The Ukraine War

A look at Russian capability & likely strategy.

The overall assessment is that while Russian force quality is unlikely to increase so long as the AFU can maintain a significant level of attrition across the force, the Russians will be able to maintain a steady tempo of attacks throughout 2024.

In terms of Russian industry’s capacity to support ongoing operations, Russia has significantly mobilised its defence industry, increasing shifts and expanding production lines at existing facilities as well as bringing previously mothballed plants back online. This has led to significant increases in production output. For example, Russia is delivering approximately 1,500 tanks to its forces per year along with approximately 3,000 armoured fighting vehicles of various types. Russian missile production has similarly increased.

Despite these achievements, Russia faces significant limitations in the longevity and reliability of its industrial output. Of the tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, for example, approximately 80% are not new production but are instead refurbished and modernised from Russian war stocks. The number of systems held in storage means that while Russia can maintain a consistent output through 2024, it will begin to find that vehicles require deeper refurbishment through 2025, and by 2026 it will have exhausted most of the available stocks. As the number of refurbished vehicles goes down, industrial capacity can go into making new platforms, but this will necessarily mean a significant decrease in vehicles delivered to the military.

Another vulnerability for Russia’s complex weapons like missiles is the extensive dependence on Western-sourced components. Although Russia has maintained a steady supply of the necessary components owing to the incoherent and lackadaisical approach to sanctions adopted by Western states, a more coherent approach to countering the Russian defence industry could disrupt supply lines. Even with the existing flawed approach, the cost of components has risen by 30% for the Russian defence sector, and it has only managed to stabilise supplies rather than expand them, despite extra investment in this line of effort.

In order to achieve its aspiration to make significant territorial gains in 2025, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has assessed an industrial requirement to manufacture or source approximately 4 million 152mm and 1.6 million 122mm artillery shells in 2024. Russian industry has reported to the MoD that it expects to increase 152mm production from around 1 million rounds in 2023 to 1.3 million rounds over the course of 2024, and to only produce 800,000 122mm rounds over the same period. Moreover, the Russian MoD does not believe it can significantly raise production in subsequent years, unless new factories are set up and raw material extraction is invested in with a lead time beyond five years.

If Russia lacks the prospect of gains in 2025, given its inability to improve force quality for offensive operations, then it follows that it will struggle to force Kyiv to capitulate by 2026. Beyond 2026, attrition of systems will begin to materially degrade Russian combat power, while Russian industry could be disrupted sufficiently by that point, making Russia’s prospects decline over time.

Thus the prediction is that Russian can maintain it assault through 2026 before the Russian infrastructure begins to degrade.

The Russian target this summer is the Ukrainian army, and against this target it has started to compound its advantages.

The Russian forces attacking Ukraine have now expanded to 510,000 troops. This means that Russia has established significant numerical superiority over the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

Having stretched the Ukrainians out, the contours of the Russian summer offensive are easy to discern. First, there will be the push against Kharkiv. Ukraine must commit troops to defend its second largest city, and given the size of the Russian group of forces in the area, this will draw in reserves of critical materiel, from air defences to artillery. Second, Russia will apply pressure on the other end of the line, initially threatening to reverse Ukraine’s gains from its 2023 offensive, and secondly putting at risk the city of Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine should be able to blunt this attack, but this will require the commitment of reserve units.

Once Ukraine commits its reserves in these directions, the main effort will see the expansion of the Russian push in Donbas. This axis is already making slow but steady progress.

Russian strategy is attrition, attrition, and attrition.
But there is a time limit on how long Russia can endure the cost.

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Emphasis on slow. Here is an interactive map from ISW of the front lines in April. Russia has advanced only few kilometers in any one location.

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/f3ff14f17f99494592949426521baee8

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And how long will the the US be able to stay out of the direct war with Russia that it has been tiptoeing into ever since Feb 22?

The combined might of US and EU has neither stopped Putin’s takeover of Ukraine, nor put a dent in either Russia’s superior armaments throughput or its economic self sufficiency

As for Ukraine, it is unable to replace its frontline casualties fast enough, is being forced to fight within the confines of its borders thanks to the US pretending it isn’t fighting a war with Russia, and will soon be unable to produce enough armaments and materials due to shortage of able bodied men

Meanwhile the EU is happily hiding behind US skirts in the delusion that Big Brother will do whatever it takes to protect it from Putin.

So, who will blink first - Ukraine, or the US?

Ukraine has the same demographic issues as Russia. And Ukraine has only a quarter of the population of Russia.

The US is hoping Ukraine can last to the finish line but doesn’t really care. The US will toss the Ukrainians under as we have done to other allies. The damage this war has inflicted upon Russia finishes them. The US has calculated that Russia doesn’t have the wherewithal for further conquest via conventional warfare.

After Russia the US turns its eyes to China. China is in poor position for a Taiwan invasion. But pressure will be applied as the US supported Ukraine Maiden uprising did upon Russia. And if the pressure to force is miscalculated China move; demographics soon ends the China threat which results in the fulfillment of the Wolfowitz doctrine . US-sole world superpower.
https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/world/china-warns-of-taiwan-war-as-military-drills-encircle-island/ar-BB1mX0lE
China warned on Friday of war over Taiwan and said it would ramp up countermeasures until “complete reunification” was achieved, as Chinese forces conducted military drills around the self-ruled island.

Warships and fighter jets encircled Taiwan on the second day of exercises that Beijing said were a test of its ability to seize the island, days after its new president was sworn in.

Zelensky clamps down on freedom of the press.

‘A Big Step Back’: In Ukraine, Concerns Mount Over Narrowing Press Freedoms

Journalists say they are subject to increasing restrictions and pressure from the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, adding that the measures go beyond wartime security needs.

“It’s really disturbing,” said Oksana Romanyuk, director of the Institute of Mass Information, a nonprofit that monitors media freedoms. That is particularly true, she said, in a war where Ukraine is “fighting for democracy against the values of dictatorship embodied by Russia.”

Analysts say the government’s efforts to control the media appear to be aimed at crimping positive coverage of the opposition and suppressing negative coverage of the government and the military.

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The cost for the last six months was ultra low. The cost for the next three years will be ultra high. Russia won’t make it work for themselves.

Do you know these numbers?

58% of women
Voter gender gap in the US

53% of men as of today.

Orange looks good in prison. It is the new black.

Journalists say they are subject to increasing restrictions and pressure from the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, adding that the measures go beyond wartime security needs.

And over here, let’s ask this barber if he thinks I need a haircut.

“It’s really disturbing,” said Oksana Romanyuk, director of the Institute of Mass Information, a nonprofit that monitors media freedoms. That is particularly true, she said, in a war where Ukraine is “fighting for democracy against the values of dictatorship embodied by Russia.”

So, why not cut “The Establishment” some slack? War ain’t pretty and you can’t fight a polite war.

Analysts say the government’s efforts to control the media appear to be aimed at crimping positive coverage of the opposition and suppressing negative coverage of the government and the military.

Now what are they talking about? Are they suppressing coverage that humanizes the Russians/Putin? Or are they suppressing coverage of the Anti-Zelenzky cadre? One is de riguer in war and ref above, if the good guys are doing it, try to understand for the time being. The latter would be more of a concern but let’s not deny the external enemy’s attempts to foment the rebellion where there really is none.

Suppressing negative coverage of the gov & Military? Ok, but I want to know what kind of things they feel are being suppressed. Body counts? War profiteering? “secret tapes” showing politician’s saying stupid things? Some need to be revealed, others…? You cannot take a reporter’s word fro these things.

And then there’s the horse race. This war’s getting boring. We need to stir things up. Hey,how about calling the Good Guys the Bad Guys for a while then we can switch back later.

You could peruse the NYTimes articles to see what’s what and make your judgement then I suppose.

The linked articles suggest to me that Ukraine is running out of recruits for the war.

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/short-on-troops-ukraine-is-freeing-criminals-to-fight/ar-BB1oiNRV
Short on troops, Ukraine is freeing criminals to fight

At the end of March 2024, a nationwide poll asked Ukrainians how they thought their draft-age acquaintances might respond to a call to serve. Only 10% thought they would accept. Another nationwide poll taken at the time found only 8% willing to “take up arms” against the Russian invaders.

No one disputes Ukraine’s desperate need for more troops. In December 2023, when he was still commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi told president Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he needed 450,000 to 500,000 more troops.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/ukraine-s-older-recruits-await-help-from-younger-fighters/ar-BB1oe3dO
Huddling in the dark with his automatic rifle, 50-year-old Ukrainian soldier “Bell” said he wished more of his younger compatriots would join the fight against Russia’s invasion.

Facing a bigger and better equipped enemy, Ukrainian forces are heavily reliant on older soldiers like him to defend the country against relentless Russian assaults.

Meanwhile the meat grinder continues.

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I wonder how honest these reports are. Misdirection during war is important.

EU cannot meet it artillery shell production.

In March, European Union countries pledged to supply Ukraine with 1 million artillery shells by spring 2024. It is now clear that the EU is unlikely to deliver on its promise.

Efforts to supply the Ukrainian Armed Forces with weaponry have exposed startling gaps in Europe’s readiness for large-scale conflict. European nations have been found lacking not only adequate munition stockpiles, but also the industrial base required to refill inventories to keep up with Ukraine’s continued pleas for weapons.

In March, the European Commission said that thanks to its measures, European annual production capacity for 155 mm shells had reached 1 million a month earlier.

Three months later, in June, Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, said that EU producers would reach an annual capacity of 1.7 million 155 mm shells by the end of this year and that capacity would continue to grow. However, according to a high-ranking European arms industry source, the current capacity is about one-third of this.

“It’s a very bad idea to convince ourselves that we have three times the actual production capacity and make decisions based on that. Then suddenly to find out that nothing is coming out of the factories and you cannot supply Ukraine and the NATO alliance,” the source said.

It’s not good to delude oneself.
And it raises the question of the viability of NATO partners.

The approximately 25 years of decline in European defence budgets between the end of the Cold War and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 inevitably led to the downsizing of Europe’s defence-industrial capacities. During the Cold War, European governments were willing to finance a degree of defence-industrial overcapacity to ensure reliable access to equipment and munitions at scale. When the Cold War ended, the emphasis changed from readiness to efficiency – to doing more with less. The defence industry had little choice but to take business decisions that reduced capacity. The war in Ukraine is prompting a rapid reassessment of priorities. The challenge now is to ramp up production quickly.
And NATO EU members are failing that test. The chickens have come home to roost.

Media reports have revealed serious defence-industrial capacity problems in both Europe and the United States, including difficulties in increasing or restarting production quickly. Lead times of two to three years are regularly cited for delivering more complex systems from live production facilities, as well as for restarting dormant production lines. For example, BAE Systems recently advised the US Department of Defense that it would take 30–36 months to restart M777 howitzer production. Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said at the end of 2022 that specialised steel for tank armour would take between eight and 12 months to be delivered, and that lead times for certain electronic components for tank production can be up to 24 months. These increasingly long lead times are caused mainly by supply-chain issues and bottlenecks, which are in turn a function of the limited number of specialised suppliers in Europe.

If that is the situation US & NATO must stock excessive amount of munitions to be prepared.

Meanwhile on the Russian side.

Russia is highly dependent on access to raw materials, machine tooling and components for its weapons that it must source from abroad, often from NATO member states.

Yet NATO fails to act in concert to limit Russian access according to the article.

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Also Russia continues to gain revenue from the sale of oil because the West is unwilling to pay the political cost of stopping it. The price of gasoline would go thru the roof.

Russian oil accounts for roughly 10% of the global energy supply. If you take that away, everyone in the world is going to feel the heat (or lack thereof). No leader, especially a US President, is willing to bite that inflation causing bullet.

This boils down to one thing, is the fallout worth it? If the US severs ties to global energy markets, that could cause a global crisis or depression, and even fracture the Western alliance. Not ideal. Enforcing a Russian oil ban could lead to escalation and military involvement…also, not ideal.

According to NATO intelligence estimates, Russia produces around 250,000 artillery munitions per month, or about 3 million per year. This is roughly three times more than the combined production of the US and Europe, which is estimated to be around 1.2 million rounds per year. Russia’s defense minister has also said that artillery shell production has increased by almost 2.5 times in the past year.

“AI can help lock in on targets and then automatically — without communication, or in conditions of suppression by the enemy’s electronic warfare systems — make it possible for the drone to hit the target,” Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and technology chief Mykhailo Fedorov said in an interview in a high-security …May 16, 2024

How many drones does Ukraine produce?

The 33-year-old digital minister, who is responsible for drone production, said Ukraine was on track to produce “more than a million” drones in 2024, which would exceed a 1m target for manufacture set by the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, late last year, but could make even more.Mar 20, 2024

My comment, Russian forces are in big trouble.

What happens if the Russians have artillery munitions but nothing to fire them off.

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to Artillery Losses in Ukraine

To address these setbacks and reinforce its military capabilities, the Russian defense industry is reportedly focusing on a rapid production program, with a special emphasis on replenishing and upgrading its artillery vehicle fleet.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/russia-has-forced-the-west-to-ramp-up-production-of-older-weapons-even-gear-it-wasnt-making-any-more/ar-BB1psSl7
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a surge in demand, orders, and manufacturing of Western weaponry, including decades-old equipment and even gear that had gone out of production.

The invasion has sparked concern across the West that its militaries do not have enough ammunition and equipment if a major power like Russia decides to attack them.

And also that some particularly key types of weaponry are in worryingly short supply.

Manufacturing has increased, but experts warn it’s not enough for Western countries’ needs — both for themselves and for what they want to give to Ukraine.

This war continues to be about manpower & industrial production.

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Release of formerly classified US documents.

“First they feel they were snookered at the time of German unification. As you noted with me, [former Secretary of State James] Baker’s promises on not extending NATO military presence into what was East Germany were part of a perceived commitment not to expand the Alliance eastward,” the memo continues.

“These declassified documents underscore that U.S. officials clearly have long understood the depth of Moscow’s objections to NATO’s eastward expansion, going back to the Gorbachev era and Yeltsin’s presidency. Yet Washington proceeded with this expansion anyway, judging that Russia would remain powerless to prevent it,” George Beebe, director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute, told Responsible Statecraft. “Today, Russia is both embittered by this history and much more powerful than it was then, and it is resolved to block NATO’s incorporation of Ukraine and Georgia by whatever means necessary.”

Hm seems similar to how the US government treated indigenous people within the United States.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/explainer-why-did-russia-invade-ukraine
It’s noteworthy, however, that NATO likely has “no intention right now” to admit Ukraine to the organization, says William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, a non-partisan policy forum for global issues.

“I think NATO, and the invitation for Ukraine to join NATO at some point in the future, is simply just a pretext to potentially invade Ukraine,” he says, referring to Russia. “Ukraine is not a member of NATO, it doesn’t have any of the NATO guarantees, and so there is no hint that Ukraine will become a member of NATO soon.”

That’s just untrue.
https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_225160.htm
Secretary General in Kyiv: Ukraine is on an “irreversible path” to NATO

Putin, specifically, does not want Ukraine to join NATO “not because he has some principled disagreement related to the rule of law or something, it’s because he has a might makes right model,” adds Bradley Bowman, the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.

“He believes, ‘Hey, Ukraine, I’m more powerful than you, and because I’m more powerful than you, Ukraine, I can tell you what to do and with whom to associate,’” Bowman says.

LOL Very similar to the US expansion of NATO eastward: Hey Yeltsin, Putin we are more powerful than you watch the expansion of NATO. You cannot do anything to stop it.

Their government is to blame. It is repugnant. I have no sympathy.

Translation: “Russia was forced to invade Ukraine, because if Ukraine joined NATO, Russia wouldn’t be able to invade Ukraine.”

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WSJ reports Russia has been able to disable HIMARS precision shells by fouling GPS. They go off target or fail to explode.

Meanwhile S Korea reports using lasers to shoot down N Korea’s drones. You would think lasers would be able to blind drones easily.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/south-korea-deploy-starwars-laser-weapons-targeting-north-korean-drones-2024-07-11/

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These are all Pentagon experiments.

Recent “exceptional” US aggression in Iraq, Syria, Libya & Yemen via Saudi surrogates & against Russia via expansion of NATO.
We do it because who can stop us? LOL
Ukraine was part of US strategy to bring down the first of two opponents [Russia]. China adventure will soon follow.
Once that adventure has been done the Wolfowitz Doctrine will be fully implemented.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/to-counter-china-nato-and-its-asian-partners-are-moving-closer-under-us-leadership/ar-BB1pDSWI
To counter China, NATO and its Asian partners are moving closer under US leadership

US announced that they will place nuclear capable missiles in Germany. That will show those commie b*stards! We’ll do a Cuba. Nah nah. And you can’t do anything about it Putin.

US history is full of unilateral intervention and regime change which I find equally repugnant.