Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Yesterday, I talked about that which lies behind the curtain, and today we return in part to the puzzles and pieces that are the events happening. Many things still just don’t add up; but, more things are coming into focus.

Again, as I noted the other day, don’t believe everything coming out from ANY source including the conspiracy people. And, I do include anything on this site or that I say should be treated that way. Take it with a bit of salt until you can research and verify. As Boss said, trust; but, verify.

That rule also applies to someone who has impressed me. Go read the latest from Kamil Galeev. When you get to the bottom of the story, take the time to go read the other things he’s written that you have not yet read. He has a number of good insights and thoughts. Again, read what others say and make an informed judgement.

The four LSTs that passed Japan are interesting for a number of reasons. If they are indeed headed for the fighting, it could be a long voyage. If headed to the Black Sea, will they be allowed transit of the Suez Canal and the Bosphorus? If they are not headed to the Black Sea, are they intended to head to the Baltic for land transport? Either way, it indicates that at least someone thinks this is going to go on a while. Pity I’m not seeing any submarines currently active in the Ukrainian navy, as the Russians appear to really need the equipment on those ships. Be a shame if something happened to them.

As noted before, there is a lot that doesn’t make sense with what is known. The attacks in the East and the South are not only to take a land bridge to the Crimea, but to also rob the Ukraine of its ports and most productive territory. If they lose the South and the ports, they lose the ability to conduct trade. In short, that effort is designed to force any divided Ukraine to have to join the Russian-controlled part simply to survive. Yet, the South is stalled almost as bad as the North/East attack against Kyiv though conditions are much more favorable in terms of being able to operate off-road.

Which in turn leads to logistics and training. One of the few things most sources agree on is that the logistics situation is FUBAR and getting worse. If the four LSTs are indeed aimed at getting critical logistics to the war, it is the equivalent of a Hail Mary play where someone is hoping things hold on long enough for it to arrive. Meantime, multiple sources that are not the Ukraine are reporting that food, fuel, ammunition, and more are in short supply for the Russian troops.

Troops themselves seem to be in short supply, and this article at Instapundit not only has some interesting info on sabotage of the supply lines, but an astounding admission on the true number of killed and wounded. The Kremlin has maintained that the numbers were low, ridiculously so. Yet, a pro-Kremlin outlet has released information that almost 10,000 have been killed and some 16,000 wounded. Note that they are very careful not to mention the number captured — or that have flat out defected, often with weapons systems. More on the outlet in a moment.

Now, let’s look at training. One of the reasons the U.S. military was so successful in many operations was the amount and realism of training. It allowed green units to function as if they were veteran units in the early days of Iraq. Our version of shock and awe requires not only well-trained troops, but equally well trained and practiced logistics.

There are multiple reports out that the Russian troops literally can’t operate cross country, which says a lot about land nav training. That other areas of (very) basic training are on par with the land nav. While the Russians do have a number of elite troops, keep in mind that a good bit of the forces are conscripts, who often just want to get it over with and out — and have no real motivation to train and do well. So, even if the weather (and mud) were better, they still could not make full use of their forces.

I will also join right now in agreeing with others who have pointed out that the large number of senior officer deaths reflects these issues. When your troops are not well trained, may not be fully under control, and don’t necessarily want to be there, you have to lead from the front or very damned close so as to make things happen. Which means you have a better than average chance of making a com mistake or otherwise identifying yourself and your command unit as a target. With the exception of one sniper shot, that’s what’s happened to most. That one such officer was the officer responsible for the massacre of Ukrainian troops who had been promised safe passage out of an area a few years ago is poetic justice. When Putin talks safe corridors, he’s lying and that incident is the proof of such.

Now, let’s go back to the unexpected report by Pravda. Rather, let’s look at what lies behind it. There are a number of indications that not only agencies of the government are not working well together, but that divisions within those agencies are not working well together. There is some speculation that some of this is deliberate and some is just war magnifying the normal bureaucratic incompetence. There are some very interesting rumors that a LOT of it is deliberate, as people who oppose the war are taking any chance to spike it (especially if they can’t be caught at it). Yesterday, I mentioned the demographics involved in Russkiy Mir pro and con, and I have a suspicion that some of the, er, friction between different parts of the Kremlin may mirror those demographics.

One also wonders how much any of this is being accurately reported to Vladimir. It’s pretty clear that the briefings he got before the invasion had very little connection to reality. When you are a strongman with a temper and known for arranging very nasty ends for those who displease you, you tend not to get told anything you don’t want to hear. When you do hear of people disagreeing with you, no matter how reasonable the disagreement, and your reaction is to declare them traitors to the Rodina and act upon it, it might further deplete the supply of truth reaching you. As I noted yesterday, Putin is a “true believer” in Russkiy Mir both because he believes in the end goal and he sees it as the way to secure and expand his (now extremely shakey) position. I think it has led to some serious miscalculations, and that more are to come.

At this point, however, I suspect that Vladimir realizes the damage done. It is not just economic (he cares not at all about the hardship on the average Russian citizen), but the political costs are huge. The threat of the Russian military is not completely destroyed, but has taken damage such that the areas he wants to force into Russkiy Mir are not only no longer terrified, but believe they can fight and win. Russia was always heavily dependent on imports, and that has now significantly increased and Xi is smiling the smile of a loan shark at the fact that most of that trade now has to go through him. Putin has begun turning off energy to the West, and the West is already figuring ways to do without him. Heck, Germany may even restart its nuclear power plants if rumors from Berlin are correct. I hope they are, as otherwise Germany and a good bit of Europe are fucked if they don’t, short and long term.

Vladimir’s position was shaky before this. Now, he’s a cornered rat in many respects. He can’t trust his fellow oligarchs, for all he’s neutered them as best he can. He can’t trust his military. He can’t trust even his fellow-traveling politicians as some of them already are reported to be looking to arrange soft landings elsewhere. I would not be surprised to see his already interesting security arrangements get even more interesting — one wonders if all of his in person meetings might now be done at a hundred feet… He’s also aware that the public as a whole is not to be trusted. For all that he does have a very loyal base, it is not a majority (or even close). He has no “out” within Russia for all practical purposes; and, he will not consider any out that would place him outside of Russia. Never mind the fact that he’s been declared a war criminal and that leaders of other governments have called for him to be deposed and/or killed. No, more than ever I think he will double down and hope that doing so will let him accomplish enough of Russkiy Mir to not just hang on, but to gain power.

Again, this does not make me optimistic about reasonable decisions, much less any that fall within definition of good choices. On the military front, doctrine calls for the use of nukes in situation like this. There may be an option for Russia to use its chemical or biological weapons in place of nukes in terms of doctrine, in the belief that the U.S. would not respond to their use the same as the use of nukes. Then again, doctrine (and thought within those red walls) believe that Western leadership, particularly the U.S., will not do so anyway.

All we can do at this point is hang on and hope for the best. As I said before, we may be about to witness what happens when it’s not one world leader who’s insecure in MAD terms, rather what happens when no major world leader is secure. Won’t that be fun!

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain


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