Monday, 23 May 2022 — The Van Says…
This map shows Russian gains, but cannot begin to explain the costs to Kiev
There are a number of factors coming into play throughout the Ukraine that not only have a bearing on the conflict, but are becoming deciding factors for both Kiev and those who have chosen to support it. This article will examine a range of matters in order to evaluate what this may mean as the struggle develops. The author would like to recommend two channels that have been extremely helpful in the compilation of this article. If you do use Telegram, both https://t.me/EurasianChoice and https://t.me/levigodman are great sources of information.
Propped by Poland
Sources are saying that Zelenskiy has asked the Polish president, Andrzej Duda for assistance in the form of soldiers in the West of the Ukraine. The matter of Polish assets was discussed in this article xxx yesterday, but the thinking behind this move is that with Warsaw’s boots on the ground in the west of the country, Ukrainian troops can be used to fight Russia on the eastern front. This is not confirmed, yet it would give a very clear indication of the desperation now being felt in Kiev.
Manpower and the Power of Man
One only has to look at the way that the Ukrainian defense is crumbling and the manner in which Kiev is attempting to assemble and use territorial battalions to know that manpower is becoming an ever-more serious issue as time goes by.
The problems that the Ukrainian government is now facing are very similar to that of Imperial Japanese Air Force during World War Two. As combat losses mounted, not only were suitable recruits harder to find, but there was neither the time or resources to train people to fulfill their roles effectively. Not only that, there were not the experienced veterans available to pass in their knowledge. In light of this identical shortfall, the Ukrainian government has formed territorial defense units, most of those forced into uniform coming rather unwillingly from the West of the country.
In the case of any army, the most basic of training takes eight weeks, after which recruits need further tuition in their specialist role. In a fast-developing situation with ever-more scant resources, it is simply not possible to field enough bodies, and even more importantly, bodies that are capable of doing their jobs. The recruits today do not receive heavy weapons or protective equipment, helmets and body armor having to be purchased privately. The most worrying fact however is that due to the constraints of time, combat training is simply not given. Moreover, only small arms are usually issued, heavier armaments being unavailable. In terms of operations, these unfortunate souls appear to be quite literally cannon fodder, being used as bait for Russian artillery, this leading to inordinately high losses wherever they are deployed.
It is easy to understand that reticent recruits do not want to be taken away from their homes, but neither do they want to be prisoners-of-war nor dead, but Kiev is hardly dangling the carrot with its T&Cs for these positions. Pay and benefits are far below that given to those in the regular armed forces, and oftentimes even these inferior conditions are not met, a bullet or prison camp being the only things that can be assured.
With a dearth of suitable candidates on offer to the Ukrainian Army, Kiev is now having to employ those who are too old or medically unfit for the military, pressing them into service, and as we have seen, with the very minimum of training. Most will have done their compulsory military service decades ago, yet with the passage of time, they have got old as military techniques have got newer, those having served under the red star now coming under fire from the same. This, along with the course the war is taking takes us to another critical point.
The years after the Maidan coup saw immense resources used to equip and train both extremist and regular military units. This meant that at the outbreak of hostilities, a reasonably well-trained and equipped army was facing Russian forces. The last few weeks however have seen pivotal changes in this situation. Not only have regular army and nazi groups been decimated, but much of their equipment is now arming either the Russian or Donbass forces, the balance tipping ever-faster against Kiev. That, coupled with the ignominious ‘evacuation’ of Azovstal means that morale at all levels of the armed forces is at absolute rock bottom, nobody wanting to enter a battle already knowing the result.
Guns as Gifts
Sweden, just like Denmark and the Czech Republic, has today offered to send yet more assistance to Kiev, as well as US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stating that western nations ought to ‘step up’ military assistance to the country. Put bluntly, the West has made any and every effort to throw money and arms at Kiev for nearly a decade, but for all of that, it simply is not working out. One unexpected consequence of this magnanimity is the fact that Russian and to a far greater degree Donbass forces have captured a mind-boggling quantity of ordnance, they now being far better armed than their opponents through war booty alone.
Cauldrons and Crunchpoints
Over the next week, not only will the long-awaited assault on Avdievka begin, but so will the operations around Severodonetsk, this forming cauldrons, these being areas which are cut off from the rest of the Ukraine and therefore from both resupply and reinforcements. With Azovstal now having been routed/evacuated, this allows the Russian assets in this area to be transferred elsewhere, these increasing the already unbearable strain on certain areas of conflict.
The aforementioned conflicts in the areas of Avdievka, Severodonetsk and Popasna are not just of military importance however. As events have developed, the Ukrainian Army as well as the extremist units that still survive have dug in, these areas not only being of strategic concern, but also due to Kiev having some of its best remaining units positioned there. When these strongholds are breached, not only will the armed forces and nazis lose a huge percentage of their most valuable personnel, but the impact on national morale will plummet. The two operations are by no means a last stand on the part of Zelenskiy and his backers, but when these two objectives are taken by the Russians, the whole Ukrainian operation will take a nosedive. Events in Lyman today have proven not only how fast Russia is now moving, but also the hideous casualties that the Ukrainian side is suffering. This operation is only one of several that this week will bring, yet once dominos such as these are toppled, many more will soon follow.
No Going Back
As mentioned, the last week has seen real desperation on the part of Ukrainian forces, today they attempting to destroy the Uglegorsk dam near Svetlodarsk in order to halt the Russians. This is to a great degree the fault of Zelenskiy who, like many other political desperadoes of the past, refuses to allow troops in a helpless situation to retreat. It has been obvious to all and sundry what Russia’s objectives in certain regions have been, and in the full knowledge that both huge tracts of land as well as the personnel dug in there are going to be cut off that the head of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhny has requested the authority to independently withdraw troops and assets from certain positions that are at risk of either being overrun or destroyed by Russian advances. Whilst this is not yet a rout, it does fit the description of ‘evacuation’ far better than the surrender of Azovstal.
The situation for Kiev is going from bad to worse to impossible. Recent days have seen the Ukrainian side both hammered and humiliated, the Russian machine getting into the swing of things like never before. The West continues to offer the same aid as it has for months, a gravy train of weaponry slowly heading into eventual Russian possession. For all the laurels that Russia is earning however, we must pause for thought. The satanic machine that the Ukrainian government and its myriad of extremists had become needed denazifying, the state being completely reformed.
What we see however is an increasingly desperate government throwing its people to the lions, thousands dying in order that both Zelenskiy and his backers can keep the western-run bandwagon rolling for a day or two more. The victories that Russia will enjoy over coming days should be a turning point in the war, that point being where the current regime is removed from power meaning that the Russians and Ukrainians can again win the victory of being reunited as a common people…