Ukraine War: Russia Preparing for More Terrorism?

Due to my finding out about a raft of infrastructure issues at the house due to an 11:00 PM visit by an electrician (yours truly had the good fortune never to know what a boot was, at least as far as structures are concerned), you will be getting short rations post-wise today.

Some quick thoughts on the Russia-Ukraine war front:

Ukraine is nearing the end of the line on what it can accomplish via a conventional war. Various commentators, particularly Brian Berletic of the New Atlas, have been enumerating how Ukraine is getting smaller and smaller weapons and equipment shipments because the West in running out. Even worse, the new items are often disparate (as in each requiring different training, where relevant, shells, and repair), too few in number, and no better than what Ukraine had at the start of the war.

Ukraine is now clamoring for air defense systems when Western doctrine assumes air superiority (which results in under-investment in air defense) plus my understanding is most Western systems are not well suited to defend against suicide drones (among other things, not cost effective to try to track and shoot them). And even if the US and NATO had something fit for purpose and of sufficient scale to protect Ukraine infrastructure it would be months before it arrived and Ukrainians were trained on it. By then, there won’t be a lot of Ukraine’s electrical grid left if the Russians see fit to continue destroying it.

Ukraine has been widely reported to be on the verge of mounting yet another Kherson offensive, with as many as 60,000 soldiers massed for attack, although that figure comes from a single, anonymous account in a Western source that went viral in Russian Telegram. More sober commentators think the number is more like 20,000 to 30,000, which would be on par with the manning as of the last Kherson offensive.

Recall that the previous attempt was a disaster, with huge Ukraine casualties and no conquest of territory. The whole idea was misguided, with Ukraine advances easily seen on the open steppe and Russian, with their huge advantage in missiles and artillery, easily able to target and hit them.

Nothing has changed in Ukraine’s favor and arguably things are worse. Ukraine has lost men and has less materiel. Russia by contrast is already moving some men into the area thanks to its partial mobilization and has also been replenishing ammo and building more fortifications. The fall rains are about to start, which will limit Ukraine even further, forcing it to rely significantly on road and thus making its forces even easier to target.

We haven’t even gotten to how the Russian attacks on the Ukraine electrical grid are likely hurting logistics, communications, and morale. The BBC reports this morning that an advisor to Ukraine’s energy ministry said up to 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was “seriously damaged“. That is up from estimates of 30% the day prior. Zelensky warned in his evening speech on Wednesday of outages across Ukraine of up to four hours on Thursday.

And it is an open question as to whether the problems with Starlink, which the press has depicted as critical to Ukraine military comms, have been addressed. The Financial Times reported serious outages. Around that time, Elon Musk asked for Ukraine to foot the bill, then relented due to his pushing for peace and daring to present an outline that did not call for Russia to disgorge everything it had “liberarted” meant that the evil Putin had manipulated him. Quite astonishing since Putin and Musk have never met and Musk says they spoke only once, in 2021, before the war started. Is Putin so powerful that he can brainwash Musk by his long-distance psychic powers? Is that something they taught at the KGB?

It seems likely that Musk assumed his mesh design and whatever algos and signal encryption he has was more than sufficient protection. But if the Russians have figured out either how to crack or jam that, it does not seem likely that he can improvise new, effective and lasting signal defenses on the fly. Yet if Starlink continues to limp and Ukraine has the bad taste to whinge about it, it’s not hard to see the intel state blaming Musk (for instance, depicting him as not fixing it as a way to force the Pentagon to ante up) as opposed to showing that a Russian effort over many years was able to surmount a supposedly superior Western system.

Martial law declaration: an anti-terrorist measure? Putin’s remarks at the start of yesterday’s Security Council meeting sure makes it sound like that:

As we know, the Kiev regime refused to recognise the will and choice of the people, declining any proposals for talks. On the contrary, shelling continues and civilians continue to die. The neo-Nazis are using plainly terrorist methods, plotting sabotage at critical infrastructure, attempting to murder members of local authorities. Just like their ideological predecessors – Bandera’s followers and Hitler’s accomplices, they are trying to create a criminal underworld, sending sabotage groups to our territories.

The Ukrainian intelligence services plotted the explosion on the Crimean Bridge. We managed to prevent terrorist attacks in other Russian regions, specifically, at mass gatherings, on public transport, at energy facilities, including – and I want to stress this – at nuclear energy facilities.

In this context, I would like to remind you that before their accession to Russia, martial law was in effect in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Lugansk People’s Republic, the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. Now we must introduce the same mode under Russian law. This is why I have signed the Executive Order introducing martial law in these four regions. It will be submitted to the Federation Council for approval immediately. The State Duma has been informed about this decision.

Also, I consider it necessary in the current circumstances to give additional powers to the heads of all Russian regions. An Executive Order to this effect was signed today as well.

Top officials in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation should see to it that measures are taken to ensure the safety of people, the security and counterterrorism protection of critical infrastructure facilities, maintain public order, enhance the stability of the economy and industry, as well as launch and increase the manufacturing of products necessary for the special military operation. The regional heads will be authorised to establish corresponding headquarters to coordinate these efforts.

Ukraine supporters can argue that Russia’s attacks on the electrical grid are terrorism, since it is civilian as well as military infrastructure. That’s a strong position, but the West has no standing to make it after decades of the US not only taking out the electrical grid of its opponents in the opening days of its campaigns, but typically also destroying other infrastructure. The Russian approach, while brutally effective, is also comparatively surgical.

Nevertheless, Russia taking its war further into Ukraine after Ukraine targeted the Kerch bridge (and repeatedly Belgorod, and kept shelling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant) combined with Ukraine facing diminishing returns from conventional wars means at least a neat-term uptick in terrorist attempts seems likely. The Russian action is likely in response to intel.

How the locals respond is likely to be a function of how well Russia manages these constraints. If the officials communicate that they are for safety, and the measures imposed seem like sensible security enhancements, the citizens in the newly “integrated” regions might not take umbrage, particularly if they are not all that different from what they were subject to before. We’ll hear more in the next few weeks if the citizens are chafing under the new measures.

Needless to say, the Western press is having a field day with the Russia’s new security measures. However the BBC to its credit does point out that citizens in what amounted to war zones were under restrictions before Russia imposed martial law:

Russia is now implementing martial law in areas of Ukraine that it recently annexed – Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south and Donetsk and Luhansk in the east…

Heightened security measures are also coming into force across Russia – there will be new restrictions on movement in regions along the Ukrainian border, notably Bryansk, Belgorod and Krasnodar. The same applies to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

The BBC continues:

Russia is moving tens of thousands of civilians and Russian-appointed officials out of the Kherson region, as advancing Ukrainian troops close in on the regional capital…

The transfer or deportation of civilians by an occupying power from occupied territory is considered a war crime.

I hope readers in Russia and/or follower of the Russian press can pipe up. I’m forced to rely on sources who have covered the evacuations only in passing. Dima at Military Summary (who can sometimes get out over his skis) made it sound as if the civilian evacuations were voluntary and pointed out how Russia was offering free housing all over the Russian Federation for anyone who left. That program also suggests to me that Russia regards the odds that Ukraine will blow the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power dam as high, and the cost and time to restore any flooded areas would be also be high. Dima also argued it would be hard to move people out quickly.

Of course, the other issue that Russia faces is that even if its protections are generally effective, it’s pretty much impossible to prevent all terrorism. How many and how serious will the Ukraine sabotage acts be? I was in London during the IRA bombings. You got on a bus wondering if it might blow up but you still carried on as usual. If that winds up being the perceived level of risk in Russia’s “liberated” territories, that’s likely tolerable in the face of an ongoing war. We’ll have a better sense of the next phase as November and December roll around.

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  1. Cocomaan

    Russia sparing Ukraine infrastructure was always temporary. I was wondering when the Russians would play that card. Winter in that part of the world is no joke and I cannot imagine what citizens are thinking right now. Just must be bleak terror.

    Peace would be nice.

    1. digi_owl

      Moscow was hoping to get Kiev to agree to terms. But then DC and London leaned in, slowly escalating thing towards total war…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for the catch. Will correct. Note that it was previously reported that both had denied it.

      But the space bit seems disingenuous. There was talk at the 2021 SPIEF of Musk getting Tesla production in Russia, meaning this had to have been teed up through channels:

      Tesla EV Manufacturing In Russia

      Russian regions can offer their sites for localizing production of electric vehicles in Russia, in particular Tesla, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

      “Regarding the proposal of Elon Musk, it seems to me that we should always consider the most interesting, high-tech solutions. Why not? We always welcome localizing production and advanced technologies in Russia. Whether it is Elon Musk or another manufacturer of electric vehicles, we are always happy and open for cooperation. A very large number of Russian regions can offer their sites.” Earlier, Musk said that Tesla could soon enter the Russian market, are develop its own production facilities in the country. After that, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade invited Musk to discuss his idea. At the same time, several Russian regions have publicly offered Musk production sites on their territory.

      It does not appear that the Kremlin recorded the event on Putin’s calendar. Wonder what the context could have been.

  2. Lex

    Obviously Russia could have started destroying Ukrainian power infrastructure on day one. That it didn’t is clearly a matter of choice and reflects a hope for a negotiated settlement early. There is currently lots of TG chatter that Ukraine’s generating capacity is still fine, which indicates a failure of the infrastructure strikes. But Russia does not seem to be targeting the actual generating capacity, rather the ability to move it around the country. Grids are fragile things that resemble Hemingway’s observation on bankruptcy.

    I think I have to concur with the lower estimate of Ukrainian forces in the south. And I find it odd that there’s a major offensive planned yet every day a battalion or two tries to crack the line and gets defeated. The daily loses don’t look like much in the context of the claimed 70k, but it’s been happening for a couple of weeks and those loses, especially of equipment, must add up.

    The martial law coverage in the west omits that all four new oblasts have already been operating under their own martial law, and Belgorad has been too. It’s more a legalistic harmonizing than serious change of status.

    1. nippersdad

      There has been so much hyperventilation about the declaration of martial law in those areas. One has to wonder what they misunderstood about them being in a war zone.

    2. upstater

      Helmer correctly described some of the most significant attacks on the Ukrainian grid as targeting equipment such as 330-110kV autotransformers. These step down voltage from the extreme high voltage bulk power grid (ie, 330 or 750 kV) to local subtransmission (110kV down to ~30kV). It is subtransmission that feeds local distribution networks for light industry, commercial and residential consumers. Generating plants also have step-up transformers to increase voltage for long distance transmission. These are also critical elements.

      The autotransformers are NOT off the shelf products. Indeed, some are bespoke designs depending on grid specifics. It takes months to build these things and they are never mass produced. Helmer also stated that 330kV is unique to the FSU, so even if western countries wanted to provide replacements they couldn’t. Only the Baltics might have a very few spares and their grid. AFIK, the Baltics are still tied to Russia and Belarus.

      The point is even if generation facilities remain intact, the power can’t be moved to consumers if step-up or autotransformers are destroyed. For a very long time.

      1. mi

        Google shows the largest transformer factory in Europe closed in March at Zaporozhe Ukraine. If it has not been destroyed that would be the source of new equipment.

      2. Polar Socialist

        I believe the issue Russia has is that majority of Ukrainian power generation is now by Nuclear or Hydro, and they are understandably* reluctant to hit either.

        * at least in those parts of the society that are averse to grand scale disasters

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      Not to sound snarky, but in many minority neighborhoods in the US martial law is for all intents and purposes a way of life. People in these neighborhoods (mostly darker complexioned) are subject to police harassment on a daily basis. Freedom of movement is restricted as a result. Calling out Russia for declaring limited martial law gives me a chuckle.

  3. nippersdad

    Mercouris has been talking about the Ukrainians shelling the road and rail on the Nova Kharkovka dam for months, and has consistently said that the shells did not do much damage as the dam was over designed. I wonder what information the Russians have received that they are worried about ruptures there now?

    The idea of a dam rupture of a size to threaten cities downstream, in Winter no less, is particularly horrifying; shades of the Titanic. In light of what they have done at the ZNPP, I would be surprised if they had not started to evacuate people out of harm’s way.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Surovikin said:

      We have information about the possibility of the Kyiv regime using prohibited methods of war in the area of ​​​​the city of Kherson, about the preparation by Kyiv of a massive missile attack on the dam of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station….

      Maybe Russia has intel that Ukraine has gotten its hands on much more powerful missiles. Or maybe this is just an excuse.

      1. nippersdad

        Prior to the beginning of the SMO, stories about Ukrainians being trained in guerrilla tactics and sabotage, special forces type stuff, over here in the US were rampant in the news. I’m sure we weren’t the only ones training them in such techniques; the British SAS has been implicated in the planning of the Kerch Strait bridge bombing. While all of that has been conveniently memory holed, I doubt those special forces troops were on any of the front lines; they are still there, and that is exactly the type of thing that they were trained to do.

        Surovikin sounds tough. It is good that they got someone with experience in Syria of the kinds of insurgent warfare he is now facing from Ukraine. Mercouris was saying that he had little good news in his interview, but that the Russian public found him to be credible. I have yet to see Ritter speak on him, but it would be a very interesting subject for him to go into.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’ve been reading about the US training the Ukrainians in the arts of sabotage and assassinations as far back as 2015 at least. It was one of the very first things that the US started to do after the Maiden succeeded.

          1. nippersdad

            Those stories were being written up until just weeks before this started! The whiplash one got from ” we are training Nazis on US army bases” to “what Nazis?” was really freaky. What was even freakier was that anyone bought it.

              1. Exiled_in_Boston

                Thank goodness the Wagner group isn’t involved in any fighting in Ukraine since that would muddy the waters of good and bad guys.

            1. digi_owl

              Because nobody cares, because it is happening “elsewhere”.

              It is why Biden and crew is freaking so over the gasoline prices etc, because that will bring the effects of “elsewhere” back home.

              In the end most people worry about getting by each month, and those that don’t are busy virtue signaling before their peers to not get “excommunicated”.

              The whole conflict would barely get news coverage if not for Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      2. Old Sovietologist

        I was at lunch with one of my colleagues who said the Ukrainians wouldn’t destroy the dam but the Russians would. He’s a Professor who has been suffering from Ukraine fever since February but shows the West could probably get away with anything and Putin would be blamed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          We all know about Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) but it looks like we now have Putin Derangement Syndrome (PDS).

          1. digi_owl

            Two sides of the same coin, thanks to Russiagate and Trump being less than hawkish against Putin.

      3. nippersdad

        “Maybe Russia has intel that Ukraine has gotten its hands on much more powerful missiles.”

        Welp. Given Ukraine’s and the Institute for the Study of War’s economical use of the truth/projection, it looks like there is an answer here:

        “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday accused Russia of planning a “large-scale disaster” in southern Ukraine by blowing up a major dam and hydroelectric plant, only to blame the fallout on the Ukrainians.”

        Zelensky’s speech is linked in the article. These people are nuts.

        1. timbers

          Am seeing reports the Russians finally realized it might be wise to increase the flow rate of the damn and drain it, might take a week to render blowing it up useless for flood inducing purposes. God bless them. To paraphrase Glen Greenwald “the USA is the most effective evil but Russia is least effective good.”

          1. nippersdad

            That sounds like a good idea. I was just watching Mercouris, and he said that the Ukrainians (could be) (you know how he is) floating mines down the river trying to blow the locks.

            They are either just crazy or there is a plan (by Nuland’s Institute for the Study of War?) to get the UN peace keepers over there to enforce a DMZ, which would, I assume, essentially give them back the power plant.

            These people have played Risk far too many times.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      What’s the feasibility of deploying a number of autonomous submersibles from the Ukrainian bank of the reservoir ? Seems like a strategy near to impossible to defend against that might get a large enough mass of explosives to the dam wall to blow it.

      1. nippersdad

        I imagine they would have some sonar and depth charge type defenses against anything they could hear. How quiet are those things? What they might do is send frogmen over to plant a beacon for a missile. If you got the dam at just the right place you might not need anything particularly powerful to breach it; all they would need to do is crack it and then let the water pressure do the rest of the work for you.

        They are right to be worried about it, though. That is scary stuff.

        1. tegnost

          My laymans opinion is that blowing stuff up is a lot harder than people think. Take the kerch bridge as an example. My very layman opinion is the structure of the bridge was elemental in what I see as a failed attack. The bridge was certainly intended to be made impassable. The thing that stuck out to me in initial reports was that it was constructed with removable sections. When the bomb blew (did I point out this is a guess on my part?) the removable section flexed and absorbed blow. Had the bomb gone off directly over a bridge support rather than mid span it would have had more destructive impact. Getting a bomb on a dam that would blow it up would not be easy.

          1. nippersdad

            No, it would not be easy. I am trying to remember, but wasn’t there a dam burst in California a few years ago? It was an earthen dam, not the same thing, but I imagine that the spillway might be weak point in any dam. For one that produces electric power it would be lower down………..

            ……..So I just looked up dam breaches and this is interesting:

            “Attacks on dams were restricted in Article 56 of the 1977 Protocol I amendment to the Geneva Conventions. Dams may not be lawfully attacked “if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population”, unless “it is used for other than its normal function and in regular, significant and direct support of military operations and if such attack is the only feasible way to terminate such support”. Similar provisions apply to other sources of “dangerous forces”, such as nuclear power plants.[7]”


            Whoa! Am I reading that correctly or are the Ukrainians within their rights to bomb dams and nuclear power plants under the Geneva Conventions?

            I have to be reading that wrong. If you are using the dam for military operations (to provide power for trains to move troops?) and the only way to stop that is to bomb the dam then it is permissible?

            Is there a lawyer in the house? With all of the potential for mass casualties, that sounds like it would just be a war crime.

            1. juno mas

              That dam break in Calif. was the Oroville Dam, north of Sacramento. The dam didn’t fail, but the spillway failed after heavy rainfall/snowmelt raised the reservoir level rapidly and overwhelmed the spillway (poor design/construction). The dam operators had to release massive water quantities that further damaged the spillway. The town below the dam (100,000 pop.) was evacuated.

              1. nippersdad

                Thank you. That is the one. It was surprising how much damage the potential for even such a comparatively small reservoir could have inflicted. I can only imagine what one damming up the Dneiper could do. That is one really big river!

          2. Jeotsu

            Think in context of the ww2 ‘dambusters’. If the Ukrainians can deliver a multi-ton scale charge to the base of the dam it might be possible to break it, depending on the exact design/specifications of the dam and the surrounding geology/hydrology.

          3. digi_owl

            It all depends on preparation. Taking down a bridge means hitting the foundation and supports. A blast in the middle of the roadway will be far less effective, as we have seen.

            Similarly if you want to crack a dam you do so from the base rather than the top.

      2. Tom Bradford

        The “Dambuster” raids of WW2 are instructive. One problem the RAF had to overcome was that the Germans had the dams protected by nets to stop a possible torpedo attack, which is why the bombs had to skip across the surface. Another was that to use water-pressure to amplify weaknesses caused by the explosions into total failure of the structure, the explosion had to be deep. Hence the bombs lost momentum as they skipped so that they could bump against the top of the dam and sink vertically against it to explode at depth.

        Missile attack could damage the top of the dam but unless huge I’m guessing it wouldn’t weaken the massive structure sufficiently to cause a total failure. I can’t imagine the Russians wouldn’t have installed nets to stop bombs being floated down onto it, so a seriously effective attack on the dam is a major challenge.

    3. LY

      I looked up one of the worst modern examples of a deliberate breach in warfare, which occurred in the Sino-Japanese War. A Yellow River dike was breached, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths with millions of refugees. Subsequently, the region became fertile ground for Communist recruitment.

      And while looking up that disaster, it turns out that in WWII the Soviets breached Dnieper dam, which is upstream, while retreating from the Nazis. Deaths estimated in the tens of thousands. So there is a history there…

      1. BeliTsari

        Drove up to the Möhne, Edersee & Sorpe dams from EuroPipe/ Herne. Guess, the movie’s not going to happen. But simply HAD to acknowledge an impulse to interject? Still waiting to see, if a Javelin can destroy a ginormous SAWH pipeline? High speed train? Nuclear Plant diesel pump or fuel storage pool? Packed ferry or cruise ship?

    4. Sausage_Factory

      using underwater drones given to them by the US/UK with relevant training. If they’re enough to destroy Nordstream a dam wouldn’t provide much problem. Desperation is a highly motivating factor and both Ukraine and the West are desperate to at least look like they aren’t losing badly. Russian offensive will probably start in November when the ground freezes so it will have to happen soon whatever it is. Zelensky was prepping the information space yesterday on Ukrainian TV about the possibility of the Russians destroying the dam (and catastrophically flooding all the land theyve taken!) You’d have to be an idiot to believe it but there seems no shortage in the West.

  4. John R Moffett

    The level of propaganda in the US is now unprecedented. Most people I know are of the impression that Russia lost the war a long time ago, and that Ukraine is going to retake all their territory. When I suggest that they might not be getting the whole story, they think I am “going down a rabbit hole”. I wonder how the corporate owned news is going to spin things as the war ends up with Russia holding the eastern provinces, and possibly forcing regime change in Kiev? They will probably just move on to Taiwan and China, and pretend Ukraine never happened.

    1. Screwball

      It is truly amazing what our media can get people to believe. I get a kick out of how many people are on Putin’s payroll. Musk, Greenwald, Mate, Taibbi, any congress critter who talks about cutting Ukraine funding, etc. Honestly, how can these people think Putin has direct control over these people? Especially when if asked, they have no answer, only eye rolls like WE are the crazy ones.

      And yes, Ukraine is winning, Putin is an idiot, and their army is in tatters and have no clue anyway.

      One of our commentators here said it best a while back (paraphrasing); Orwell’s 1984 was suppose to be a novel, not an instruction manual.

      1. TMR

        The problem with 1984 is that everyone is taught that it is about the Soviets, but Orwell was very clear it was about the Anglosphere as it existed at that time, and where it was heading.

        1. digi_owl

          Largely because few are aware of the antics said anglosphere was up to before WW2 kicked off in full.

          They may hear some token mention of Ford and Hitler, but will likely see that as one aging and slightly deranged industrialist. But he was just an outspoken tip of the iceberg.

          Quite a few saw the communists are a far large threat than the nazis, and would probably have embraced fascism in some form had it come to that.

          After all, Stalin had already tried to get help with stopping Hitler before things got out of hand and was rebuffed. Thus while the splitting of Poland was did the Poles dirty, it also forced the hand of UK and France, as it triggered the post-WW1 defense treaty.

          1. ArvidMartensen

            Just lately, after spending a lifetime believing all of the WWII history we are fed at school and beyond, I started to think about a what if
            As in, what if the US plan in WWII was to have Hitler invade and take over the USSR, and it was only when Germany was starting to lose to the Russians that the US joined to war to prevent the USSR taking over Europe? That it was always Russia, not Germany, that was the enemy.
            And so the US engineered Pearl Harbour as an excuse to get moral buy-in from the US population for war – and I believe this pov is now gaining respectability).
            If that was the case then that would make every move we see these days against Russia part of a long history of US hatred of Russia.
            Which boils it down to simple greed, just the hatred of the US oligarchs against a political system that doesn’t recognise the divine right to rule of the US capitalist oligarchs.

            1. digi_owl

              Kinda sorta maybe.

              In effect WW2 was two wars. Nazi Germany’s revenge for the “humiliation” of WW1, and Japan’s drive to become recognized as a world power.

              Yes, Germany and Japan, along with Italy, were allied under the Tripartite Pact. But when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (and took over the Philippines, sending MacArthur packing, something that is not as much talked about), Hitler could have kept his mouth shut and FDR would have had a far harder time convincing congress to care about Europe (beyond the existing lend-lease to UK).

            2. Rodeo Clownfish

              I think the goal was to weaken both Germany and the Soviet Union by prolonging the fighting between them. ISTR that the USA supported the Soviets with all sorts of provisions (food, trucks, and other supplies) for a couple of years before allies landed at Normandy so the USSR could keep fighting. The western allies expected both to be too weak to stand up by the end. When it became clear that USSR would win, I agree that USA jumped into Europe to get to Berlin before the Soviets could get there. It ended up as a tied race.

              Japan was being contained by oil embargo. But after Pearl Harbor, we had no choice but to openly enter war in the Pacific.

              My two cents….

            3. MILLER

              This is why I have gradually come to have a persistent sense that the essence of the Munich agreement of 1938 was not quite what we are always told it was.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      #McResistance idiots have durable, continual self-delusion. After all, most of them still believe Trump is a Russian asset, and that the 2016 election was “stolen ” by Putin-commandeered sex toys, troll farms and Pokemon Go hacks. They’ll gladly support real Nazis, even after supporting a soft coup (i.e. Russiagate) against the results ofnthe 2016 election because Orange Man Is Hitler.

      Vladimir Vladimirovich, invader of our Precious Bodily Fluids, and would-be destroyer of our Purity of Essence…

      1. nippersdad

        By the time one eliminates all of the people living rent free in their heads, one has to wonder if there is any space left for objective inquiry. Their circuits have been overwhelmed and shorted out.

          1. digi_owl

            That said, the likes of Adam Smith is only quoted when he reinforce their argument. Kinda like how some preacher will always fine a bible passage to back their decrees…

            1. nippersdad

              This is very true. They always know about the “hidden hand” but drop their jaws when it is pointed out that Smith also wrote a book about how that same hidden hand can take over governance without regulation for the common good.

              If one didn’t know better, one might think they didn’t want to talk about that part.

              1. JBird4049

                I keep meaning to read all of Adam Smith’s work especially when I found out how selective the quotes are on his work. Rather like the Bible and the selective quoting of it by the Prosperity Gospel preacher ilk.

                It should make one question just how many of our recent establishment economists have actually read the whole or even most of the text. Again, rather like some who are ostensibly Christian; that is not quite fair, there are many real Christians who just do not want to do the brain sweat needed to be good practicing Christians. Perhaps, they are afraid to, even if they do not realize it.

                Just as there are many economists who do not want to do the serious brain sweat to be real (political) economists as was expected pre-mid twentieth century before the process of effective ostracization and elimination leaving just the establishment approve political economists began.

                Honestly, if you are just some Joe and all your teachers and leaders keep bloviating the same lies constantly, why would you not take what they say as the gospel truth? The real reason I did not is because, aside from my own tendency of being a skeptical misanthrope, most of my family and teachers did not blindly accept the approved doctrine in anything especially in economics, and push that onto me.

                People have to trust some people and/or institutions else they will go crazy or become so exhausted as to not function, which we are seeing in our society.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  It was easier for our betters in the middle ages. The Bible was written in Latin so the regular people had to listen to the priests as they were only one of the few people who could read Latin. So they had to take the priest’s word that what they were saying was actually in the Bible itself.

    3. Gordon

      If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

      Joseph Goebbels

      1. nippersdad

        “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

        Karl Rove Joseph Goebbels updated

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          While it’s fun to vilify the people that say these things, it’s vital for the Rest of the World (including we 99%) to understand and accept what we’re dealing with.

          These are not nice people.

          If you continue to treat not-nice people as if they are nice, you will get squashed.

          This is one lesson that Putin has slowly come to learn.

          1. nippersdad

            You simply cannot imagine my fury when Pelosi took impeachment for war crimes off the table. When Obama ran cover for war criminals it was THE END of my support for the mainstream Democratic party.

            No. These are not nice people. They all belong in the Hague.

  5. Louis Fyne

    — my understanding is most Western systems are not well suited to defend against suicide drones (among other things, not cost effective to try to track and shoot them)—

    The newly deployed Geran (Shahed) drones cost the same as a new lower-end car, has the radar profile of a bird, and have been destroying/disabling stuff with multi-million dollar price tags. And letting bigger cruise/hypersonic missiles handle more difficult targets.

    The future of war is something that costs <1/3000th of an F-35. oops, if you are a Pentagon/think tank "thinker".

    i guess that this is feature, not a bug of the US system.

    1. John R Moffett

      The US has a military that is overpriced and underperforming on the battlefield. War requires rugged, simple, reliable systems that can operate in poor conditions and under stress. The US military seems to believe the war stories that it helps Hollywood create where ultra high tech gear wins every time. In fact, they are probably working on an Iron Man suit right now. Russia has shown that being more realistic about war is a better way to proceed. But then again, in the US, war is about profit, not actually about fighting. We mostly fight elective wars against practically unarmed countries, where our advanced weaponry isn’t even needed. The Ukraine war is many things; contractor profits, destabilizing Russia, forcing the EU off of Russian energy supplies (making big profits for US oil and gas companies) and, very importantly, testing our equipment and tactics against Russia’s. I have a feeling that the top brass is so far not impressed.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I tend to think Western elites simply bought their own propaganda and expected Putin and Russia to collapse without the Russian “job creators”…oligarchs. They hit their funds, but the productive capacity hasn’t been hit.

        Wunder weapons haven’t turned the tide and have simply been ground into dust all good with plenty of Ukrainians.

      2. The Rev Kev

        There may be more going on here. Trump couldn’t even manage to pull that small amount of US soldiers out of Syria but old Joe managed to get the US out of Afghanistan after twenty odd years there. I wondered why the Washington establishment would not let Trump do so where they gave Biden permission. I am beginning to wonder if it was because Washington establishment decided to go after Russia as being the big prize but they realized that they had to clear the decks first and relocate all those resources to Europe from Afghanistan. They could not do both so chose to go for the big one.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think the Afghan withdrawal matches Biden as dumb and lazy. The story is he came out of a meeting with the Pentagon where he heard the same stories the were told under Obama. I think he simply learned about Afghanistan for the first time, where it is and so forth. When the generals didn’t have any ideas, he told them to leave and went back to plotting how to sniff hair.

          We lost our forward bases on top of the New Silk Road. There was no trade off.

        2. digi_owl

          The Afghanistan withdrawal had shades of a dam breaking. Everyone but US forces seemed to be caught with their pants down. The more one think about it, the more it seems like a rerun of Vietnam. Complete with local forces that evaporated under pressure.

        3. Tom Pfotzer

          Rev Kev:

          NeoCons and all Israel-aligned factions in U.S. want us in Syria, incl religious right, etc. Golan Heights used to be Syrian, now Israeli. Israel has further ambitions for Syrian real estate.

          And given Trump’s political support came substantially from Israel’s supporters, it’s actually surprising that Trump was willing to attempt a negotiated withdrawal.

          I don’t think Israel had much of a stake in the Afghanistan debacle.

          The other aspect of Afghanistan that doesn’t quite square with your theory of planned re-allocation was the pell-mell exodus. A lot of expensive gear was left behind, and Ukraine isn’t all that far from Afghanistan (4 hour flight). Supply trucks, personnel carriers, ammo, etc. are not that hard to learn to use. Lots got left behind.

          I had the impression that the Afghanistan exodus caused an internal political fight among various factions of DC grifters.

      3. tegnost

        ultra high tech gear

        government funded patent farms that quickly funnel money into the private sector

        They’re so sure the financial warfare will win they are not concerned with whether the whiz bang toys work

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Except for the F35 which was a plaything of the Marines, an outfit in desperate need of reduction, most US weapons are meant to deal with guys in pick ups or bunting Soviet army advances through the Fulda Gap where we can relatively easily establish air dominance. This a distant war where propaganda is keeping Kiev invested in the hope the cavalry will arrive tomorrow.

      In general, I think the current Western foreign policy elites don’t grasp what 41 and Schwarzkopf actually did in 1991 and think it was the result of innate goodness. The 2003 invasion created all kinds of myths about US strength despite the choice of enemies.

      Cheaper drones require forward deployment which is great if those points can’t be hit. This is our of the story too. The Iranian investment in drones makes sense because even if the 5th fleet is out of range they can retaliate against economic targets and have more launch sites than the US has cruise missiles.

      I think it was Miley who yammered on about better combined arms earlier in the year, but he seemed to assume air superiority was a given. What happens when Soldiers bleeding out are left in the hands of field medics and not air lifted to cutting edge hospitals in Germany in something of a modern miracle. The 50 states have no real threats, and so the US doesn’t think about defense beyond a threat would simply be detected and overwhelmed.

  6. The Rev Kev

    I found it funny Zelenensky blustering about forced evacuations when he himself proclaimed the same in the Donbass only a few weeks ago. At the moment the Russians are draining all cover for any Ukrainian sabotage teams trying to get into Kherson by moving the people out. On the news tonight they tried to spin it as Putin being defeated and having to do this but at the start of the story was a young girl from Kherson saying that she did not mind as she knows that the Ukrainians will just shell the city and not care about killing civilians. With the people evacuated, the Russian army will not have to worry about civilians but can concenrate on their work.

    Speaking of sabotage, the subject came up of Russia taking the rest of the Black Sea coastline and maybe Turkey giving the nod. I was thinking of another reason that the Turks might agree and that has to do with sabotage. So long as the Ukrainians have a coastline, the Turks will always have to worry about sabotage on that pipeline. The UK has already handed over underwater drones to the Ukrainians and the US has been giving them training on underwater drone warfare. After seeing what happened to the Nordstream pipelines and the Kerch bridge, the Turks would be keenly aware of how the same could happen to Turkstream. So for the Turks, it would be far safer if they were shut out of the Black Sea- (1:29 mins)

    1. Lex

      It is odd. Civilian evacuation from war zones is pretty standard for civilized nations. If Ukraine wasn’t preparing for an offensive in the area, then the civilians wouldn’t be evacuated.

    2. Sibiryak

      BBC: The transfer or deportation of civilians by an occupying power from occupied territory is considered a war crime.

      According to Russian media, there is no forced transfer or deportation of civilians being carried out. Rather, for their safety people are being helped to evacuate from the west side to the east side of the Dnieper River, and to travel to other areas, should they so desire. (I was just watching Russian TV news and they were showing large groups of people lining up to board ferries to cross the river.)

      The evacuation of civilians during a military conflict is permissible–if not required–under international law.

      Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention tolerates the total or partial evacuation of the civilian population from a given area , under very specific and restrictive conditions, such as cases in which the security of the population or imperative military reasons require it. Such an evacuation can only be temporary, and the population must be allowed to return as soon as possible.

      Practice Relating to Rule 24. Removal of Civilians and Civilian Objects from the Vicinity of Military Objectives

      Article 58(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I states that the parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible, “without prejudice to Article 49 of the Fourth Convention, endeavour to remove the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects under their control from the vicinity of military objectives ”.

      * * * * *

      The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL [International Humanitarian Law] (2001) states:

      To the greatest possible extent … the civilian population , individual civilians and civilian objects in the territory controlled by the military command shall be evacuated from the areas adjacent to military objective .

      1. hk

        That bit seemed ludicrous even by BBC standards. I suppose Dems might as well try to bar DeSantis from running in 2024 for his crime of evacuating people from the path of the hurricane?

        1. Paula

          In which DeSantis did a poor job, delaying evacuation orders in some parts of the state for far too long.

    3. trapped in Europe

      So for the Turks, it would be far safer if they were shut out of the Black Sea

      Sure, but what to do about these US and UK warships, that like to roam the Black Sea? Can’t block the Bosporus forever.

      1. Kouros

        Yes you can, if it is a war. The Turks are not overstepping the Montreaux convention, one piece of paper that the Americans are hating with their guts…

        Civilian ships have no problem going about their business…

      2. John k

        They can afaik so long as the parties are at war. Why should Russia ever sign a treaty with entities known to not keep them? To get sanctions removed? But these can be reinstated at any time… plus, the sanctions are anyway hurting the west more than Russia.
        Clever of putin to offer Erdogan a gas hub, fixes turkey to Russia and clears a possible obstacle to Odessa. Now Russia/turkey interests are aligned.
        Wonder how long the us base will last.

  7. Will

    Ukraine supporters can argue that Russia’s attacks on the electrical grid are terrorism, since it is civilian as well as military infrastructure. That’s a strong position, but the West has no standing to make it

    Sorry, Yves, but not only are the attacks on the electrical grid terrorism, they are acts of pure terror that amount to war crimes. Or so says Ursula von der Leyen.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please add a /sarc tag :-).

      I watched the Iraq War closely. Despite Australia joining the “coalition of the willing,” public opposition to the war had been 94%, a number that pretty much does not exist in polling. The result was TV coverage that showed things the American public never saw (I confirmed with friends in the US), particularly infrastructure destruction, with a lot of attention to the impact of at best only a few hours of electricity a day.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            All the things they oppose actually reads like a To Do list of what they’ve accomplished.

      1. Oh

        You forgot to mention Abu Ghraib and all the torture that went on there? How about Guantanamo? BBC or the west has no right to speak about terrorism.

        1. Kouros

          “since you know as well as we do the right, as the world goes, is only in question between equal power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

  8. redleg

    Keep in mind what it means that NATO isn’t handing out artillery shells: there isn’t the industrial capacity to make more at the present time, and that it takes years to construct new facilities to do so.
    The problem with smart munitions is that they take time to make, and use resources that are currently sourced from China and Russia. The US so-called leadership is incredibly stupid and completely devoid of strategy.

  9. Rip Van Winkle

    Commercial Insurance policies have War exclusions, but TRIA terrorism exclusion has buy-back option in U.S. Riots and insurrections are mentioned in the policies, too. Nuclear is a separate exclusion, also distinct from low-level radioactive exclusion or buy-back. Biological phenomena separate from common mold/fungi worth noting if excluded, affirmatively covered or ‘silent’.

    For heavy risk / coverage NBCR (nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological) underwriting has its own separate niche.

    Of course only as good as the insurance company. Recall the scene in The Big Short where they met with the rating agency. ‘Who do you think we work for?’.

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      Know your third party liability vs. first party coverage. The latter is where business interruption / extra expense comes into play, IF you bought it.

      Cyber, Named Perils, Civil Authority, etc. also may come into play.

      Know how to read an insurance policy, starting with insuring agreement / trigger.

      Know your sub-limits.

      Commercial insurance is much different than state-regulated homeowners, auto.

  10. orlbucfan

    When are we going to hold our war criminals accountable? Surely, that’s a joke just like all the white collar ones. Add in the stupes and incompetents in the Deep State to the obnoxious mix. When is Putin going to deliver the knockout punch (no nukes, please) to get these Ukrainian boobs to the peace table?

    1. nippersdad

      Could he believe anything they said if they were to come to the table and negotiate? Russia did that with Minsk (I & II) and then Ukraine withdrew their Istanbul treaty proposal in March, and now here they are.

      I think Russia is just going to have to impose a settlement, demilitarize them and make them neutral, as Putin said at the beginning of the SMO. If it is even possible, Ukraine is less agreement capable than we are.

        1. nippersdad

          Which reminds me of the Hague Invasion Act.* Gutless wonders that they are, this will ring hollow to anyone who hears about it.

          I suspect that the Russians will have a little more self respect than to admit that they are actively harboring large numbers of war criminals, as we did, though. I do hope that Lavrov or Zakharova pick up on that. They would be merciless.


        2. The Rev Kev

          I like the bit where they want a ‘special tribunal’ so I guess that they want to make up the rules for it as they go along as was done with MH17 investigation.

  11. Chantelle

    I am in Санкт Петербург. Life is normal here Some friends are in the south Krasnodar – where level orange has begun. No change. It’s like in the West – theatre. Also, culturally people are just more blunt and pessimistic but with hope shining beneath. Ask any questions.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. Putin now seems to show ire about Ukraine, if not in his tone of voice, in his choice of words in speeches. That’s out of character for him (although he did seem to be angry in his short speech at the start of the SMO, but I took that as upset as what he saw as being put in the position of having to launch the SMO. I assume this is well received since we are told he seen as not hawkish enough.

      2. There are going to be BIG reconstruction costs in Ukraine once this is over. Is the public prepared for this?

      3. The G7 is still planning its oil price cap, which would lead Russia to cut shipments. Has the press discussed that at all? If so, what do they say about it?


      1. Chantelle

        1. Here in this city and the other big cities everyone under 35 dislikes and ignores everything reported in country. There is fear and, among most, the feeling that Ukrainians are family. A friend said: if aliens or zombies invaded I would be first to enlist. But this? Why fight my brothers. Russia has never had a democracy and “it is like a dream” when I ask about it. I watch Russian TV every day and it is very formulaic and predictable and is more like a reflex and tradition.

        2. Everyone assumes the future is worse. But they kind of always have in the way people who have been through terrible things – they hope for the best. Sort of like us westerners assume the future will remain the same easy time we’ve had never being directly in a was but enjoying cynically wanting Armageddon perhaps in service if our guilt. Money here is not understood in the same way as us – it’s more important that one has a job. That’s key. Budgeting and debt etc is very differently applied to life. It’s hard to explain but we in the west worry far more about it. The biggest difference is that everyone works all the time many jobs and eagerly.

        3. The oil price caps are lightly mentioned on their version of CNN but as another useless western gesture. The stuff we do means nothing ( unless we start taking Russian exiles or migrants more easily ) it’s more of a concern if full mobilization comes etc. of course.

        I hope this helps. Let me know if I missed anything)

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, this is helpful. The day to day coverage of the war seems to be very much on Russian Telegram, and Western commentators who are fluent in Russian say Russian Telegram has been very critical of how Russia has pursued the war and specifically that it hasn’t been aggressive enough.

          And like Twitter in the US, I have the further impression that Telegram influences press coverage a lot. Your comment suggest that most Russians, or at least Russians in St. Petersburg and Moscow aren’t hawkish, in fact are not keen about the war, but it sounds like their views have been drowned out.

          It is really horrible that the US has turned Ukrainians into its weapons v. Russia. You may know that CIA funding kept the Banderites and other Nazi groups alive in Ukraine after WWII to weaken the USSR. They probably would have fizzled out to near nothing without that. So the US is the moving force here.

          And just so you know, the West has been going in an anti-democratic direction. A lot of censorship. Most of it self censorship but writers and sites that cross the line risk having their money sources cut off. Even our site, which sticks its neck out a lot, still has to do it.

          In the US, blacks have fewer rights. More exposed to arbitrary arrest, more prosecution, and biased sentencing, and discrimination in getting loans. Women in some states losing right to abortion. And high level of deaths due to drugs, alcoholism, and guns (accidents and suicides). The looting by the rich increases.

    2. Tom Pfotzer

      How do Russians view China?

      How many Chinese products are available in Russian stores, and what types of products are they?

      What other countries have products in Russia’s stores?


      1. Chantelle

        Russians would rather be European. And this city usually has loads of Chinese tourists. They feel about China the same as the west I thing. Also many Far East Russians look Chinese. Race is not what it is in the west. I have a degree in equity studies ( race class gender not banks ) so I can get more into this if you want.

        Chinese clothes and products ( and Korean ) are everywhere. From soaps and toothpaste to all the usual junk and appliances and well everything. Not so much food in grocery stores. There is more available here food wise and gadget wise and clothes than I can get in Canada. H&M is still open. And there subsidiary’s ( &Other stories , COS H&M home). They are not selling off old stock it’s the new season. I went and bought some )

        At my local grocery that is fancy Azbuca- I can get food and drink from the whole world. German beer Belgium beer Spanish meat French cheese protein bars from everywhere Japanese instant coffee. I mean I can get anything I can imagine and more. It’s not cheap so I’d rather go to the regular stores as Russian meat and vegetables and bread and craft beer especially is excellent. Samsung and iPhones in the latest models are also available. But expensive. The parallel market was made legal. Name it and I can order it on my phone and get it in 30 minutes ( food ) or by tomorrow for most things. If you go to wild berries . Ru or Yandex market you can see for yourself.

    3. John k

      Do most Russians want to resume former trade/tourism with the west after the war if western sanctions are removed, or would they prefer trade with Asia?

      1. Chantelle

        Yes and yes. Everyone here prefers to be part of world trade and the world. Not to give up their identity but to be part of the European way of life and fashion and travel. We all want that. The fear of being cut off is real. But the hopes of it are harder and harder to hold. It’s very confusing. But art is thriving as it always does in times of suffering. Russians know how to suffer elegantly – I feel this poignantly after living through the pandemic in the west vs here. Art didn’t exactly thrive in the lockdowns in Canada. Attacking each other did.

  12. Watt4Bob

    Meanwhile on the sabre rattling front, NBC news is reporting the presence of one of its submerged nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine in the Persian Gulf.

    Full disclosure, my father was a submariner.

    Highly unusual to disclose the whereabouts of an American submarine, being that their principle strategic advantage is stealth, and the difficulty in locating them submerged in the ocean.

    So, considering the bottle-neck of the straights of Hormuz, the relative shallow waters of the gulf, the difficulty in maneuvering in confined quarters, and the fact that sub-launched ICBMs have a range of over 5,500 KM, I’m wondering what genius decided put these men in danger for the sake of taking a bullying posture towards Iran?

    The folks in the ME need no proof that we are capable of wrecking their countries

    It would be interesting to know if the captain of that boat knew about this stunt prior to being ordered into the gulf?

    We’re truly led by idiots.

    1. nippersdad

      I call BS. It cannot be a coincidence that Saudi Arabia refused to do Biden’s bidding and a few days later they break protocol and tell them that they have a nuclear submarine in their waters. The killing of Soleimani showed them what happens when we mess with the Iranians; we are technically no longer even allowed in Iraq because of it, and we have an illegal occupation going on in Syria of long standing,

      The only thing that has changed is the price of gas two weeks before a mid-term election. As you say, we truly are led by idiots.

        1. Kouros

          “In today’s brief live interview on Press TV, I was given the opportunity to evaluate the newly announced decision of the Saudis to exclude representatives of the U.S. Government from their annual investment conference planned for the 25th of this month. I place this decision in the broader context of Saudi and the Gulf States’ realignment these past several months away from the global hegemon that has been their traditional security guarantor and towards partnership with Russia in creation of a multi-polar world. “

          1. Watt4Bob

            Things are moving faster than expected, and in the “wrong” direction.

            Who would have thought?

        2. nippersdad

          It does sound like a threat to SA to me.

          How many fights does that guy want to pick? Somebody needs to remind him that he is not working as a pool guard anymore, and there are worse people out there than Corn-Pop. Saudi Arabia has a lot of them.

          1. Watt4Bob

            After a split-second of consideration, I think you’re right, and that means it’s an even more stupid move than I thought.

        3. nippersdad

          I still think that is wild.

          Old Joe is going to get a special delivery of two suitcases from FedEx one of these days with his remaining kids in them. He should have taken a hint from the Kashoggi affair, MBS does not mess around. We trained a lot of his people.

          Which is not to say that he should back away from threats, but to initiate them has consequences that, in this case, can be easily foreseen.

        4. Tom Pfotzer

          Could also be warning to Iran re: drones supplied to Russia. The Iranian drones are having some effect.


          That is an extraordinarily heavy-handed message, if it’s intended for SA.

          If it’s directed toward SA, under Mohammed Bin Salman SA will likely accelerate the rapprochement with Iran, and institute a military alliance with Russia.

          SA will need missile guarantees if they continue to tilt toward Russia. I think that’s what the sub might be saying.

          Can you imagine the conversations taking place among all the royals right about now?

          They are going to either sever relations with the U.S. or coup MBS and suffer the indignities of being a U.S. ally.

          There may be further royal housekeeping done, either way it goes. These are the times when it’s less fun to be royal.

          1. nippersdad

            “Could also be warning to Iran re: drones supplied to Russia. The Iranian drones are having some effect.”

            Both Iran and Russia have been saying that no drones were bought from Iran. Mercouris has been saying that those drones are made by a subsidiary of the Kalashnikov corporation. The narrative that the “evil Iranians” have a hand in this was started after the meeting in which Putin met with Raisi to develop their Northern Gas fields in July.* EXACTLY a month later we got stories about Russia buying drones from Iran.** I can’t help but feel like that is not coincidental.

            But, you really ought to read that article about the drones. They made them sound like they were put together with scotch tape and rubber bands, that they were dropping like flies and the Russians were very unhappy with their purchase.

            How times have changed.



              1. nippersdad

                “A European Commission spokesperson said there was widely shared political agreement from foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday that the EU should react swiftly.

                “Now that we have gathered our own sufficient evidence,
                work is ongoing in the Council with a view to a clear, swift and firm response,” the spokesperson told the EU’s executive’s daily news conference. The Council is the grouping of EU governments.”


                Does the EU Council have to have unanimous consent to get anything done? Hungary might have something to say about this.

                Also, too, a closed door session of the Security Council just sounds like an opportunity to whine at Lavrov, as he and China will prolly veto anything they try to do. That is just embarrassing.

    2. Revenant

      Seems crazy to announce it where it can be bottled up but, with that range, Southern Russia and Ukraine and Armenia etc. are all within reach.

      1. nippersdad

        Don’t we already have nuclear subs stationed in the Baltic? What would be the point of advertising more subs that are further away?

  13. Anthony G Stegman

    In my view, if Ukraine attacks a dam that would then threaten the lives of 50 thousand people Russia would be justified in a sending a nuclear warhead towards Kiev. Blowing dams is beyond the pale and must be responded to accordingly.

    1. Old Sovietologist

      According to Ukrainian telegram the order has been given to take Kozatskoe and Berislav both villages are close to the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station, The dam will then be attacked and its destruction will be blamed on Russia. Zelensky has now accused Russia of mining the dam and hydroelectric power station. The story that will be fed by Western msm is that Russian blew up the dam as they were retreating.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Last week there were news that 103th tank repair factory in Zabaikal received an order for 800 upgraded T-62s (in three years). Because apparently they are easier to use and cheaper to maintain, so they are a good for creating fast a huge tank army. Especially when the best your opponent has is a not-updated T-64.

      Also, it seems that Syrian Arab Army prefers modernized T-62s in urban combat against lightly armored enemy.

  14. LAS

    It’s odd that no one is much commenting in this part of Putin’s speech:

    “Also, I consider it necessary in the current circumstances to give additional powers to the heads of all Russian regions. An Executive Order to this effect was signed today as well.

    Top officials in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation should see to it that measures are taken to ensure the safety of people, the security and counterterrorism protection of critical infrastructure facilities, maintain public order, enhance the stability of the economy and industry, as well as launch and increase the manufacturing of products necessary for the special military operation. The regional heads will be authorised to establish corresponding headquarters to coordinate these efforts.”

    Sounds like marshal law is not only for the Ukraine. The Russian empire is challenged to hold itself together at other points, too.

    1. WJ

      As Alexander Mercouris has noted, this signals that the Russian Security Council is prepared to direct domestic economy toward war-industrial needs. It means that there is going to be a big offensive, and that Russia is now committed to force the capitulation of Kiev after having had all their many offers of negotiation rebuffed.

  15. Dave in Austin

    If the Russians wanted to shut down the Ukrainian electrical system the would have hit the coal-fired power plants and the gas turbines not the transformer yards. This looks to me to be “Hit our bridge and we’ll turn down your thermostat; hit the bridge again, and…” Basic schoolyard “Tit for tat”.

  16. david schermerhorn

    Just askin… I have never understood, what was the purpose of the invasion in the first place?

Comments are closed.