How am I Following the Russo-Ukrainian War?
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Categories: Modern, Not an expert

How am I Following the Russo-Ukrainian War?

an oil painting of laughing, smoking, drunken Cossacks with muskets and sabres dictating a letter to a priest
Meme culture is not my culture but this week one seems appropriate. Repin’s oil painting “The Zaparozhye Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan”

The war in Ukraine has changed since spring. I thought that some of my readers might be interested in the resources I am currently using to follow it. Since I don’t know Russian or Ukrainian, and since many people have agendas, sorting things out is tricky for me. People following the war like corporate social media with feeds, and on those sites quotes and images float around without attribution. People who like them imply that they hear all kinds of rumours. And because so much is at stake (the future of 200 million people, the energy supply to Europe and grain for the Mediterranean) many people slip into boosting their side rather than provide dispassionate analysis.

Now that Ukraine has much larger armies, and weapons to counter Russian artillery, I expect Ukraine to keep driving Russian forces back until at least spring 2023. The most likely things which could change the situation would be a complete collapse of Russian forces and Russian use of nuclear weapons (which would probably end very badly for Russia, but Putin keeps making stupid decisions and does not live in the same world we live in). Turning recruits into an army takes 3 to 12 months if you have systems for gathering, training, and arming them, and those trainers and vehicles are dead or destroyed in Ukraine. Putin is scared of mass popular movements like the original levée en masse. So until 2023, the main effect of Russian mobilization will be a lot of dead Dagestanis and Buriyats and a lot of rich landlords in Tbilisi and Istanbul.



Equipment Sightings and Losses

I do not know of any source for casualties given that Ukraine is quiet about its military losses and Russia lies about them. Ukrainian claims about the number of Russian vehicles they have destroyed are much higher than can be independently confirmed, and in war usually everyone overestimates enemy losses. But the appearance of T-62 tanks in Russian forces, and the conscription of sick old men without military experience by Russia, show that they are losing modern kit and trained soldiers faster than they can replace them.

I note that none of these sources is employed by an Old Media organization outside Ukraine. Canadian news organizations just don’t have the skills or resources to cover wars effectively. Putinist Russian sources are mostly on state media or on Telegram (!) and I get them as summarized through people like Dmitri and Perun who obviously select what they share and translate. That is not ideal but I don’t have time or energy to spend a lot of time following terrible people’s social media feeds and pasting text into Google translate!

Some sources have retired or become less useful. Nathan Russer ( Australia) has stopped making his daily maps. Kamil Galeev (Tartar in the USA) had a few interesting ideas early on but is too rhetorical and has an obvious agenda. Trent Telenko (USA) had his great ideas about truck tires, forklifts, and concrete prefab structures in early 2022 but then started pushing big ideas on all kinds of topics. The Dupuy Institute has some analysis (and the good taste to blog) but I check them less often than I used to.

Specific Sources, Articles, and Videos

Nicholas Moran, “Be careful drawing conclusions from the Ukraine combat videos” 22 March 2022

Mark Hertling, “I Commanded U.S. Army Europe. Here’s What I Saw in the Russian and Ukrainian Armies.” The Bulwark, 11 April 2022

Russian victory press release from February
Putin’s September speech on annexation

Photo of Ukrainians with the HIMARS rockets loaded with steel balls not high explosive (just the kind of weapon to get rid of untrained infantry with rifles and old helmets)

Zelensky’s statement that he will not call up the October class of conscripts

The Russian propaganda video with Shoigu overseeing horrifyingly inept training

State Duma member Andrey Gurulyov or Gurulev on 1.5 million missing winter uniforms (its worth clicking the first link to see who this person is)

Bild on the bowl of gold teeth in a town evacuated by the Russians

Trent Telenko on Iraqi logistics in the 1980s v. Russian logistics in 2022

Thomas C. Theiner on the Kerch Strait bridge and the supply of Russian forces in the south

Russian-language piece saying that the truck at ground zero of the Kerch Strait bridge was loaded with fertilizer

I would like sources for the claim that Russian forces have been given a “not one step back” order, but it seems plausible.

I am not an expert on warfare today or the Black Sea region and I do not know Russian or Ukrainian. So I probably trust things I should not and miss things I should know about. But as of the beginning of October, these are the sources I rely on.

(scheduled 3 October 2022)

Edit 2022-10-06: added Stanimir Dobrev who posts less often but is thoughtful

Edit 2022-10-08: added two threads on logistics

Edit 2024-05-10: journalists at Foreign Affairs claim that UA has destroyed 14% of Russia’s refining capacity since October 2023, Russia has definitely forbidden the export of refined fuel and seen a lot of explosions at refineries

At the same time, Ukraine says that trains of troops and supplies over the Kerch Strait bridge have almost ended in Spring 2024

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8 thoughts on “How am I Following the Russo-Ukrainian War?

  1. Pavel Vaverka says:

    First of all before my list, as view from the other side (as somebody whose family fight against Nazis and Baderites in Europe). Funny how SS Ukraine division Galicia relocated after WWII to Canada and was free of charges despite obvious crimes in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere Hey Timothy Snyder says this, Slovaks and my grandfather living back then (I hope he is in atheistic heaven, better he’s not around now when we have and other Eastern luxuries). You have to understand the media lied to us about wars since 1991, and it was worse everytime. This time it’s no exception. West is deliberately ignoring billions of people, they are acting like it exists only western Alliance (EU, USA, Japan, Korea). US foreign policy was always horrible.

    Nobody took responsibility for Iraq sanctions 1995, killed 500.000 children butcher Albright was proud for it (it achieved nothing, Sadam was still in power, why did they enact sanctions?), see the segment Nobody took responsibility for unlawful war against Iraq 2003, CIA, army, politicians of USA, UK lied to all. No punishments (on the contrary money and rewards like Blair), and You want me to believe Western media?

    Don’t forget Snowden affair and Oliver Stone movie, those Austrian windmills are dangerous, let’s have virus in them, just for case, etc. Assange Wikileaks gave you all about criminals like Nuland and company. USA is governed and ruled by crazy neocons, this “elite” is fulfilling their plan see general Wesley Clarke how he find out their intentions to overthrow 7 regimes. Western media are part of governments now, it wasn’t like this before, remember 60′, 70’s, 80’s. It’s sad to see Seymour Hirsch publish on Substack instead of NYT or elsewhere

    It will come as shock to You, but before war I have never followed Russian media, or Chinese (here I was only checking cultural policy, system of censorship for movies/series, culture in general, like persecuting Cantonese language writers, etc.). Also I was studying Chinese grandiose plans, like that non-sense with claims for all seas in Asia, building military installations on islands, etc. Few days after involvement of RF I read and saw some RT stuff. It has no importance for me as some Indian media (funny how India is now on the Soros list of another overthrow of regime, because of money, all Soros life and acts are about money for himself). Some were neutral, sympathetic to RF causes to enter the civil war. Some like WION became after critical and neutral truly fully Western… Guys have sometimes impressive guests (forget extermist Chomsky), there are people like Ray McGovern, Jeffrey Sachs, Glenn Diesen and many others. Duran is really following global news and picking up sometimes unpopular themes like Biden laptop, etc. even if their policy is doing only safe themes, after MSM knows about it. Personal channels of both creators are also interesting, Alexander is deadly serious and concerned, Alex is funny, his segment of clown world is full of black humor (despite actual tragedy of themes covered). Richard Medhurst despite obvious Isreal bias sometimes brings important news (like idiocy of EU to take Israel gas, who is in court with Libanon, instead to support Cyprus and develop our European ally, what elites we have in Brussels). Forbidden channel by UA, and I wonder why, because there are no Eastern sources, only Western sources (very rarely RF MoD statement). Brian is ex-military from US marine, artillery unit. Great info for military stuff, based on arguments, proof, experience. He’s spot on with many themes, what he said became in many cases reality (like ideas of Western tanks to VSU, or planes, etc., because of logistics, training issues). Andrei wrote some very important books about current state of military stuff, technology, doctrines of war, strategy, tactics he has videos about how is working AA defence, net-centric warfare, etc.

    Very brief, but important is Mark Sleboda History Legends is providing also military details, how is the war conducted and believe me no suicidal frontal attacks. Yeah baby, Russians are using tactics, not uráááá forward without concern for losses, btw losses 14.000 something, hysterics in global mass media are spewing non-sense like 200.000+

    Most daring and very knowledgeable (for Russian, Ukranian sources) is Dreizin report I think he’s very accurate and selfless, nobody is trying to be a realist and observing things like him. Especially matters like losses. No great victories, ratios for killed is 2:1, VSU-RF (now it seems to 50.000 to 25.000 accoding to Dreizin metric). But I’m not saying all predictions he made manifested in reality. For an example he expected in February/March big push, axis to Lutsk with intention to block Western help and end this war soon. Others predicts end of war for August.

    There are still some Western people with sense like brilliant But most media production is in CIA influencing views operation. Rarely they gave truth about economics, politics, like Putin with 99 diseases (only missing is You have to do translation by yourself:).
    Czech media are very tragic, because except cheerleading, mostly no analysis (CNN is exception, they dare to invite ostracized people), fact checking (their winged motto couldn’t be verified, hey why do You do news anyway? I guess I should be TV seer for media and my predictions would be more precise, than their news…).

    Sometimes I’m reading Czech MSM bizzare articles, where author knows right numbers of ammunition/weapons production, RF vs. West, and conclusion is VSU can still win. Let me pause in awe. I know that last mobilized VSU army has 87 000 people, now it is in production. But there is no pool of man to extract (this is the last reserves which could be brought in), and equpiment is missing on platoon level, like radios, boots, etc.). How can VSU win? Learning new maneouvre tactics where You don’t need so much artillery, ammo? What a non-sense (dadaism and surrealism in full glory).

    We are really in religious, ritualistic reality of hope, induced by elites and their apparatus. Academic, military scholar Michael Vlahos has excellent observation that US waged ritualistic warfare and they have confused this with reality… Cognitive dissonance par excellence. Problem is, that people are paying for this US disease with their very lives and in case of EU citizens with their life standard, wealth. I also like Larry Johnson conclusion, that US army is the most expensive in the world (not the best), but like Lamborgini which don’t run.

    1. Sean says:

      The 14,093 Russian dead on the BBC report summarized on Medusa are named people who have been independently confirmed to have died, mostly through social media and online newspapers. Given where Vatniks come from and the extent to which Russian government statements lie that is very much a minimum!

      The collapse in the north-east and the rushing of conscripts into combat strongly suggest that Russian forces had suffered massive numbers of troops killed or disabled. So does the press ganging of adult men in the proxy states on the Don (and offering convicts a pardon if they volunteer for Wagner Group). Meanwhile Ukraine stopped conscripting troops and accepting most foreign volunteers last year, which is strong evidence that they have plenty of troops and just want training and equipment.

      Both sides clearly have shortages of shells, missiles, drones, and vehicles. The Russian problem is that they are isolated by sanctions and their industry depended on inputs from the EU. HIMARS, the layout of the local railroads, and their shortage of trucks seem to be creating big problems getting ammunition to the troops. Maybe they can hold on to some of the occupied territories plus or minus a few towns but its hard to see them doing more than that. Lutsk is very far west and anyone who thought that the Russians could launch a successful offensive that far away does not sound like someone who is learning.

    2. Sean says:

      People following combat videos say that while Russian tactics in some places have improved, the mechanized attack on Vuhledar in February had some horribly inept tactics (and prisoners who said that they had been transferred from warships, given an armoured vehicle, and told “drive this way, keep between the rows of flags there are mines”) I am sure they have some troops in the rear somewhere training but its hard to see them breaking through Ukrainian lines with massed mechanized forces given their problems with training, coordination, and equipment.

      Very possibly they will take Bakhmut one day but I can’t see that changing the general relationship between RU and UA.

  2. Pavel Vaverka says:

    First of all economy, company where I work (foundry industry, metal industry, building industry – orders for cities, private building companies – public space, infrastructure like railways, etc.) lost last year forein contracts for tens of millions CZK (hypothetically, c. 70 – 100 mil.) and in real decrease of 30% in gross turnover. Guess why, we are too expensive thanks to high prices of energy, inflation (American expensive import of LNG, European suicidal green economic policy). China is better (direct statement from foreign European customer). Sanctions are excellent for our crash In Czech Republic some big companies relocated to US (ArcelorMittal steel company), or crashed. So Russian won’t collapes economically, EU does or became Latin America. Yet US companies are back in China so EU is dirty slave of US interests despite posing like this Btw that green religion is pure fantasy it will end badly and You can expect results soon. Only poorness and hunger would be result of this policy (see the movie Snowpiercer). So much for the victory in war of sanctions…

    Now to the military side, I have to ask, why VSU demanded whole new army last summer (hundreds of tanks, howitzers, IFV’s, of course ammunition, fuel), and in recent weeks they wanted another new army. Zalužny: “I need 300 tanks, 600-700 infantry fighting vehicles, 500 Howitzers.”
    Yet VSU started with 250,000 active duty troops, and a large arsenal of capable Soviet-legacy military hardware – 2,600 tanks, 14,000 armored vehicles, 3,000 artillery pieces, 500 multiple launch rocket systems, 90 ballistic missiles, nearly a thousand total air defense systems, over 300 military aircraft, and a large drone fleet. This was largely destroyed, please find a statement of Ukranian minister who said like 40-60% equpiment is gone (destroyed). My guess is that remaining pieces are in need of repairs, new parts, so very few vehicles are in operational state.

    During last summer NATO gave:
    over 400 tanks, at least 300 infantry fighting vehicles, over a thousand APCs, dozens more combat aircraft – and all this was peppered with a hodgepodge of Western military gear including several hundred artillery pieces, including the M777s, over a hundred multiple launch rocket systems including the HIMARS, hundreds of drones, over 10,000 handheld Anti-tank guided missiles and anti-aircraft missiles, and more. This army was heavily depleted after Cherson, Kharkov offensive, which takes us back to Zaluzhny statement from January 2023.

    So why VSU needs moooooore? I counted the last help package (size according to US army units), 1 tank division, 2 artillery division, c. 200 pieces (Denmark and Estonia gave all), 1 brigade of MLRS, some AA batteries, 1 mechanized division, and that’s it. Old Soviet equipment is almost gone in NATO countries, modern cannot be hastily used. Yes You can, but losses will be horrendous. Egyptian, Iraqi tankers managed their Abrams after 5-7 years, basic training is not enough. Why US didn’t think of this and weren’t building VSU from scratch on modern machines since 2014 or domestic machines with factories doing thins in EU? (there is deal to make production in Czech Republic).

    Losses are piling up in artillery, VSU lost during January 40 towed guns, 32 self-propeled howitzer, 8 MLRS, 15 counter-battery fire radars, 23 ammo depos. I’m learning Russian (I wish it would be during more joyous occasion, like translation of book The Temple of Oxus in Bactria: Bactrian Arms and Armour in the Ancient Eastern and Greek Context). I saw videos that VSU is taking even museal pieces and things from 50’s to 60’s into their arsenal. So situation must be really bad.

    So somehow I cannot believe, that VSU is victorious and RF refuses to acknowledge defeat, because we don’t see a Russian Blitzkrieg and big arrow offensives (You simply cannot in enviroment of heavy fortified lines in depth with all modern surveillane devices). I don’t have means to find out RF losses in machines. Also RF started war with 160.000 + Donbass militia, Čečenci, frontline had 1000 km, after retreat 750 km. Do the math, mobilization was to cover this line (also making defensive lines into depth – 3 lines). Original Russian forces were outnumbered the whole time. There aren’t 200 000 dead Russians + equipment, that’s 8-16 divisions, You cannot hide names and graves of so many men. It’s a pure fantasy that Russian lost thousands of tanks.

    Even old US source admitted that Russian can modernize and produce several hundreds of tanks during peace. Now they have war economy so stream of weapons is like 120-300 tanks a month. Check the New Atlas, all US, Western sources. Alexander Mercouris was in Russia in the past (2000+), Perm, Omsk tank factories can get 30.000 workers for the war economy. How many tanks can US give and produce for year? Measly 120, and they refused to give their own Abrams version to VSU, like British Challenger which was hitted trough with old Russia weapons in Iraq like Kornet. Now they have things like not to mentiong danger from SU-25, helicopters, drones.

    I don’t dispute that thank to NATO help and Starlink (and his successor) AA defence system is still functioning (legacy of Soviet times, many layers of AA machines), but supplies are dwindling. Thanks to that new war airplanes aren’t so badly needed. Without Western pilots new jets are useless, retraining is for 6 months minimum. The important thing is ammunition, I read from last March in Western media that RF would be soon out of ammo. Guess what, they have sufficient capacities, factories working 24/7, 4 shifts a day. There are constant attacks. Wagnerians in Bachmut gets 10 000 artillery shells a day… RUSI article warned about this problem with a view, that fixing problem is for years on Western side.

    Czech Republic has only one factory for nitro production, for completion of shell You need to transport this partially finished ammo to Slovakia so much for the sense to divide our federation stupid politicians. France has one nitro factory, and Serbia also. US is desperate and transporting ammo from Pakistan, one time South Korea. I can’t believe Merkel, Holland hard pose qutoes, yeah we have deceived Russia, Minsk agreements were sham, we tried to gain time to arm Ukraine. That was brilliant plan really, loss of trust around the globe, even hunter gatheres in Kalahari won’t take EU and the West for trustworthy partner for any treaty. Nobody will make trade with us, or investments not to mention stealing of Russian property. Under what international law is US, EU stealing foreign country money, gold, property? Ukraine oligarchy is parking in Monaco and they are perfectly happy, there are your money for war and Ukraine people.

    Secondly in that glorious preparation for war, why is industrial output so comical? Ammo nonexistent (You don’t have workers, technical schools, etc.), France 10 Caesar howitzer a year, Germany new Panther tanks at 2024 (c. 60-120 a year), and I could go on. Chairman of Czech defence industry Europe has ammo for 30 days. Prediction for VSU is sorry, at August we don’t have ammo for you (I mean artillery, rockets for MLRS, even mortars and small arms). How can You with industy like this go into war or planning a war, is everybody insane, incompetent or synergy of both? Criminally incompetent, these are hard facts. Like efforts to throw into meat grinder Poland, Eastern Europe, Baltics (only Hungary has sense). We are losing this war and very badly.

    1. Sean says:

      Its easy to get a minimum number of vehicles which the Russians have lost: Oryx has a list of losses verified by photo A lot of tankies try to find errors and fail miserably (although he does add and subtract a vehicle now and then if he learns that two pictures showed the same vehicle or photos of a new vehicle appear).

      These include the very old weapons which started to appear this year such as T-62 tanks and BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles. The Ukrainians have been using some old artillery, but they are getting more and more modern artillery and vehicles as the war goes on. So Russian equipment is getting worse and worse, while Ukrainian equipment improves.

      Its not pure fantasy that Russia forces have lost at least 1,800 tanks and thousands of other armoured vehicles. You can click and see photos of that many destroyed or captured.

      Nobody but the Ukraian military knows their numbers of dead and wounded. But if they were taking in even a normal peacetime class of conscripts, that would be obvious. It would also be obvious if they were still taking any foreigner willing to volunteer. Clearly, by fall 2022 they did not think they needed more troops.

    2. Sean says:

      “So why VSU needs moooooore?” Because they started out with a military short on aircraft and AFVs then massively expanded in spring 2022 (enrollment increased, what, 4× or so?) while fighting a ground war against a larger, richer country. To retake the occupied territories without massive losses they need armoured vehicles, drones, and aircraft. Infantry with missile launchers and machine guns welded to sports cars won’t do it! 400 tanks is not much in a war like this. Mechanized warfare eats up artillery barrels, trucks, and armoured vehicles. Poland is buying 1,000 tanks just from Korea for its smaller peacetime army! Canada made 1400 Valentine tanks for the USSR and that was just a small part of Soviet tank imports!

      European NATO spends more on its air forces than the Russian Federation spends, and has experience carrying out complex air operations against Soviet-style air defenses (while Russian aircraft basically keep on their side of the front line in Ukraine, and in Syria they rarely used more than two four aircraft together). I look at those facts, and the general performance of Russian forces, and I draw the obvious conclusion about what would happen in a RF-NATO war.

      In the two Iraq Wars, Former Yugoslavia, and Libya NATO forces opened with airstrikes throughout enemy territory and destroyed any aircraft they met. A modern fighter-bomber can carry many more ground-attack munitions than a quadcopter, but the Russian forces can’t or won’t use their aircraft deep in Ukrainian airspace. That is why this is a long war burning thousands of tons of artillery ammunition.

  3. Pavel Vaverka says:

    I’m really worried, that this war of attrition will be decided by ammo and West is incapable to make a remedy fast. Regarding tanks, Czech Republic sinked so low, that we were refurbishing tanks (T-72) orginally owned by Morocco without their consent and not some money or favour in return. Other countries have nothing, unless NATO wants to dissolve themselves during few months. Because modern equipment has limitations for VSU. I do not deny, that RF failed in some areas, like air war, they aren’t able to eliminate AA defence (but it’s hard, layers of systems, satellites info sees all attempts, radars, batteries are protected from extensive real time operation, which would make otherwise easy to strike them). Yet bombardment is dangerous and continuing. I was personally involved during December in getting acumulator batteries for civilian use, so life is miserable in Ukraine for civilian, more than it was. I wonder how military cope with black outs in electric grid, when repairs, fueling, etc. all is depending on electricity.

    Some army commanders of RF are beyond belief yet losses weren’t so terrible as West claims, units have necessary equipment. But planning is obviously bad or fulfilling the plan, when they make a sensible tactics, strategy. Deadly mistakes like let the enemy drones have a party above armoured column, that’s suicidal like medieval knights going during rain into mud, into the funnel against English archers… And overall commander is promoted. Evidently something is wrong in the chain of command. I don’t know wherever that piece of work has some connections in army or politics, but he should be removed for incompetence.

    Or if there is some weird nationalistic policy, that we need new heroes from other nations. In that case this is a suicidal policy. Unless in future times, he’ll be somewhere behind desk and replaced by some skilled officer. I believe this variant based on Russian traditions, my grandfather lived during Warsava pact times. He told me, that Russians had a motto: and we would be commanding ourselves… This brings me really back a memory. I have in library his works about urban combat and other themes (he was teacher at military academy).

    I’m lazy to find it, but American institute or think tank, maybe even some agency wrote months ago a piece, that mobilization was success, equpiment is ready, and being produced. Presence of old tanks (functioning as assault guns – btw news from last May), now again resurfaced as proof Russians are scrapping the barrel. Long defence lines in depth cannot be covered all the time with existing artillery (that’s why are you using old tanks, VSU would be doing the same with Leopard 1), explanation for old APC, IFV is on the way. I don’t know if these are from Luhansk, Doněck battalions (they are using old machines) or fake, actually VSU stuff, but still better than Toyotas, still great cars).

    A note, AA VSU defence is efficient, but RF is even much better that’s why NATO has not intervened and people falsely thinks around the world that US has technological edge, times of bombarding states with impunity is over against states like Russia, China, etc. Whole US strategy is old, outdated for current times, ground units are not capable to wage war like VSU. I think, that is indicator for Poland. They are building massive ground army despite the fact, that their AA defence is on the level of Iraqi army 1991 (please check Brian Obviously they would be operating under VSU umbrella, they do not want to wage war against Belaurus or Kaliningrad, they would be smashed from the skies there. Try to delivery ammo and fuel, when drones, helicopters, planes can take You anytime. You know I don’t believe West, but that doesn’t mean I have no effort to check out the other side. We don’t have neutral infromations source here.

    Last but not least, I think Russians are afraid of losses and big offensive, maybe they are holding back for political reasons. Even if not, they can simply wait for the end of ammo, weapons deliveres. With commanders like in Vuhledar It’s nice to have Geramisov (appraised by Zalužnyj, I need to read his works if they are available) as supreme commander, but even geniously planned operations can go to hell with incompetent front commanders… I see obviously fast way to end war is to take Lutsk, Lvov have reserves for Poland, Finland border or Baltic. That is possible reason why reserves are waiting c.380 000 – 500 000 men. Loss of Bachmut is a blow, but not decisive. Russian HQ seems like cuntactor, but with Byzantine traditions in their mind (and You know Byzantine military history, manuals), and their current situation (can You imagine that Hitler or Stalin would be taking for strategy in count opinions of mothers association, public opinion for losses?) this seems like victory strategy. You surely are remembering book

    1. Sean says:

      I agree that its very hard to know who is getting vehicles and ammunition faster than they expend them. I am having trouble thinking of a time when an army collapsed because of an ammunition shortage, if Ukraine ran short again the situation would probably go back to summer 2022 where the Russians were slowly advancing. And given that the Russians had trouble supplying their original army and launching large mobile operations before HIMARS, I have trouble believing that they could launch and supply another massive mechanized invasion any time soon. A large untrained Russian army in western Belarus would shine like a supernova to all those NATO aircraft flying just on their side of the border.

      I thought most of the Kaliningrad garrison had been withdrawn to fight in Ukraine (rando on Yahoo News) (David Axe / Forbes). The Russian position is that they were replaced with mobiks but untrained conscripts attacking the Polish army (let alone the French, UK, or US) would be a slaughter. And that air defense network is only as good as its operators.

      Even last spring, many people argued that Russian vehicles kept being abandoned or failing to respond to threats because their units did not have enough troops to man them. And they have been fighting a bloody war while taking in a lot of recruits without a preexisting system to house, feed, or train them.

      Journalists and commentators make money by finding a new thing for you to be angry or scared about every week, whether or not they have strong evidence. So at times like this, where no single person has good evidence for both sides, I try to back off and follow the general course of events.

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