putin’s ruin

Putin ruin

"Choke on it." Caricature by German artist Jacques Tilly 

Analysis, Opinion

Article by: Thomas Theiner

Editor’s Note

Ukrainians fight in Kharkiv and in Mariupol, in Mykolaiv and in Chernihiv, they will fight in Dnipro and in Odesa, they fight with indomitable spirit, and growing confidence and growing strength, they will defend their nation, whatever the cost may be. They fight and they will never surrender, and if, a large part of Ukraine falls to the fascists from the East, then tens of thousands of Ukrainian partisans will carry on the struggle.

And if we ever should abandon the Ukrainians in their fight to save their people, then we ourselves will have to fight putin in Poland, in Romania, in Finland, on Gotland, in Estonia, and wherever else his mad desire for empire leads him.

It’s day seven of russia’s invasion of Ukraine, five days after putin’s generals expected to be in total control of Kyiv. Instead, Ukrainians are fighting on all fronts and never surrender. Thus the russian offensive has stalled; at least for now.

The reasons are twofold — the first being the overwhelming hubris, mass delusions, and astounding stupidity on part of the russian military/political leadership, and the second being that Ukrainians fight with bravery, British NLAW anti-tank missiles, and favorable terrain in the North of Ukraine.

All this has led to russia holding nothing of Ukraine but a network of roads. All those maps that color large swaths of Ukraine as being “conquered” by russia are misleading. The reason there is a 40 km long convoy of russian vehicles moving towards Kyiv is that the russians hold nothing but this one road.

The only correct map of russian “gains” in Ukraine (Source: Nathan Ruser) ~

The only correct map of russian “gains” in Ukraine (Source: Nathan Ruser)

russian hubris, delusions, and stupidity

The russian leadership believes that Ukrainians aren’t a people, aren’t a nation. The kremlin’s gang of imperialists deluded themselves into thinking that the Ukrainians aren’t fighters, that russia has a godly mission to rule other Slavic people, and that these people long for mother russia’s domination. The russians even believed their own propaganda lies that Ukrainians are ruled by a handful of “drug-addicted Nazis under the control of Washington.”

Accordingly, the russian military based its entire operational plan on the assumption that Ukrainians would welcome russian forces as liberators. The details of the original russian invasion plan can be found here.

Why Russia attacked Ukraine

The russians were confident that they would only fight small detachments of putin’s mythical “Ukrainian Nazis,” while a solid majority of Ukrainians would welcome and help the invaders. The russians were so confident about this that they didn’t provide maps of Ukraine to their troops.

So far, no captured russian military vehicle contained a road map of Ukraine. russian troops even showed up at Ukrainian police stations asking for fuel and directions, expecting the police officers to help them (they were arrested).

The russians also collected their troops’ mobile phones to ensure operational secrecy and withhold the truth of the brutality of the invasion from their own soldiers. This deprived the russian troops of all online map apps and left russian formations below battalion commanders unable to find their way in Ukraine.

Ukrainians immediately compounded these problems by removing all road signs or replacing them with insults directed at the russians. As a result, scores of videos have appeared showing lost russian soldiers abandoning their vehicles after their fuel has been exhausted.

Even more astonishing, the russians were so sure of Ukrainian support that they brought just enough fuel and food for the initial push, assuming that Ukrainian forces and cities would switch sides and refuel and feed the invaders.

The russians were also fantasizing about their supply convoys driving across Ukraine without the need of a covering force. A perfect example of this mix of stupidity and hubris is the russian advance to Mykolaiv.

On day 2 of the war, the russians sent a VDV paratrooper regiment from Novoozerne in Crimea to Mykolayiv. The unit crossed the Dnipro over the Kakhovka river dam and bypassed the city of Kherson. Shortly after, the paratroopers’ BMD vehicles ran out of fuel in sight of Mykolayiv. Now, the paratroopers’ only supply line runs through the choke point at the Kakhovka river dam, which Ukrainian forces continue to attack, making it difficult for the russians to send supplies forward.

The russian stupidity doesn’t end there. The supply line to Mykolaiv runs by the city of Kherson, which russia mistakenly assumed would throw itself into putin’s arms on day 2 of the war. Nothing of the sort happened and so the russian supply for Mykolaiv needs to drive for 18 km in machine gun, NLAW, and Javelin range past Kherson.

Only today the russian managed to bring additional forces from Crimea to Kherson and are currently trying to storm the city, with the russian troops deployed there so famished that they immediately set out to plunder the local supermarkets.

Only after having taken Kherson and created a perimeter around Kakhovka will the russians be able to resupply their units outside Mykolaiv. But Mykolaiv has not surrendered either. So, instead of driving through Mykolaiv and towards the russian naval infantry forces, which were planned to land at Kobleve to the northeast of Odesa on the day 4 of the war, the russians will now have to fight their way through Mykolaiv and hope that the Ukrainian defenders will not blow the bridge over the Pivdennyi Buh river.

With the bridge gone, the russian advance to Odesa will stall for even longer, with the russians then forced to find a bridge over the Pivdennyi Buh further North or having to attempt to throw a pontoon bridge across the river.

The russian invasion forces also ran out of fuel to the South of Zaporizhia, but unlike Mykolayiv there are no natural chokepoints that slow down the russian supply columns moving from Crimea towards Zaporizhia, but in Melitopol, citizens have begun to block the roads used by the russian supply columns in unarmed and peaceful protest.

And the situation for the russians is much worse in the North of the country. The treeless steppe grasslands of southern Ukraine do not offer a defending force any cover, therefore the Ukrainian military never intended to fight russian forces in the open steppe. People have misinterpreted this retreat to cities and chokepoints like bridges and dams as a Ukrainian defeat, when in fact it is part of the Ukrainian strategy.

The next battles in the South will be russian attempts to storm the cities of Mariupol, Zaporizhia, and Mykolaiv, while in Ukraine’s forested North the focus will continue to be attacks on russia’s exposed, overstretched, and crumbling logistics.

Steppe Ukraine

Southern Ukraine’s coverless steppe landscape. Photo: wikipedia

Ukrainians fight

Thanks to the US intercepting the russian invasion plan the Ukrainians have been able to efficiently use the many idiotic aspects of it to wreck and annihilate russian forces. Due to the ludicrous assumption of being welcomed as liberators, the russians included only minimal occupation forces in their original plan. This was best evidenced yesterday in the Southern port city of Berdiansk (population 108,000), where the russians have an occupation “force” of about 60 troops. That those 60 troops are still alive is only due to the fact that Ukraine commenced its general mobilization way too late and thus deprived the 2–3,000 men of Berdiansk willing to fight of weapons.

The same ludicrous assumption applies to other cities like Sumy or Konotop, where initially russian forces in platoon-strength, often with just a handful of jeeps, tried to “liberate” those cities. All of those russians are dead now and the russians were forced to bring in more troops to fight their way into these cities.

But urban combat favors the defender, and a defending force armed with British NLAW anti-tank missiles is deadly for an invader, as we saw in Bucha, where an entire russian paratrooper company was annihilated to the last man after entering the towns’ main road.

The russians were so deluded that cities like Chernihiv would surrender that they bypassed them and sent tiny reconnaissance or national guard units to occupy them. These were immediately shot up and killed once they entered these cities. Cities like Okhtyrka and Chernihiv, which the russians planned to “liberate” on day 1 are still holding out on day 7, forcing the russians to divert troops to besiege these towns. This is a tremendous drain because the russians never planned for such sieges and do not have the troops to properly close the siege rings.

The best example of this lack of troops is Kharkiv, which russia assumed would switch sides quickly, but is fiercely resisting the invaders.

In the belief that Kharkiv would be secured within a day or two, the russians already pushed past it towards Poltava and Dnipro, with these forces now stranded on both sides of Kharkiv, waiting for the forces to their back to take the city. But Kharkiv fights! And the russian siege ring is not yet closed, so on day 5 and on day 6 of the war, Ukrainian convoys with ammunition, Javelin and NLAW anti-tank missiles, and Stinger anti-air missiles reached the city.

To have to commit more forces to besiege even the smallest of towns puts an additional strain on the already overstretched russian logistic forces. Supplying forces fighting to take Chernihiv reduce the flow of supplies and fuel to the forces trying to push towards Kyiv. Having diverted forces to unplanned sieges also reduces the russian manpower available to protect their vulnerable supply convoys. And Ukrainian troops and ordinary citizens are ruthlessly hitting those lightly protected supply convoys in hit and run attacks, and additionally with TB2 drone strikes.

The russian supply problems have reached such epic proportions that russian troops are now plundering every shop they encounter while hundreds of russian vehicles have been abandoned by their troops due to a lack of fuel (or lack of will to fight).

The 40-km-long russian column making the news is not just a traffic jam, it’s an epic fiasco: thousands and thousands of vehicles unable to move forward or back, or make way for supply trucks, all of them burning their fuel to keep the heating on, while troops consume their last food is a recipe for disaster if Ukrainian forces can maneuver to strike this static target in ambushes, just as the Finns annihilated two russian divisions moving along the Raate road in 1940.

Russians Finland

Russians after trying to move along a road in Finland (Source: wikipedia)

Now the russians are in desperate need of more manpower to achieve their goals, and therefore putin threatened Lukashenko, the unpopular de-facto ruler of Belarus to enter the war.

Belarus’ army is considered to be one of the worst in Europe, so while it will bring additional low-quality and demoralized troops to the fight, it will also exacerbate the russian supply problem as there will now be more troops to feed and more tanks to fuel.

How Putin turned Belarus into a weapon against Ukraine

The next days

So far putin’s invading army has failed to take any of the cities Ukrainian forces decided to defend. This might change in the coming days as russian forces have slowed their advance to preserve fuel, while re-supplying forces near Kherson and Sumy.

In the coming days, we will see some cities fall, we might even see Kyiv fall, but entering a fiercely hostile city is one thing, trying to hold it is entirely another.
  • Each day more and more Ukrainians take up arms against the invaders, while every hour more and more weapons arrive from allies. Modern anti-tank weapons, anti-air missiles, and other technology arrives from the West, fueling the resistance.
  • At the same time, russian forces move every day further away from their logistic depots in russia, making their supply lines longer and longer. This offers more opportunities for the Ukrainian army and territorial forces to hit and destroy them.
  • Meanwhile, cities like Dnipro, Poltava, Odesa, etc. have had time to arm every man willing to fight, build barricades, and plan ambushes. So the war will get more deadly for the russians, which have already suffered 10x times more dead than what the russian general staff expected.

These unexpected and rapidly growing losses have frustrated the kremlin’s insane head gnome, who believed this war would be as easy a land grab as his invasion of Crimea. However Ukraine has an army now, and the West isn’t ruled by the growling appeasers Obama and Merkel. Every day, Ukrainians hold on, every day western weapon supplies continue, every day, sanctions crush the russian economy, putin’s position weakens within the russian elite.

His desperation is already shown by lashing out at his top staff and by banning the last independent TV station and radio station yesterday, and a ban on wikipedia is next.

Putin cannot stop this war, because he knows it is either victory or his death in a coup by his own officers. So, he escalates.

More threats about nuclear war towards the West, more indiscriminate destruction and killing in Ukraine, more leveling of cities, which won’t surrender — a tactic extensively employed by the Nazis in GuernicaRotterdamBelgrade, etc.

russia joined the Nazis in 1999 with the leveling of Grozny, then the annihilation of Aleppo, and now Putin is outdoing even Hitler by leveling cities like KharkivOkhtyrkaChernihiv, and countless other Ukrainian cities.

Still, Ukrainians must continue to fight.

putin made it very clear that this war is about the extermination of Ukraine and Ukrainians: their language, culture, and identity. He announced that this is a genocide. It is the exact same policy that Hitler had for the Poles. A policy, which cost Poland a fifth of its population in 1939–1945. So Ukrainians must fight, and the West must support them with every weapon available to avoid the same outcome.

We in the West cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing immorality so great as saying to 40 million brave Ukrainians laying down their lives for freedom — not just theirs, but ours too: “Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins from putin, we’re not giving you all the weapons you need.”

If we ever should abandon the Ukrainians in their fight to save their people, then we ourselves will have to fight putin in Poland, in Romania, in Finland, on Gotland, in Estonia, and wherever else his mad desire for empire leads him.

Now our, the West’s and Ukraine’s, policy must be to kill 2,000 russian soldiers every day of this week, and kill 4,000 russian soldiers every day of next week, and kill 8,000 russian soldiers every day of the week after, and to not let this up until either every russian soldier is dead or putin is overthrown and executed in a coup.

Ukrainians fight in Kharkiv and in Mariupol, in Mykolaiv and in Chernihiv, they will fight in Dnipro and in Odesa, they fight with indomitable spirit, and growing confidence and growing strength, they will defend their nation, whatever the cost may be. They fight and they will never surrender, and if, a large part of Ukraine falls to the fascists from the East, then tens of thousands of Ukrainian partisans will carry on the struggle.

Every one of us now has the duty to empower the brave Ukrainians, and the tens of thousands of volunteers from all over the world joining their fight, to kill russian soldiers in numbers not seen since 1945. Only the annihilation of the russian military in Ukraine will lead to a coup in Moscow. So, killing russian soldiers must be our goal, our policy, our purpose, as our only aim in this conflict must be regime change in russia and the death of putin.

Слава Україні! Героям слава!

Editor’s Note. Articles in the “Opinion” section express only the personal opinions of the authors, the editorial board may or may not share them. The words “putin,” “russia,” “russian” are spelled lowercase based on author’s request.

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