‘Training’ for an early grave

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 pm, September 4th, 2022 - 99 comments
Categories: jacinda ardern, Media, Peace, Peeni Henare, Propaganda, Russia, Ukraine, war - Tags:

We’re sending 120 troops to Britain to ‘train’ raw recruits for the Ukraine killing grounds. For the Defence Dept, it’s an overseas trip to aid retention. For the Ukrainian conscripts, it’s a prelude to early death. It is criminal as well as cynical: we should be arguing for a stop to the war, not keeping it going ”to the death of the last Ukrainian.”

The much-touted “Kherson counter-offensive” has been a disastrous failure for the Ukrainian troops, lured into cauldrons in open grounds and decimated by aircraft and artillery. Two attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Ukrainian special forces has been another disaster, with the sizeable force led and trained by the British demolished. Russia is in control of the station and UN inspectors are at the plant and grateful for Russian help.

Severe losses over the course of the campaign are admitted by senior Ukrainian officers. From Vzglyad website  via Google translate:

Ukraine’s losses during a special military operation amount to hundreds of thousands of people, and the authorities did nothing to avoid casualties, said the former deputy commander of the special operations forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, former Deputy Secretary of the NSDC, General Serhiy Krivonos, on the air of the Ukrainian Media Network YouTube channel. “[We have] the right to say to the authorities: ‘Why did you do nothing, why did hundreds of thousands of dead – what did they die for? What did you do to save their lives? Stories that this is untimely are an attempt to blur the memory, to erase history. And how can you erase the blood of the dead, who already number in the hundreds of thousands? Who will be responsible for this?” – TASS quotes the words of the general. According to Krivonos, soon Ukrainians “will begin to ask the authorities why such colossal sacrifices were made.”

One suggestion is that the latest unsuccessful counter-offensive has been timed to coincide with the monthly NATO meeting of countries, originally established according to US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin to ‘weaken Russia.’ There is no sign of this happening, and the ‘mother of all sanctions’ regime has resulted in massive blowback in Europe, facing a very cold winter with the loss of Russian gas supplies. NATO is concerned that support for the continuation of the war is fading in Europe.

Ukraine is moving off the front page in the US and some UK media, although not in the New Zealand with Radio New Zealand spreading disaster porn via the BBC and the egregious Tova O’Brien trying to get Jacinda Ardern to go and hold Zelensky’s hand. The military are getting cold feet: retired US General Mark Kimmitt in the Wall Street Journal assess the options and concludes:

Yet Mr. Zelensky must recognize that diminishing resupplies would have a disastrous effect on his army, not merely for battlefield operations but for the message of declining outside support it would send to the people of Ukraine. Beginning the diplomatic resolution would be distasteful, and perhaps seen as defeatist, but as there is little chance of climbing out of the current morass, it may be better to negotiate now than later.

In modern high-intensity warfare, logistics is the Achilles’ heel. Good training, great tactics and brave soldiers are critical, but without weapons, food and fuel, armies grind to a halt. That may be what is happening as the battlefield becomes static and a breakthrough looks unlikely.

The military often talks about the ability to see things clearly and comprehensively. Looking into a future of protracted war, diminishing high-tech systems and mounting casualties, Mr. Zelensky and NATO must face up to tough decisions before those decisions are forced on them.

He’s absolutely right about the logistics. At the press briefing about the deployment Defence Minister Peeni Henare admitted that we can’t send personnel carriers because we have no spare parts!

I find independent former defence analysts the best assessors of the real situation, both before and during the Russian special operation.  To call it unprovoked is official disinformation; it comes straight out of the Zygmar Brzezinski playbook, only this time the Russians saw it coming and prepared themselves. One of the best commentators in my opinion is Swiss Colonel Jacques Baud – his latest post is here  talking about his new book ‘Operation Z.’

Thus, the objectives announced as early as February 24 by Russia were the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of the threat to the populations of Donbass. These objectives are related to the neutralization of capabilities, not the seizure of land or resources. To put it bluntly, in theory, to achieve their goals the Russians do not need to advance—it would be enough if Ukrainians themselves would come and get killed.

In other words, our politicians and media have pushed Ukraine to defend the terrain like in France during the First World War. They pushed Ukrainian troops to defend every square meter of ground in “last stand” situations. Ironically, the West has only made the Russians’ job easier. In fact, as with the war on terror, Westerners see the enemy as they would like him to be, not as he is. As Sun Tzu said 2,500 years ago, this is the best recipe for losing a war.

All New Zealand’s trainers are doing is helping brave Ukrainians to go and get themselves killed. It is way beyond time for it to stop. Boris Johnson went to Kyiv to tell  Zelensky to continue fighting at a time when there was a chance for negotiation. He has been recently back again before he is replaced as Prime Minister with the same message about Zaporizhzhia.

The next time Jacinda Ardern speaks to Zelensky, in my opinion she should give the opposite message. Cut your losses and negotiate. Stop the senseless killing of your own people.



99 comments on “‘Training’ for an early grave ”

  1. Mike the Lefty 1


    With a megalomaniac, liar, bully and thug called Putin?

    Geat real Mike.

    You can't seriously negotiate with people like that unless you have first given them a bloody nose.

    The Ukranians understand that and although we all deplore the loss of life and property in Ukraine how can we observe from thousands of kilometres away and make judgements about how they should protect themselves?

    Plus nobody in New Zealand has been forced to do these jobs. They are all volunteers.

    • Subliminal 1.1

      Putin tried to talk about his concerns regarding the $5 bilion spent by the US to organise the 2014 Maidan coup and then support and arm the likes of Azov and similar neo Nazi groups.

      It is all disturbingly similar to their support of other crazies such as ISIS in the Middle East or the creation of fundamentalist terror in Afghanistan. Given such history, the direction of travel for the ideologues in Ukraine was easy to guess.

      Jaques Baud whom Mike references above has detailed the 30 fold increase in shelling from the fortifications of the Nato trained and supplied crazies of Azov into the Russian speaking civilian areas such as Donetsk immediately prior to the recognition of the independence of the two regions of the Donbass. The extent of this shelling was such that attempts were made to evacuate entire populations. And all this was documented by the OSCE. As was the fact that until the SMO, there were no Russian troops in Ukraine.

      Even though there were no Russian troops, Nato and Ukraine built their fortified line many kms from the Russian border. Why? They were not trying to keep Russia out. They were trying to create the conditions by which Russia would see no option but to come to the aid of Russian speakers who had been subjected to constant shelling over the last 8 years and a staggering death toll. France and Germany had shown absolutely no intention of following through on their obligations under the UNSC sanctioned Minsk accords but were determined to allow the US and Nato a free hand in precipitating the current disastrous for Ukraine conflict.

      When Zelensky was on the verge of negotiating peace with Putin it was the clown Bojo that demanded more Ukrainian lives. To most independent observers the current horrific carnage and decimation of Ukraine's armed forces was entirely predictable. It is they and the West that have proved to be running out of ammunition. Every wave of Ukraine soldiers is met and will be met with the same implacable industrial quantity of artillery fire. It is madness to continue but the West appears determined to die over some infantile desire to finally defeat Russia at any cost.

      [lprent: Banned for 3 months for blatant asserted misinformation in your second paragraph. I don’t know of any vaguely credible source that shows US support for ISIS at any time. My guess is that you’re talking about US support for resistance to the USSR occupation of Afghanistan back in the 1980s. But since you gave no timeline or background it is simply a guess. I suspect that most of the rest of your military based bullshit is the same. But if you want to make assertions, then back them up with a link or source or even a timeline. ]

      • Populuxe1 1.1.1

        Awww look at you bootlicking for Russian imperialism.

        • Incognito

          Stick to OM when you have nothing useful and better to add to the convo here.

          • Populuxe1

            What's more useful and better than calling out fascist propaganda?

            • Incognito

              If that’s your intention then make an argument that addresses the OP and that contributes to robust debate instead of having a go at the Author in a manner that lacks substance. Most other commenters here seem to manage quite well today, so why don’t you give it a try or move over to OM?

              • Populuxe1

                Because debating it implies it has legitimacy.

                • Incognito

                  Others manage to debate here. Take heed, contribute to the debate, and stop arguing with me – I’m giving you a fair chance but patience is running out.

          • rightofcentre

            I think that ban was a little excessive but its your rodeo

            If we look at patterns of behaviour ie Lusitania , Pearl Harbour , Gulf of Tonkin and the most recent Weapons Of Mass Destruction it has been proven that the war machine will quite happily "bend" the rules for conflict that benefits few at the cost of the many. Libya was also a sad atrocity where slave trading has now made a return since the Allies "liberated" the place. "We came, we saw, he died" quote Hillary Clinton

            I think the article was written well but is still a little naive . Whilst the author recognises much of the bullshit he dosnt stop to ask the real question , Why is Ukraine so important to the USA and why are we sticking our nose in where it dosnt belong . Do you think Jacinda isnt aware that they are sending innocents to their death?

            Whilst I agree that a request for links provided is reasonable, sometimes a couple of common sense observations carry enough weight to entertain a conversation.

            I remember the days when people could chat without being fact checked and if one were to apply the same scrutiny to their own writings then things might have a different perspective

            Some examples would be

            95% efficacy

            Prevents transmission

            Prevents infection

            Prevents hospitalization

            Prevents death

            All of the above were lies and anyone that said otherwise was censored, such a strange world we live in now days . One where the truth is censored and the fallacies fill the tabloids. Polar opposites like the most sanctioned country having the strongest currency whilst the plebs in Europe pay the price of energy duress so that elites can puff their chest.

            • PsyclingLeft.Always

              Some examples would be

              95% efficacy

              Prevents transmission

              Prevents infection

              Prevents hospitalization

              Prevents death

              What are you on about ?

      • SPC 1.1.2

        FACT CHECK

        1. There was no western support for Islamic State (al Qaeda in Iraq origin). The conflation of this group (that based in NE Syria before invading Northern Iraq during the civil war in Syria) with the rebels fighting the regime in Syria is absurd.
        2. Support for an elected regime in Afghanistan is not creating fundamentalist terror (from those wanting an Islamic dictatorship).

        PS the al Qaeda in Syria group, al Nusra, one of the main rebel groups in Syria was never supported by the West.

      • SPC 1.1.3

        My guess is that you’re talking about US support for resistance to the USSR occupation of Afghanistan back in the 1980s

        Surely not, one could not call arming mujahedin with stingers to take down helicopters, terrorism. Though taking out a secular regime giving women their rights was one of the dumber things done during the Cold War (taking out Mosaddegh in Iran was up there as well).

      • Subliminal 1.1.4

        I realise that you hatred of anything Russian fills you with rage when they are the obvious sole reasonable voice and winning milirarily to boot. There are many relevant references detailing Western preferences for ISIS over designated enemies such as Assad as well as to maintain control over energy sources in the Middle East. It is not controversial to state that the US funds their Syrian occupation and training of jihadists by thieving Syrian oil. If you care to read this Guardian article you will see some of the ways theWest supported ISIS. Especially up until videos of head chopping became a thing. But then I don't suppose the truth was ever really something that concerned you in your pathetic rage against any positive slant on Russia.

  2. Shane 2

    This looks like it was written from a Russian perspective. I note that at least one of your links is a '.ru' link.
    What is important is what the Ukrainians want (you know, democracy and all that) – Russians eff off to their own borders and give Ukrainians their land back.
    Any ceasefire/negotiation will be used by the Russians to their own advantage; to regroup, re-strategise, and re-invade.
    Kherson is a low hanging fruit – there is a large amount of Russian troops isolated (thanks to HIMARS).

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Putin appears to be truly desperate now.

    His forces near Kherson are divided into three groups, and air cover is no longer available from Crimea as Russian controlled airfields there cannot be defended against attacks by partisans. The longer flight time for interceptors means that, for the first time Ukraine can safely strike ground targets on the southern front.

    The sooner this war ends the better – and the shortest path to that end is to continue support of the Ukraine against their oppressors. Russia's defeat will also afford the opportunity for much-needed political reform in Russia, though NZ's immediate post-bellum priority should probably be humanitarian aid and reconstruction of Ukraine.

    • lprent 3.1

      The longer flight time for interceptors means that, for the first time Ukraine can safely strike ground targets on the southern front.

      The air war looks to me to be at stasis. The Russians appear to be doing rear defence only with fighters. No or limited close support. Offensively mainly relying on standoff firing of old missile stockpiles – often pretty inaccurate heavy anti-ship weapons fired at dubious intelligence targets.

      Basically Russian have been unable to take down Ukrainian anti-air missile defences. In all probability the reason for the wide use of inaccurate KH-22 missiles by Russia has been to threaten civilian areas containing infrastructure. This causes usage of air-defence missiles. The civilian casualties have just been a cynical and foreseeable side effect of using inaccurate weapons to diminish air-defences. The Russians appear to have used much of their newer missile stockpiles up based on the lack of effective targeting that has been displayed in recent months.

      The Ukrainians have much smaller and an older air force which limits their utility in strikes into occupied territory where there are significant anti-air missile systems. It does appear that the Ukrainians have been targeting those air-defence systems with long range artillery and probably will start using more radiation seeking missiles (HARM). But it will be a long slog to diminish those.

      They could take out Snake Island air defences because of the isolation and replenishment issues. But that is harder to do in the much larger occupied continental areas.

      The main image of the air war within the theatre has been of aircraft avoiding ground anti-air missiles. Plus swarming drones.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.1

        One of the takeouts of this war is the limited impact of manned aircraft in the face of even a modest but well utilised missile air defence net – part of the over all trend of the ascendancy of the defence. The age of the absolute dominance of expensive all-conquering manned fighter and bomber may well be over, with many of the missions previously flown by manned aircraft to be replaced by a new era of much cheaper loitering muntions, UCAVs, RPAs, and tactical small drones alongside the rise and rise of short and medium range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

        • Stuart Munro

          That's my take too – the range of possible drone roles is enormous, and current air defenses either struggle against them, or use much more expensive munitions than the drones themselves.

          Ukraine, knowing there were significant air defenses as well as numbers of fighters available, played fairly shy, but that is changing as they can precision target air defenses with artillery, and they now have the latest anti-radiation missiles.

          It will be interesting to see whether the next significant conflict deploys drone swarms, drone fighters equipped to hunt UAVs, or drone specific defensive arrays along the lines of the S400. Taiwan, being a leading electronics exponent may well find innovation along those lines attractive, both for defense, and as a promising export market.

          • rightofcentre

            The drone warfare is going to be the future and almost unstoppable, I saw a concept bomber some years ago that had a honeycomb like fuselage. It housed tens of thousands of small drones carrying an explosive charge. They could use heat source or facial recognition targeting systems. A virtually unstoppable swarm of death

  4. aj 4

    NATO veteran Joe Glenton spends 12 minutes giving an articulate and rational analysis, makes clear the dangers of this escalating into a nuclear conflict where the world will be the losers. The victims so far? Ukranian and Russian grunts and civilians.


  5. Populuxe1 5

    If you're going to die on the battlefield, fighting the naked aggression of Russian imperialist colonialism seems like a better reason to do so than most.

  6. Scud 6

    For God's shake, we are only into day 4 or 5 of this offensive.

    The UkR has had to conduct a deliberate attack into prepared Defensive Belt that maybe many miles in depth. Ie Break In, Fight through & then reorganise/ reconstituted 4 weeks for the next task or battle phase.

    Ie the read up Monash in 1918, Monty at El Alamein & Manstein during the capture of Crimea in 42.

    These types battles are not like your 72 hr war that the Yanks do or whatever you play on your PS Mike.

    This is an old fashioned offensive where either side doesn't have Air parity over the entire battlefield, but possibly localise Air Superiority in certain areas over the Battlefield l.

    With either not have overall found superiority either.

    A ground force matrix of the Russian Army in the Kherson AO, had 1 Army unit above 75% with the rest below 75 to less than 45% strength.

    The UkR Army has fully strength Units,-

    It's long range fires can not only out reach the Russians but it's more accurate,

    It's Morale & Training is 100x times better than the average Russian Baggie/ Squaddie.

    More importantly it's A & B Echelon (Logistics & Battlefield Recovery of equipment/ injured personal is a 100times better)

    Plus there is also an active insurgency behind the Russian Forward Line of Own Troops in the A& B Ech Areas

    Russia has numerous issues which is in complete opposite to the UkR Military especially in IRT to a lack of Infantry atm. They may have all the whistles & bells, but if you don't a enough infantry on the ground-

    to attack

    to defend,

    to secure,

    to deny,

    to delay, etc

    Then your mission is up shit creek before you have even started. (Note above these are mission verbs that we use under the heading Mission when we do our

    military appreciation process MAP

    give our concept of operations CONOPS

    In our Quick Attack Orders & more detail orders which are few papers thick or more depending on how far you are up the food chain.

    As for you wanting UkR to negotiate with Russia it's not going to happen!


    Because when UrK got its first independence from Russia. They fought against the Bolsheviks & besides agreed to a crease fire. Russia held the eastern side of the Dnipro River.

    Eventually UrK collapse through renewed fighting, the infiltration 5th columnist supporting supporting the opposition parties Ukraine that favoured the USSR.

    Which Stalin crushed all Ukrainian opposition & the people of Ukraine which led to Holodomor.

    Russia's treatment of Ukraine under Stalin post WW2 wasn't flash either nor later after Khrushchev & especially after Chernobyl.

    Under it's 2nd independence, Ukraine sort guarantees from Russia. That when Ukraine gave up its Strategic Weapons under the Lisbon Protocol and Budapest memorandum.

    That Russia will respect Ukraine's Sovereignty and it's rights as a Sovereign country to make it's own decisions in regards to its economic well-being, economic security and it's overall security free from Russian convert & overt political interference.

    With the United kingdom and the United States guaranteeing it security by whatever means for Ukraine to defend itself from Russia aggression.

    Given Russia's treatment of Ukraine since Imperial rule, later under USSR rule, & later twice when it gained it's independence.

    Only to have Russia volatile it's guarantees/ Treaty obligations & you wonder why Ukraine doesn't trust Russia to up hold its bargain!

    • lprent 6.1

      Mostly accurate description of the current military situation. And the history from what I know.

      These offensives are likely to take weeks to gain momentum because of complete lack of any air-superiority by either side. It is going to be a war of tactical intel, logistics and ground forces. The Ukrainians are finally being in a position to effectively target the rear echelon logistics of the Russian artillery.

      The drones are going to be important for intel, but so are the on-the ground sources. I suspect that Ukrainian forces have the advantage with ground intel. The Russians should be better with orbital and signals – but they haven't shown any signs of effectively using that down to the ground so far in this war.

      There has been a palpable sense of confusion in all of the Russian campaigns to date. But they have been able to attack when they concentrated their attacks because of their superior supply and relatively unconstrained logistics (once you ignore their daft blitzkrieg initial attacks.

      Looks like we will find out how well they operate in defence and with attacks on their supply.

      Scud – took a bit to read myself through the sentences…. Could you try a bit more.

      • Scud 6.1.1

        Ah, sorry about. I wrote it last night, as I couldn't get to sleep as I'm in a Veterans hospital in Adelaide which has turned into Ben-Hur & I couldn't believe what I reading which made me quite angry.

        The Southern Offensive is going to be all about Logistics & Long Range Fires into Russia's A& B Echelon & River Crossings than ground gained atm.

        The UkR Military will seek to avoid fighting in the major Urban areas & surround them IOT starve the Russians out & hopefully by creating a bit depth this will make the Russians harder to breakout or be resupplied.

        Anyway I've had a hectic morning, with the Dr's & the social worker/psychologist.

        So my brain is totally F**ed atm.

        I get round to replying to your comment about the UkR Airforce Tactics which is currently punching will above its Weight Division.

  7. Bruce 7

    Yea Right and russia have destroyed 44 of the 20 HIMARS Ukraine have.


    Try Denys Davydov or Jake Broe among many on You Tube that refute your claims

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    Armchair generals having online showdowns with their favourite You Tube clips just switches some of us off.

    Why is NZ even considering getting involved? Possibly–because this country’s ruling class has membership of 5 Eyes and the Anglosphere, and is subject to the influence of US & British Imperialism. AUKUS, NATO and other potentially disastrous acronyms are ultimately no good for working class people. When was the last time anyone had a vote on 5 Eyes? exactly…never.

    Neither Washington, Moscow or Beijing.

    • lprent 8.1

      That is something that is a worthy discussion.

      However I'd suggest that you might like start by having a look for any military or intelligence treaties by any country up for public vote.

      I am aware of a very limited number of non-binding referendums – almost entirely related to entry to NATO.

      In NZ, treaties of all kinds are done by the crown – ie the government of the day. They may be shown to parliament select committees – but they don't get a vote on anything except the off occasion that enabling legislation is required. Treaties are made by orders in council.

      There is a reason for that – treaties are complex mixtures of technical and resource complexities. Certainly past the abilities of most MPs and probably most ministers. They are hammered out by our permanent government which is the crown and its servants.

      You'd have to change our constitutional basis to be able to do what you're appear to be suggesting with public votes.

      Not to mention convincing people like me who read a lot of history that it is a good idea to subject treaties that last for many decades to a public vote. After all we only have to look at some of the many casually worded referendums in NZ to be wary of them. Not to mention the examples from offshore like unfolding disaster of Brexit.

      I'd like more transparency about proposed treaties to enable a wider discussion and feedback. I'd be sceptical about MPs or the public directly voting on them. Currently I can't see where that would add any value to decision making about treaties.

      This is exactly why we have a representative democracy rather than than have more than a token attempt to have a direct democracy.

      It doesn't have much to do with the ruling class any more. It has a lot to do with wondering how much trust to place in other members of our society (including myself) to make the effort to learn enough to make informed decisions about complexity.

      • Tiger Mountain 8.1.1

        I write short pieces generally on blogs, long considered writing is too often pearls before swine–and one liners merely dismissive.

        My shorthand really just refers to relative class power. Few fully realised what they were voting for in the 1984 General Election, and we have had a neo liberal monetarist consensus between the main Parliamentary parties ever since.

        I understand what you say about complexity, informed decisions and transparency. Would not particularly want say capital punishment or some other hot button issues voted on at this time.

        Few politicians would have the appetite to give Uncle Sam the big finger via a public vote on an independent foreign policy and exiting 5 Eyes–yet in the 1980s that is close to what NZ voters did via the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    Wow. Who would have thought we'd live to see pure fascist propaganda getting a platform at the The Standard? Unlike the OP, I have refrained from forming strong conclusions based on disinformation and lies from a fascist dictatorship. However, fascist framings and propaganda lies are fascist framings and propaganda lies so they need to be addressed.

    (the war should) "…not keeping it going ”to the death of the last Ukrainian.”…"

    To deny agency to the victims of aggression is a standard tactic of the bully and abuser. Surely, they asked, we must negotiate with Herr Hitler rather than fight to the death of the last Pole? Has it ever occurred to the OP that Ukrainians are dying because they want to defend their homeland from an invader, and are willingly making that sacrifice?

    "…“Kherson counter-offensive” has been a disastrous failure for the Ukrainian troops, lured into cauldrons in open grounds and decimated by aircraft and artillery…."

    A luridly fantastical description of events, such as which are usually (and wisely) best left to fools. No one has any real idea what has been going on for the past five days. However, some general observations can be made. Modern peer conflict has shifted decisively to the defense, especially when neither side can muster a truly decisive breakthrough mass. Therefore military operations in Kherson are now more akin to the assaults on the Western front in 1917-18 than the sweeping Offensive operations of WW2, particularly when you are using troops inexperienced in offensive operations. A well executed attack therefore is more likely to resemble Plumer's "bite and hold" attack at Messines in 1917 than the tank battles on the steppe of 1941-44. I saw footage recently of captured Russian postions that resembled in every respect the entrenchments of WW1, whilst satellite analysis of the Russian defenses around Kherson show an uncanny resemblence to the Hindenburg line. The outcome of the Ukrainian offensive is unclear. Like WW1, advances -even victorious ones – are only gained with heavy losses. However, they have at least parity in firepower and hold the attritional advantage in Kherson. It is obvious the Russians have been stunned by the accuracy, range, and destructive power of western artillery, especially the MLRS/HIMARS systems and the long-range 155mm artillery rounds being supplied to the Ukraine. And the Ukrainian infantry appear more than willing to go forward and flush out the fascist invaders in close combat, an important advantage.

    There are other signs for cautious optimism. It seems the training programs are having the desired effect (perhaps this is why the Kremlin stooge who write this piece has taken such a direct aim at them?) and the Ukrainians are now rotating battered units out of the line and replacing them with better trained men equipped with western weapons. As a nation of 44 millions (more than the UK at the start of WW1), there is little chance the Ukrainians will run out of men anytime soon and they hold a clear manpower advantage over the Russians, who are too afraid of their own people to mobilise so are bleeding white the forces of the DNR/LPR, frantically recruiting from the prisons and trying to contract out the war to their impoverished ethnic minorities. The Russians cannot regenerate and rotate their units, and rely on field fortifications artillery, lots of armour and airpower to hold their positions. This puts into context the heroic defence of Mariupol and the ferocious battle for Severodonetsk – the Russian were bled white far more than the Ukrainians in these two battles and they cannot in the medium term conduct further significant offensive operations. Photos of the recent Russian presence at the important Vostok 2022 joint manoeuvres with China were very down on previous years.

    "…To put it bluntly, in theory, to achieve their goals the Russians do not need to advance—it would be enough if Ukrainians themselves would come and get killed…"

    As neat a re-writing of history as you might come across anywhere, given the unlimited nature of the stated Russian war aim which were and are the complete conquest of the Ukraine and the extinction of the Ukrainian identity and the liquidation of it's political and military leadership. In any event, it is pretty clear it is the Russians who are getting themselves killed at a somewhat greater rate than they can afford, not the Ukrainians.

    Finally, we need to address the meta of the post, because it does reveal (inadvertently?) an insight into the mindset of the Russians. The Russians, like all Fascist states – especially ones inflicted as they are with aging dictator syndrome – appear to believe that weakling democracies will always fold. The Russian hope for a cold winter to blackmail Europe in surrender, that Trump will be returned in 2024, and America will stop supplying the Ukraine. By weaponising energy and food they appear keen on precipating famine and starvation and recession in countries that they none the less routinely threaten with nuclear annihilation for merely aiding the Ukrainians. One can only imagine the apoplexy of the Kremlin if the boot is on the other foot!

    They hope that Trump will win and European resolve will collapse. it is of course the curse of fascism to under estimate the resilience of free people when confronted by bullies and threats, and to underestimate the patriotism and willingness of people to fight and die in defence of somewhat shitty liberal democracies. The Europeans will survive the winter, and the recession will be short. And Trump won't win in 2024. The American's can't believe their luck – in the Ukraine, they've finally got a country that is willing to fight and they'll fund it to the hilt.

    In short, for all the Russian "long game" they have lost – their army is a busted flush, their military reputation is in tatters, Their great power pretensions exposed for the fraud that they are, and their long term strategy is based on a pile of dubious assumptions about their opponents.

    In other words, business as usual for fascism.

    • Blazer 9.1

      Can you even imagine how WW2 would have played out without the Russians defeating Nazi Germany and the huge cost of 23million Russian lives.

      Of course the Ukrainians fought shoulder to shoulder with the…Nazis.The irony!

      • Sanctuary 9.1.1

        We would have kept dropping atomic bombs on the Germans until they surrendered sometime in 1946.

        • Blazer

          I believe the U.S only had 3 atomic…bombs.Used 2 on Japan in 1945.

          Where exactly would they have dropped all these bombs…in occupied France ?

          • lprent

            I believe the U.S only had 3 atomic…bombs.Used 2 on Japan in 1945.

            So that the US had the production facilities to produce many more atomic weapons in 1945 after Nagasaki doesn't enter your thinking?

            They are estimated to have produced more than 20 by the end of 1945, and at least 50-60 in 1946. By 1950, hundreds. By 1955 thousands. I can’t find a detailed link. But this one will give you the idea.

            Where exactly would they have dropped all these bombs…in occupied France ?

            You really are ignorant.

            The British and US had been bombing Germany and beyond regularly in massed raids since 1943 from the UK, and the Med.

            They didn't need to develop a whole new class of strategic bomber to travel the range required to bomb Japan.

            • Blazer

              In May 1945, the Allies defeated Germany, two months before the atomic bomb was complete.

              The atomic bomb & The Manhattan Project (article) | Khan Academy

              'They are estimated to have produced more than 20 by the end of 1945,'surprise

              • lprent

                Can you even imagine how WW2 would have played out without the Russians…

                Fool – read the quote of your speculative fantasy.

                The comment you were replying to was on your speculation that the UK and US could not have defeated Germany without Russia. ie presumably if Germany had not mounted Barbarossa in 1941 or if Germany had been able to defeat or bring Russia to the peace table. Or Germany hadn't stupidly declared war against the US in later 1941.

                The problem with the whole precept is that Germany wasn't particularly advanced in nuclear technologies at any point in the war. The US were developing nuclear weapons from 1939. It accelerated after 1941 as a response to the Japanese, but was well ahead of German development all the way through the war years.

                It is unlikely that the US could have stayed out of the war in Europe even without Hitlers declaration of war. There were too many US citizens and ships being sunk in the Atlantic. Plus the US needed the support of British empire outposts in the Pacific (especially Australia) after the loss of the Philippines starting from December 1941.

      • Phil 9.1.2

        Of course the Ukrainians fought shoulder to shoulder with the…Nazis

        Hey, maybe you can help me find Ukraine on this map from 1939?


      • Populuxe1 9.1.3

        Some Ukrainians fought with the Nazis, and that was mostly because after the horrors of the Holodomor it probably seemed the better option at the time. Mass genocidal starvation does tend to colour one's perceptions somewhat, no?

        • Francesca

          Did the Jews and the Poles cause the Holodomor?

          Because Ukrainian nationalists took to killing them with great gusto.

          • Phil

            If you think the systematic marginalisation and/or elimination of Jewish people from a society in the 1800's and 1900's is exclusively a trait of fascist or nazi regimes, then your view of history is absurdly myopic.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    The most effective way to save Ukrainian lives would be for Russia to withdraw immediately from Ukraine. That would stop all the death and fighting in the most effective way possible.

    That solution would have the added benefit of saving a lot of Russian lives as well.

    So, Mike, if your concern is genuinely for the lives of both Ukrainian and Russian soldiers, how about you argue for this solution.

    • aom 10.1

      The most effective way to save lives would be for NATO to\pull their heads in. That would stop all the death and fighting in the most effective way possible.

      That solution would have the added benefit of saving a lot of Ukrainian and Russian lives as well.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        Last time I saw NATO has not been doing any invading. The only aggressors in this situation are the Russians. All they need to do is leave and all the fighting stops.

        They can either leave by their own choice or be forced to leave. The outcome is inevitable now.

    • Scud 10.2

      BZ Sanctuary, couldn't said it any better.

  11. dottie 11

    Absolutely Mike,

    We should be arguing for a stop to the war,

    not aiding to keep it going.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    It is now clear the Russians are going to lose this war. It is just a matter of when.

    The Russians will soon be forced to either capitulate in the Kherson region, or will have to find a way of escape.

    The Ukrainians were very cunning in announcing their offensive against Kherson weeks in advance. That left the Russians with two unpalatable choices. Either give up Kherson due to not having enough forces in the area, or reinforce Kherson, and thereby weaken other areas due to forces being reallocated to the Kherson region.

    The Russians chose the latter course. But, this had the effect of locating around 20000 Russian troops in a kill zone.

    The Ukrainians have been very effective in destroying Russian ammo dumps and command centres. Also, they have been destroying bridges and pontoon ferrys etc that the Russians have set up to try and keep their troops supplied. As a consequence, the Russians are in a position in Kherson that is unsustainable in the long term. Hence, I expect Russia will lose Kherson and the surrounding area within the next month.

    Also, Ukraine is making progress in other areas due to the weakening of Russian forces. For instance, they are making good gains in the Izium region, and the Russians are being held in other areas.

    Once the Ukrainians achieve their goals in the Kherson region, they will have a lot of troops that they can redeploy to the rest of the front. Then they will be able to rinse and repeat what they have done in Kherson. So, strategically, the Russians have already lost this war. It is just a question of timing now.

    • lprent 12.1

      As a consequence, the Russians are in a position in Kherson that is unsustainable in the long term. Hence, I expect Russia will lose Kherson and the surrounding area within the next month.

      I doubt that. The Russians have a major defence advantage in that the Ukrainians don't have the numbers for a distinct attack advantage. Russian forces now have some pretty strong incentives to fix their rear echelon idiocies – and they have been slowly showing signs of re-learning how to soldier without overwhelming advantage.

      The only thing that is likely to cause a fast collapse would be using the involuntary conscripts that the DPR has been making and wasting, and some of the under-trained soldiers the Russians have been recruiting in their remote federal districts. However I suspect that the Russians would have moved their better troops into the defence position, because of this problem.

      They'd keep wasting poorly trained and motivated troops in the kinds of frontal attacks that the DPR seem to have done around Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in June. Following up on artillery and with armed troops at their back is the classic cannon fodder usage. But that isn't viable not in defensive positions under attack because of the propensity of poorly trained and equipped or conscripted soldiers to rout.

      Both sides are trying to upgrade the skills of their professional and blooded soldiers to be able to bolster their ability to attack. Which is why there are the training camps going on across Europe for Ukrainian soldiers.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        I guess time will tell. The HIMARS have been making a huge difference to Ukraine.

        Those things are accurate within about a five metre radius. That means the whole of the Kherson region up to the Dnipro river is now under Ukrainian fire control. The problem for the Russians is logistics. And even getting the basics of food and water to their troops. Russia has been accumulating supplies on the other side of the river, trying to ferry them across due to the bridges being down. But the Ukrainians have been hitting those as well due to them all being bunched up.

        So, Russia has a huge problem. The large number of troops they have their now are a liability rather than an asset if they can't be supplied. And troops without ammunition are not much use.

        I expect the Russians will fight for awhile. But will collapse quite rapidly in that area if they can't solve their logistics problems.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.2

        BTW, here is a comment that forms part of a recent analysis from Michael Kofman, who tends to be quite conservative on his views on the matter. Kofman is a well recognised authority, as "Director, Russia Studies at CNA. Senior Adjunct Fellow, CNA''


  13. heather grimwood 13

    Mike, your assertion " we should be arguing for a stop to the war" is my fervent wish.

    As so many times in recent decades I have spoken out and been an activist for this seemingly endless cause.

    Indeed I felt ill at our sending other than humanitarian aid in Ukraine's cause.

    The world's leaders must urgently ensure that the mature strengths of conciliation prevail over avarice and pugnacity.

    • Sanctuary 13.1

      "…The world's leaders must urgently ensure that the mature strengths of conciliation prevail over avarice and pugnacity…"

      And I'm quite keen on getting a sweet pony.

      Stopping the war will happen when Putin losses it and he has an unfortunate fall from a Kremlin window. Ergo, thew quickest way to end the war is train and to equip the Ukrainians with enough weapons to win the war as quickly as possible.

      • Populuxe1 13.1.1

        I greatly fear that even if Putin had a little accident, Russia has backed itself into a corner and the war might very well carry on under new management with only marginally different ambitions.

  14. Tony 14

    100% correct analysis Mike Smith. I will lay $100 bets with you supporters of the Ukraine nazi infested regime that Russia will accomplish it's goals with this SMO. Also remember only 17% of the World has put sanctions on Russia which are failing spectacularly, 83% of the World supports Russia, we are part of a small minority which are going to suffer for the roles our leaders took. We ain't seen nothing yet!

    • tsmithfield 14.1

      First you need to define the goals. Russia seems to keep changing these based on how much it is losing by.

      • Tony 14.1.1

        Tsmithfield the SMO goals have never changed, Demilitarise Ukraine as a buffer against Nato spelt USA and lackeys and also to Denazify Ukraine, both goals are being accomplished and if you think Russian will lose then take my bet and make yourself an easy $100. If you want real world info on Ukraine I can give you some good independent Military analysts to read rather than the rubbish you are consuming now ..

        • tsmithfield

          Yes, that would be an easy $100.

          To denazify Ukraine is an impossibility from the get go because Russia is acting like the biggest Nazi state of them all at the moment. So, even if Ukraine isn't a Nazi state now, they definitely would be if Russia did manage to win the war.

          But before I take any bet with you, you need to specify concrete measures so we can determine if the conditions of the bet have been met or not. That would include a firm timeframe for the goals to be met, and what the measurable milestones are for the goals to be met.

          In order to "denazify and demilarise" Ukraine, would seem to necessarily require the whole of Ukraine to be conquered by Russia. Otherwise there could still be Nazis and weapons floating around in Ukraine.

          So, it seems to me that the conditions for you winning the bet would not exist until Ukraine is completely under Russian control.

          So, how about we have a $100 bet based on whether Ukraine is or is not completely conquered by Russia within the next 12 months. If Ukraine remains unconquered in that time then I win. If Ukraine is conquered then you win.

          Your move.

          • Tony

            Tsmithfield, as I previously stated in contrast to Sanctuarys absurd claim of Russia saying they would win in 5 days, Russia has never put a timeline on it and neither will I, suffice to say they will accomplish both objectives. You state Russia must take all of Ukraine to denazify it, so you agree there are nazis in Ukraines power base?

            • tsmithfield

              "… as I previously stated in contrast to Sanctuarys absurd claim of Russia saying they would win in 5 days, Russia has never put a timeline on it and neither will I, …"

              But you are the one wanting to bet $100. If you don't put a time frame against the bet, then it is meaningless, as you can always claim that the absence of an outcome is due to delay, and it will come eventually. Hence, you can make a bet without ever risking losing. If you are really honest about your bet, then you need to frame it in a way that is measurable.

              "You state Russia must take all of Ukraine to denazify it, so you agree there are nazis in Ukraines power base?"

              There are Nazis in most cultures, even Russia from reports I have seen. If "denazifying" means getting rid of all Nazis, then, like many other places, there may well be some in Ukraine with those views.

        • roblogic

          Why does Russia need a "buffer"? It is the largest nation in the world.

          Putin is trying to expand his borders and add more victims to his open air prison camp.

          Do you think the Viet Cong should have just rolled over for the sake of "peace"? The only "peace" Putin offers Ukraine is the one that comes from death by firing squad.

          • Tony

            Your comment lacks logic Rob .. you are all over the place, words without real meaning, much like a few other commentators on here, like clouds without rain, or in other words without substance ..

    • Sanctuary 14.2

      "…that Russia will accomplish it's goals with this SMO…"

      LOL! What do you base this bit of wishful thinking on? What goals anyway? Capture a tiny village in the Donbas after losing 2000 more men? Impose a genocide on a vanquished Ukrainian nation? So hard to keep up.

      Russia has lost. They gambled they could win in five days and they failed. They gambled they could wear the Ukrainians down and they haven't. They thought they could divide and conquer Europe using energy blackmail. Instead, they just hardened European opinion against them. They've failed. They thought Trump might win. He won't. They've failed at every step and it's only going to get worse in the long run.

      Do you know why the Europeans are pushing so hard to re-start the Iran nuclear deal? Because once they get it back on track Iranian oil comes back onto the world market. Russia has tried to blackmail Europe with energy and it hasn't worked. In return European and US sanctions have smashed Russian oil profitability.

      Now, the Russians have partly side stepped energy sanctions by exporting oil to India and China. Good as far as it gets, but of course they've failed in getting the Western allies to stop supporting the Ukraine which was the whole point of diverting sales. But those exports to India and China have been at a considerable discount – and India only has limited storage capacity anyway. So once Iranian oil comes back onto the market the price of oil will drop. And potentially (if there is a recession) drop a lot. Which given the discount the Russians are offering to China and India means big problems for the profitability of Russia's energy exports. And that in turn will mean curtains for the Russian economy over all.

      • Tony 14.2.1

        Sanctuary talks about the West as if it is the majority, the West is 17% of the World who has imposed self defeating sanctions on Russia, Europe will end up a backwater due to suicide by sanctions. 83% of the World are looking forward to the end of the unipolar moment in time and if you look at BRICS plus Turkey Iran Pakistan you see the Future, we are on the wrong and losing side in this conflict. In a previous post Sanctuary talked about his "informed sources" which gave me a good laugh because they didn't even know the Keiv feint was successful, it locked up tens of thousands of troops there while Russia got about the business of liberating the Donbass which has been defending itself against the Ukonazis for 8 long years where they lost over 14,000 Russian speaking Ukrainians and the Western press were silent. Shame on us for being involved!

        • Sanctuary

          17%? You mean of all the people? The G7 is 43% of the worlds GDP. Close Allies – Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, NZ etc – amount to another 8-9% of global GDP. Just BTW – the GDP of the CER countries (Australia & NZ) is probably higher now than Russia’s post sanctions.

          China, which is playing Putin for a fool, contributes another 19%. The entire rest of the world makes up the remaining 30%. So if you mean by 17% you mean 17% of the world population, I would suggest that it is the 17% that happens have all the guns.

          • Tony

            Sanctuary tell me where you found out that Xi is playing Putin for a fool, facts please, not more of your "Uninformed sources" Combine Russia China South Africa Brazil India Turkey Iran Pakistan and their GDPs and populations and they dwarf your G7, What has age got to do with this discussion or do you want to age shame me?

      • Tony 14.2.2

        Sanctuary you are good for the laugh, tell me where Russia ever put a time line on this operation, they never have, so where are you getting this rubbish from, your informed sources maybe .. ha ha ha .. Remember it was USA and Europe imposed sanctions on Russia which in their exact words would bring Russia to it's knees with our shock and awe sanctions .. ha ha ha, then when the sanctions backfired the Europeans start snivelling that Russia is using energy blackmail on them when it was them that started them .. ha ha ha. Your Western Allies amount to 17% of the world, do you think Russia gives a damn about the declining West, look East and South young man, therein lies the future ..

  15. Barfly 15

    Seeing so many Putin lovers here is quite saddening – seeing the same people demanding actions that would reward Putin for his war is enraging. angrybroken heart

  16. Sanctuary 16

    It is an unusual phenomena, isn't it? I do hear though that pro-Russian sentiment is quite high in the anti-vax/conspiracy theory crowd.

    • In Vino 16.1

      I think it is an unusual phenomenon ('a' is the plural ending) that so many people are convinced by either version, when I don't see that any of us can really tell what is happening.

      Ascribing evil attributes to those who disagree with you seems to be another current phenomenon

    • Tony 16.2

      Sanctuary hears that pro Russian sentiment is quite high in the anti-vax/ conspiracy theory crowd, Hey San did your "Informed sources" tell you that? That's quite a colourful smearing of those you oppose? and which conspiracy theories are you referring to San?

  17. lprent 17

    He’s absolutely right about the logistics. At the press briefing about the deployment Defence Minister Peeni Henare admitted that we can’t send personnel carriers because we have no spare parts!

    Mike – I'm always intrigued by people who haven't been in or around the military and their focus on the strangest things. NZ only has LAV, LOVs or any kind of APC s as training devices in case of deployment to theatres of war that require them.

    The NZ Army hasn't had significant armoured vehicles for fighting here since I was a soldier back in the early 1980s. We trained in APCs, but then as now, the army was orientated to infantry, artillery and special operations. We seldom saw APCs or the remaining tanks in exercises.

    Where we have deployed soldiers into situations that required armour for infantry – for instance for UN missions in the Balkans in the 1990s, or Afghanistan or Iraq after 2011. We didn't expect to transport vehicles from NZ to Europe – they were largely (probably entirely) provided by allied forces closer to the theatres.

    The kinds of spare parts required for just training differ massively from those required for warfare by around 50 fold. As the army uses our armoured vehicles mainly for training, we don't hold warfare levels of spares.

    The reason for not having armoured vehicles for warfare inside NZ should be pretty obvious. There aren't too many places in NZ where tanks or APCs can go off road without bogging down. The geomorphology of the country is terrible for heavy tracked or wheeled vehicles. We don't have land borders with other nations.

    I just can't see why you'd expect any armour to be shipped to a theatre of war from here. The idea is just daft. We regularly send soldiers from here to train with our allies in their equipment in case we need training cadre for overseas deployments and have gear here for basic familiarisation during training.

    What we can do offshore is to provide training in particular skills that our professional soldier do use in conjunction with our military allies. That doesn't involve shipping tonnes of steel to the other side of the world.

    The basic principle won't be to train soldiers to be slaughtered – which appears to be your naive precept. After all this isn't the early 20th century any more when that kind of stupid idea that you could thrust a weapon into someones hand along with a nationalist bullshit and get them to invade a neighbour was prevalent.

    The whole point of training soldiers, something which I have had quite a lot of experience with, is to reduce the probability to be slaughtered. It is also to provide a cadre of trained soldiers who can then train less well-trained soldiers not to get slaughtered.

    Of course this also increases the probability of opposing forces to get killed. But that is what any aggressor invading a country should expect.

    There is simply no excuse for the Russian invasion of a neighbour, nor for their ongoing military support for multiple breakaway regions of other states over the past few decades. NZ should offer whatever support that we can against this kind of stupid 20th century style imperialistic aggression.

    Sending training LAV's is silly. Sending people to train and upgrade skills is a damn good idea.

    • adam 17.1

      Jingoism never works out for working people.

      This promoting of working people to fight for one set of oligarchs or another is sickening.

      It feels worse when one side is a total anti-democratic scum bag, and the other is fast become more of a anti-democratic scum bag.

      • Populuxe1 17.1.1

        And what of the working people having the crap bombed out of them because an imperialist colonial power decided it didn't like that the neighbours were being less subservient?

        • adam

          Who are the ones using human shields again…

          So your solution is to amp up the violence, and not look for solutions which don't involve guns populuxe1?

          War crimes that start wars, don't justify war crimes to keep one going.

          • Phil

            Who are the ones using human shields again…

            Explain to me how civilians being killed when apartment blocks in suburban neighbourhoods are struck by Russian shelling is Ukraine 'using human shields'.

    • Populuxe1 17.2

      Exactly. We have zero offensive capability and bugger all defensive capability even in our own EEZ (though I suspect the latter is being rapidly revisited). We are not directly involved, we have no capability to directly involve ourselves, and it is highly unlikely Russia consider us any sort of player worth worrying about. What we have is skills which we are sharing out of what seems a pretty clear cut moral imperative under the auspices of allied nations we have longstanding diplomatic ties with.

    • Mike Smith 17.3

      Lynne I agree sending LAVs would be silly as did Henare who explained that the request initially came from the Ukrainians. My highlighting his comment about the lack of spare parts was linked to the problems of logistics in ground war. It is the western countries who are starting to complain about shortages.

      • lprent 17.3.1

        It is the western countries who are starting to complain about shortages.

        Sure. However they have production lines that can spin up massively over relatively short time spans (months) to replace consumables. They aren't sending vast numbers of current armour, air-defence systems, or artillery. They're either sending old soviet gear or consumables (like light weapons). And a smattering of modern systems.

        They also (like the Russians) have large stockpiles of older equipment that just require training for the Ukrainians to use, and an ability to repair or cannibalise armour that is in their European military junkyards that the Ukrainians can use after training. The Russians have been pulling old T65s and pushing them into occupation roles because they have trainers for that gear.

        Training for equipment is the key to how this invasion will get repulsed. Which is why we sent artillery trainers on how to use older sight systems that we don't use here any more. We have people trained in their use as backup systems.

        There is a shitload of NATO or NATO allied old or obsolete armour (I have seen some of it in Europe) that is perfectly usable or able to be cannibalised. It hasn't been exploited because of a lack of training in their use for Ukrainian troops.

        So far everyone has mostly concentrated on either sending Ukraine old soviet era equipment that they are trained on from Europe, or near current equipment that breaks the offensive. Now they are sending trainers fro the older gear that is lying around in Europe.

        It is a far better use than the usual NATO clean out techniques of refurbishment and a semi-gifts to dubious flash point states.

        But this war will mainly be won by training soldiers well. So far the Ukrainians appear to be doing a lot better at it than the Russian 'professionals' or their draftees in occupied territories.

  18. tsmithfield 18

    Although I haven't linked to specific sources for my views stated above, I have relied on excellent authorities on the topic.

    For those interested in keeping up with the Ukraine war, I highly recommend Tmes Radio who have a lot of good interviews with leading military experts on the topic.

    Also, Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Major General gives a lot of good analysis.

    Michael Kofman is also a well recognised authority who gives excellent analysis on the conflict.

    Also, the analysis from The Institute for the Study of War also gives regular updates and analysis on the Ukraine conflict.

  19. Adrian Thornton 19

    Good piece there Mike Smith, thanks.

    Of course the usual 'Standard' war mongering liberal imperialist crew come straight on to batter you with their usual regurgitated BBC, NYT, WoPo etc half truths, misinformation and straight out propaganda (and of course the couple of idiot arm chair generals who as always write too much to say absolutely nothing)…but don't worry my friend, it is plainly obvious that you will be proved before long to be on the right side of history…as the real progressive anti-imperialist Left always is.

    • Populuxe1 19.1

      So why isn't the Russian invasion war-mongering imperialism? Or are you still harbouring some fantasy that Russia is socialist?

    • tsmithfield 19.2

      I am against the war as well. That is why Russia needs to do the right thing and withdraw its troops so the war can end. The only reason the war is continuing is because Russia is still trying to invade Ukraine. All they need to do is leave and the war will be over.

      If a peace deal is done on any terms that involve Russia holding captured territory, it will just prove that might is right and that unjustified aggression is rewarded. That is quite a moral hazard going forward.

      So, if you are arguing that Ukraine should give up and accept a compromise you are basically arguing that the Russian invasion and the consequent death of many Ukrainians and Russians was justified.

      Doesn’t sound very peacenik to me.

      • adam 19.2.1

        So if an independent Donbas and Luhansk region come from it, would that be bad also?

        And if it does happen, would we be better off supporting those new states to be truly independent and free?

        Or is putting our selves into a situation where we make an enemy of Russia, so we can't help them be free and independent. And they fall into being a vassal of Russia. Or keep them what they are now, a vassal of Ukraine.

        • Stuart Munro

          These are good but difficult questions – and not really answerable from this distance, without significant local knowledge.

          Were Donbas and Luhansk truly independent, and not merely a foothold for neighbouring states' geopolitical adventurism, then in principle we should support them.

          Things are not so clear cut however, and with the populations being somewhat divided, not only between west and east leaning loyalties, but also those only trying to limit the consequences of a hostile occupation, and indications of less-than-benign conscription of residents. I doubt an accurate breakdown of resident preferences is readily available.

          The long or even medium term stability of these supposedly nascent states is probably dependent on close economic ties with one neighbour or the other – or more likely both. The best indicator of actual independence of either would probably be an attempt to conclude a separate peace – without which peace-time trade would be at best severely restricted. Thus far we are not seeing any sign of the supposed new republics withdrawing from the invasion and closing their borders to both combatants. So a peaceful neutrality is only speculation at this point.

          An indication of the reality of DPR government might be the payment of pensions. These are only available in Ukrainian controlled areas.

          tens of thousands of pensioners have registered their address as being in Ukrainian-controlled areas while still living in separatist-controlled areas, and must travel outside of separatist areas to collect their pensions on a monthly basis.

          Also, The Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE in Ukraine has reported that in the DPR, "parallel 'justice systems' have begun operating".[205] They found this new judiciary to be "non-transparent, subject to constant change, seriously under-resourced and, in many instances, completely non-functional".

          The DPR then, is about as functional as the NZ National Party – almost any other government would be an improvement.

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