      Check out Brian at the New Atlas. Not mainstream, but most of what he discusses comes from mainstream media. He takes the time to analyze what is being said and compares it to other news sources. You can find him on Youtube and Rumble. I like Rumble because no ads. Google is killing Youtube with their monetization strategy.

      Reply
  33. Oh

    Maybe it’s time to cut off the head of the snake in Kyiv and capture that city. Russia has been moving too slowly hitherto and it could be time to take Kyiv and the southern portion of UKR. Waiting too long might prove to be to the detriment of the RF. NATO and USA seem to want a protracted conflict.

    Reply
  34. anon in so cal

    The UK told Zelensky not to sign an agreed-upon peace deal? Not sure if this is recently or referring to a few months ago:

    “Revelations by Ukrainian senior officials in Ukrainska pravda that UK prime-minister told Zelenskyy not to sign peace deal & by multiple former senior US officials in Foreign Affairs article that such deal outline was agreed preceded this Putin statement ”

    https://twitter.com/I_Katchanovski/status/1572616283270811648?s=20&t=lTy5t0SdPzNpz2csxDyWsg

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This has been known for quite a while. UK said they would not give a security guarantee. Confirmed recently by Fiona Hill, IIRC in a release of a section of her book.

      Reply

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