"The Russian military intervention in the Ukraine – a macro view"
Andrei Raevsky, a.k.a., "The Saker"
The Vineyard of the Saker (March 9, 2022)
Today, rather than comment on the latest developments on the ground, I want to step back and revisit a few basic, but I believe absolutely fundamental aspects of the Russian military operation in not only the Donbass, but the entire Ukraine. In fact, lets’ begin here:
What was the generally expected scope of operations?
Okay, there is A LOT of nonsense written about this, so I need to clarify a few basic points.
First, absolutely NOBODY had ANY idea of the actual plan until that plan was decided upon. Let me clarify what I mean. Putin, the Kremlin or the Russian General Staff do not have “a plan”, that is not how things work. The Russian GS in particular is tasked with preparing plans for pretty much ANY contingency. So, let’s imagine that for the case of the Ukraine, they have a choice of 12 possible plans. What then happened is this, after being fully briefed on the situation, Putin, as commander in chief, would select one of these plans and give the order to execute it. At which point a number of coded messages will be sent out to various subunits, units, and formations ordering a specific set of instructions to be opened. These instructions would give their first orders for all subunits, units, and formations involved.
What did the vast majority of analysts expect? Here are a few options:
• Russia would wait for the Ukies to attack the LDNR and then assist the LDNR in ways ranging from indirect, deniable, support to a full-scale Russian move into the LDNR.
• Opinions were split on how far the Russians would go. Personally, I believed that they would probably liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk region, free Mariupol, and then dig in. I was very wrong, to put it mildly.
That operation to “free the LDNR from constant attacks” never happened. Putin never gave that order. That is absolutely crucial to understand.
***Again, that order never came.***
Instead, and in his own words, Putin came to the conclusion that if the LDNR (possibly assisted by Russia) just moved to the administrative borders that would open a long front in which Western assistance would be poured in. He also knew that the Ukie forces in the Donbass were highly concentrated, heavily armed and “motivated”, if needed, by many hardcore Nazi groups inside them. In fact, about 60-75% of all Ukrainian forces were poised for a Blitzkrieg attack à la “Operation Storm” which NATO executed against the UN-protected areas (UNPAs) of Serbian civilians in Croatia.
According to at least one well-informed analyst, the operation was planned for the 25th of February. If true, that means that Russia merely preempted a Ukrainian attack.
But what is really crucial is not this, what is crucial is the actual order Putin gave to the Russian armed forces. It was NOT “support the LDNR and push back the Ukie lines”. The order Putin gave was totally different:
• Disarm the Ukraine
• Denazify the Ukraine
The first thing to understand is that an operation to deblock the LDNR would have been a mainly tactical level operation, possibly with subsequent operational level development (such as the closing off the Ukie forces in the Donbass cauldron). But both orders say “the Ukraine” not “the Donbass”.
That means, by definition, that the order Putin gave was for a strategic operation, covering the entire territory of the Ukraine.
In other words, all the opinions, expert or not, which were given about what everybody thought would be a tactical-operational Russian intervention on the Donbass were totally wrong (very much including my own!), at the very least wrong in the scope of operations they assumed.
Okay, what about the predicted timelines?
Let’s look at what most observers agreed upon. The general consensus was something along these lines: it will take Russia about 24 hours to turn the Ukrainian Armed Forces into smaller, isolated units and subunits which would not be able to coordinate attacks and force movements. Okay, IN SPITE OF THE FACT that most analysts expected a tactical to operational attack to deblock the LDNR, this part of the “special operation” was fully successful and achieved on time.
Because that initial standoff strike was a feature common to both plans! Either way, the FIRST thing Russia had to do is to break up the Ukrainian Armed Forces into discrete and separate “chunks”. Again, BOTH plans assumed that, so it is hardly surprising that this is what actually happened.
While a plan aimed solely at unblocking the LDNR could have been crudely summed up as “kill as many Urkonazis as you can, as quick as you can”, that was NOT an option for the strategic level plan chosen by Putin. There are many reasons for that including:
• Russians do not hate Ukrainians and see them as brothers (the LDNR forces not so much)
• Focusing on the destruction of the Ukie forces in the Donbass would leave their lines of supply open
• Focusing on the destruction of the Ukie forces in the Donbass would have left much of the Ukrainian airspace unchallenged, thereby slowing down Russian air and anti-air operations
• While it is pretty clear that Russia wants as many dead Nazis as possible, there are three things which the folks in the Kremlin do NOT want, and wisely so:
1. Staying in the Ukraine forever (or for a long time)
2. Having to police this huge country and restore law and order everywhere
3. Pay for all the destruction
For this reason, what the Russians did is make maximal use of their air superiority and mobility, but did not storm all the cities or Ukrainian fortifications.
While there is no doubt in my mind that the Nazis and the bosses in the USA had correctly predicted that the Russian operation to dismember and disorganize the Ukie units would affect the entire Ukraine, including long range strikes deep in the Ukie rear.
What I think they missed is the Russians achieved strategic surprise achieved by immediately launching a full-scale strategic assault. Now let’s revisit the timelines:
1. Dismembering and disorganizing the Ukrainian military achieved in the estimated 24 hours
2. Closing the operational cauldron behind the Ukie forces in the Donbass: achieved in 2 weeks (in fact, it is even better, the Russians are now cutting the Ukie forces in the Donbass into two smaller cauldrons, see map here: (you see TWO blue circles, not one anymore!)
3. Within the same two weeks, Russia liberated the entire Sea of Azov coast and much of the Black Sea Coast, which is now either under Russian control, or under direct Black Sea Fleet blockage.
4. Also within those two weeks, Russia basically encircled Kiev. This map shows you the situation around Kiev as it was today. While the situation on the south side is still unstable, combat operations are taking place, what is certain is this: only small, secondary, roads and open terrain are left to escape the city. Like everywhere else (see below), the Russians have offered humanitarian corridors and promised safety and good treatment to all Ukrainian POWs (Nazis are excluded, as are foreign mercenaries, they will be interrogated and shot). But to no avail, the Nazi delegation cannot agree to anything because their bosses in DC tell them to fight down to the last Ukrainian (as for the Anglos, Polaks & Co. they announce Russian defeats everywhere and every day, but for some unfathomable reason, they all are safely tucked away in Lvov or even Warsaw. How surprising!)
And, again, all that was achieved in TWO WEEKS and WITHOUT numerical superiority!
So to those who are still trying to convince the world that the Russian plan failed and the indomitable Ukronazi forces about to encircle the Kremlin, I ask:
• If you have no idea about modern warfare, why express opinion based on nothing other than frankly silly US PSYOPs and your own, personal, lack of the kind of education needed to speak about these matters?
• If you have some basic understanding of modern warfare, please name a recent operation in which such a huge swathe of land was taken so quickly and by such a small force?
[Sidebar: oh, I know. We recently saw how the entire planet was populated by experienced microbiologists, virologists and epidemiologists, so why not also simply accept that besides being by experienced microbiologists, virologists and epidemiologists they are also experienced tacticians, force commanders and strategists? After all, all you need to qualify is: 1) being unaware of your own ignorance 2) a desire to preach 3) a keyboard and computer. In the Empire of Lies, actual expertise is utterly useless. There is a word on both Russian and Spanish which comes to my mind, and it suggest a strong desire to eat droppings. I will settle for “scatophage” and leave it at that]
Okay, but did the Russians not also have defeats, failures, screw-ups, and other face plants?
OF COURSE they did.
I just came across this one, and I am utterly appalled. The Kremlin says “absolutely no conscripts” as late as yesterday and, voilà, not only conscripts, but even dead ones! BRAVO KREMLIN PROPAGANDA, WELL DONE!
In terms of actual defeats, no, sorry. There were several Ukrainian counter attacks, but they were limited in scope and even when they, for example, obliterated a Russian checkpoint, it was quickly restored and the guilty Ukies ran for their lives under counter-battery fire.
Guys, let’s be serious here.
If there are, roughly, 150k Russians and another 150k Ukrainians fighting each other, there will be blood on both sides. Ask any military person and he/she will tell you that 300+k fully armed soldiers fight each other, you are going to have not hundreds, but many THOUSANDs of dead people on both sides, plus plenty of civilians. In fact, force planners and military analysts even have formulas to calculate it all: numbers engaged, armaments, timing, etc. and, of course, expected casualties.
So the headline “hundred of dead Russian soldiers” might to miracles for morale in the Empire of Lies and in Banderastan, and it might even frighten a lot of people in Russia, but they will have exactly zero effect on how the operation is being executed by the Russian General Staff.
Guys – the Russian General Staff has planned many such operations for months, possibly even years. And with each plan, they had “estimated losses” entries. That is why Putin, his government and even the Russian generals tried to do everything they could to gain time and to hope for some other solution.
But the Empire of lies gave no other option. Not to the Russians and not to the Ukrainians.
In a way, both sides are fighting for their very existence.
Ukies are not Anglos, and a lot of them gained combat experience during the 8 years of war. Add to this the most powerful PSYOP operation in history, and you will get many MANY Ukrainians fighting really hard, all for different reasons including
• Being a real Russia-hating Nazi (they have no hope for mercy)
• Being a mercenary (they have no hope for mercy)
• Having given an oath to your country and armed forces
• Deep resentment for Russia for many, many reasons
• Protection of your unit and comrades
• Blaming Russia for attacking first and so hard
• Sincerely believing that Russia wants to occupy the Ukraine and recreate the USSR
• etc. etc. etc.
How much is “many” here? I don’t know. But I would say “enough to force Russians to stop expecting being greeted everywhere as liberators“. In some locations, this is true. But in many other, it is not.
In spite of the many warnings by many Russians, including myself and Andrei Martyanov, an ethnogenesis did happen in the Ukraine. The old, historical, Ukraine (which did exist as a prosperous region until 1917) is gone, and so are the generations of Ukrainians which saw themselves as “central-Russians” (the word “small” as in “small Russian” means “central”, like “central Greece) and the “spread-out-Russians” (as in “not in the center) as brothers and liberators. That old Ukraine is gone forever.
What we have instead is a weird and ugly Banderastan where the Nazis are a numerical minority, but where they run everything, courtesy of the Empire of Lies, of course. How bad is it?
One example: Odessa
If the Odessa of 2022 was inhabited by the kind of folks who lived there before 1917 or even before 1991, by now there would have been an uprising, especially with the Black Sea Fleet within visual range of the city. But after the massacre of scores Russian-speakers in Odessa on May 2nd, 2014 (shot, burned to death, beat up to death, tortured, etc.) and the subsequent total whitewashing of this massacre by the Nazi authorities, something must have snapped in the minds of many residents who clearly gave up hope, and waiting 8 years under Nazi rule is a hell I wish on nobody. So I am not condemning them. They paid a huge price in blood.
But the fact is, as of today, there has been no uprising in Odessa.
And it’s not like Russians are universally greeted as liberators. Yes, there were some touching scenes of reunited families in Mariupol, but I don’t exactly observe big crowds of Ukrainian civilians welcoming the Russians with flowers, bread and salt.
I actually don’t think that Putin or the General Staff misread the situation. In fact, I explain Putin’s obvious reluctance to openly intervene precisely because he knew that “just” liberating the LDNR was not an option anymore and that the entire Ukraine MUST, absolutely MUST, be denazified.
Putin and the GS did not want that, they hoped that somehow the Ukrainian people would find it in themselves to “clean house”.
This did not happen and I don’t see it happening anytime soon (especially with any degree of sincerity).
Conclusion: the Russian PYSOPs in the Ukraine failed miserably.
And not only in the Ukraine.
Russian PSYOPs comprehensively failed. Here are a few examples:
• Russia was not ready for western cyberattacks, including government servers. That is just a fact.
• The Russian PSYOPs were crushed and obliterated by the most effective and biggest PSYOP in history
• Russian PR even failed INTERNALLY, especially during the first week, when a lot of Russian did fully believe that they would soon have no money, no food and, basically, no nothing. The Kremlin scrambled to fix this by putting a ton of experts on talk shows and by having well-known Russian war correspondents reporting from the front lines. It did help. The figures of support for the special military operation did slowly creep up and roughly 70% or so of Russian support Putin and the operation. But, frankly, the credit here is mostly due to the truly imbecilic nonsense spewed by the Russian 5th column and Atlantic Integrationists in power. They lost the internal political war, but the Kremlin hardly contributed to that.
• The Russians completely failed to explain what made this operation “special”, they failed that inside Russia, in Zone A and even in Zone B!
So now I have to do it :-(
Okay, let’s begin by what this special operation is not. It is not
• A repeat of WWII or WWI
• A repeat of either/both wars in Chechnia
• A repeat of the Russian military intervention in Syria
• A repeat of the war in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or any war you can think of
• A full-scale Russian attack
• WWIII (at least until now, that might change!).
Andrei Martyanov coined a very apt expression: “combined arms police operation“.
Combined arms means basically formation-level warfare.
Police operation means just that, the arrest/destruction of criminals
. So a “combined arms police operation” is, strictly speaking, nonsensical, and that is why Russian military specialists don’t use it. But it is still one I like, because it reveals both the full scope and full dilemma of Russian strategists.
How do you launch a combined arms attack ONLY against criminals and while sparing innocent lives?
The truth is – you cannot.
So here is what the Russians apparently decided:
• Begin with a tactical assault against the Ukie forces in the Donbass
• Bypass all Ukie fortifications and cities which are not willing to surrender
• Develop your tactical assault into an operational one by encircling the ENTIRE Ukrainian force in the Donbass
• Move along the coast to liberate Mariupol (tactical) the continue further west (operational development)
• Clear the Ukrainian skies and quickly achieve air supremacy thereby dramatically reducing the ability of the Nazis to run, the Ukrainians keep their supply lines open.
• Once the skies are safe (not so much from Ukie aircraft, but from their air defenses), fully engage your rotary and fixed-wing aviation for reconnaissance, close air support, move forces, etc.
• Block the main Ukie Nazi centers: Mariupol (combats well inside the city), Nikolaev (combats all around the city), in Kharkov (blocked), Chernigov (blocked), Odessa (almost blocked) and Kiev (almost blocked). Then wait for the city to surrender. For that, the city it would have to get rid of the local Nazis first, of course. If they cannot do that, then use specialized urban assault to liberate the city and kill all the Nazis, but their orders should be to save their own lives before saving anybody else. So this implies a very slow and deliberate gradual movement in the depth of the city.
• Next, destroy the long-range artillery which STILL strikes at the LDRN from several locations (Avdeevka). Then blockade the remaining forces and wait for them to surrender. Strongly urge the Ukrainian commanders to avoid a useless carnage and lay down arms. If all else fails, say within a week or so, wipe them out. Literally and quickly: once the entire Ukronazi controlled areas are declared “open fire zones” the really heavy Russian hardware will take less than 24 hours to completely liberate the entire Donbass.
• Then liberate the south first, that is the full Black Sea coast.
• Then begin to move forces towards the general direction of central Ukraine (south of Kiev) and wait for more strategic>-level decisions by the Russian General Staff and the Kremlin
Will that work?
Frankly, I am not so sure.
My fear is that the United States and Joe “Biden” have decided that the best thing for them is to have as many dead Ukrainians as possible. And that is not a means to an end, it is the end: have as many Steppe Niggers and Snow Niggers kill each other.
This is the West sole and entire plan for the Ukraine: (example from CNN)
I wish I could place any hopes on the people of the Ukraine.
Frankly, I don’t. I think that many decades of joint US and Soviet propaganda (yes, on that they agreed!) following by 30 years of rabid Nazi propaganda, followed by 2 civil wars in the Donbass and a MASSIVE repression against THOUSANDS of people all over the Ukraine broke the spirit of those who have survived it all.
Again, I don’t blame them. I just see them as (mostly) a broken people.
Oh, I still hope and pray for an insurrection liberating the beautiful city of Odessa, but hope dies last as for prayers, they are never wasted.
But I am afraid that unless something major changes soon, the “combined arms police operation” will drop its latter goal and become a real combined arms operation to occupy, disarm and denazify the entire Ukraine with the possible exception of the area I call the mini-Banderastan (see map here).
If that decision is taken, then Russia will have to move major reinforcements into the Ukraine. Maybe that can still be avoided, but only if the forces currently surrounding the Ukrainians in the Donbass cauldron (well, the two cauldrons inside the bigger Donbass cauldron, really) are quickly made available.
Russia also needs to DRAMATICALLY increase her air operations NOW, like “yesterday now!”, which might mean moving in larger unit (air regiments) into western Russia.
Last, but not least, what about the Empire of Lies?
Yeah, I mean the rumors about volunteer brigades, Polish MiG-29 flying Ukies from NATO bases and all the rest of the crap.
Frankly, here is how I see it: I totally gave up on the West. And by this, I mean two totally different things:
1. I gave up on any notion of honor, truth, dignity, courage, compassion, decency or any other little sign of hope from a civilization that has already died and whose last legacy to our planet will be the Empire of Lies and everything that entails. In other words, I assume that the level of evil and corruption of the western ruling elites (ALL of them, not just politicians) is infinite and there is no such action or idea which would be deemed “too evil” or “too horrible” for these people. My last words about them will be taken from the 1983 Tempelton speech of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “Before the multitude of those who have perished and who are oppressed today, may God be their judge.“
2. I also have given up on any notion of common sense or even on a healthy instinct of self-preservation. It is not that the western elites are not narcissistic enough to care about their sorry asses, not at all. But they are not smart/educated enough to realize that they are looking at the potential devastation of our planet’s entire northern hemisphere, including all of the USA and UK – nevermind Poland! The Poles think that the Anglos will give them cover and the Anglos think that the Russians don’t mean serious business. That unique combination of cowardice and evil might well bring about the end of our world.
So, to answer the question above: it really does not matter what the folks in Zone A think.
It makes for great headlines from the terminally “presstituted” press and it makes some TV watching zombies feel triumphant.
For me, this means this: while I hope to continue to write analyses about this war, I am now officially done debunking the many idiocies still spread by the Western PSYOPs.
What I wrote above is my version of a mini crash course on basic military realities, almost 3500 words, and I am now sure that:
• Those who ‘got it’ get it and don’t need the repetition
• Those who did not ‘get it’ won’t
• And the ratio of those who ‘get it’ to those who don’t make no difference at all
Because Russia already won the military war and because Russia already lost the PR war.
Okay, I just wrote this in one shot, over 3800 words of analysis, and I am too tired to edit it, and I am going to take a few hours off.
PS: It took me 4 hours, and I wrote it all in one shot. So it is probably very poorly written. Sorry!!!!