A Time of Change

Sunday, 12 February 2023 — The van says…


Vanman 120223The brutal truth is that in spite of all the Western assistance and bluster, Russia is winning whilst the Ukraine is slowly being pushed back. The big political guns of the West are simply no match for Russia’s big military machine. Photo©️IntelRepublic.

Author’s Note. 

It has been a number of months since the author last published an article. This has been for two important reasons. The first is that doctors have said that screen time is doing a lot of eye damage. The other is the fact that since November, there has been little change in the overall scenery throughout Eastern Europe, both political and military. This situation is now changing fast, and in spite of medical advice, an article needs to be written covering recent events as well as what will likely happen as we move into the future. With things being as they are and will be, rather than longer articles such as this, it may, for the aforementioned medical reasons, be more opportune to produce shorter articles on a more frequent basis. 


From last October until a few weeks ago, one could have been forgiven for thinking that the situation on the frontlines of Eastern Europe had virtually ground to a halt, yet for all the stagnation, there was more going on than met the casual eye. The only way that Ukrainian forces were able to hold Russia back was at immense human and material cost, yet whilst Kiev has been obsessing over its defense of a now-irrelevant Artemovsk, this has allowed Moscow’s men to slowly decimate Ukrainian forces that could have proved problematic if not decisive elsewhere. With Russia now pushing forward, from a Ukrainian perspective, a previously bad situation is now becoming immeasurably worse.

Small Steps

The advances we have seen over the last weeks are the first signs of real progress that have been made by Moscow for months, yet there is sound reasoning for this. In any war, there are losses of men and materials on both sides. With Russia playing the Artemovsk area in its favor, this has inflicted appalling casualties upon the Ukrainians in return for very little cost to the Kremlin. As ever, Moscow is playing the long game in this arena, its strategy slowly but surely whittling down the resources of its opponent that could have in other operations been used elsewhere. Moreover, many of the material (and human) assets are irreplaceable at least in the short term, meaning that anything lost is effectively gone forever.

Building up the Pressure

For all the stagnation that may have been claimed by the West, Russia has since October not only enmired the Ukrainians in pointless arenas such as Artemovsk, but has been able to bring its own men and assets into a favorable position for the coming months. Kiev has been daily struggling to hold the line, yet this has given Moscow the time to poise itself for the maneuvers that will play out in the near future. With no decisive Russian results to date, the Ukrainian defense is still on every Western front page, yet when Moscow puts its amassed machinery into gear, there is nothing in sight that is likely to stop it.

Plugging the Gaps

In order for there to be any hope of preserving even the most scant hopes of Ukrainian survival, a plethora of destroyed equipment needs to be replaced. This is where Western plans begin to go off the rails. The ‘big’ news regarding Western nations and their involvement in the Ukrainian war is currently the issue of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) being given to Kiev as it attempts to hold off the aforementioned Russian advances. This is interesting for a number of reasons.

Out of Assets, Out of Stock

The first is that this kit is only being (begrudgingly) supplied due to Russian forces having decimated not only Ukrainian equipment but the hundreds of vehicles which NATO and its allies have supplied over the past year. With global stocks of Soviet-era MBTs now being exhausted, there is no other option than for Europe and the US to start dusting off their reserves of Western equipment if Kiev is to have any hope of defending itself.

Untrained Troops

The second is that whilst these tanks perform the same roles as the now-destroyed units, they work in very different ways. It would take many months of training to convert Ukrainian crews into competent operators of these vehicles; if they are to be as effective as their leaders want, they have to be savvy to the ins and outs of how this kit can be best utilized, meaning that either personnel have already been trained, or that they are, in spite claims in the West to the contrary, going to be of less use than they were in their old tanks.

No Strength in these Numbers

Another reason is that for all the fanfare in the West regarding these deliveries, the numbers of tanks being fielded is negligible. Remembering that the Russian Federation has destroyed thousands of units during the last year, a few hundred or so refurbished units will not make any difference whatsoever to the overall situation. Other than showboating on the part of those who have supported Kiev since Maidan, Western armor in Eastern Europe is in all truth, little more than a gesture.

Leading from Behind

Another facet that cannot be overlooked is the fact that whilst the US has been keen to push European nations into supplying Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 tanks, Washington has been much more recalcitrant in specifying either the number or delivery date of the equivalent M1 Abrams tanks that it will give to Kiev. The latest line from Washington states that US MBTs will not be arriving before the end of the year. As has been seen on countless occasions before, Washington is keen to ensure that it is others that do the heavy lifting as they support America’s war in Europe. It is also noteworthy that even in spite of having tanks in reserve, a goodly number of European nations are not offering any of their tanks at all.

Old Iron

Notwithstanding the imminent deliveries of Leopard and Challenger 2 tanks along with the distant promises of Abrams MBTs, there are also now plans to supply older NATO kit to the Ukraine. This at first sight may please those in Kiev who do little else except beg for Western help, yet many of the tanks and armored vehicles in question have been out of service for decades. This means that not only are they in some cases in a dilapidated condition, but there are also supply issues regarding the older munitions they use. This means that not only is the kit in subprime condition, but those who crew them will hardly be best placed to exploit it.

New Iron

One argument that has been floated from Washington regarding the M1 Abrams is that it requires very specific maintenance in order to remain effective. This is the case with a great deal of NATO equipment today, yet with this MBT being originally designed for a war in Europe, this should not in theory present any difficulties. What has been seen over recent months is that aside from Russian forces destroying a huge percentage of the gifts that Kiev has received, the German Panzerhaubitze 2000 amongst others has not taken kindly to the rigors of war. That, along with the failures of other systems, proves that modern Western equipment performs well on exercise and when serviced as per the manual, yet when the going gets tough, the allegedly tough NATO equipment has to keep going back to Western states for repair. Moreover, the Abrams tanks consumes vast quantities of fuel, this further complicating an already fraught logistical situation.

Drone Fodder

If this conflict has done nothing else, it has demonstrated to the world the new power wielded by kamikaze drones. These small craft have been increasing employed by both sides, yet it is clear that it is Russian equipment that is coming to play a key role in proceedings. Whilst there may (or not) be a superiority in Western armor, Moscow will doubtlessly have products in the pipeline that can defeat any NATO assets that arrive in-theater. This is important for two reasons, neither of which even remotely favor Ukrainian interests.

Tanking Tanks

With available stocks of Soviet vehicles now used up, there are only NATO stocks that can be sent. With Russia being as effective as it is against tanks, there is little hope that Western supplies will fare any better than the destroyed equipment they are destined to replace. This is obviously a body blow to Ukrainian hopes of pushing back against Russia, but will ably demonstrate the vulnerability of Western equipment; this is a real threat to not only to the armies of NATO member states, but also the leaders that have brought the situation to where it is today.

Western Whitewash

A misconception by the Western public over recent decades has been that everything from grunts to guns that are fielded by their armies are the best in the world. Disinformation, misinformation and blatant lies from the Western establishment has led its people into believing that in any conflict, it is the West that invariably prevails, yet as has been seen in Eastern Europe over the last year, even in spite of all the assistance rendered by NATO, a fraction of Russia’s resources are more than a match for the situation in hand. Should the same fate meet Western tanks as it has with Ukrainian-owned Soviet equipment, leaders such as Biden, Scholtz and Sunak will be left with more than egg on their faces.

Challenging Issue

Not only are tanks expensive to produce, they are also comprised of classified materials and technologies that Western capitals are keen to keep out of Russian hands. Moscow is hardly likely to copy per se the knowhow incorporated into these machines, yet once it fully understands them, weapons will be rapidly engineered to best counter them. It is for this very reason that London is taking all measures possible to ensure that the Challenger 2 tanks that it is donating to the Ukrainian cause do not fall into Russian hands. That said, looking at the adept manner in which Russian troops are conducting themselves as well as the disarray on the Ukrainian side of things, it is a virtual certainty that Russian experts will be examining one sooner rather than later.

The Battle as a Bellwether

When viewed as a whole, the Ukrainian show is a result of not only Western interference, but also its leaders sticking to their political guns in the hope that guns in the Ukraine may frighten Russia away. This is obviously a completely erroneous plan, yet with lands and leaders both having invested so much in this path, there is simply no going back. If Kiev fails, the increasing failure of the West will be immeasurably accelerated, it now being imperative to throw any and every resource towards Eastern Europe in an effort to halt Moscow.

Treacherous Trade

The US has been in the driving seat of Ukrainian affairs since Maidan, not only steering the country in a direction favorable to Washington, but also encouraging its useful allies to help its cause in any way possible. This can be seen in the manner in which it has pushed European nations into supplying the kit that Kiev needs to fight. What cannot be overlooked is not only the chaos already caused to Europe and its affairs, but also the tardiness of the White House in delivering on its promises; Biden may be enthusiastic about NATO members sending vital equipment eastwards, yet the White House is somewhat more hesitant in following its own lead.


The fortunes of the Western world were never going to be rosy in the face of a recession, yet the situation in Eastern Europe is as much a creation of Western politicians as the recession is a result of greed. The circumstances of today’s actions are ensuring that Washington is leading Brussels and London on a merry dance, yet Russia’s continuing success as well as the Ukraine’s failings are beginning to trip up numerous affairs on the eastern seaboard of the Atlantic.

In light of recent advances by Russian forces, throwing good money after bad by sending further NATO supplies to Kiev is not going to stop Ukrainian fortunes from going from bad to worse. This is against a very bleak Western economic backdrop, and it doesn’t take a genius to spot the political and economic problems involved with sending tanks to the Ukraine when Western European economies are themselves tanking.

Months of apparent stagnation have now come to an end from the Russian perspective, yet with Moscow’s machine now marching forward, a West on the back foot is becoming desperate in its attempts to halt the increasingly inevitable advances that Russia will make.

A lack of both kit and adequately-trained troops will only exacerbate Kiev’s woes, education and equipment being no match for the challenges that will appear in the spring.

The conflict in the Ukraine is a result of Western malfeasance, yet the conclusion of this war will result in a very changed world as we move into the future. The changes will see the West finally facing the consequences of its past behavior, and through having backed the failed conflict in the Ukraine, this may lead to the eventual failure of the West as we know it…


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