Dichotomy in prospects for Ukraine war
The plan of the Biden administration, since Maidan coup 2014, was to use the Ukrainian soldiers as cannon fodder to wage a proxy war against Russia in order to weaken and possible destroy it but the factual events on the battlefields tell that President Zelensky failed.
After half a million Ukrainians killed, over $100 billion worth of western military hardware destroyed and Russian Forces got much stronger, the West is today facing weakening Zelensky, whose days are numbered. The endless series of lost wars will get a new example: Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan … and now Ukraine.
The current military situation indicates that Judgement Day appears to be confirmed for Ukraine and the end of war is near but … on the other hand, some heavy interests can be found behind the continuation of the war to the bitter end. The slogan “fighting to the last Ukrainian” shall be understood literally, not symbolically.
International framework / external reasons
Political statements and measures – doubts begin to gnaw
As I wrote in my previous article “The US military and financial aid is at stake” due to domestic political reasons and federal budgeting problems. USAID announced they have used already 96% of finance budget for Ukraine, now they are out of the budget. Even US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, in mid-November 13, that “The window is closing on US funding for Ukraine, each week that passes our ability to fully fund what we feel is necessary … gets harder and harder”.
In a press statement mid-November, the spokesperson for the US Department of State, Mr. Miller, has indicated that the question of aid to Ukraine has reached a “critical point”. According to him, the Pentagon has publicly disclosed that they have utilized approximately 95% of their allocated resources for providing assistance to Ukraine. Miller emphasized the urgency of the matter, urging the Congress to promptly consider additional aid requests.
Ukraine will not receive new aid from the United States until mid-December. This is the most optimistic forecast. There is a possibility that Ukrainians will not see the support of their American allies until next year. Anyway, that mass support hitherto for Kiev is already “gone with the wind”, because the AFU counter-offensive has reached a dead end.
In mid-November, Penny Pritzker, US Special Representative for Ukraine’s Recovery, visited Kyiv and suggested that officials would start “imagine how the country could survive economically without US aid”. Ukrainian media stated that her first visit to Ukraine had left “a rather disturbing aftertaste in many government offices” here.
US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, visited in Kyiv on November 20, said “I came to Kyiv today with an important message – the United States stands with Ukraine, and we are going to be with them for the long haul.” He had a promise of $100 million military aid and a serious message with him. The situation was absurd, just a couple of days before Zelensky was complaining about the lack of money stating that the war costs $100 million per a day!
Hungary is blocking a new 500 million euros tranche from the European Peace Fund to Ukraine until Kiev guarantees that it will not add the Hungarian OTP Bank to the Ukrainian list of “international war sponsors” again, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto said on November 13. OTP, Hungary’s largest bank was included in that list this spring. Earlier, Szijjarto cautioned that until its removal from the list, Hungary would not even discuss the blocked EU military aid to Ukraine. Due to Budapest’s position on the matter, the EU was unable to proceed with providing the next installment of military aid worth 500 million euros to the Kiev regime at a meeting of EU defense ministers in Toledo, Spain, in late August.
A scandal broke out in Europe, in order to arm Kyiv regime. The Swiss Ministry of Economy was forced to check media reports that Swiss-made ammunition was transferred to Ukraine through a Polish company. Switzerland does not allow countries to which it has sold weapons to re-export them to another country without its consent.
The supply of shells from Europe has become a problem for Kiev. Brussels promised to provide the Ukrainian military with 1 million 155 mm artillery shells by March 2024. However, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrel recently revealed that Brussels could transfer only 300 thousand such shells. The German Defense Minister became the first high-ranked official to acknowledge that the European Union cannot achieve the set goal on time. According to the Ukrainian Minister for Strategic Industries, all European, American and Ukrainian production capacities, even multiplied, are still not enough to cover the needs of the Ukrainian military.
Meanwhile, Brussels is experiencing all new problems with providing assistance to Ukraine. Due to disagreements with Kiev, Budapest has been blocking the allocation of €500 million from the European Peace Facility for several months. Budapest also warns that any financial assistance to Ukraine should go separately from the general EU budget, and the union needs a new strategy for Ukraine.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived in Kyiv on November 21 bearing a much-needed gift: more military aid for Ukraine. “I have the honor to announce a new package,” Pistorius said during a press conference in Kyiv. It includes another four systems of IRIS-T medium-range missiles, 155-millimeter ammunition, and Panzer anti-tank defense mines, he clarified. “Altogether it is a package worth €1.3 billion euros, and I am quite sure this will help you and your fight against Russian aggression. Pistorius came to Kyiv the day after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. German funding for Ukraine’s defense amounts to €5.4 billion for 2023 — after €2 billion in 2022. The German government had been planning to double its 2024 aid plan for Ukraine from €4 billion to €8 billion; however, Germany’s current budget crisis has thrown this into doubt.
Peace initiatives – Lost opportunities for peace
The United States/Biden administration together with the UK/PM Boris Johnson played the primary role in sabotaging the March 29, 2022 tentative peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine.
The United States persuaded its NATO allies that pursuing the war against Russia, using Ukraine as a proxy, offered a legitimate opportunity to destroy Russia. Instead of helping end the war between Russia and Ukraine, the United States and its NATO vassals condemned hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers to death in a war with Russia they could not win.
This fact of events is fully confirmed in the recently published article “HOW THE CHANCE WAS LOST FOR A PEACE SETTLEMENT OF THE UKRAINE WAR — AND THE WEST WANTED TO CONTINUE THE WAR INSTEAD” by Professor Hajo Funke and General (ret.) Harald Kujat (Berlin, October 2023).
A commentary article (to the above mentioned) is “HOW THE United States and Its NATO Allies Sabotaged Peace Between Russia and Ukraine” by Larry Johnson, November 14, 2023.
I sincerely recommend reading these two articles. They are eye-opening and thought-provoking.
After it became clear that the AFU much-hyped counteroffensive had failed, Washington again started talking about negotiations. In November, the American media began to persistently spread the thesis that it was time for Kyiv to sit down at the negotiating table. It is emphasized that Ukraine is losing, so it will have to make concessions. They even proposed admitting Ukraine to NATO but without Crimea, Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
But Zelensky, considering himself an independent political figure, “went into denial” and declared that it was necessary to fight until the last Ukrainian.
CIA Director William Burns was reportedly traveling to Ukraine in mid-November to tell Zelensky his time is up. Obviously, Burns was tasked with freezing the proxy war due to Biden’s weak performance (elections, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict etc.). Today, the freezing of the conflict would be acceptable to the US and perhaps to Ukraine as well but Russia seems not to be interested in any western-supported solutions.
The arrival of CIA Director William Burns in Kiev signals a critical juncture in the Ukraine conflict. As the situation intensifies, Burns’ urgent mission is a stark indicator of Ukraine’s dire state. This visit raises a crucial question: Is Ukraine on the cusp of a necessary capitulation, or is a coup on the horizon?
Burns presence underscores a broader strategic dilemma: whether to continue propping up a faltering regime or recalibrate US policy in the region. With Washington’s ambitions to embed NATO in Ukraine, the implications of Burns’ visit are profound. How will the US navigate this precarious situation and at what cost? As the war reaches an inevitable tipping point, one must ask: Is the pursuit of a NATO foothold in Ukraine worth the cost? The very existence of NATO itself may well be the cost.
Even Western mainstream media has finally noticed the real war situation and slowly but surely admitting the inevitable defeat. Some examples: Eugene B. Rumer for his Wall Street Journal op-ed “It’s Time to End Magical Thinking About Russia’s Defeat”; “Redefining Success in Ukraine”, A New Strategy Must Balance Means and Ends, By Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan, November 17, 2023.
There will come a point in time for Russia to make on offer that the Ukrainian officialdom and people cannot resist. Cheap gas, lots of trade in exchange for Ukrainian official acceptance of new Russian borderlines around Novorossiya as well as political and military neutrality. The old map below may show some models for the base of coming Ukraine-partition.
Foreign military assessments
Recently, some prominent security and military experts have given assessments regarding the Ukraine war.
One of them is Jacques Baud, a Swiss security expert interviewed by Markus Karsten.
Westend Verlag, October 29, 2023
Jaques Baud hat einen Master in Ökonometrie und ein abgeschlossenes Nachdiplomstudium in internationaler Sicherheit und internationalen Beziehungen. Er arbeitete als für die Ostblockstaaten und den Warschauer Pakt zuständiger Analyst für den Schweizer Strategischen Nachrichtendienst und leitete die Doktrin für friedenserhaltende Operationen der Vereinten Nationen New York. Dort war er zuständig für die Bekämpfung der Proliferation von Kleinwaffen bei der NATO und beteiligt an den NATO-Missionen in der Ukraine.
The next one is General Harald Kujat and his professional article on lost peace opportunity, which was presented above.
Then, there are two French military analysts, Colonel Alan Corvez and Colonel Régis Chamagne. Both have an article in the French online media Le Dialogue.
Both experts share the opinion that NATO is facing a deep crisis, followed by a political earthquake in the EU. It will be difficult to explain to the European population who and why needed inflation, ultra-expensive energy resources and other troubles, if all this turned out to be in vain. After the conflict in Ukraine, Europe will no longer be the same.
Foreign mercenaries escaping from Ukraine!
Many foreign mercenaries recruited by Kiev soon opt to flee Ukraine after experiencing the gruesome reality of the battlefield, an army officer told CNN on Nov.19. Moscow has previously said that Kiev is using soldiers from other countries as cannon fodder to breach Russian defenses.
Domestic political and military framework / internal reasons
Referring to above mentioned Burns visit to Kyiv, one can ask what may be the purpose of Burns mission to Ukraine? It is doubtful Burns got any workable solution on the current set or even any order to the current turmoil in Kyiv. The problem is that Ukraine is imploding. The crumbling of the Zelensky regime is not surprising: Ukraine has been suffering far too many casualties to survive for much longer. Ukraine either must find a way to make a deal with Russia or face an internal rebellion.
At the recent Chatham House conference, western military leaders and analysts discussed various options for Ukraine and were forced to admit that the entire army NATO trained between 2014 and 2022 in preparation for an attack to Russia is now dead and destroyed.
Since the start of the war (February 2022), Ukraine has gone through three armies (died Ukrainian soldiers about 500,000 and the value of destroyed military equipment up to $100 billion so far) and majority of the current army is made up of older men, group of women and boys with no training.
The Russian meat-grinding strategy has been to bleed-down Ukraine’s armed forces and create a political crisis in Kiev. The Russian effort is ahead of schedule, which has surprised Moscow as much as Washington.
In Kiev, an internal conflict has broken out between Zelensky and his gang on the one hand and the Ukrainian army leadership, headed by General Zalushny. Game of Thrones in full swing – always started with a blame game for the losing side: The culprit for the failure of the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) was the commander-in-chief of the army Valeriy Zaluzhny.
Zelensky is setting the stage to have General Zaluzhny arrested and purged. He’s likely to prepare the ground by firing three generals tied to Zaluzhny, whose top aide has already died in what’s described as an accident. The three are Commander of the Joint Forces Sergei Naev, Commander of the Operational-Strategic Group of Troops Alexander Tarnavsky and Commander of the Medical Forces Tatyana Ostashchenko.
As General Zaluzhny made clear in his writings in the British Economist, Ukraine’s war needs a pause or ceasefire. That would allow time for the army to be rebuilt and stocked with new weapons that are not yet in either the American or European inventory. Zelensky, however, opposes any pause in the fighting and wants his army to hold onto key territories such as Avdiivka and to retake important cities including Bakhmut.
Zelensky’s success is built on a base of graft and theft. He finances his support by allowing officials to steal as much as they can. That way they stay loyal. Luckily for him, the US (and its allies) have so far let the flow of billions of dollars of US and European aid. But the US Congress is increasingly under pressure for accountability for money and weapons sent to Ukraine.
Zelensky’s regime is in urgent need of financial support. He believes that Ukraine won’t be able to keep up with social payments without the help of Western partners. Zelensky warns that a “crisis may arise in Ukraine that will influence the course of the war.” Regime’s pain is compounded by the fact that the entire national property has already been sold to foreign investors.
Possible Coup in Ukraine! According to Zelensky, Russia is attempting to orchestrate a coup in Kiev. The Ukrainian dictator stressed that it’s not safe anymore in the country and the west seems to have turned its back. Ukrainian “intelligence” claims that in the coming days, the Kremlin plans to create chaos in the country aimed at overthrowing Zelensky. Zelensky has publicly admitted that he fears a new “Maidan” being prepared in Ukraine and in his opinion, Russia is to blame for attempts to “sow chaos” in Ukrainian society, writes Bloomberg. Zelensky has dismissed Oleksandr Tarasovskyi, a deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. Again, a sign of the looming end.
Ukraine’s demographic nightmare! According to the United Nations, Ukraine has a population of 36,7 million as of 2023.
In July 2023, Reuters reported that due to the refugee outpouring into Western Europe, the population of Kyiv-controlled areas may have decreased to as low as 28 million. This is a steep decline from 2020, when it had a population of almost 44 million people. This is in large part due to the ongoing Ukrainian war, refugee crisis and loss of territory caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As mentioned above, already over 500,000 Ukrainian people are died in this war.
After the Ukrainian government, on order of the US, failed to make peace with Russia, the Russian president Putin ordered his troops to ‘de-militarize and de-nazify’ the Ukraine. It then was obvious that the attrition of the Ukrainian army, not taking its land, was the main Russian plan. The Ukrainian political and military command failed to correctly adopt to that. Instead of going into defense mode behind holdable lines it ordered its troops to attack Russian defense lines again and again. In consequence Russian losses were minimal while the Ukrainian losses exceeded all imaginations.
As of now, the total mobilization by Zelensky’s regime is calling for more younger and older (17-70year) Ukrainian people (men and women) to be drafted to die is making this demographic catastrophe even more horrible. Ukrainian society has absolutely no future in the next hundreds of years.
At the end of the day, who plays the most essential role in the current Ukrainian society?
Now that NATO-trained army has been destroyed by Russian Forces as well as the troops of recruited young and old servicemen including women, Zelensky and his regime are at odds with the leadership of the Army and their position is shaking, the foreign aid is diminishing, who holds the hard power?
The answer is quite clear: the core national guard (nazies) with some 25,000 troops have the last word in all important matters in Ukraine. They are top trained, well-organized, ideologically motivated to do all possible measures in order to confirm their position in Ukraine. Even Zelensky’s life is in their hands and Zelensky knows it. They are ready fight to the last recruited Ukrainian in this war.
Warfare and losses
I have analyzed military events and loss numbers in my previous articles, which are available on my website.
I shortly refer to Defense Minister Shoigu’s statement of November 21:
The Ukrainian armed forces have lost over 13,700 troops and close to 1,800 hardware units since the beginning of November, Shoigu said at the board meeting of the ministry. He also spoke about the failed attempt of the Kiev regime to carry out a landing operation in the Kherson direction, several-fold increase in arms supplies to the Russian forces and the development of the Navy.
Russia has moved to heavy attack mode on all frontlines, especially Avdeevka/Donetsk region and has resumed air strikes around Ukraine.
Based on the map above, the main front lines are unprotected by the Ukrainian air defense. Russian Forces have reportedly accumulated hundreds of missiles, UAVs, bombs etc. over the last months, obviously to take out the very rest of AFU air defense and energy service in series of large-scale attacks.
An interesting glimpse of electronic warfare by Russian Forces in Ukraine war, can be read in the recent American study of CSIS: The Invisible War in Ukraine Being Fought Over Radio Waves, by James A. Lewis.
Russian military sources shared the first footage of the mass use of the RBC-500 cluster bombs in Ukraine.
The video was reportedly filmed in the area of Staromayorskoe in the south of the DPR. The RBC-500 bomb is a powerful munition capable of destroying a column of armored vehicles or a large manpower cluster bomb. One cassette includes 15 Motiv-3 anti-tank submunitions. The bomb explodes in air and the combat elements are scattered over the area. Each of them has a parachute that slows down the fall. Meanwhile, infrared sensors allow submunitions to search for targets within 100 meters. As soon as it positions a target, a charge shoots, creating a cumulative jet of gases and molten copper. It is capable of burning through tank armor of 70 to 150 mm.
Pilot defect from Ukraine to Russia
On the night of November 18, news appeared that a senior officer of the Ukrainian Air Force, an aviation flight commander flew over to the Russian side. Details about his arrival have not been reported but judging by the word “flew”, he arrived in his combat vehicle (Su-27).
The Russian Ka-52 pilot, who organized this operation pointed out that the Ukrainian pilot flew to Russia, which may indicate the veracity of the rumors about the hijacked Su-27. Now the Russian special services are working with him. Since late August, the number of shot down Ukrainian aircraft has increased significantly meaning a lot of killed pilots.
This episode has drawn embarrassment and anxiety in Ukraine and among patron states but especially in the US, which is the key supplier of F-16 jets. This defect may risk the whole F-16 package, because Pentagon wants to get absolutely guarantee from Ukraine that this kind of event does not happen with any F-16.
Wrapping up some conclusions
Below the table, where number of realist and relevant items are categorized for short/long war, from the viewpoint of Ukraine.
When examining and assessing the above table, it seems quite clear that majority of all items are pro-Russia/anti-Ukraine in character. Ukraine and AFU are very dependent on foreign aid and any significant decrease in aid will collapse both Ukraine’s whole society and AFU within a couple of weeks.
This is too risky business for Ukraine and leads to the path of complete destruction, both in the short, mid and long term.