Freedom is Not Guaranteed: Sometimes You Must Fight

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, September 11th, 2022 - 177 comments
Categories: Europe, International, Peace, Ukraine, uncategorized - Tags:

If we fail to support Ukraine’s struggle we all lose far more than self rule for 44 million people.

Ukraine has only been a democracy for 31 years and were it to be in some form victorious it would confirm the United Nations principle of self rule, enable its integration into the European Union, and would be massively empowering to good people confronting other global challenges.

A Russian win would extend genocidal policies across Ukraine, and render the European Union deeply weakened as a project or even as a concept, and provide a righteous surge to China’s rise that includes its influence in the Pacific which is utterly against our interests.

A Russian win in case you have ignored the war for the last 6 months, is very possible, with the Russian occupation growing in the east and south, and five million Ukrainian people have had to leave with nothing of their lives left but a suitcase or a backpack.

Russia’s continued blockade of the Black Sea will continue to starve Africans and Asians of Ukraine’s grain that expands a crisis into a daily terror that will make it all but impossible to deal with common global threats such as climate change. A Russian win ensures there will only be cheap exported oil deep into the end of this century, with a 3 degree global temperature rise.

A Russian victory is likely if we do nothing. If we don’t train their troops, give them armaments, give them food, give their citizens homes in our country, then something even darker happens. The Ukraine is broken up and Balkanised into multiple Russian client-states ruled by kleptocrats and thieves seen right throughout Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgizstan and the rest. A Russian victory strengthens the hand of tyrants and regional paramilitaries who see politics as nothing more than opportunities for 1% oligarchs to prop up the 5% managerial brokers who keep them in power funnelling cash their way. Forever.

A Russian victory will see a quick expansion of the Russian Collective Security Treaty right to the door of NATO. The Baltic states would be threatened, as would key trade points of Baltic Finland.

A Russian victory is the death of supported democracy for 44 million people on earth, and a hammer blow for any across the world trying to improve it.

The Russia-Ukraine war is establishing principles for the 21st century.

We have to support the Ukrainians if we want democratic values and global cooperation on climate to survive. That means we have to help them fight to win.

Let’s compare the Greek and Turkish approaches briefly.

Back in the day when the temporary invention of democracy was evolving, Athens had to win wars to survive. The most famous defence of democracy, the funeral oration of Pericles, is about the harmony of risk and freedom. For Greece, Ukraine, and indeed ourselves, both prosperity and sometimes survival depends on sea trade. Ancient Athenians were nourished by grain brought from the north coast of the Black Sea grown in the black earth of what is now Ukraine.

Greece as an EU state represents one way of approaching Russia’s invasion. We could recognise that alongside the Jews, the Greeks are the longest inhabitants of Ukraine. Mariupol was their city for several thousand years until the Russians destroyed it three months ago. The southern region of Kherson where combat continues, bears a Greek name from a Greek city. That famous Greek God Poseidon had his name on the missiles that sank the Russian flagship Moskva.

Or we in New Zealand can go the Turkish route. This is the route of appeasing the tyrant Putin. President Erdogan like President Trump has ground his democratic order into broken pieces. Turkey has ensured that it will be the last to vote on NATO accession for Norway and Finland for maximum brokering price: the vote must be unanimous across all member states.

The Erdogan route is the route that says the Ukrainians are largely at fault, it’s time to give in to Russia, let the trade flow again at all human cost. The price of this cowardly retreat in the face of Russian aggression is a strong alignment of Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Iran, and unity against open democracy from the Himalayas to the Carpathain Mountains.

So let’s set out what may be gained if we support a successful repudiation of Russia from Ukraine.

It is a victory over tyrants. A century ago we learnt what happened when in Spain the tyrants won, and fascism grew. Imagine if the Spanish Republicans had won and more of Europe united against Hitler’s Germany. Tens of millions of lives saved and more peaceful world.

It is a victory over oil. Europe can if Russia is defeated continue its world-leading accelerated conversion away from transport petroleum and meets its ambitious goals. Another petro-state finds its highest-use customer just doesn’t need it any more.

It is a victory over lies. The Russian lies that infected the United States 2016 election for which many dozens of people have been indicted and jailed, becomes a highwater mark of deception that retreats. Ukrainian society is opened to less filtered internet news, more open contests of opinion and allegiance are enabled.

It is a victory for hundreds of thousands of families. The millions of refugee children and couples who have fled to Poland and elsewhere will be able to return and re-build their shattered homes and lives. Few will return to a Russian-dominated suzerainty.

That is what is at stake if we do not support Ukraine now.

177 comments on “Freedom is Not Guaranteed: Sometimes You Must Fight ”

  1. Mike the Lefty 1

    Putin apologists make a big thing about Ukraine being a "flawed democracy".

    It is not half as flawed as Russian democracy.

    More than a decade ago Putin stopped bothering to pretend that there was any in Russian elections, or what should more accurately be called “selections”.

    As for Turkey, its democracy is shaky at best. When it stops denying that it did anything wrong when it practiced genocide against the Armenians in 1915 then maybe the Western world can take it seriously.

    • mikesh 1.1

      Putin apologists make a big thing about Ukraine being a "flawed democracy".

      It is not half as flawed as Russian democracy.

      Trying to justify any particular position with regard to this war by claiming that this or that shamocracy has anything to do with it simply will not cut it.

      • Mike the Lefty 1.1.1

        When did I mention the war?

        • mikesh

          When did I mention the war?

          When you mentioned Ukraine it gave the impression that you had in mind the war that is going on there.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            Invasion of Cyprus ( a commonwealth country) by Turkey a Nato member in 1974 where they remain to this day . Yes we remember the UK, which has bases on the island still , fighting back to support the legit government- for Freedom!

            Invasion of Panama by US in Dec 89. We remember the Western countries fighting back to this violation of international law

            Invasion of Kosovo by Nato in 1998 , where US still stations troops, again violation of international law as it wasnt approved by UN security council. no sign the Nato troops are going or Kosovo free to choose their own government or independence

            Invasion of Yemen by Saudi Arabia in 2015 , supported by its coalition of Arab states and US logistics and supplys.

            Wheres the outrage over previous invasions, so it seems that Freedom worth Fighting For( TM) is just sophistry

            Not to different to the various recent Freedom marches and demonstations we recently have had . Wrap your self in the flag, blow the bugle and start to march in step.

            • Jenny are we there yet

              Every capitalist power, needs to heed the lesson of Russia's defeat and learn to live within their own borders.

              Let the lesson being served to the Russian Federation right now, become a wake up call to all imperialist powers.

              • Blazer

                What lesson would that…be..Jenny?

                • Jenny are we there yet

                  "What lesson would that…be..Jenny?"


                  13 September 2022 at 8:54 am

                  You really are a sucker for punishment.

                  The warning of the decisive defeat of Russian imperialism for all other imperialist and capitalist powers is this:

                  19th and 20th Century style predatory imperialism will no longer be tolerated in the 21st Century.

    • Jenny are we there yet 1.2

      "….More than a decade ago Putin stopped bothering to pretend that there was any in Russian elections, or what should more accurately be called “selections”.

      As for Turkey, its democracy is shaky at best….."

      Mike the Lefty

      11 September 2022 at 8:22 am

      Hi Lefty. Those on the ground closer to events risking their lives fighting for Ukraine agree with your assessment,

      My name is Ilya. I’m an anarchist living in Ukraine. I left Russia a few years back because of the crackdown on the entire anarchist movement…..

      …..Turkey is no better than Putin’s Russia, while Poland and Hungary have swayed considerably towards conservatism lately. The Ukrainian state exerts considerably less control over its citizens’ private lives. Since Russia decided to export its authoritarian Mordor-style regime, Ukrainian society needs protection.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I have already posted on open mike Advantage. But I don't know if you had posted this before the recent news.

    As I pointed out on open mike, I think the Russians are strategically lost in Ukraine now. Brilliant strategy on the part of the Ukrainians that would be up there with some of the best military campaigns in recent history.

    • tsmithfield 2.1

      Here is a really good analysis of how the Ukrainians pulled this off.

    • Ad 2.2

      Yeah bit early.

      Been plenty of territorial change over the last 3 months.

      Hang tight.

      • tsmithfield 2.2.1

        I think the strategic aspect now is that the Ukrainians have the Russians in a strangle across the whole front now in terms of resources.

        If the Russians try to bring more in, then those incoming forces will be within the range of Ukrainian HIMARS. So, a lot of them probably wouldn't even make it to the battlefield.

        It seems to me that the Russians are in a very tight spot now, and hard to see how they get out of this.

        • Sanctuary

          The big problem for the Russians are they are 20th century army fighting a 21st century war in persuit of 19th century aims. An army is a mirror to the society that creates it. American armies do violence really well. An NZ army is always a determined citizen militia, etc etc. The Russian army is brutal, clumsy and so corrupt it is almost unbelievable. Units full of ghost soldiers (a rort as old as time where officers declare they have 500 men, when they only have 350 and pocket the pay difference for 400 men, giving the rest only the fraction required to prevent outright mutiny). The only men called up are the poorest and dumbest, everyone else can buy their way out. Troops never trained properly because corrupt officers and contractors sold the fuel and equipment allocated for exercises on the black market. The reactive armour blocks on their tanks lacked any explosives. Their soldiers complain they use helmets made in 1945, because corrupt contractors simply did not maufacture the new ones paid for or – scarely credible I know – delivered dirt cheap fibre glass ones. Russian body armour has cheap steel plates inside the covers that won't stop anything, not the modern kevlar they should have. The Russian soldiers are sent forty year old rations inside packs stamped manufactured in 2020. Most of their reserve tanks are incapable of being activated, long since stripped of anything valuable. Russian manufacturers declared their S-330 & 400 missiles can intercept HIMARS rockets when they can't, but the Russian army planned based on the assurance they could. It goes on and on and on. Russia uses railways as its main form of supply, and everything is stored in straw lined wooden boxes which requires labourious loading and packing. Western armies use pallets, sealed storage units, and computerised logistics, and modern truck fleets. I saw a photo of a broken down Russian ZIL truck yesterday. They haven't made those things since the 1980s and the design is from WW2.

          Putin has got an Imperial God complex and thinks he is recreating the Russian empire. His means, the Russian army, is useless. He was sold a pup by his generals. I am not sure what other result he could have expected. What other sort of army is the most corrupt, kleptocratic gangster state in history going to produce?

          • roblogic

            Russia’s actual army is the FSB, the troops in Ukraine are cannon fodder.

            Putin does not have the balls to commit troops from Moscow or St Petersburg, the returning coffins would be a PR disaster

        • lprent

          It seems to me that the Russians are in a very tight spot now, and hard to see how they get out of this.

          The HARM missiles appear to have been taking out Russian air-defences wholesale in the theatre as well. S400, S300, TOR, and other air defences using radar.

          Ukraine married HARM up to the MIG-29 as far back as July (see this Forbes article) as a launcher, so they are able to be launched as a stand-off against the air-defence radars. Looks like they now have good supply and are using it as a way to clear the path for the Ukrainian ground attack aircraft and helicopters.

          That makes it a lot easier to break defences over wide areas against positions with poor logistic supply. Which is what they appear to be doing (once you look through all of the usual propaganda from both sides).

          They also neatly did this by getting the Russians to concentrate in on the Kherson region, then attacking across wider frontal areas in different areas, as well as in Kherson region. So far it appears to be working.

          Now it becomes a matter of knowing when to stop (couple of weeks?) and consolidate before pushing again.

        • Tricledrown

          Putin may be done up by one of his own,how long can he keep murdering rivals . Russian military equipment is to bulky and inaccurate outdated.Russian military command is bungling at best this can't be fixed.Russia has lost huge numbers of experienced soldiers especially tank crews this can't be replaced .Russia has virtually no operational tanks with experienced crews .Newer tanks are poorly build by corrupt contractors not enough tanks left to train new crews plus no one will want to crew a death trap.Funny thing is in the latest retreat , the Ukraine have been left with huge amounts of weapons and ammunition left behind by the rabble that was the Russian army.The Russians will be getting the ammunition back but not in the way they want it. Air superiority for Russia is deminisioning every day as new anti craft systems are being supplied to Ukraine.Even Russia's most advanced weaponary is proving useless Ka 52 helicopters being shot down in droves the mig 35 being shot down by shoulder launched missiles even more laughable Russia's advanced S400 antiaircraft missiles have shot down one of their own Mig 35 advanced fighters.Russia's military is now the laughing stock its equipment even more derided.Putin saying he is going to provide advanced military equipment to nasty dictatorships is laughable.But Putin being the the narcissist meglomaniac he is will pull some dirty stunt like blowing up a nuclear power plant. If his war on the Ukraine continues to fail.

      • Sanctuary 2.2.2

        I don't think it is too early to make the call that the Ukrainians have won a major victory. The territorial gains made by the Ukraine in the past 3-4 days have been huge compared to the WW1 style tiny advances made by Russia since May. NATO (read American) strategy calls for three attacks. It is very eary but it looks like the this blow might be falling in the centre with very early reports indicating Donetsk airport may have fallen to an Ukrainian assault. This war is a victory for Ukrainian arms and another massive vindication for the American way of war in peer to peer conventional conflicts. Reports of the demise of the United States appear most premature. This is Ukraines victory, but has been heavily built on American advice, intelligence, and weapons.

        I think we need to pause for moment and consider how the pro-Putin crew have been wrong on everything so far.

        Wrong that the "Nazi" Ukraine would collapse.

        Wrong about the patriotism, resilience, courage and guile of the Ukrainian people

        Wrong that Russia could be humiliated

        Wrong that the Ukraine could not resist and fight back

        Wrong that Western military aid wouldn't make a difference

        Wrong that Putin's weaponising of energy and famine would cause the democracies to buckle to Russian blackmail.

        Wrong about literally everything, which is what happens when your morals are compromised.

        • Ad

          Remember how many cheered victory assured when the Russians departed the north? Just three months ago.

          This ain't over.

          • Sanctuary

            It isn't over – but the Ukraine currently has the initiative and Putin has got some uncomfortable options to consider. Looking at the other side of the hill the Russians clearly cannot replace their losses in their current military posture, let alone replace their heavily attrited elite airborne and special units – most of which are trapped in Kherson anyway. The bulk of the fighting was being born by the rump of the effectivel professional Russian army, heavily depleted and exhausted DNR/LNR troops and Wagner mercenaries. The inactive fronts are now – as this Kharkiv offensive indicates – held by a hodge podge screen of poorly trained para-military police, customs and border units.

            With the likely destruction of the Russian manoeuvre mass in the Izyum and Kherson pockets the Russians will have reached the end of their ability to respond withe mobile forces to Ukrainian attacks let alone resume the offensive, and risk complete collapse and defeat in detail unless they fall back almost to, if not to, the ante-bellum borders. Like I said, they cannot quickly or easily replace their manpower and material losses. They can’t keep denuding their borders or before long hungry neighbours might notice the bear is stumbling….

            So Putin can do several things. He can end the war in defeat. Unlikely, since that would probably be the end of him as well. He can use nuclear weapons. Unlikely, as the Chinese would veto it (Russia is now a Chinese vassal) and it would bring immediate NATO intervention and risk all out nuclear war with the United States. He can declare war and mobilise. Possible, but Russia hasn't got the capacity to quickly recruit, house, train and equip the sort of army he would need to resume his offensive on the Ukraine. Also, he would risk considerable domestic unrest as so far the cost of the war has been born primarily by Russia's rural poor and ethnic minorities. Losing tens of thousands of poorly trained conscripts who are the children of the urban middle class would guarantee trouble for Putin.

            Or I suppose he could do nothing. Retreat as far as he has to, scrape together what troops he can find, replace his generals, replenish his stocks (Russia is only now apparently going onto a war footing for production of ammunition etc) such as he can (sanctions are biting, replacing tanks and other heavy equipment in quantity may be impossible for Russia now) and keep fighting a miserable war of suffering and of barely disguised missile terror attacks to keep Ukraine's economy destroyed and, and plan to do it forever. That option though assumes time is on Russia's side and he can keep his own population from tiring of him and his war.

            The Ukrainians are transitioning to a motivated, western equipped and trained army of tough veterans with all the weapons America and it's allies can provide. They could just as easily re-conquer the Crimea and drive Russia out of the entire Donbas over the next year.

            My view is the war will drag on with more (tactical?) victories for the Ukraine until Putin is deposed in a coup, which must surely already be being plotted.

            • tsmithfield

              Agree totally with your analysis. Looks like you are as much obsessed over this conflict as I am.

          • Tricledrown

            Ad remember when Russia's invasion was only going to take 5 days its 6 months now and Russia is on the retreat again.This is Russia's new Afghanistan .Russia has used up all its superiority begging one of the poorest countries on earth fo help he has had the help of his murderous ally from Chechnynia his murdeous General from Syria and is still going backwards as the body bags and seriously wouned mount up the Russian's will rise up.

  3. Barfly 3

    I believe the exodus from inside Ukraine is over 11 million at the moment – with only guesses of how many are internally displaced.

    "A Russian win in case you have ignored the war for the last 6 months, is very possible"

    Recent developments have been been very favourable for Ukraine – the intentionally telegraphed Kherson offensive is being progressed quite well and the surprise Kharkiv Oblast offensive is going gangbusters reminiscent of Blitzkreig in its speed.

    I believe NZ has 150 trainers in the UK helping to train Ukrainian troops and I think NZ's financial contribution of about $20 million ain't bad.. Europe and the USA's contributions have simply been enormous both in material and money.

    As you say most eloquently

    It is a victory over tyrants.

    It is a victory over oil

    It is a victory over lies

    It is a victory for hundreds of thousands of families.


    Slava Ukraine!

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      There is not doubt that the military training programs – of which we are significant contributor since150 trainers can resonably train 10,000 willing, raw recruits in three to four months – has now produced enough Ukrainian troops sufficiently well trained to conduct a complex combined arms offensive. It helps that anything up to a couple of dozen of our trainers seem to want to go on unspecified "unpaid leave" after they've finished – and who can blame them, they are professional soldiers training men willing to die for their country. They cannot help to be moved by that and seized by a desire to lead their new recruits into the crucible of battle.

  4. Blazer 4

    Democracy is a noble cause.

    You can ask Fijians,Thais,Singaporeans,Chileans,Iranians and many others just how important it is.

    George Bush maintained 'bad' people were jealous of our freedom and democracy so had to be dealt with.

    A justification to 'police' the world to adhere to the 'principles 'of the 'Great Satan'.

    It seems that around 80% of the worlds population do not share the OP's views.

    How democratic is the Ukraine…is it corrupt,do oligarchs run it,have the Russian speaking people in the East of Ukraine been oppressed?So many pertinent questions without considering the angst Russia has expressed to having NATO threatening its borders,which is completely the opposite of what they were promised.

    Negotiations should end this tragic conflict.Doesn't seem on the agenda.

    This information seems like optimism.

    'More than 870,000 people who fled abroad since the Russian invasion on 24 February, have now returned to Ukraine, UN humanitarians said in their latest emergency update, amid concerns about deteriorating food security inside the country.

    Citing the State Border Guard Service, UN aid coordination office, OCHA, said that 30,000 people are crossing back into Ukraine every day.'

    • DB Brown 4.1

      Russian Angst? You mean Russian excuses.

      Pointing at US as an excuse for Putins behavior in Europe is weak and tired. We know the US need to pull their head in. We've all known, will continue to know… it doesn't change the long and ever accumulating list of war crimes being committed, at Putins direction, by Russian troops in Ukraine today.

      The mass killings, civilian bombardment, leveling of cities, nuclear threats, torture mutilation and rape as weapons of war. Not to mention the rise of Trump and the various armies of idiots springing up and fucking with general peace and civility throughout the west via highly funded and orchestrated nonsense generation.

      Then there's the posters who keep proclaiming who did what in WWII somehow backs up their arguments for/against Putin's Russia today.

      Is history to be learnt from, or a cudgel?

      It's not nuanced, this war. Russia has the biggest land area of any country, they don't need a buffer, they need to stop being genocidal assholes.

      • joe90 4.1.1

        they don't need a buffer

        The quiet bit out loud; deploying forces from their most forward enclave.

      • Blazer 4.1.2

        'Pointing at US as an excuse for Putins behavior in Europe is weak and tired.'

        I disagree.

        Ever since the U.S involvement in regime change in 2014..(.with Hunter Biden rushing to Ukraine for a 'job') the black hand of America has guided Ukraines foreign policy.

        Where is the call for negotiations?

        War is another profit centre for corporations….tragic.

        • DB Brown

          'Hunter Biden'

          'The black hand of America has guided Ukraine'

          So the genocidal campaign aka Special Military Retreat is justified because Hunter Biden…

          FFS there's not even an ounce of sense there.

          • Blazer

            Did not say that ….your comprehension is affected by your …bias.

            Try researching the International Court of Justice ,and the U.N Security Councils conclusions regarding international terrorism over the years.

            As for weak and tired arguments,reference to the Nazi's from WW2 would claim that…title.

          • Tricledrown

            Trump was blackmailing the Ukriane to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden while one of Trumps own cabinet was siding with the Putin Ukrainian fascist's making a $350 million out of his dealings prosecuted for not delcaring foriegn income. Funny thing is Putin killed most of his fascist allies off in his invasion.Ironic.

        • Stuart Munro

          the black hand of America

          How about some extraordinary evidence to support that extraordinary assertion. concern troll?

          • Blazer

            Tons of it…but depends on whether you accept the sources…

            'Witness senator John McCain sharing a stage with Oleh Tyahnybok in the early days of the coup[5], CIA director Brennan’s discreet visit to the Ukraine (buried near the end of a Reuters brief)[6], the taped phone call where Victoria Nuland essentially selects who would replace the deposed president[7], or the disproportionate number of high-level officials in the new government linked to neo-fascist groups.'

            The Media Ignores the CIA in Ukraine –

            'Those optimists seem to be forgetting the lessons from past U.S. efforts, including the CIA’s first attempt to support a Ukrainian insurgency against the Soviets in 1949, which ended in failure and a judgment by the CIA decades later that the effort was “ill-fated and tragic.'-LA Times.

            How and why the U.S. Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine – Modern Diplomacy

            • Stuart Munro

              Your links are absolute crap – not because of their quality, which remains to be determined, but because you have linked only to the Counterpunch site, and not to the substance of your claims. One could almost believe that, lacking confidence in your material, you did not want us to find and inspect it.

              In general though, Counterpunch, like yourself, is long on innuendo and bereft of fact. Yes, the US has been involved in Ukraine, and that includes the CIA. But trying to paint this as some kind of black hand operation as you repeatedly do, requires that you produce evidence of either malice or corruption, which you have utterly failed to establish. The comparison you should consider is postwar Germany, where both the US and CIA were actively involved in supporting the development of a stable and prosperous democratic state – in which endeavour Russia was far from supportive.

              The same observations may be made about your, frankly bullshit assertions about neonazism. What evidence can you produce of US support of such groups? What evidence – and not inneundo thankyou very much, have you of Ukrainian state support of such groups – beyond what would be normal for any government taxed by a genocidal invasion by a neighbouring superpower?

              And try, much harder than you have so far, not to argue beyond the limits of your supporting evidence. You present as one of Putin's useful dupes, not as the person striving for balance you seem to imagine you are.

    • Jenny are we there yet 4.2


      "…Negotiations should end this tragic conflict. Doesn't seem on the agenda…."


      11 September 2022 at 8:41 am

      Putin had his chance to accept a negotiated peace, but turned it down.

      Putin should have taken Ukraine's generous peace offers when they made them, instead Russia's negotiators kept mindlessly repeating demands for Ukraine's surrender, and 'denazification' i.e. Putin's euphemism for regime change.

      How could anyone negotiate with these powerless flunkies?

      • Blazer 4.2.1

        Once again…..can you present any evidence of your claim?cheers.

        • Jenny are we there yet

          Here we go again.

          Tiresome demands for evidence that is common knowledge – willfully ignored by those with a pro-Russian imperialist agenda.

          During the March negotiations Ukraine made two concessions to the Russian Federation to try and achieve a negotiated peace.

          The Ukraine government in Kiev offered the Russian Federation to get a mandate from the Ukrainian people for neutrality by holding a binding referendum on Ukraine neutrality. (Referendums are not uncommon in democracies for deciding constitutional matters of major importance, but are unfamiliar to autocracies which are ruled by decree).

          Zelensky says Ukraine prepared to discuss neutrality in peace talks

          • Published

            28 March 2022

          Ukraine's president has said his government is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia.

          In an interview with independent Russian journalists, Volodymyr Zelensky said any such deal would have to be put to a referendum in Ukraine.

          …..The news comes as the negotiations between the two countries are set to resume this week in Turkey….

          …The possibility of Ukrainian neutrality is not new. It's been discussed by Russian and Ukrainian officials for at least two weeks.

          But President Zelensky's reference is perhaps the most explicit so far.

          Clearly, there's no room for Nato membership in such a vision of Ukraine's future.

          Removing that aspiration from Ukraine's constitution (it was added in 2019) will need to be put to a referendum. With support for membership at an all-time high, it will be a bitter pill for many Ukrainians to swallow….

          For a referendum to proceed it is obvious that a ceasefire would firstly have to be agreed to. The bloody minded Russian negotiators refused to consider a ceasefire even for the negotiations. Instead pressing ahead with their invasion while attending 'peace talks'.

          In a recognition of the situation on the ground, Ukraine also offered the Russia Federation, a concession that Ukraine would not forcibly try to retake Ukrainian territory in the Donbas occupied by Russia before February 24, 2020.

          On occupied territories

          Zelensky told the journalists his goal was to “minimize the victim count, end the war as soon as possible and withdraw the Russian troops to ‘compromise’ territories… I realize that it is impossible to make Russia leave these territories. It would lead to World War Three,” he said.

          ….President Zelensky says Russian troops must retreat to positions held before Moscow's full-scale invasion began on 24 February.

          He says Ukraine will not try and retake the Donbas or Crimea by force,

          Inside Russia, possession or sharing of video of the Ukraine President's peace offer was suppressed on pain of 15 year prison sentences.

          Blazer I suppose you could be excused for your ignorance, if you were only getting your information from RT or through English language Russian sources, because you would have seen or read nothing of Ukraine's peace offer there .
          President Volodymyr Zelensky reinforced Ukraine's position about not forcing the situation on the ground in Donbas, in his address to the Russian people on social media.

          There are two significant things here:

          That this statement was made public before the Russian people means that Ukraine would be held to it.

          The other significant thing, is that the Russian authorities did their best to make sure the Russian people didn't hear it. This is an indication that the Putin regime did not want peace at all. Not until they have achieved all their declared and undeclared war aims.

          The reason for this censorship? Russian propagandists have claimed that the war is being fought to achieve two things; protecting the Russian speaking population in the Donbas from alleged Ukrainian oppression, and keeping Ukraine out of NATO.

          Zelensky interview and peace terms banned in Russia.

          • Blazer

            Russia was not likely to take any Ukrainian 'guarantees' seriously because….

            ' Minsk II, which was signed on 12 February 2015.[6] This agreement consisted of a package of measures, including a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners of war, constitutional reform in Ukraine granting self-government to certain areas of Donbas and restoring control of the state border to the Ukrainian government. While fighting subsided following the agreement's signing, it never ended completely, and the agreement's provisions were never fully implemented.[7] The Normandy Format parties agreed that the Minsk II remains the basis for any future resolution to the conflict.'-Wiki

            Zelensky played 'chicken' with Russia…relying on the U.S and NATO to back him up.

            After the conflict began he even said…'they've left us on our own'.

            When was the last offer to negotiate promoted?

            • Stuart Munro

              Fatuous – Russia was already in breach of the Budapest memorandum.

              The memoranda, signed in Patria Hall at the Budapest Convention Center with US Ambassador Donald M. Blinken amongst others in attendance,[2] prohibited the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States from threatening or using military force or economic coercion against Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, "except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations." As a result of other agreements and the memorandum, between 1993 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons.[3][4]

              • Blazer

                I guess all that means is no side trusts the other to follow agreements that seem to be…meaningless.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Hey – you were the one that got all righteous about treaties.

                  Once your cause is lost you don't care about them any more – surprise surprise.

                  It might astonish you to know that we've been arguing with Putin trolls here for years – and almost all of them were better informed than you.

                  • Blazer

                    My cause is NOT lost…your virtue signalling is an indictment on your shallow understanding of geo politics.

      • Sanctuary 4.2.2

        One of the peculiar things about Russia – a heavily armed nuclear power – is the complete lack of a succession mechanism for Putin. No Politburo, no system of hereditary succession, no congres of the people, no nothing. I have no doubt this is by design – Putin certainly has reasoned with Orwellian cunning that if no pathway to replace him existed whatsoever then no replacement of him could be imagined.

        But at some stage you'd imagine that his generals will begin to get worried that he is going to start replacing them with a greater degree of prejudice, and it might be smart to get in first.

        • Blazer

          They have the Duma and just like the Tory reps replaced Bojo with Truss,I'm sure someone like Lavrov would be chosen to step up.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Deeply appreciate your post Ad. I have little to add.

    Democracy as we know it is an imperfect stage of our political evolution – but we cannot allow its flaws to be an excuse to revert to the tyrannies of tribalism, warlording and totalitarianism that was universal before it.

    • Jenny are we there yet 5.1


      "Democracy as we know it is an imperfect stage of our political evolution…."


      11 September 2022 at 10:32 am

      As Churchill once said, even though democracy may be imperfect. All around the globe down through history knowing its worth, people have been prepared to give their lives to preserve democracy.

      "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried…"

      Winston Spencer Churchill

      Democracy will always be better than autocracy and dictatorship. In my opinion, the ideal, next ‘stage of our political evolution’ is not just to defend democracy, but to deepen and broaden democratic decision making into every possible sphere of human activity.

      Maybe the new connected world will help us to do that.

      • Blazer 5.1.1

        How often does democracy ever reflect the will of the …majority?

        • Jenny are we there yet

          A better question Blazer:

          How often does dictatorship and autocracy reflect the will of the majority?

          Everyone knows, or should know, the answer to that question.

          Which is why people from Myanmar to Ukraine are fighting and dying for democracy.

          • Blazer

            So you answer a question with a..question!..very good.

            The people in Ukraine are dying for the U.S $.

            Mynmar is just another military junta ruling by force.They do not have sufficient resources for the West to worry about freedom and democracy.

  6. joe90 6

    Winners and losers.

    #Сватово (occupied for now), Lugansk region, collaborators are trying to fuck off #роспроп

    Жители Купянска в спешке покидают свои дома, опасаясь репрессий от киевского режима

    Сотни машин из Купянска через Сватово в ЛНР — жители начали покидать свои дома со вчерашнего вечера, когда появились сообщения о том, что ВСУ подходят к Купянску и готовятся к штурму. Как передает военкор Readovka Кирилл Имашев, местные жители уезжают в сторону ЛНР, подконтрольной России территории, остерегаясь разного рода репрессий со стороны украинской армии.

    «Все, кто хоть как-то содействовал администрации, или хоть как-то похлопал на пророссийском митинге, они будут подвергнуты репрессиям. Людям, конечно же, страшно», — сообщил Кирилл.

    По последним данным, часть Купянска контролируется украинскими боевиками, русская армия ушла за реку Оскол, чтобы занять там позиции и перегруппироваться. На данный момент эвакуация жителей также объявлена в Купянске, Изюме, Шевченково.

    Residents of Kupyansk leave their homes in a hurry, fearing reprisals from the Kyiv regime Hundreds of cars from Kupyansk through Svatovo to the LPR – residents began to leave their homes since yesterday evening, when there were reports that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were approaching Kupyansk and preparing for an assault. According to Readovka military correspondent Kirill Imashev, local residents are leaving towards the LPR, the territory controlled by Russia, being wary of various kinds of reprisals from the Ukrainian army. “Anyone who somehow assisted the administration, or at least somehow clapped at a pro-Russian rally, they will be subjected to repression. People, of course, are scared, ”Kirill said. According to the latest data, part of Kupyansk is controlled by Ukrainian militants, the Russian army has gone beyond the Oskol River to take up positions there and regroup. At the moment, the evacuation of residents has also been announced in Kupyansk, Izyum, Shevchenkovo.

    google translate

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Looks like the Russians are making a goodwill gesture by donating huge amounts of equipment to Ukraine.

    • DS 8.1

      Yes, the Soviets were morally rotten. But they saved the world from Hitler, and anything else – especially bullshit false equivalency – is tantamount to downplaying what the Nazis actually were.

      Generalplan Ost, and all that.

      • Tricledrown 8.1.1

        The soviets were no kinder to the Jewish people or their own,Stalin murdered 25 million of his own , imprisoned millions more enslaved millions no better than Hitler.2 wrongs don't make anything right.

        • DS

          Stalin was an anti-semitic shitbag. He let millions starve and freeze because he didn't care. But he didn't seek to use industrial capacity to exterminate Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, etc. Hitler did… and GeneralplanOst shows what he would have done if he hadn't been stopped.

          It was the Russian people who stopped him. This crap about "Russian WWII mythology" is Nazi-apologism and needs to stop.

          • RedLogix

            You misread the comment. Yes the Russian people pushed the Nazi's out of their homeland, but Stalin merely replaced a German fascism with a Russian one.

            And given Putin is in essence an heir of this Stalinist legacy, it seems entirely reasonable the Ukranian people should now be pushing that same Russian fascism out of their homeland.

            • adam

              But their is a difference between being a dictator who fucks with their whole population and kills great wades of it through neglect, show trials, purges and imprisonment.

              And a dictator who does all the above plus, turns the state into a killing machine – to kill people based on race, sexual preference, religious beliefs and disability.

              One is fucked up, the other is truly fucked up.

              • RedLogix

                If you feel that the difference between the Nazi and Stalinist death toll is worth quibbling over – knock yourself out. I always felt that once you have gone past a million or so intentional deaths – you have more or less proven your point as a mass murderer.

                • adam

                  Nope, I'm arguing intent. Stalin was a fucking bastard – but Hitler and Co. took that further, into culling of society based on what they saw as its’ degenerative members.

                  Stalin was driven by his own ego to be right and screw who was in the way. With an utter disregard for human life, a disdain for it. He and his cronies killed millions and more scum them.


                  Hitler and Co. decided people had to die to fit a set of ideals, and then used the state to systematically kill them.

                  Not quibble, but real difference in approach and intent. Not saying they all 'ant scum. Am saying to make them the same is to ignore the horror that each of them represent.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    It's an interesting argument – but there's a fair amount of evidence against it. The Holodomor looks pretty genocidal in intent. The Katyn Massacre is often compared to Auschwitz. and there were a series of massacres of ethnic peoples of which the Chechen invasions were only the most recent.

                    Notions of white Russian superiority are still somewhat prevalent among that population, as may be seen from slang terms like khokhol, and chornaya zhopa, and the relatively poor treatment of those people.

            • DS

              Stating that "Russian fascism merely replaced German fascism" rather overlooks the bullshit false equivalency inherent in that statement. We know what forty years of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Now imagine forty years of Nazi domination of Eastern Europe.

              One can be shitty without being on the level of the Nazis. Not least because this bullshit false equivalence implies that the Second World War was fought for nothing. After all, the Soviets won WWII. They're bad… so how is that different from the Nazis winning WWII? Answer: very different, because "merely replacing German fascism with Russian fascism" literally means the difference between squalid dictatorship and the end of civilisation.

      • Tiger Mountain 8.1.2

        Yes, Generalplan Ost showed where German Fascism was headed.

  8. Bazza64 9

    Very good post & great read.

  9. Scud 10

    The last 96+ hrs has been totally bonkers.

    Even the open source military intelligence on twitter, where I hide nowadays can't keep up.

    My take on this, like the Battle of Tañnenberg in 1914 was the beginning of the end of Tsar Nicholas.

    The last 96+ hrs in Ukraine, could be well be the beginning of the end for Tsar Poot's?

    Tsar Poot's remaining Formed Combat Unit of any size that is the Russian 3rd Army Corps, which I last heard some 24hrs ago. Is now stuck in "No Man's Land" between the two Ukrainian Military Offensives.

    The 3rd Army Corp was in the Izyum Area prior to the Kherson Offensive, but was sent to Kherson to shore up the Defence of Kherson.

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Tsar Poot's Office in the Kremlin atm.

    • Ad 10.1

      I'm doubtful Ukraine can sustain anything like this momentum into late Autumn.

      Let's see who can battle the best in snow, slushy bog, and twilight.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        The West will have more motivation than ever to arm Ukraine now because the quickest way out of this now is for Ukraine to defeat Russia as quickly as possible.

        Russia will struggle badly in the winter. Their logistics are stuffed, and they are going to find it really hard to keep their troops warm and fed.

  10. Stuart Munro 11

    It is a rediscovery, it seems, that democracy is important. The Americans have discovered it, as they realize they nearly lost it to Trump. Poland, and other countries that suffered soviet occupation, have not forgotten.

    America has rediscovered it, and for the first time since the Korean War have an intervention that brings them fame instead of shame. Russia, which in the aftermath of the soviet collapse (and somewhat before that in fact), has a newfound interest in genuine democracy. Russian exiles will be glad to hear it – yet bitter that they had to lose their country and the best years of their lives waiting for the kleptocracy to fail.

    Much as New Zealanders have suffered since Rogergnomics – the outrageous thefts that proceeded without bothering to seek a public mandate the authors knew they could never secure.

    • Blazer 11.1

      ' newfound interest in genuine democracy. '

      How do you identify genuine democracy….is it an abscence of big money donors and expedient promises to win the hearts and minds…of voters..or?

      • Stuart Munro 11.1.1

        I am of course contrasting it with the corrupt versions found in the worst autocracies.

        Even North Korea pretends to democracy – enough to call themselves the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Putin makes a similar profession, though he abolished term limits and routinely murders and imprisons his opposition as well as journalists.

        • Blazer

          Interesting…this from Wiki…

          'There are 53 assassinated American politicians listed. The most common method of homicide was with one or more gunshots, leading to the death of 48 politicians on the list..'

          Then there is Gitmo…and Assange to consider…and a whole lot more.

          • Stuart Munro

            Yes yes – but so far no American president has made himself president for life, poisoned political opponents and inconvenient persons, or had less than fanatically loyal staff shot with anti-aircraft weapons.

            Pause your hatred for America long enough to recognize that there are worse regimes, and that they necessarily deserve your bile more than America.

            • Blazer

              It's more about balance than hate.

              You must have a high opinion of Lee Kwan Yu of Singapore.

              Btw I haven't mentioned the list of Americans foreign assassination targets.

              Goodies and baddies only exist if you look at the world in black and white terms.

              • Stuart Munro

                Goodies and baddies only exist if you look at the world in black and white terms.

                Childish nonsense. We have prisons because sadly, that isn't true.

                • Blazer

                  Childish nonsense ..indeed.

                  Food for thought…

                  ' With some 2.2 million adults and youth in juvenile detention facilities, prisons, and jails, the United States incarcerates many more people—and a higher percentage of our population—than any other nation in the world. '

                  Incarceration Rates: A Key Measure of Health in America – RWJF

                  • Stuart Munro

                    There is a significant socioeconomic competent to civil criminality.

                    Yet there are still folk who have gone bad among them, likely more than there would have been had there been more social justice.

                    Times have been much harder in former soviet territory than in America – the crop of saints and monsters is proportionate.

                  • DB Brown

                    You're all over the place. What are you blazing because it's clearly stronger than what I'm blazing.

                    You've gone from Hunter Biden (the ammo of MAGA fruitloops) to terrorism laws to incarceration rates to assassination rates.

                    What's the point you are making? America BAD, is that it? Russia good?

                    • Blazer

                      The point is…'balance'.

                      Human nature never changes.

                      Demonising nations that do not comply with U.S hegemony should be seen for the propaganda…it is.

                      Double standards are conveniently overlooked to justify arguments.

                    • DB Brown

                      Doesn't make sense, again. Nobody's overlooking double standards here, we know who the US is and you know that we know. You lack facility for nuance despite saying your point is about balance.

                      Sitting here in safe wee NZ you can make all sorts of claims about others – and you won't disappear. Your tea wont taste of almonds, your upper story windows won't suddenly open. When you get to the point of spreading hardcore trouble you might get locked up like an Arps-hole, but even then you get your say in court.

                      False equivalence is what you got.

                      See if America sucks you can run for something, stand for something, call it out. Just try that shit in Putins' Russia.

                      We know who the fascists are. We also know the deep seated hypocrisy of churches, institutions, politicians and governments. That seems to be the crux of every and any counter argument to standing up to Putin, whatabout this, whatabout that.

                      What about it?

                      The genocidal war criminal who is currently threatening the world with nuclear weapons is a piece of shit, and he's gonna get his. Then, just to make 2022 a huge win for free people, let's see Trump in a boiler suit or noose as icing on the cake.


                      F'ing lame-ass BS.

                    • Blazer

                      Nothing much makes sense to you.

                      Why does Edward Snowden live in Russia?

                      What have been the repercussions of America's 'War on Terror'?

                      The U.S had their special military operation -Operation Free Iraq..nowhere near U.S borders…were you screaming your tits off…then?

                    • DB Brown

                      Now you're bringing up Snowden, War On Terror and Iraq?

                      Fuck off you clown.

                    • Blazer []

                      Oh dear… such passion.. such tolerance. sad

    • RedLogix 12.1

      Many of these guys will have come from relatively isolated or deprived parts of Russia. It is not the sons of the elites and educated that Putin is pushing into the slaughter house.

      I'm not up for scoffing at their ignorance and fears either.

      • joe90 12.1.1

        Weird how he needs the concept of a law-bound army explained to him and his major concern is whether or not he'd be mutilated should he desert.

        Is the RU army so concerned about desertions that it runs a rumour mill about what befalls those who do? Is he familiar with how UK POWs have been treated?

  11. John 13

    Rule by WEF puppets isn't self-rule. It's the end of self-determination and democracy.

  12. Muttonbird 14

    What's the game here? To render Russia as a neutered beast to be used and abused for cheap resources like China?

    That'd suit the West fine I'm sure but what of the long term and what of differences between China and Russia. China has enjoyed centuries of discipline and stability. Russia has always been an emotional mess.

    If you get rid of Putin, much, much worse might follow him.

    • joe90 14.1

      What's the game here?


      The goals of the Forum are: the reconstruction and structural transformation of Russia, the economic and political development of historical-cultural regions and autonomies, the full implementation of civil rights and freedoms, and peoples’ social well-being.

      Forum participants develop approaches to the independent post-Putin nation states transitional administrations and governments creation, discuss minimizing risks of uncontrolled collapse in key sectors (including demilitarization with a complete rejection of the nuclear arsenal), form the new European collective security architecture and develop policies of peaceful, good-neighborly coexistence of the new independent republics of Russia and neighboring countries.

      • Among the Forum main focus areas are:
      • De-imperialization and Decolonization
      • Deputinization and Denazification
      • Demilitarization and Denuclearization
      • Economic and Social changes

      Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine showed the world that a resurgent Russia means, of necessity, an imperialist Russia. And it revived discussions about whether Russia needs to be “decolonized,” or perhaps “defederalized,” to bury its imperialist ambitions and subdue its military threat. A breakup of today’s Russia, similar to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is seen as a possible, for some even the most desirable, outcome of a failed Ukraine invasion. Regrets are voiced that the US didn’t make it a goal in the 1990s, when post-Soviet Russia lay in ruins and struggled to hold onto one, tiny secessionist region: Chechnya.

      • Muttonbird 14.1.1

        Might as well try break up the United States.

        • joe90

          If the US had close to 200 ethnic groups speaking 270 languages there's every chance it would break up.

          • Muttonbird

            They did, before European colonisation erased them. I'm sure those peoples would love to have retained their identity and language they way they have in Russia.

        • Tricledrown

          YUUUp thats what Putin wants a weak US and a Weak Europe.Putin undermining democracy.Putin Invaded the Ukraine not long after the US withdrew from Afghanistan thinking that the US had no apatite for any new conflict but was mistaken Putin also thought after Russian victories in Chechenya and Syria that it would be a cake walk taking over the Ukraine like he had done in Georgia and Crimea.But its turned into another Afghanistan with ten times the casualties.

  13. It appears something like 25,000 Russian troops are semi-isolated around Kherson, after the Ukrainians cut the bridges.

    Given Russia's known logistic problems, how long before General Winter, who helped defeat both Napoleon and Hitler, begins to take a hand and deals a blow to the Russian army, which is nowhere near as competent at the Soviet one of 1942?

    • tsmithfield 15.1

      Yes. Apparently supplies are coming in to the Russians by helicopter and boat in the Kherson Oblast. Hardly modes of supply sufficient to keep a 25000 strong force supplied with food, ammo, and fuel.

      So, it is just a matter of time before the Kherson Oblast falls and the Russians make another goodwill gesture to the Ukrainians by leaving huge amounts of equipment behind as they flee.

      • Scud 15.1.1

        Seen a Logistics Table, for the Kherson Pocket, it wasn't pretty for the Russians even if the UrK Military kept one bridge up for humanitarian purposes.

        But even that bridge was finally drop. As has had all the pontoon bridges & other suitable crossing points across the Dnipro River have been Destroyed & now under surveillance as soon anyone attempts a crossing its hit with IDF (Indirect Fire).

        Not good for Morale either from a Sustainment POV or evacuation of the wounded out of the Kherson Pocket.

        The UrK Military is going to the Russian Army in the Kherson Pocket like a Pig on Spit, nice & slowly with a sprinkling of Salt here in there to make the cracking nice & hard as its separates from the meat.

  14. tsmithfield 16

    So, what is realistic for the Ukrainians to achieve before winter?

    I think it is quite realistic to see the Russians pushed back to their pre-February borders by then. I don't think the Ukrainians will have completely liberated their country, including Crimea by then though.

    Another factor will be the political situation in Russia. Will Putin survive all this?

    Logically, the best thing Russia could do right now to help Russia is completely withdraw their forces, and try and get back on good terms with the West. I don't think that is possible while Putin is in power.

    • Stuart Munro 16.1

      Post-Putin Russia contains an interesting set of possibilities. If Russia wants free of sanctions, repudiating Putin, and better yet sending him to the Hague, would go a long way towards normalizing relations with the West. Restarting gas supplies to Germany would then improve relations, and give an income stream from part of which reparations could be paid to Ukraine.

      An exit from Crimea would be required – but at least it would not be in bags and boxes.

      Russia has a habit of doing things the hard way however.

  15. lprent 17

    Economist: "Is Russia on the run?". The salient quotes are in these paragraphs.

    Ukraine’s secret counteroffensive hinged on its ability to deny Russian planes free movement near the front lines. That was possible thanks to new American-supplied anti-radar missiles, communications systems and air-defence guns, a military source says. But the source says the thrust had also benefited from “cunning” deception. The Ukrainians deliberately thinned out heavy weaponry from the attack force, with the initial breakthrough at Balakliya said to involve only 15 or so tanks, according to Russian reports. In fact, that was a ruse to make it seem as if the attack was a feint, intended merely to pin down Russian forces and prevent them from redeploying to defend against the supposed main counter-offensive further south, in Kherson region. The Russian high command was guilty of hubris. “They’ve always looked at us as a kind of younger brother”, says the source. “It’s time to start respecting us”.

    At one stage, Ukrainian units were moving so fast that senior officials were unsure how far they had got. Open-source analysts who track the conflict were forced to redraw their maps hourly. Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region, said he believed it would be only “a matter of time” before Ukrainian troops crossed the Donets river and moved into Svatove, Rubizhne, Lysychansk and Severodonetsk—towns in the northern part of the Luhansk region, which Russia boasted of capturing in its entirety in early July.

    Russians and local collaborators were already “running”, he said. “Their lines are just disintegrating.” But Ukraine’s next moves would be “measured”, calculated to avoid losses, he promised. Oleh Zhdanov, a former operational officer at Ukraine’s general staff, said Ukraine’s military leadership would try to develop the attack at a slower pace. “We have to consolidate support lines to the rear. It’s dangerous to go too fast.”

    There is some speculation whether Ukraine might now exploit Russian disarray to strike elsewhere: either by bolstering a counterattack in Kherson, where progress continues in piecemeal fashion, albeit with heavy casualties, or by opening up a third axis of attack somewhere else. It is unclear whether Ukraine has a third fully-formed battlegroup ready. Ukraine’s generals are giving little away, and the military source remains tightlipped. Ukraine had mobilised the people, he says, but “whether the West has given us enough equipment is an open question.”

    It is moving really fast. Now the balance is between extension and consolidation. Extend too far and you get chopped to pieces like the Russians did in their advance towards Kyiv earlier this year because they failed to consolidate their gains. Consolidate too early and it winds up as being slog fest.

    The problem for the Russians is that they are running out of trained 'professional' troops that they can easily throw into the morass and give them time to get positioned to either defend or attack..

    • tsmithfield 17.1

      The Russians are also certain to lose Kherson now as well. Nothing much the Russians can do about that, and arguably will be a greater defeat than what has just happened up North due to a lot bigger Russian force being defeated. The Ukrainians are slowly closing the noose in that respect.

      With the bridges badly damaged, the Russians will not be able to take their heavy equipment out with them when they decide to retreat.

      Thus, one effect of both Russian defeats will be a massive transfer of weapons to Ukraine. I suspect that Ukraine will have a larger army and will outgun Russia soon.

      So far as maintaining captured territories is concerned, the Ukrainians have their own reservists and militia who can do that task, while the rest of the Ukrainian army focus on what is left of the Russian army.

      I seriously doubt the Russians are even thinking about counter-attacking at the moment, but rather trying to cobble together some sort of defence of what they already hold.

      • Tricledrown 17.1.1

        This reminds me of the Israeli Wars in the 60's and 70's The Russians were on the front lines helping the Arabs but got blitzed by a more modern better lead army the Russian's ran for it and even left their boots behind.Russian military tactics and equipment hasn't improved much since then.

        • tsmithfield

          Some of the equipment they are bringing in now is probably worse than back then by the look of it.

    • Stuart Munro 17.2

      Evidently there is a seasonal limit to rapid advances – the rains are expected in weeks, and this will likely settle the new fronts wherever they are at that time.

      Where logistics are already straightened, things may get worse – the Kherson occupiers for example. But in some parts, notably Kharkiv, Russian morale is at breaking point. A recovery is not to be expected overnight, and conventional force assumptions become unreliable if one side is as likely as not to choose to leave.

      • tsmithfield 17.2.1

        Do you think the Kherson front will last that long for the Russians?

        Normally I would agree about the rains because that means convoys have to move by road which makes them vulnerable to ambushes. But I am not so sure that logic applies if Ukraine is dominant and can control the area they are moving through.

        Also, things would normally slow down over winter. But, the ground is hard then due to being frozen which makes it easier to move mechanised vehicles over.

        The Ukrainians may well decide to go on a major offensive over winter against cold, hungry, demotivated Russian troops who would rather be somewhere else.

        • Stuart Munro

          I think Ukraine wants a surrender in Kherson, in part to limit damage to civilian infrastructure. Whether they can get one as readily as in the northeast remains to be seen.

          Yes, I think Ukraine will continue fighting into winter, and Russian conscripts will be more readily isolated and overcome then than more experienced troops. Nevertheless, I don't expect many 50km advances once the ground is softer.

          The temptation to take Belgorod immediately must be substantial too.

          • tsmithfield

            I don't think they would do that. That could be seen as justification by Russia to use nukes.

            And, I have seen some reports that the Russians may be considering relocating their logistics hub away from Belgorod due to the fact it isn't much use their anymore.

            If the Russians tried doing that, it would give a good window of opportunity for the Ukrainians to strike again while the logistics were being reconfigured.

            There are rumours that the Russians are preparing to surrender in Kherson at the moment btw. But we will have to wait to see if that is true.

            • Stuart Munro

              There have been a couple of successful cross border raids already. Such a raid on Belgorod would severely hamper Russian efforts to reestablish a perimeter in the northeast – freeing up a substantial force for… fresh mischief. But I get the impression Ukraine games out fresh initiatives very carefully before committing forces.

              I think we can take the Russian targeting of electrical infrastructure as a declaration of intent to try to use winter to subdue Ukraine. But the wolves of winter might not prove to be Russian this time around.

              • tsmithfield

                Raids are one thing. But in your previous post, you mentioned the Ukrainians taking Belgorod. I think actually trying to take and occupy a part of Russia would either provoke a nuclear attack, or give Russia the excuse it needs to fully mobilise. So, I don't think occupying is likely. Though raids probably are happening frequently.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Nukes are a whole other question – for all that it is claimed that battlefield nukes are part of Russian doctrine, it would not be career-enhancing to be the commander that nuked a Russian city unless one could point to an insuperable threat. And current Russian thinking can barely conceive of a credible Ukrainian threat – which is why they are in so much trouble.

                  From a strategic perspective though, a significant breakthrough through fortified positions is an opportunity to do what Rommel did to France – and I think Russian rear areas may be even less organized than France's were.

    • Scud 17.3

      The Kharkiv Offensive, is an interesting Feat of Arms in modern military times.

      The biggest Tactical UkR Army Unit was Brigade size with the expectation of the UkR Artillery which was group at Divisional Level.

      The Combined Arms Brigades of the UkR Armoured Corps, are the ones that did the heavy punching through the Russian Defensive Belt which is no mean feat either.

      Not only did the Tankies shatter Russia Defensive Belt, but also immediate Russian Reserves and like any set piece Rugby play.

      The Forwards (The Tankies) were able to feed good clean ball to the Backs & in case the UkR Motorised & Cavalry to exploit the Green Fields Beyond with all despatch.

      As I said, the biggest Tactical UkR Army Unit has been Brigade size. Normal Military Logic for an Offensive/ Counter Offensive of size is at Divisional or Corp Level.

      The UkR Military in particular the Army including it's Government, does not only trust it Cdrs, but allowing them tactical flexibility without interference from higher as long as each Brigade Mutually Support each other.

      As result I don't anyone was expecting the size results, that this offensive has achieved.

      The 100-200hrs is going to be crucial for either side & in-particular for the Russians.

      The Russians are totally up shit creek Militarily & Logistically.

      The Russians don't have Strategic Reverse in the Nth East/ Eastern Ukraine & that unit was the 3rd Russian Army Corp. Which was last reported somewhere between the Kherson Region & Sth East of the Donetsk Region, no doubtedly strung out like a dog's breakfast.

      The other issue for the Russians, is that they have abandoned all of their heavy equipment & supply dumps which can't be replaced quickly either. So the best hope for the Russian atm, is that General Mud arrives early or the UkR Army ends up Patton's 3rd Army after the breakout from the D Day Bridgeheads & the crossing of the Sene River in 44.

      For the UkR Army its all about Logistics Baby. The 2nd most boring Military Subject in PMET (Professional Military Education and Training).

      One of the beauties of the UkR Military, is that it uses the same military equipment as the Russians.

      This allows the A Echelon & the Fighting Echelons to have a certain degree of being Self Sustainable & more importantly keeps the Russian on the Run without the B Echelon trying to sustain the A Ech after the breakout.

      But there is a B Side to this 45 record.

      While the A& F Echelons can self sustain themselves in the short to medium term of this offensive.

      The need for the B Echelon over the long term is greater,-The need to move Battlefield Casualties quick back from the A Ech to the more fully equipped Military Hospitals in the B Ech & even greater for sustaining morale in the A & F Echelons.

      The flip to this, is also moving those battlefield replacements ie personal quickly to the A & F Echelons to sustain combat power & morale

      The B Echelon other issues repairing the MSR (Main Supply Route) Infrastructure move heavy equipment/ supplies for the next phase of the Offensive quickly & processing of Russian POW's & Casualties out of the A Ech IAW with the Geneva conventions and Laws Of Armed Conflict.

      While this UkR Offensive isn't over, but any stretch of imagination yet. But-

      The UkR Army isn't chasing ground with the Russians on the run, but are staying within their limits of their Logistics Capability.

      The Russians are up shit up until General Mud arrives or are completely thrown out of parts of Ukranian Territory whatever comes 1st. Unless someone falls out of a window in the Kremlin while shaving.

      We are unlikely to any of the Russian Airforce, to attempt to even gain Air Parity over any Sector of the Battlefield or even attempt to undertake Interdiction & Strike Missions into UkR Army B Echelon or beyond.

      The Tank isn't Dead & we are still the Knights of the Battlefield so up yours to the Grunts & supporters of the Chicken Stranglers.

      As the Armoured Corp motto says:

      Through the Mud & Blood to the Green Fields Beyond. Which is also btw the colours of our Corp Stable Belt- Brown, Red & Green.

      One other thing, The Battle of Tañnenberg 1914, was the beginning of the end of Tsar Nicholas. The Kharkiv Offensive, could be the beginning of the end for Tsar Poot's?

      PS, I'm having trouble of digesting the failings the Russian Air Force and I'm still in awe the adaptability of the Ukrainian Air Force. Plus the fact I'm in hospital in Adelaide & I can't pour over the data from my IPhone or read up on the Luftwaffe from WW2 on the Eastern Front my library in Darwin.

      So far the Ukrainians have rewritten the manuals for airpower, landpower & integration are both.

      PSS, I hope I haven't mangled this post and you have find it interesting as type this out on a phone while I'm in a Veterans Hospital.

      • Barfly 17.3.1

        It is a great read scud thanks yes

      • Ad 17.3.2

        Khetson next 3 weeks is a brutal Ukrainian kettle.

        Won't be pretty for Russia. Just nasty.

        Maybe they just settle for Dnbas and Crimea after that.

      • roblogic 17.3.3

        Hi Scud. Hope you get well soon. Much as I would applaud the downfall of Tsar Putin, a full scale invasion into Russia would be a terrible idea. The Ukraine forces have shown they are excellent at lightning raids and taking out tactical targets, against the 3rd rate troops that Russia has sacrificed so carelessly thus far. But I suspect the Russkies have some more nasty stuff up their sleeves and would be tempted to use WMDs if UA forces crossed into Russia itself.

        • Scud

          Whoops, I probably should've articulating that a bit better while saying the Battle of Tañnenberg was the beginning of the end of the Tsar Nicholas.

          I'm not advocating for Ukraine or any other nation to advance into Russia.

          Ukraine won't invade Russia, even though it must be temping to deploy the Ukrainian SF into Russia to under take typical SF Strategic Operational Taskings. But they will try an expelled all Russian's from Ukraine.

          From what's available, it appears the Russian Forces that collapse East & Sth East of Kharkiv were a mix bag of troops. Once the Ukrainian's broke through the whole house almost collapse, especially when there was no Reserves available as per Russian Army Doctrine for Defence. Ie the move of the 3rd Army Corp to Kherson which was the Reserve Force in depth for the Kharkiv Area.

          Tsar Poot's is trained in the dark arts of the former KGB and god only knows what he is thinking atm given the Russia has massive stockpile of WMD's especially in the Biological Dept which has been a foundation stone to Russia's WMD's since Stalin ran the joint.

          Which is also Poot's idol.

          • lprent

            Sounds like elements of the 3rd Army are starting being demolished in detail at present where they are being tossed into the fray.

            The Ukrainian forces appear to pushing up to defensible river boundaries if that is a result of the Russian defensive positions or strategy by Ukraine.

  16. Tricledrown 18

    Russia is running out of tanks and tank crews 7,500 tanks blown up multiply that by 4 for the Trained crews who have died. Russian tv is showing how they are reinforcing the frontline in the past you would have seen trucks carrying hundreds of Tanks now you see only 1 Tank in long columns.Russia's claims of having 29,000 tanks is pure BS they barely have 10,000 operational tanks the ones left will be poorly maintained as Russia is a very corrupt country much of their supply lines on the take.Thats not going to change any time soon.So sustaining this war will be impossible for Russia .Russia won't be able to reequip, as most of their military factories are corrupt and take short cuts in production turning out death traps . Winter fighting would have suited Russia in the past with Tank superiority but now Russia is in dire straits tanks are now death trap coffins a liability which has used up huge resources and left the Emprorer Tsar Putin with no clothes.

  17. Tiger Mountain 20

    and…Jingoist post of the day award goes to…ADVANTAGE…

    any time you take the side of one Imperialist power over another, particularly “our” Imperialist power–i.e. USA as is inferred by the Anglospheric 5 Eyes arrangement, working class people are highly likely to be on the receiving end of the firepower.

    Neither Washington, Moscow or Beijing.

    • roblogic 20.1

      Weird, I can't find mention of the USA or Washington anywhere in the article. I can see mention of NATO and the EU, freedom and democracy though.

      This is self-defence, not jingoism or imperialism.

  18. Ad 23

    The daily reports show Ukraines forces stabilizing in the east, Russians digging in.

    No more Bridge Too Far risk.

    Euphoria over.

    • Scud 23.1

      Just had a quick look at couple of Situation Maps which are probably 24-48+ hrs out of date & Google Maps.

      The Ukrainian's probably have 2-3 Major Offensives left in Tank pardon the pun before General Mud arrives?

      Also note, that the 1st of newly trained Ukrainian Brigades from the UK start arriving this week. Nice Strategic Reverse to have & give the UkR Army a few more options.

      I think the Ukrainian's got, the Russian 3rd Army Corp where they want it. In a Strategic No Man's Land as it can't mutually support Kherson or to the Nth East.

      If the UkR manage to insert more its SF Units during the latest Offensive behind the Russian Lines to further develop the Intelligence picture of the 3rd Army Corps dispositions and,-

      With the command paralysis with the Russian Military in Ukraine atm & probably higher as well.

      The 3rd Russian Army Corp is ripe for picking.

      If I was a Russian Cdr in Ukraine, I'll be telling the 3rd Corp to pull back Nth of Melitopol & West of Mariupol & also tell the Kherson & Crimean Command you are on your own buddy. Which Could actually break the Kherson Command/ Army etc psychologically given what has already happened there & elsewhere.

      Leaving the 3rd Corp in it current location leaves it open to encirclement.

      Pushing the 3rd Corp on towards the Kherson/ Crimea Region leaves the whole region vulnerable being cut off from the Nth East. Ie- the UkR Army crossing the Dnipro River tearing a gap between Nth of or towards Mariupol itself & pushing Sth pass Melitopol which has a large ongoing Insurgency since the Russians Invaded. It's a real pub brawl in & around Melitopol, no quarter is given especially to the Russians & to any Quislings.

      The 3 Army Corp is the last of Russia's so-called Full time Professional/ Semi Professional Reserve Combat Unit from that particular Russian Army District as the rest have been badly smashed up in Ukraine.

      • tsmithfield 23.1.1

        Thanks Scud, I really appreciate your analysis and obvious expertise.

        It seems to me that the Ukrainians have pulled a double whammy. Because the offensive on Kherson is a lot more than a feint. The Ukrainians have both deceived the Russians into weakening the North and having large amounts of troops trapped in the South.

        I am seeing a number of rumours coming out now that the Russians are negotiating surrender in the South, which would seem to be the sensible thing to do, as I suspect they are running out of ammo and food with no efficient way of replacing those.

        This on the surrender that is apparently being negotiated:

        If the Ukrainians can defeat the Russians in both the North and the South, then they will be able to focus a huge combined force on what remains of the Russians in the centre. Therefore, all things being equal, I think the die is cast.

        I saw reports that elements of that 3rd army were sent to reinforce Kupyansk, but were destroyed before they got there. So, I am not sure how much of that is left to reinforce the Russians elsewhere. Plus I have seen reports that the Russians are bringing in artillery pieces from the second world war now because their current ones are getting to the end of their barrel life, and the barrels can't be serviced quickly enough.

        • Scud

          Or the other option for the Ukrainian's is do what old Boney or Wellington once said-

          Never interrupt your enemy, while he is making a mistake/s. As it's bad manners & conduct unbecoming a Gentleman & a Officer.

          Given whats happening over the last 24hrs & now a lot of unconfirmed reports coming out of the Russian Chief of General Staff & out of Kherson.

          The Russians Military are looking to be on verge of Total Collapse in Ukraine?

  19. Scud 24

    Just had a quick look at couple of Situation Maps which are probably 24-48+ hrs out of date & Google Maps.

    The Ukrainian's probably have 2-3 Major Offensives left in Tank pardon the pun before General Mud arrives?

    Also note, that the 1st of newly trained Ukrainian Brigades from the UK start arriving this week. Nice Strategic Reverse to have & give the UkR Army a few more options.

    I think the Ukrainian's got, the Russian 3rd Army Corp where they want it. In a Strategic No Man's Land as it can't mutually support Kherson or to the Nth East.

    If the UkR manage to insert more its SF Units during the latest Offensive behind the Russian Lines to further develop the Intelligence picture of the 3rd Army Corps dispositions and,-

    With the command paralysis with the Russian Military in Ukraine atm & probably higher as well.

    The 3rd Russian Army Corp is ripe for picking.

    If I was a Russian Cdr in Ukraine, I'll be telling the 3rd Corp to pull back Nth of Melitopol & West of Mariupol & also tell the Kherson & Crimean Command you are on your own buddy. Which Could actually break the Kherson Command/ Army etc psychologically given what has already happened there & elsewhere.

    Leaving the 3rd Corp in it current location leaves it open to encirclement.

    Pushing the 3rd Corp on towards the Kherson/ Crimea Region leaves the whole region vulnerable being cut off from the Nth East. Ie- the UkR Army crossing the Dnipro River tearing a gap between Nth of or towards Mariupol itself & pushing Sth pass Melitopol which has a large ongoing Insurgency since the Russians Invaded. It's a real pub brawl in & around Melitopol, no quarter is given especially to the Russians & to any Quislings.

    The 3 Army Corp is the last of Russia's so-called Full time Professional/ Semi Professional Reserve Combat Unit from that particular Russian Army District as the rest have been badly smashed up in Ukraine.

    • RedLogix 24.1

      Best wishes with your hospital stay mate! And thanks for the insights that us civvies don't have the background for.

      • Scud 24.1.1

        No worries,

        My stay in Hospital was meant to be 3wks to sort my PTSD/ Depression meds out & it turned into something bigger than War & Peace LoL.

        Came in on the 8 Aug & at this stage I probably won't be leaving here until Mid Oct atm as they keeping finding more things wrong with me LoL.

        • Ad

          Well you sure cheer me up.

          Great insights.

          • Scud

            Here's something else that might want you to crack open a bottle of good Vino or a single malt whisky.

            Not confirmed yet-

            That the Russian Chief of the General Staff (Army HQ in Moscow) has suspended all troop including equipment movements to the Sth'ern Military District & Ukraine.

            There on going negotiations for Kherson Pocket which includes the remains of all the best Combat units from Crimea & the Sth'ern Military District. To surrender completely under arms. From a Historical note, the last time that happened was in Lille France in 1940. When the Germans offer it to the French Garrison.

            This is confirmed

            The Natives further East ie Georgia & Azerbaijan are getting restless.

            Over the last 8hrs Azerbaijan is making moves against the Russian backed Armenians.

            • Sanctuary

              Mr. Scud – what do you reckon the odds are Putin might authorise the use of chemical weapons?

              The political/military fallout would be immense ([probable NATO intervention) and looking at Russian kit I don't know how effect NBC suits manufactured in 1965 might be, but you never know, Putin has gone full heat troppo these days.

              • Scud

                Given Tsar Poot's is Ex KGB & skilled in the dark arts of the KGB.

                One would assume it's on the table as a roughie & if Poot's was going for a Trifecta at races, he would have it in.

                The good news is the IAEA, on the ground at Zaporizhzhya has ordered complete shutdown with immediate effect. Yes it would take about 6mths to complete, but having the IAEA on the ground incl head of the IAEA as well (he's Frenchman btw & knows his stuff as well). Probably has reduced the chance of Russia producing a Dirty Bomb from there by +95%.

                But elsewhere within Eastern Ukraine, does remain as possiblity as Eastern Ukraine is the Industrial Heartland of Ukraine's heavy industrial industries since the 1700's.

                I do agree, that Poot's could very well go the Full Monty IRT the use of WMD's etc & after all he's a typical arrogant Slavic Male, but I do have faith in the Russian Officer Corp to step in & say no to any Order Given to use any WMD incl Dirty Bombs.

                If Poot's did cross the Rubicon, it would be safe to say that all bets are off the table.

                As for the Russian CBRN Suits, I won't touch them with a 90ft barge pole regardless of yr they were made in & I'll take my chances in my old CBRND training suit in my trunk at home.

            • tsmithfield

              I think the Ukrainians should keep pushing as hard as they can. I know many would say that there is a risk they overextend themselves. But I don't think the Russians have the capability to counter-attack from anywhere.

              I think they are in complete panic, and it is a case of making hay while the sun shines for the Ukrainians.

              The Ukrainians have the best available in terms of intelligence and what and where the Russians are putting their troops. So, I don't think they can be caught by surprise.

              If they see a build up of Russian troops and equipment anywhere, all they need to do is rain Himars down on them.

              I think moving fast helps reduce the risk of the Russians using WMDs as well, because the Russians won't know where to aim them.

              • Scud

                I believe UkR Military have started up in the East again after a slight operational pause.

                Any UkR advance has to be within its Logistical Limitations regardless of what the Russia's do or regardless on how many mistakes they make here on in.

                As it only takes one Rommel to appear from the Russian Army Ranks & it would get very nasty very fast if the UkR Army are over extended. The Russians maybe mortally wounded, but they are not quite dead yet.

                If the assumptions are true that the Russian Chief of Staff have stop moving replacements into UkR.

                Then the UkR Military only need to a few more weak points in the shattered Russian Army Defence Lines to punch through & the Rostov on Don Handicap (Ref: to the Benghazi Stakes/ Handicap from WW2) would be on be for young & old.

                The Russians don't have any Reserves left UkR or in the Sth'ern Military District in the Rostov on Don nor in Crimea.

                Would be quite interesting to if the UkR Military do get the Russians in the Kherson Pocket to Surrender Under Arms, the under the Articles of War.

                It would be massive Psychological blow to Tsar Poot's & a huge Boost to Ukraine & it's Expat Community around the World.

                • tsmithfield

                  I think their logistical situation has probably been helped by all the stuff the Russians left behind, especially in Izyum. I expect the found large quantities of fuel there, especially, which would be of great benefit for giving the Ukrainians more ability to punch forward further.

                  But I agree about logistics. And the Russians don't have to worry about that so much if they are in static defence.

                  • lprent

                    But I agree about logistics. And the Russians don't have to worry about that so much if they are in static defence.

                    Even a defending static army chews through massive numbers of tonnes of ammo, food, and even equipment daily in a war zone. At present they're having issues maintaining forward supply because they're getting rockets landing on their supply dumps, bridges, and even rail heads 40-70km from the front lines.

                    Can't defend easily without ammo and replacements.

                    • tsmithfield

                      I agree with that.

                      I was thinking more in terms of fuel. Tanks etc that are in dug-in positions aren't going to be churning through the fuel as much as attacking forces.

                    • Scud []

                      The Russians dug in along the Eastern bank of the Oskil River to Se. The Russia Brigade that dug in was quasi mechanised Infantry/ Cavalry Brigade ideal for Mobile Defence & static defence.

                      Anyway the UkR Army crossed the Oskil River to Nth around Kup'yans'k Area & punch out to the Eastern side P66 (State Highway) heading Sth East to Svatove & Eastwards beyond towards Starobil's'k. But also towards Nth to Nth East Area of Severodonetsk IOT encircle the remaining Russia Forces in the Severodonetsk/ Luhansk Areas in Donetsk River Basin.

                      Remember Severodonetsk from a 2-3 mths ago where the Local Territorial Defence Units not only gave Tsar Poot's the Two Fingered Salute.

                      But also to the UkR General Staff as they refused to make a Tactical Withdrawal until some poor sod from the General Staff had to go out tell them to withdraw.

                      The Ukrainian's are making the Russians run like rabbits to Rostov-on-Don as the Ukrainian guns go boom boom.

                    • lprent

                      Tanks etc that are in dug-in positions aren't going to be churning through the fuel as much as attacking forces.

                      Basically tankers live by and in their vehicles except when bivouacked or at a base. Especially near front-lines.

                      Plus military vehicles are used in front-line or near front-line positions as

                      1. Heat generators in those damn cold nights. Think of the classic soldier and their automatic comfort seeking ways.
                      2. Electricity generators because they are designed to provide that where no other source is available. After all how else do you power bunker lights.
                      3. and … simply left running because the restart times are too long when attacked. Usually takes 10+ minutes from a cold start in a diesel engine surrounded by tons of cold steel – if you are lucky.

                      BTW: On that last point, this was a real problem for the Panzers in WW2 in the Ukrainian winter. If they stopped, then the oil in the engine would freeze and so would the battery liquid.

                      Anyway, my point is that many of the military diesel guzzlers near the front-lines stay running rather than being stopped. It is only well back from being possibly being attacked that you find that they're turned off. While they use less than the copious amounts of fuel that they do while in combat, they often use smaller amounts per hour for more hours.

                      Petrol tanks (are there any still?) have less of a problem about being stopped. Same with the turbine tanks like the M1 Abrams.

                      Not to mention that fuel dumps get attacked as well.

                • lprent

                  Any UkR advance has to be within its Logistical Limitations regardless of what the Russia's do or regardless on how many mistakes they make here on in.

                  Precisely. It isn't how much of a advance that you can have that counts. It is if you can hold it. In a lot of ways, pushing to a highly defensible position, and then moving to a different theatre is optimal. It allows for consolidation and diversion of attack vectors.

                  The Ukrainian arm is now in a position to move on several fronts, one or two at a time – and do it against a background of limited replenishment of trained soldiers, consumables and heavy equipment. It means that they can keep striking in hard probes looking for weak spots to open up.

                  Classic pocketing tactics designed to cause withdrawals from defending forces.

    • Sanctuary 24.2

      I would caution against any assumptions given you really can't trust any information beyond actual facts.

      It is a fact the Ukrainians have just inflicted Russia's biggest defeat since WW2. But we don't know how many casualties they've suffered in Kherson and in the Kharkiv operation. There is a lot of disinformation from the white hats to go along with all the outright nonsense coming from the black hats. The obvious is the telegraphing of the Kherson attack to draw Russian reserves west of the Dniepr, but this story for example was widely reported immediately before the Kharkiv attack and it is now clear it was a classic bit of planted disinformation.

      We hear a lot about lots of Russian POWs but I await photographic proof. It maybe the Russians were defeated, routed even, but were able to save the balance of their forces in Iyzum. Mass surrender in Kherson would certainly signal a generalised collapse in the Russian army, and so we've seen numerous "rumours" of this occurring – but we won't know until it's happened.

      The 3rd Army Corps is from what I can tell actually little more than a weak division and it's soldiers not that well trained.

      As for Russia's future moves – they seem paralyzed between military reality and Putin's ambitions. I suggest we might see a Russian withdrawl from the Kherson pocket, leaving behind much equipment, and another hiatus as the Autumn rains set in. Come winter we'll see renewed attacks by both sides. The outcome of the war is now without doubt – it will be a Ukrainian victory. When the war comes to a conclusion is moot. Putin can't finish the war in defeat since it would mean he'll quickly discover how dangerous 10th floor Russian hospital windows are. The whip hand is now held by the USA, and while they want a Ukrainian victory I suspect they don't want it just yet.

      Effectively the war is now a proxy war by the United States against Russia. The United States has several policy agendas in play. 1) Restablish the pre-eminence of American military equipment, doctrines and capabilities in the peer to peer war space after the humiliations of Afghanistan and Iraq. 2) Present the United States as the sole power capable of defending freedom loving peoples everywhere from the violence and rapine of dictators and autocrats 3) Weaken Russia to the point of collapse to make the formation of an alternative Russia/China Axis of autocracy irrelevant to the global supremacy of the US and it's allies. 4) Send a message to China not to mess with the American Empire cos hey Xi – that's a nice county you've got right there, it would be a shame if anything happened to it..

      IMHO the Ukrainian victory will most likely be next summer – although I rally hope they can finish the Russians off before the Autumn rains set in.

      • Blazer 24.2.1

        'Effectively the war is now a proxy war by the United States against Russia. '=well done!

        You'll have trouble convincing some…however.

        • Sanctuary

          A proxy war can also be a just one – see: Destroyers-for-bases deal.

        • Jenny are we there yet


          13 September 2022 at 12:07 pm

          'Effectively the war is now a proxy war by the United States against Russia. '=well done!

          You'll have trouble convincing some…however.

          I'm one of them.

          Superpower rivalry is always in the background of any international dispute.
          Especially if one imperialist power perceives that they may gain some opportunist advantage over their rivals by becoming involved.

          At the onset of Russia's invasion, expecting a Russian walkover, the US abandoned their embassy and fled Kiev, (effectively abandoning Ukraine to its fate).

          What caught the Russians, (and the Americans), by surprise was strength of Ukraine's resistance to the Russian invasion.

          Sure US and Western military aid has hastened Russia's defeat, but Ukraine resistance was the key. Without Ukraine's fightback, the US and the West would have had nowhere to send military aid to.

          Even if the US and the West had withdrawn this aid, it is more than certain that Ukraine would still have resisted. As long as Ukraine resistance continues the result is still inevitable. Insurgent warfare in Vietnam and Afghanistan teach us that a smaller weaker county no matter how poorly armed or supported,, even if it takes years or even decades, will prevail over a foreign invader.

          "The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice"

          Martin Luther King Jr.

          Western military aid has just shortened the arc of history, is all.

  20. SPC 25

    The Kharkiv development appears to end any Russian plan to make incremental gains in the Donbass over the winter, given they no longer have the capacity to encircle the remaining Ukrainian forces there (and it will now be so much easier for Kiev to boost their capability).

    Putin will now have to go to conscription (and formal declaration of war – after starting it with the special military operation which is a lot of pride for the bear to swallow) to maintain hopes of securing the entire Donbas and maintain connection from there to Crimea/Kherson. Such an action would have once been considered for the goal of at least novarussia, if not total defeat for Ukraine.

    While Putin would make threats to deter Ukrainian incursions on Russia itself with a war declaration, this might result in an escalation of western supply to Ukraine, and they would apply those resources first so that the Russian southern front was at great risk of being taken down in multiple areas.

    The politics of declaring war are simple enough. Zhukov fought fascists, wherever they were. A tactical retreat just to continue making the same mistakes afterwards is pointless, one to enable of leadership and capability/competence (where there is no threat to Russia itself from Ukraine) is not. So it is now likely Putin has to admit resorting to use of force was a mistake error, or be replaced. Putin’s pride or Russia’s honour … .

    • SPC 25.1

      I debated the matter of whether Putin would resort to use of force back in December. I argued he would not because that would revive NATO. Given Germany was spending only 1% on defence (despite the 2024 2% GDP criteria) and partnering up with Nordstrom, it looked like they were enabling a diplomatic solution – including Ukraine in the EU, and taking he the EU out of NATO (reduced to UK/USA/Norway/Canada).

      An EU partnering with both NATO and Russia would have ended the Cold War once and for all (it was what George Kennan would have done by 2000). It only required the EU to do a deal over Ukraine borders (settle the ethnic Russian issue and require compensation from Russia to Ukraine).

      I over-estimated Putin, Sun Tsu would regarded him as the one who threw away a winning hand because of his impulsive reaction to the slight to his overtures for a settlement.

      The other party to the debate (Hong Kong Chinese UK educated) said Russia would do better in the sanctions war with any resort to force (with aid from China – now buying up cheap gas from Russia and placing its other supply onto the market at a nice profit by the way). His take on Taiwan being a target was that the major Taiwan chip maker had a 5 year plan to develop offshore capacity to supply its western market customers). Which indicated a commercial awareness of the mainland timetable (and or a developing risk of Chinese attack on its local production because of impasse between the West and Russia/China). The key point being China was aware the West had reason to hold Taiwan while dependent on the chip supply).

      • Sanctuary 25.1.1

        For the war to conclusively end Russia needs to be decively defeated and Putin has to go. Simple as that. Since Russia has reverted to absolutism tempered by assassination as it's form of government I suspect we already know how the change of leader will occur.

        This war will go down as the biggest blunder by a dictator since Hitler decided declaring war on the United States was a good idea.

        Whoever replaces Putin will make some sort of humiliating deal with the USA pertaining to Ukraine and Russia will spend the next 20 years rebuilding it's shattered army and trust with the west whilst trying to hang on to its various republics.

        • SPC

          The West has to consider a way to bring Russia into co-operation with the EU, rather than become an embittered satellite (and enabler) of Chinese hegemony.

          And Chinese potential for hegemony needs to be tempered within an international regime. The rule of law involves the atolls not being islands (ASEAN nations have their economic zones respected) AND Taiwan being part of China (just as no missiles in Turkey or Cuba 1962 and no missiles in East or Western Europe 1980’s).

          Hong Kong 1997-2047, Taiwan 20**-2049).

          Diplomacy and wind turbines and solar panels, not an arms build up.

    • SPC 26.1

      Zhukov – eliminate the threat to Russia. Who presided over the decline of the Russian military and then started this mess?

    • lprent 26.2

      That was predictable. Historically it is standard practice in the Russian military to deflect from political incompetence.

      Back to the imperial Russian days in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.

  21. joe90 28

    the total capitulation of the Kyiv regime on Russia’s terms.

    But the West should pressure Zelenskyy to negotiate because all Poots wants is to annex the breakaway Republics and a neutral Ukraine as a NATO buffer.


    Dmitry Medvedev ✔ Someone Zelensky said that he would not engage in dialogue with those who put forward ultimatums. The current "ultimatums" are a children's warm-up for the demands of the future. And he knows them: the total capitulation of the Kyiv regime on Russia's terms.

    google translate

  22. tsmithfield 29

    One of the great tragedies of this war is the amount of lives lost for Russia to spend months capturing ground that they are now losing within a matter of a few days.

    What an absolute, pointless, tragic waste.

  23. tsmithfield 30

    Here is an excellent article explaining why the Russian military machine will soon come to a grinding halt.

    Just a reminder to Blazer, Mike Smith, et. al., that a number of us having been saying consistently for months that Russia had strategically lost this war, and it was just a matter of time before they loss materialised.

    Well, it looks like the time is rapidly approaching.

    • I read somewhere recently, the no doubt tongue-in-cheek comment that Russia is the 5th largest contributor of military equipment to the Ukrainian cause!

      • tsmithfield 30.1.1

        And likely to get even bigger once Kherson has played out.

        The biggest problem is that the Russian gear isn't very good, and a lot of the barrels require replacement due to the amount of use they have had. So, I am not sure how much that gear will help the Ukrainians.

        • Scud

          Ukrainian's Battlefield Recovery has been 1st class.

          Backed by an ever efficient but effective Ukranian Battlefield Tractor Recovery SQN. Which you could call it the 4th Arm of the UkR Armed Forces, like we should with our Merchant Navy.

          A massive effective & efficient National Railway which allowed the Army to get those former Russia Panzers & Artillery back to the Ukrainian Military Base Workshops in Western Ukraine for refurbishment etc. And doing the reverse at getting them back out to the various B Echelon Units for Battlefield replacements.

          Which also took a lot of the pressure off the Ukrainian Army B Echelon & Airforce Logistics Units as well. Which allowed those Logistics Units to concentrate on supporting the pointy end of the Spear.

          I hope some Railway Nerd, does a book on the Ukrainian National Railway System. As you would be surprised at what they did across the Network & there was a bit of typical British stiff upper lip as well on the Passenger Services even as the bombs & missiles rained down incl great acts of humidity amongst the Railway Staff as well.

  24. tsmithfield 31

    One thing Russia needs to think about in its relationship with China is that Siberia might be in play now.

  25. Descendant Of Smith 33

    The more you read about Ukranian history the more interesting it becomes. Only touched on when I was at school – WWII, The Roman Empire and the Tudors were favoured subjects which were all great and so is this. It was a delight finding out Kyiv was founded in 482AD well before Moscow 1147AD.

    Removing one population and replacing it with yourself sounds rather familiar.

    There was so much killing and depopulation during World War II by the Nazis and Soviets in Ukraine that the people of the Ukrainian SSR suffered one of the highest casualty totals of the war both in proportionate terms and absolutely (about 6.85 million dead, some 16.3% of the total population in the relatively recent accounting of one Russian historian). Additionally, the Germans deported some 2.4 million people from within Ukraine to work in Germany as forced slave labor (of whom, by some estimates, 400,000-450,000 died from the brutal conditions). Then, when the Soviets retook Ukraine and other Soviet territory occupied by Hitler’s forces, large parts of populations that had collaborators in their midst or were merely suspected by paranoid authorities of having collaborated or harbored collaborators (or even just because they were seen as troublesome “foreign” elements) were deported to Soviet Central Asia or Siberia under appalling conditions that saw many of those deportees perish. The deported included all of the Crimean Tatars (estimates range, but quite roughly 200,000) in just a few days in 1944 on the grounds that they had, en masse, collaborated with the Nazis. In reality, only a small percentage actually had, and the Soviet government even admitted in 1967 that the accusations were false (I did not even realize I was writing this section on the anniversary of the beginning of this genocidal deportation, May 18). Many ethnic Ukrainians were also deported by the Soviets from Ukraine (over 200,000 from western Ukraine alone, where UPA was most popular).

    I did cross reference quite a few things in here to assess the credibility of what was being said and it seems to hold up e.g.

    • Scud 33.1

      Just read on its 1st Independence from Russia & what Tsar Poot's idol Marshall Stalin did to Ukraine afterwards, which is known within Ukrainian History as Holodomor before WW2.

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