You won’t hear this on CNN, but Putin’s Army of Darkness, in the most complex and ambitious ground maneuver operation since World War 2, following the Soviet “deep war” playbook, is also working on cutting off the Ukrainian army group in the Donbass from Kiev. This is by far the most capable (or only capable) large portion of the Ukrainian army. Yesterday, its main reserves of diesel fuel were destroyed from the air. It will soon be cut off and immobile.
Once that happens, the entire Donbass front collapses (they will no longer have a “front”), and BILLIONS of dollars in U.S.-funded or U.S.-supplied weaponry will be captured almost without a battle. (To be clear, it’s almost all U.S. funded or supplied—even most of the Soviet vintage stuff was bought and shipped in from Poland, Czechia, etc. by the CIA, “off the books” but well documented in videos of tank trains crossing the border into Ukraine, in 2015-2016.)
The Russians have finally entered Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, very close to the Russian border. Previously, they had bypassed it the same way that America bypassed every town in southern Iraq to reach Baghdad in 2003. On Saturday night, they finally wasted all significant, organized resistance with a rain of thermobaric death in the outskirts. Today, they started to go in and mop up. Of course, it’s not a job for one day.
It remains to be seen if Putin’s plan will succeed or fail, but what is clear is that there was a plan to invade Ukraine in force, and that plan has been executed since day one.
Ukrainian troops are putting up a valiant fight facing long odds and difficult conditions. Russia holds most if not all of the advantages. It can, and has, attacked Ukraine from three different directions. The Russian military holds a decided advantage in manpower, as well as air, naval and armor superiority. It has vast resources to draw on. While Ukraine has the support of much of the international community, which is providing weapons, Ukraine is fighting alone.
Believing Russia’s assault is going poorly may make us feel better but is at odds with the facts.
Sobering stuff. And given the fog of war at the moment, both are plausible and well-reasoned arguments.