Bipolar World Order Returns: Russian Invasion of Ukraine

"May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."  

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."  

- President Bush, West Point, New York, June 1, 2002

We decided that this image of a downed Ukrainian Su-25 best captures Ukraine's complex and intertwined history with Europe, the Soviets, and conflict - and its struggles after the fall of the Soviet Union. Promises smashed.

Ukrainian Su-25M down 27-Feb 2022 between Kherson and Mykolayiv, Ukraine 

[Editors note: We are working on a new post.]

The rules-based international system takes a second massive blow. Perhaps even a fatal blow. This time it is not an American invasion of Iraq in 2003 using Nigerian yellowcake forgeries and waving glass vials at the UN but a Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The Unipolar world order that left America at the center at the end of the Cold War, has been toppled and returned to the Bipolar system. The implication(s) of which are beyond the scope of this writing presently.

If the Russian Army is floundering in Ukraine as badly as were are told - then NATO can reconfigure its defensive posture to stop a Russian invasion into NATO with a low-cost force of ISR, Patriot batteries, handheld weapons (MANPADs/ATGMs), slow-fly propellor drones, laser-guided artillery, and some landmines. Done. If the Russian Army is floundering in Ukraine as badly as were are told - this spells big trouble for bloated Pentagon budgets?

[Below] We now know why we only saw mobile phones uploaded onto social media from the Ukrainian side. "In Ukraine, it is known that the Russians are using the Leer-3 electronic warfare system - comprised of two drones and a command truck - as a means to locate Ukrainian forces. This system can pick up more than 2,000 phones within a 3.7-mile range"

RB-341V Leer-3

From the avalanche of tweets and images coming out of the war, the Ukrainians are dominating the Red Army. Fair enough. The question becomes, why didn't the Ukrainians push the Russian separatists out of the Donbas sometime after 2014?

This video was brought to our attention by military author/historian Tom Cooper. Thank You, Tom. We have been trying to illuminate this issue with our readers. It is one reason we don't include or comment on every tweet coming out of this conflict:

The Turks have " closed " the Dardanelles and Bosphorus to Russian navy ships under the 1936 Montreux Convention. How this plays out is unclear. We think this is exceedingly dangerous because it could be (or is intended to be) escalatory. Perhaps the Russian can get around this by "reflagging" their vessels. We (the United States and NATO) are not at war with Russia. Let the Russians get bogged down in Ukraine - and stay out of it. 

When Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, both US administrations at the time did nothing. The risks were too high. Obviously, in this situation, any-all humanitarian and evacuation support should be provided to Ukrainian civilians caught in or escaping the fighting.

Images of millions of Ukrainian women and children fleeing to Poland and elsewhere all manner of Ukrainian civilians trying to escape the fighting, and also being killed - is absolutely gut-wrenching. All war is evil.

Superpower power politics "got no soul."

An overall consensus by western observers after just over a week of fighting - that the Russian Army is only 'a shell' of what it once was - has now been replaced with a healthy dose of confusion and conflicting information/claims/reports about what is happening on the ground. We would be cautious of these sweeping statements that Russia can not conduct larger-scale combat operations. Apparently, it thought Ukraine would be a pushover, and initially used a mishmash of smaller units who then outran their logistical support. Now the fear is Second Chechen War tactics will be employed in its place. How the Kremlin is to piece together a political solution afterward - is unclear - it seems out of reach.

Russia bungled its invasion plan but is making progress nonetheless in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance. We are starting to surmise that slow Russian progress and high material losses are at least partly due to thousands of Ukrainian landmines.

Germany announced it will not halt Russian gas imports.

The tumbling Ruble has now made anything Russia sells - the deal of the century.  

Lots of orbiting RC-135 and other reconnaissance assets over NATO countries trying to collect radio-spectrum intelligence. 

Persistent Ukrainian calls for NATO-US to impose a no-fly-zone over the combat area in Ukraine would simply ensure a direct US-Russian military confrontation between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. This has thankfully has been categorically rejected by NATO authorities. The American State Department however is still pushing for MiG warplanes to be sent into the fighting. Operation Nickel Grass style? Thankfully the Pentagon has now also nixed the idea. But this is like herding cats.

Why F-35 and F-22 stealth fighters - that we are told - are immune to enemy air defenses - could not be used to impose an NFZ over Ukraine - is a question best not asked - because stealth proponents won't like the answer they get (again). The answer was the same when an idea of an NFZ was floated for Syria. Stealth is insufficient and Russian air defenses would need to be attacked so as not to put Western pilots at risk. That means war with Russia.

Indeed we predicted based on this research that a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia would fracture the NATO alliance. This is the only conclusion one could draw based on this data at the time. We believed a fracture will still occur despite public-leader displays of solidarity within NATO, as we do not yet have polling survey data on what ordinary Europans think - of a direct NATO-Russia military confrontation over Ukraine.

Editors Note: listening to other experts - the issue is we may learn the wrong lessons from this war. Russia isn't using its available combat power or its airforce very effectively. The vast bulk of the combat aviation arrayed against Ukraine has so far - sat on the sidelines. The Russians have not used their EW,(Electronic Warfare) capacity which can also jam their own force transmissions and radios. In a confrontation with the West, the Russians would plan differently. Apparently, the Russians have had constrained ROE (Rules Of Engagement) - which are now loosening up. The Russians are not "10 tall but neither are they 4 feet tall." What is also true is Ukraine is definitely is a departure from what was seen in Syria with respect to Russian material losses. 

08-Mar, 2022

We are also concerned that we could be stumbling into a direct military confrontation with Russia. If Turkey (a NATO member) makes good on their decision to "close" Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits to Russian warships and the Russians ignore it - then what? Treaty obligation(s) helped start World War I. We are almost ready to change the title of this post to "The Guns of August": Russia Invades Ukraine.

"In the late nineteenth century, the great powers of Europe involved themselves in a complex network of treaties and informal understandings. Most of these treaties were defensive alliances in which one party promised to come to the other’s aid if either were attacked. In this way, diplomats strove to maintain the balance of power in Europe. In practice, the continent divided itself into two armed camps, a development that anticipated—and arguably caused—war."

"In deciding how to respond to Khrushchev, Kennedy was influenced by his reading of “The Guns of August,” Barbara W. Tuchman’s 1962 account of the origins of World War I. The most important lesson he drew from it was that mistakes and misunderstandings can unleash an unpredictable chain of events, causing governments to go to war with little understanding of the consequences."

"The U.S. military has refused to keep a tally of Iraqi deaths. General Tommy Franks, the man in charge of the initial invasion, bluntly told reporters, “We don’t do body counts.” One survey found that most Americans thought Iraqi deaths were in the tens of thousands. But our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion." Link

The Kremlin invasion is unspeakable. We are simply illuminating the hypocrisy and duplicitous behavior of the main NATO underwriter - the United States - that lies and flouts international norms when those norms are deemed inconvenient - and so is equally repugnant. Let us hope this Russian action never approaches the Iraqi loss of life figures that the 2003 US invasion of Iraq produced. 

The concern right now is that heavy resistance will see the Russians go back to a Second Chechen War strategy - that flattens everything. Like the Americans in Iraq, the Kremlin we think will have difficulty or be unable to achieve its political aims in Ukraine. But this is conjecture at this point. However, the Russian action in Ukraine combined with its relationship with China and India, in our view, rebalances the international system into two blocs.

Russian attack on Ukraine as of 27-Feb 2022

Russian vehicles are strewn about, out of fuel and crews have a runoff. We shall see what develops. So far only 50 percent ( higher as of 04-March) of Russian combat power has been committed. There are stories of Russian soldiers told: "that Ukraine had already capitulated so just drive to Kyiv." We count 9 areas where Russian forces have entered the country.

This so far has been a sobering departure from observations made on Russian military proficiency in Syria. We don't have much to say with respect to Ukraine's military except fighting in the Donbas - which evolved into a statemate/frozen conflict. Obviously, the Ukrainians are putting up stiff resistance now - and their fighters are motivated. We have seen almost no ATGM (Anti Tank Guided Missile) engagement video loaded into social media like we saw in Syria. Russian combat losses in Syria have been minuscule while at the same time strategically upending the Syrian war in Assad's favor and keeping the Syrian state from collapsing.

Flight tracks of RC-135s 

Be careful of the cacophony of talking heads in Western media making all manner of assertions. And trying to figure out what occurring through the lens of social media is a daunting task. One is at the mercy of whatever is uploaded and/or screened. Presently the vast bulk of material uploaded on English language channels is mostly showing Ukrainian victory and Russian defeat. Lord knows what actually is occurring.

Russian attack on Ukraine as of 24-Feb 2022

These conflicts are difficult to report on as both belligerents use effectively identical military hardware.  We will do our best. Information will change. We will post what we believe is the most accurate information.

Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) is going to be a major factor for both sides. Visual ID is going to be extremely difficult because the military hardware and systems used by both sides are effectively identical in appearance. This is going to add to the confusion of what is happening and to whom. Now add a layer of misinformation-disinformation.  We think fratricide is going to be a sizable factor in Ukraine.

Indeed IFF marking (in white) has now appeared on these Mi-08s. Photo 04-Mar

Apparently, the Russians have not employed MiG-29 - so any Fulcum seen in imagery is almost certainly Ukrainian. This could be an effort to mitigate IFF problems. 

And Mi-24s. Photo 04-Mar

Imagine had the American military been facing a large Iraqi Army in 2003 or 1991 where Iraq's operated modernized M1 tanks, modernized M-60 tanks, Bradly Fighting Vehicles, F-16s, F-15s, F-111s, A-10s, AH-64 Apaches, UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and Patriot Missle Batteries. Imagine the mayhem of confusion this could have caused in trying to prosecute a war for both belligerents who effectively use identical equipment. Then captured equipment is pressed into service to further compound ID problems. This is what the Russian invasion of Ukraine represents. 

We think this issue has been completely overlooked (ignored) by analysts.

What we can see is fixed-wing combat aviation at least initially - is happening at extremely low altitudes. This is a marked difference from what we're used to seeing in lower-intensity conflicts like Syria. Aircraft like Su-24 (NATO mane: Fencer) is designed specifically for this extreme low-level operational environment. Rotary-wing aviation on both sides is operating nap-of-earth. Extreme low flying in combat is a long-time Soviet doctrine to navigate through high-intensity air defenses. 

It is still early but we think Western supplied MANPADs have been largely ineffective against Russian combat aviation. Heavy use of countermeasures and tree-top operational altitudes by Russian aircraft is the best explanation. We shall see. It appears that ATGMs have been fired at Russian helicopters (instead). 

The other glaring omission is Western analysis in this war - are landmines. To what extent is a fast-moving army held up by landmines and minefields - has not even been explored. How many vehicles simply ran over mines (?) remains unclear.

We are also going to use real-time weather data (snow depth) to help assess OSINT imagery.

As of Mid-March 2022, the Russians continue to lose the "Twitter war." On social media, we are presented with Ukrainian dominance and Russian incompetence. This is historically inconsistent with what has been seen in Syria (Russia) and the Donbas (Ukraine). The avalanche of imagery from Ukraine of shattered Russian forces from OSINT presented on Twitter appears inconsistent and Ukraine's continued requesting for a no-fly-zone? 

No doubt Russia has suffered high losses regardless - to the surprise of many - but our sense is Russia has effectively completed the encirclement of Ukrainian forces - especially in the towns and cities in the east making the resupply of Ukrainian forces there difficult. The concern here is Russian army appears to have resurrected the tactics of the Second Chechen War (1999–2000) and this is alarming because of the specter of mass civilian casualties due to the Russian heavy bombardment of cities. How the Kremlin will navigate the military and political morass it has now created in Ukraine - is unclear.

Editor Note: Caveat. Most of the OSINT is tweeter-based and presents a one-sided narrative inconsistent with repeated requests for a no-fly zone. We are trying to show a more complete view of the conflict given the historical inconsistencies (from Donbas and Syria) of both belligerents going back to 2014. Also, a new post may be spawned as this one is getting slow for folks to load.
01-Apr 2022

Video uploaded showing the downing of a Mi-28N. Oddly no expendable countermeasures are employed as we saw earlier in the war. As we predicted, we are now also getting rumors of fracticide on the Russian side. Ka-50, Ka-52, and Mi-28 helicopters are the few exceptions that Ukraine does not operate.

Mi-24 attack on a fuel depot in Belgorod, Russia. Presumably, the attack was conducted by the Ukrainians. Our apologies for the narration and music. We try and use untampered materail.

27-Mar 2022:

Russian flying ~ 300 sorties per day.

We believe Kyiv was never a prime military target, Russian forces were too small for that objective - Russian advance to the edge of Kyiv was just to keep Ukraine forces from being redeployed elsewhere in-country.

The Ukrainian defensive line in the east is under threat of encirclement:

27-Mar 2022
25-Mar 2022:

Podcast by the Atlantic Council on the Air War in Ukraine. It is interesting however it contains some mixed (uneven) analysis in our view. 


AD = Air Defence
SEAD = Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
PGM = Precision Guided Munition
NFZ = No-Fly Zone
IFF (Identification Friend or Foe)
MANPAD = (Man-Portable Air Defense)

Our critique of the podcast:
  • Poor Russian coordination and CAS appear to be true. Just like Syria.
  • Russian don't have enough PGMs. true.
  • Some TB2 reconnaissance videos have shown long slant range angles of 40+ km (stay out of range of AD).
  • Navigating Friendly-fire/IFF problems would be an issue for both sides - not just Russia.
  • Little to no video evidence so far of actual video engagement recordings - of MANPAD success - against fixed-wing aircraft (for either side). Success evidence is anecdotal at best.
  • To the extent that both sides initially needed to fly low to avoid enemy AD and your own AD.
  • A successful SEAD campaign requires some form of enemy AD powerup "emissions" (and own AD power down) for anti-radiation employment.
  • Why is Ukraine asking for AD systems (and/or NFZ) if they had wrestled air control away from the Russians?
  • The Soviet doctrine has always been to fly low when confronting high threat AD (at least initially). At least that's my understanding.
  • Russia never used MiG-29 (presumably to avoid fratricide issues).
  • Something is extremely strange about the Kyiv requests for aircraft. If Ukraine has established air control over places like Kyiv with AD, why introduce its own aircraft? If  Ukraine is not flying then - anything that IS flying - is Russian - so you can engage it with AD. Does not a Ukraine aircraft request simply invite a muddier IFF picture for the defenders?
24-Mar 2022:

Russian handling accident on dock landing ship Orsk at Berdyansk port in Russian occupied southern Ukraine. No evidence of missile or munition strike can be seen in this footage.

"‘Give us 1% of yours’: Zelensky pleads with NATO for full range of military help"

The question would be at this point...why? Given the avalanche of info/images loaded onto Twitter, the Ukrainians are winning the war. Ok fair enough. The obvious question then becomes - if the Ukrainian military has been transformed after 2014 to be able to dominate the Red Army - then why didn't it push Russian separatists out of Donbas before? 

Tractor hit by a landmine in Kharkiv Oblast. We believe landmines are probably responsible for a much larger number of material losses than by other means.

17-Mar 2022:

Dramatic footage of two Ukrainian Su-25M 'Frogfoots' reportedly in the Kherson region - being downed attacking a Russian column sometime earlier in the war. Ukrainian Air Force Su-25M1K 'Blue 19' and 'Blue 30' are shot down. We haven't seen images like this since the Falklands War of 1982. It appears all pilots may have perished (there is one very low altitude ejection). Current weather and snow depth are consistent with the Kherson region in Mid-March, however, we cannot verify when precisely this event occurred.

[Below] Bayraktar TB2 drone wreckage somewhere near Kyiv. When the "40-mile long" Russian column outside Kyiv never comes under TB2 attack (or any air attack) we knew Ukrainians were no longer flying TB2 or other airborne interdiction assets in that region.

[Below] Ukrianin Su-25M1K 'Blue 39' wreckage near the town of Glibivka. Pilot fate unknown.

[Below] Remains of the Russian X-31P anti-radar missile near Zhytomyr.

Another rather sophisticated fake. See here

Hopefully, diplomacy can finally end this god-awful war. Link

16-Mar, 2022: 

"Footage has emerged of the aftermath of UA indirect fire mission Kherson Airport; approx. 14 supply trucks destroyed, 8 damaged. Note the presence of a few helicopters; the speaker indicates they are OK but evaluating frag damage from this range is very difficult."

Ka-52 down. Tail # RF-13411. Red 76

The US lost 129 helicopters and 24 fixed-wing aircraft (for all reasons) between 2003 to 2006 during the American invasion of Iraq. So we may not capture every aircraft loss. There are other sites for that.

Ukraine is claiming two more Su-30s shot down.

15-Mar, 2022:

Tank running over a landmine. Nationality unknown. Snow depth is consistent with the current conflict. 

"Low-flying Russian Su-25 aircraft over Donetsk." Could be the same aircraft filmed from the day before. Nationality (Russian or Ukrainian) not established.

14-Mar, 2022:

Two Su-25s are underway. Yasinovataya, Donbas.

More combat video has appeared on OSINT on social media. Our confidence level of this imagery as authentic is over 90 percent. The outcome of this engagement is unclear. 

New OSINT of a widely distributed video. We refuse to be spoonfed a 1-way narrative and will look at any material regardless of origin - for authenticity. Here is an example. Our confidence level of this imagery as authentic is 100 percent. In the analysis, 60 percent. The tank on the road does not (does not) fire at the location of the ATGM attack. Whether the ATGM crew runs off and is seen by the MBT that fires from its main gun into the woods - is unclear. The fate of the ATGM crew is unclear.

13-Mar, 2022:

Two-seat aircraft shot down over Izyum. This would be where Russian encirclement fighting in the east would be occurring. Again all losses on English-speaking social media are "Russian." The aircraft could be a Russian or Ukrainian Su-24, Russian Su-30, or Su-34. It could be a legitimate knockdown or fratricide "friendly fire" by either side.

"A few hours ago Russian troops managed to advance through the northern part of the strategic city of Izyum, Kharkiv Oblast." Snow depth appears consistent with conflict weather conditions this time of year. The confidence level of this story we assigned as 85 percent.

Very helpful video on the T-80 used by both Russia and Ukraine. Imagine fighting a war where both sides were using modernized M-60 and M1 Abrams tanks against each other. The risk of confusion by combat commanders at long distances would simply be massive.

12-Mar, 2022:

At least one helicopter down. Ka-52, tail # RF-13409. Kherson Oblast. One pilot KIA, other wounded.

The first evidence of Russian loitering munition in Ukraine.

Our sources say the VKS is flying at least 200+ sorties per day. This would be consistent with the high sortie rates observed in Syria. More on this later.

11-Mar, 2022:

Russian or Ukrainian Su-25 is up and attacking targets.

ACIG rollup (last 25 hours) 

"RUMINT from the DC has it that ‘more sophisticated air defense systems are to be sent to Ukraine. Guess, that might mean ‘more than MANPADS’. Also, Polish MiG-29s should still be ‘on the table’ etc...

Yesterday early in the morning, the VKS flew an airstrike on a metallurgical plan in Dnipro (formerly: Dnipropetrovsk). There were one or two big explosions, some kind of a hall, and at least one apartment building was destroyed. Another airstrike hit the town of Korosten, northwest of Kyiv.

Late in the evening, Russia used ‘long-range precision-guided strike’ – read: ballistic missiles – to hit the Motor Works in Lutsk: the only factory in Ukraine capable of overhauling and repairing RD-33-engines for MiG-29s. This caused quite a big blast and a massive conflagration. Konashenko, the spox for the Keystone Cops in Moscow, further stated that Russia attacked the nearby airbase, and the Ivano-Frankivsk AB, too. Erm…why do that if only a day before he declared the UkAF for ‘90% destroyed’….?

Ukrainians have claimed two Su-30s as shot down yesterday. As usual, there’s no evidence: at most it’s going to become available days later.

As of yesterday morning, the US Department of Defence reported the Russians firing a total of 775 ballistic missiles at Ukraine, and that the intensity of their deployment is increasing (from around 30 a day to about 65 within 24 hours).

Exploiting the bad weather (low clouds and snow) – and thus the absence of TB.2s - the CO 35th CAA seems to have deployed his reserve – the 36th MRB – to push south over the E-40 highway, link up with about two depleted battalions of VDVs (survivors of earlier fighting) and secure villages of Kopliv and Krasnohorodka, yesterday. That was a costly action, though, as the 36th MRB lost about two dozen of MBTs and IFVs in the process, while the VDVs were without combat vehicles for over a week. Guess, this prong is now going to stop and the troops re-equip with reserve fighting vehicles as next.

Further north, the biggest problem for the 35th CAA is the fact that the Ukrainians have blown up all the bridges on the Irpin River. Yesterday, the Russians (probably the 76th VDV) attempted to cross near Moscun, but were promptly repelled (this is of immense importance, then the river-crossing- and bridgehead-operations are one of the focuses in the training of RFA’s officers, and once they establish a bridgehead, it’s extremely hard to kick them out).

On the left bank of the Dnepr, the Russian advance into the eastern outskirts of Kyiv was stopped about 9km short of the downtown, by the Ukrainians launching a counterattack into flanks of the 27th GMRB or 2nd GMRD in the Polisky Raion area, and forced the Russians to withdraw. The other spearhead of the 2nd GTA meanwhile punched through and reached the Skybyn in the north, but was ambushed and forced to withdraw towards Bohdanivka. Once again, one thing is obvious: the Russians lack enough troops to exploit such opportunities.

Further north, RUMINT has it that the 41st CAA has constructed a pontoon bridge over the Desna River. This might help it bring additional 2-3 BTGs to the outskirts of north-eastern Kyiv, but I doubt this will be enough. Essentially, this is all ‘positional warfare’ with different Russian BTGs trying here and there, suffering attrition in exchange for minor advances. The mass of the 41st CAA is tied-down around Chernihiv and Nizyn and of no help. Thus, I wonder if the 35th and the 2nd GTA have sufficient mass to try a coordinated, pincer offensive on Kyiv at all. They’ve suffered too heavy losses just to reach the city and would now have to find a way to concentrate at least 2-3 BTGs (each) on a narrow front (probably down main roads) for any kind of meaningful advance.

Defenses of Chernihiv not only repelled a major attack of the 74th MRB of the 41st CAA from the north but liberated the village of Baklanovka Muraviika (capturing up to 8 T-80s of the 90th TD in the process) and thus re-established contact to the pocket of Nizhyn, further south. The Russians reacted with a massive artillery bombardment of both Chernihiv and Nizhyn, including the use of BM-30 Uragan MRLS’: there were certainly numerous casualties.

At least some good news from Sumy: miraculously, the ‘humanitarian corridor’ there is working and the evacuation came forward quite well yesterday, with over 5,000 civilians escaping in direction of Poltava, largely without interruptions.

Can't find any news on what was the 1st GTA doing yesterday: simply no reports by either side. Perhaps it stopped for that humanitarian corridor, after all...

In the Kharkiv area, the defenders say they’re encountering an increasing number of RFA’s reservist units. ‘Of course, the city was subjected to continuous airstrikes and artillery barrages, throughout the day: between others, an airstrike during the evening from Thursday to Friday hit an institute involved in experimental nuclear research: this was set on fire: for a party claiming to have evidence for Ukrainians working on nuclear weapons, the Russians are particularly keen to destroy that evidence….

South-east of Kharkiv, the 144th MRD of the 6th CAA has reached Petrivske, and pressed on Izium from the north. The latter is ‘classic’ for RFA’s behavior: the town (held by what is left of the Ukrainian 53rd Mech) is actually a part of the ‘humanitarian corridor’ for evacuation of civilians from Slovyansk and Kramatorsk in direction of Dnipro. This was ‘officially opened in the morning but repeatedly interrupted by the Russian shelling of Izium. That said, I guess the Ukrainians were not outdone in this regard: they seem to have rushed reinforcements to Andriivka and Petrivske: this was just in time then if the 144th MRD punches further south-west, I doubt the Ukrainians could stop it before it would reach the E105 highway, connecting Kharkiv with Dnipro.

The eastern Ukrainian frontline from Rubizhne in the north, down the LOC is holding, but its flanks are now rolled up - from the north and from the south. Especially worrying is the Russian penetration in the south: yesterday, elements of the 150th MRD of the 8th CAA (which is pushing out of Donbass) have reached Staroliynivka, almost 80km north of southernmost positions of the 56th MRB. The latter has lost the battle for Volnovakha (where the 53rd Mech appears to have lost about a company worth of T-64s), but is still holding out about 15km north of Mariupol. However, Staroliynivka is in its rear, about 40km as the crow flies from the easternmost positions of the 19th MRD in Polohy and the 42nd MRD’s positions outside Hulyaipole. The only reason the Russians haven’t already closed this pocket is that – while completely flat – the terrain is dominated by plentiful fields, all of which are soft and making the movement of vehicles extremely difficult. Still, unless the Ukrainians rush at least a brigade-worth of their troops to help, or withdraw the 56th MRB northwards, this precious regular unit is certainly going to get cut off.

How short on troops for the task on hand is the 49th CAA shows the fact that its CO rushed the 810th Marine Brigade all the way from Enerhodar on the Dniepr, to reinforce the assault of the 19th MRD on Mariupol from the north. To me, this appears ‘strange’, for Marines might be good infantry, but lack suitable support weaponry. Still, they helped secure the Sartana District (with the local railway station), yesterday. The 19th MRD became entangled in the fighting for the 24th District and its advance along the coast of the Azov sea became bogged down somewhere between the airport and the School 33. In the east of Mariupol, the 150th MRD is not coming forward for days already.

Amid rumors that the West OSK sacked Zusko (there’s no confirmation for this, yet), the 59th CAA is on the road again. Surprisingly enough (at least for me): instead of west, it turned north, and the past two days its 20th GMRD is rolling up the H11 on Kryvyi Rih. Except the Russians have excellent reconnaissance of this area (which I doubt, alone because of the weather), I cannot but consider this for ‘irresponsible, short of insane’: even if the Ukrainian 17th Tank Brigade didn't anything useful almost since the start of the war, it must be expected to have entrenched itself in that city, where it was certainly bolstered by units of the National Guard and civilian volunteers, meanwhile. Moreover, one can’t invest Voznesensk with 2-3 depleted BTGs, Mykolaiv with 2-3 depleted BTGs, hold Kherson with 1-2 BTGs, and still hope – already into the third week of war – to get Kryvy Rih with the remaining 1,5-2 BTGs…"

10-Mar, 2022: 

[Above] Russian convoy attacked outside Kyiv near Skybyn by artillery. Unclear if the column preceded or turned around. It appears they lost one to two vehicles.

Analysts are warning of a much uglier part of the war that is coming. Second Chechen War style. The Russian Army will begin using its heavy artillery forces rather than engage in street-to-street house-to-house fighting - to flatten everything. The Russian Army is suffering from low morale and many units were not told they were driving into a war. We wish all parties would double down on diplomacy to end the fighting. Ceasefires can be used for militaries to regroup and redeploy for another round of fighting. We need a negotiated halt to this god-awful war - yesterday. 

'Blue 31' / ACIG

[Above] Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 'Blue 31' is down. Pictured. 

Believed to be Ukrainian SAM launch

Believed to be a Russian Su-30SM or Su-34 bombing Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv

Ukrainian Tu-141 Soviet-era drone crashes into Zagreb, Croatia.  

09-Mar, 2022: 

Big news day off the battlefield. Serious eyebrow-raising. Apparently, Ukraine has chemical weapons and biological "infrastructure"  leftover from the Soviet era. The United States operates a Biological Threat Reduction Program in Ukraine. The precise nature of the programs is murky. UN security council meeting is scheduled to explore the matter. Whitehouse warns of Russian CW (Chemical Weapons) use in Ukraine similar to what Iraq used (a US ally at the time) against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war and Assad in Syria (a Russian ally). Both Russian and US governments had/have unsavory relationships with users of CW.

08-Mar, 2022:

Another Su-34 down. Mounting Russian losses have been an eye-opener. The US lost 129 helicopters and 24 fixed-wing aircraft - for all reasons - from 2003 to 2006 during the American invasion of Iraq. Yes, over a 6-year period but the loss rate was not linear over time. 
[Above/Below] Su-34 '47' Bomber Rgt., 105th Composite Air Division, 6th Air and Air Defence Army, Russian Air Force.

We are not publishing our usual go-to "analysis" for the last 36 hour period as it has become too much conjecture - based on social media "Open-source intelligence (OSINT)". We reviewed some OSINT and some look like clips from some of the better computer games like DCS. Right now OSINT is posting a narrative of Ukrainian dominance and Russian incompetence.  

Suffice it to say measuring military potential is extremely hard.

06-Mar, 2022:

Dramatic video of two "Ukrainian" Su-25s being downed at the same time [nationality unverified].

Something hit. Whom, what, and by whom [unverified].

Russian Mi-24P down. 

05-Mar, 2022:

A bad day for Russian combat aviation in Ukraine. Russian Air Force losses over the past 26 hours. Some are verified - others of low (lower) confidence. Other experts say the Russian ROE has loosened up. If this has translated into fratricide is unknown. 

- 1x Su-30SM multirole aircraft 
- 1 (2) Su-34 strike aircraft
- 2 Su-25 close air support aircraft
- 2 Mi-24/35 attack helicopters
- 1 Mi-8 transport helicopter
- 1 Orlan-10 UAV

Su-30SM Unit 59882, Naval Aviation Black Sea Fleet.

[Above] Confusion as to this. Appears to be a Su-34 from 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment.

Mi-8AMTSh 58 blue (RF-91165)

39th Helicopter Regiment based at Dzhankoy Air Base, Crimea.

Russian Hind down near Bashtanka

[Above/Below] Su-34 (bort "24" red) down over Chernihiv, belonged to the 2nd Guard Bomber Aviation Regiment, 21st Mixed Aviation Division (14th Air & Air Defense Army) based in Central MD. It was delivered to the VKS in 2018.

This video was widely distributed. The nationality of the Hind remains unknown due to the inconsistent paint scheme of the Mi-24 in video with either belligerent. Heavy countermeasure employment by Russian rotary-wing aviation in Ukraine/Syria to date - is absent in this clip. The shootdown is not a fake - but who is being downed (and when) is unclear.

One question with all this is why is Ukraine still demanding MiG-29 fighters from Poland and a Western no-fly zone? One possibility is this is a healthy dose of fratricide. Nearly 50 percent of Russian losses of aircraft in Georgia in 2008 - were due to fratricide.

Ukrainian TB2 drone videos appear to have dried up. 

04-Mar, 2022:

Russia has been careful not to knock out power or destroy water-supply infrastructure as was done by the US in Iraq in 1991 and 2003. Again, extremely low flying in Ukraine is an attempt to avoid both enemy and own air defenses systems because of IFF-Fraticide risk(s).

Two confirmed VKS combat losses. Both Su-25SM3. Pilot fates unknown:
Su-25SM Russian Air Force RF-91958 / 04 Red 2022-03-04 1/1 down Kyiv.

Su-25BM Russian Air Force RF-93026 / 08 Red 2022-03-04 down near Volnovakha, Donetsk.

ACIG rollup 7th and 8th days of the war.
  • CAA - Combined Arms Army
  • CAS - Close Air Support
  • BTG - Battalion Tactical Group
  • VKS - Vozdushno-kosmicheskiye sily (Air-Space Force, direct translation)
  • GTA - Guards Tank Army
  • GTD - Guards Tank Division
  • MRB - Motorized Rifle Brigade (throw a G in the front if Guards)
  • MRD - Motorized Rifle Division (ditto for the G for Guards). Majority of the Russian Ground Forces are Motorized Rifle (i.e. Mechanized Infantry with supporting tanks)
  • NLAW - Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (often confused or just lumped into everything being a Javelin)
  • SEAD - Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
  • UCAV - Unmanned combat aerial vehicle
  • VDV - "Vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii" (Воздушно-десантные войска России) Russian Airborne forces

The VKS is heavily involved in supporting the Russian Armed Forces in northern, north-eastern, and eastern Ukraine. Interdiction strikes are run by Su-34s, close air support by Su-25s. 

Today Su-30 or Su-34 claimed shot down over Irpin [unconfirmed], followed by a Su-25 (04/RF-91958) [confirmed]. 

In the east, a Su-25SM-3 (08/RF-93026) was down [confirmed] near Volnovakho (halfway between Donetsk and Mariupol); pilot captured. A helicopter that attempted to rescue the pilot was then shot down [unconfirmed]. 

Out of Ukrainian claims of forty (40), VKS aircraft downed only three (3) VKS have been confirmed. So right now we have only a 13 percent probability that Ukrainian kills claims are of higher confidence.

Ukrainians are claiming ‘air superiority on their part, and to have saved ‘a significant majority of their aircraft. But, if so, these seem to be operated over the western part of the country only.

Re. Ukrainian demands that NATO imposes a ‘no-fly zone’… can only side with the Lithuanian Prime Minister Simonyte, who described this as ‘irresponsible’. As said on the first day of the war, and several times ever since: this is not going to happen. More wild stories on social media claiming nonsense like 'Ukraine received 70 combat aircraft from NATO'.

Early on 3 March, five brigades of the Ukrainian Army have concluded their counteroffensive from Kyiv in northern and north-western directions. In the course of the same, they have liberated Irpin and thrown the 20th CAA and forward elements of (largely stalled) 36th CAA back across the Teteriv River, 30+ kilometers north of the capitol. Subsequently, Ukrainians withdrew back into the northern suburbs of Kyiv and much of this area was flooded, to disturb a renewed Russian advance in the southern direction.

That said, at least four BTGs of the 35th CAA remained in the area west of Kyiv, and two are cut off south of the E-40. Between others, these are holding western Bucha, Hostomel/Gostomel, and the eastern side of Bucha. Additional Russian troops are reported in Makariv and Molyzhyn, further south.

The advance of the 41st CAA around Chernihiv slow the last four-five days. The Russian MOD in Moscow then reported the army lost its deputy CO, General Andrey Sukhovetsky - this report is unclear.

The 2nd CAA completed the envelopment of Konotop, and is probing towards the outskirts of eastern Kyiv along several local roads.

The 1st GTA has enveloped Sumy and, picking speed, is probing in the same direction, with forward elements somewhere west of Priluky. 

Ukrainians claim a local counterattack of their 93rd Mechanised Brigade to have hit the northern flank of the 2nd CAA and drove all the way to the border. South of Kharkiv, the 20th CAA is pushing in a south-western direction, around Chuhiv, has taken Kupiansk, and reached Balakliya, its forward elements are deep behind a concentration of three Ukrainian brigades.

Russian MOD claim that on 3 March the troops of the 8th CAA and the Separatists have reached Svatove, and linked up with forward elements of the 2nd CAA, further north. Ukrainians are denying this, but I would say there’s little doubt that a sizeable Ukrainian force (probably an entire infantry brigade) is surrounded in the Bilovodsk area.

Further south, the Russians took Volnovakha, and are pushing from there in direction of Mariupol. The latter is kept under sustained artillery fire and airstrikes, and Russian videos are indicating heavy losses of those elements of the Ukrainian 54th Mechanised Brigade that withdrew into the perimeter of this city.

Yesterday, I’ve discussed the advance of the 58th CAA reached Voznensk and seem to be probing over the Pivdenny Buh River all the way to the Chychukliya River, 30km further west, perhaps even to the Tylihul River, another 30km to the west.

Meanwhile, he sent his infantry into an assault into Mykolaiv: the battle is still going on.

Northwards along the Dnepr River, early this morning Zusko’s troops were in the process of securing the Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant (the biggest of its kind in Europe), causing panic calls from Ukraine to the IAEA in Vienna. Reportedly, the Russians have shelled the facility: turned out, they’ve hit the training compound, and – at least from what is known by now – caused no damage to any of the nuclear reactors.

Further east, the 58th CAA has secured Vasylivka, but did not manage to capture Tokmak, while its eastern flank is pushing into the suburbs of Melitopol.

03-Mar, 2022:

""Russian Su-30SM fighters operating over Sumy Oblast."  We have verified the type filmed as indeed Su-30SM so it is indeed Russian.

Su-24 Fencer interdiction-attack jets hitting targets. Ignore video-title as the poster cannot ID if they are Russian or Ukrainian. Both fly the same type. Imagine if the US was in a war and our opponent also flew F-16s and  A-10s. So yeah no way to tell at distance.

ACIG Update:

"I’ve mentioned it a few days ago, that the Russian commander there – I suspect: the one in charge of the 58th Combined Arms Army – is of a different caliber than those elsewhere. I only know him as Lieutenant-General Mikhail Stepanovitch Zusko (photo), about 50 years old. He's said to be 'young and energetic'.

Mind, two days ago, after securing its bridgehead on the western side of Dnepr, and receiving fuel, the 58th CAA secured Kherson. Already days before, while the battle for this city was still going on, it already had few units probing towards the northwest, in direction of Mikolayiv. Of course, the Ukrainians beat them out of that town, but except for a few airstrikes by Su-24s and Su-25s, did little to interdict the traffic along the M14, and even then: lost two Su-25s with their pilots. The inevitable had to happen. Shortly before a bad-weather front hit the area, the 58th went into action, on 1 Mar 22. It was a ‘classic Soviet/Russian doctrine in action.

The first indication that something was going on were reports about the approach of a group of Russian amphibious assault ships, escorted by several warships, to the Odessa area. The Ukrainians opened fire with their Neptune anti-ship missiles and claimed hits on a frigate and an amphib. Can’t recall having see a confirmation for the former (and can’t see the video/photo here: ... 15490?s=21), but the latter was definitely hit and set on fire (see attached photo).

Then the Russians launched their actual attack: a heliborne insertion of VDV behind enemy lines, ‘in the Odessa area’ ( ... 8771788800). Initially, it was not clear where, but eventually it turned out they attacked the Mikolayiv International ( – which is on the opposite, north-western side of the city and port. I.e. they tried to ‘surround’ the opponent. As should actually be expected, undertaken during the day, this operation ended in a defeat: the Ukrainians claimed to have recovered the airport ( in a matter of few hours, and then released several videos shown captured VDVs. Unsurprisingly, the ground attack was repelled almost as soon as it began, and the Ukrainians showed even more captured equipment, including one or two BMD-3s (second attached photo).

It was during this action that the Bangladeshi merchant MV Banlgar Smriddhi was hit into the bridge, killing the ship engineer.

A few hours later (early yesterday), the Ukrainians then did their only second meaningful move on this frontline since the beginning of the war: they pushed their artillery forward and subjected the Kherson Airport to a fierce barrage, claiming the destruction of ‘Russian Army equipment ( ... 9218382853). This morning, the Russian column stretched along the M14 was subjected to renewed Ukrainian airstrikes ( ... 7229686785).

Despite this failure, we can expect the Zusko and the 58th CAA to ‘be back’, and that very soon. His reconnaissance elements are known to have by-passed Pervomaiske, turned east to reach at least Novopetrivka, and then north: the last I’ve heard of them they were already somewhere around Voznesk, about 15km north-west of Marivka (on the H11): it is in Voznesk where the Ukrainians claimed to have destroyed a column of Russian vehicles today.

Overall, this is a very interesting operation to follow and we should keep an eye on it. I am not yet sure if this is the 58th CAA that is involved, but if yes, it is including several crack units. For example, the 810th Independent Marine Brigade, the first Russian unit to reach Syria, was back in August 2015. Sure, it has at least four major rivers to cross before reaching its war aim, but it’s obviously run by somebody who knows his business: the commander of this advance does appear to be ‘distracted’ by developments elsewhere, and TB.2s are killing his supply columns, but he’s going to find a way to Transnistria. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if in, say, 10-15 years, Zusko's actions are taught at the Frunze Military Academy – just like I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of his opponent."

02-Mar 2022: 

Su-25SM '07', RF-91961. Down, place unknown, pilot's fate unknown.

Su-25SM Russian Air Force RF-91961 / 07 Red 2022-02-27 down over Irpen' - Makarov, Kiev. 

Ka-52 down, serial and registration unknown. Probably launched from Antonov IAP, and down somewhere north of Bila Tserkva. The fate of the crew is unknown.

Oh, and a Romanian MiG-21MF Lancer is missing. Disappeared in the Cogealac area, next to the Black Sea. The SAR helo sent to find it disappeared too. Locals report a loud 'bang'... the claim is weather-related.

Below is some of the better western observer analysis - but is it conjecture based - based on what is available through various sources out of Ukraine and elsewhere. So confidence level we estimate at no better than 40 percent - presently.
ACIG update: 

"Summary for 01-02 March 22

Once again, the word is ‘not much Russian advances in Ukraine yesterday. Well, let’s see…

Plenty of information is becoming available about the deployment of Russian Army units, and I’ll try to be more specific in this regard, too.

Since the VKS is 'mysteriously not involved' there is nothing to report....That's at least along with Western 'experts'.

In reality, the Ukrainians claimed two S-35s during the night, both by their S-300s.

In turn, the UkAF appears to have lost a MiG-29 in air combat. One (operational) Ukrainian Su-27 was definitely destroyed on the ground, yesterday or the day before. I'm trying to find out where.

(Don't ask me for details: this is all I was able to find - in an official Ukrainian release - otherwise, I would post links and photos.)

The Russian Armed Forces have deployed around 30,000 troops here, organized into the 35th Combined Arms Army, and the 36th Combined Arms Army.

Led by the 98th VDV Division, the 35th Is advancing west of Kyiv towards south. It began shelling Bila Tserkva, the last night. Think this is a good illustration of how far forward are its units.

That said, the Ukrainians hit its flank and smashed one of 35th CAA’s columns in Borodianka (see attached photo), about 20km NW of Kyiv. Was a smart action, but unless they do this 2-3 times a day, it’s simply far too little.

North-west of the 35th is the 36th, still blocked in a giant traffic jam now stretching for about 130km, from the northern suburbs of Kyiv to the border with Belarus.

So much is going on from Chernihiv to Kharkiv, that this is certainly its own ‘front’. Thus, I’ll herewith treat it as such.

From west towards the east (i.e. from Chernihiv to Kharkiv), the Russian Armed Forces have deployed about 45,000 troops, organized into the 41st Combined Arms Army, 2nd Combined Arms Army, 1st Guards Tanks Army, and 6th Combined Arms Army. The mass of these troops is messing around: they are pushed like hell by their officers, but running out of fuel, out of food, losing the way, running into ambushes, or abandoning vehicles without a fight.

Much of this is surprising and/or shocking for us to see, but ‘normal’ in a massive and rapid advance of this kind. That said, the only command here doing really good is that of the 1st Guards Tanks Army. This is controlling about 20 BTGs, which are now advancing on both sides of Sumy, have bypassed Rommy, and are pushing against the Ukrainian defense line between Nizhyn and Pryluky, about 70km east of Kyiv.

RUMINT has it that some of 1st GTA’s foremost units have punched through all the way into eastern approaches to Kyiv, or are at least approaching Brovary.

If so, this is a good indication that the Russians are 'only beginning' in a serious fashion, at least restoring order within their forward units.

Kharkiv – which is surrounded for two days now, and probably held by an equivalent of three Ukrainian Army brigades and local volunteers – was exposed to a series of vicious artillery barrages, ballistic-missile attacks, and airstrikes throughout the day yesterday. The Russians also heavily shelled the town of Chuhiv, nearby (airbase and home base of the Ukrainian 92nd Mechanised Brigade).

The Russian Armed Forces have ‘only’ about 12 BTGs deployed in the Donbas, but these are ‘reinforced’ by the Separatists – and they have punched from Luhansk through the LOC in the north-west and south, and are now coming forward. In the north, they are pushing for Hodivka (probably to continue for Kramatorsk); in the south, they have encircled Mariupol.

By now, I’m quite confident that the command of the Russian southern front is run by the – well-known – 58th Combined Arms Army. So far, this is also the most effective Russian command. I do not know about any details of its composition, except that it included at least one of Russian ‘Alpha Units’, early on (and that this suffered losses in the first assault on Kherson, back on 25 February, even if securing the bridgehead over the Dnepr).
The total strength of the 58th CAA these days: is about 17,000, with additional to follow.

The western flank of the 58th has secured the city of Khersun yesterday and is presently probing Mykolaiv while pushing its forward units further north-west. In the north, the 58th CAA launched its assault on Tokmak, and resumed its advance on Zaporozhye. In the east, it completed the encirclement of Mariupol, yesterday afternoon. With this, we probably have the second significant ‘pocket’ of besieged Ukrainian armed forces, probably including an equivalent of three brigades (between them some of the Azov Battalion)."

01-Mar, 2022
NATO authorities have reeled-in Poland, (a NATO member) and expressly prohibited the Pols from attempting to transfer their old-MiG-29 fighter jet to Ukraine: “NATO is not going to be part of the conflict,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “NATO is not going to send troops into Ukraine or move planes into Ukrainian airspace.” Whether the aircraft will be disassembled and shipped by gound is unclear: Link

28-Feb 2022:

A perfect example of disinformation loaded onto social media. 'Z' denotes a Russian vehicle. Was the "Z" added or removed? See here.

Russian AD still having trouble with slow-fly TB2 drones. The TB2 airspeed is so slow that the AD system filters it out as an organic object and so doesn't see it. Some videos seen on social media earlier appear to be people and their shadows running. Whether images were from Ukraine or the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh remains unclear. Also, images were coming from Turkish origin media sites.

27-Feb 2022: 

Conflicting reports that the Turks will "close" Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits to Russian warships. This would constitute a dangerous escalation by a NATO member if true.

Russian Nuclear forces are on alert. We don't know where this is headed - but we would prefer people begin talking to each other before this spins out of control.

Germany clears weapons transfer to Ukraine from the Netherlands. Germany's chancellor announces two percent GDP defense spending. How this will play out politically with German voters is unclear. 

Bayraktar TB2 video has appeared (again). The first video was from Syria, not Ukraine. We've already seen rather sophisticated fakes with audio added. More videos are appearing. Whether the TB2 are hitting anything or just decoys is unknown. Some hits have no target reaction that could indicate decoys. Whatever "successes" the TB2 is having - it won't last long. It is just a medium-altitude propellor drone.

[Below] Ukrainian Su-25 down this morning between Kherson and Mykolayiv. Both pilots KIA:

26-Feb 2022: 

After 3 days of fighting many Western assessments are that the invasion has stalled and will fail. We would be very skeptical of these kinds of claims.  The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 took 22 days, and combat operations were declared ended 21 days later - for a total of 43 days. Ukraine is larger than Iraq.

MiG or Sukhoi firing air-to-air missile here
Something else hit
Again here. Visual ID (VID) of who is extremely difficult. 
Fighting here
Purported to be captured Russian major, if mistreated US-Western support for Ukraine problematic.

[Below] Frogfoot is probably hit by MANPAD or other weapon but could also be a Su-25 weapons malfunction - is unaffected and continues to fly normally. Ignore English language verbiage inserted into the clip. If we can find a clean clip we will.

25-Feb 2022: 

Mountains of material to examine. Difficult to filter through. Again try to only show authentic images. Please be patient. This is s good information source: here

Ukraine fired SS-21 Tochka tactical ballistic into Russia and hit aircraft at Millerovo Airbase approx 15 km from the border.

Incredible combat footage here, Russian Su-25 in low and at high speed. We haven't seen images like this since the Falklands War in 1982 over San Carlos water.

Ukrainian 'Buk' Air Defense system was knocked out near Kyiv. Video pulled. Here is another link

 [Below] UkrAF Su-27 down over Kyiv.
Canopy of Ukrainian Su-27 in the streets of Kyiv

23-Feb 2022:  

D-Day. Massive Russian ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and airstrikes (3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles, 9K720 Iskander ballistic missiles, K-55 cruise missiles, plus VKS aviation) on the Ukrainian air force, air bases, and air defenses. Russia has targeted all the known military infrastructure including command and control facilities, bases, munition depots, factories, and airbases/airfields.

Russian armored formation moves into Ukraine on 6 fronts. 

It is very important to understand that only a fraction of the forces the Krelim has arrayed against Ukraine have been committed to the fighting so far. The Ukrainians are completely outgunned  - so the outcome of this is not really in doubt.

If Ukrainian aircraft are not already dispersed to small airfields and/or roadways they will not last.
A fully armed Ukrainian Su-27 landed at Bacau in Romania citing "fuel issues. 23-Feb 2022."

"Is the Confrontation Over Ukraine Joe Biden’s “Wag the Dog” Moment?
The people now gunning for a showdown with Putin were gunning for a showdown with Saddam Hussein two decades ago—with the same promises of a happy outcome. 
By Andrew J. Bacevich 16-Feb,2022"

"While some wars may be necessary and unavoidable, a war pitting Russia against Ukraine—and potentially involving the United States—doesn’t make the cut. Yet, should such a war occur, some members of the American commentariat will cheer. They have yearned for a showdown with Vladimir Putin. The depth of their animus toward Putin and the hyperbole it inspires is a bit of a puzzle that deserves examination."

Ukrainian port of Ochakiv

"A veteran New York Times correspondent charges that Putin “has put a gun to the head of the West.” In an op-ed recently published in the Times, a former US national security official accuses President Biden of “sending the message that the United States is afraid of confronting Russia militarily.” “In an era when fascism is on the march,” a Boston Globe columnist warns, “much more may hang in the balance” than simply the security of a single country on the far eastern fringe of Europe.

A sense of impending doom punctuates the taunts: With unnamed fascists gathering outside the city gates and the very survival of the West at risk, the sitting president succumbs to cowardice. Whence does such overheated language come? What does it signify?"

 [Below] An arms storage facility reportedly in Kalynivka struck:

"One obvious explanation is the unvarnished Russophobia pervading the ranks of the American political elite. With roots going at least as far back as the Bolshevik Revolution, disdain for Russia only deepened across several decades of Cold War. Although the Cold War ended a generation ago, this habitual animus survives fully intact, nowhere more so than in Washington. Demonizing Russia is an easy sell.

In international politics, most crimes, no matter how heinous, are forgivable. Even those perpetrated by the Nazi regime do not figure in day-to-day US relations with the Federal Republic of Germany. Nor, as it turns out, does the United States hold Ukraine’s collaboration with the Third Reich against it."

[Below] Russian Kamov Ka-50 photographed reportedly over the city of Armyansk

"On that score, Russia is an exception, with members of the American establishment disinclined either to forgive or to forget past transgressions attributed to the Soviet Union. Note how the Soviet-American partnership that was crucial to defeating Nazi Germany has all but vanished from our collective consciousness. We revere Churchill; we revile Stalin. That Putin is a former KGB officer presumably tells us all we need to know about him.

But let me suggest that our present-day antipathy toward Russia derives from something deeper than an unwillingness to let go of old grudges. The real issue has less to do with them than with us. More specifically, it centers on a desperate need to refurbish the concept of American exceptionalism. Nowhere is that need felt more powerfully than among members of the foreign policy establishment."

[Below] Kaliber missiles hitting Ivano-Frankivsk airport
Ukraine published a false claim of destroying Russian armor using Turkish-made made Bayraktar TB2 drones. Video verified to be from Syria. Flat roofs and Russians do not use motorcycles. We, therefore, have assigned video as disinformation:

We surmised whatever TB2 ops by Ukraine, will be short-lived. 

"American exceptionalism is the conviction that in some mystical way God or Providence or History has charged America with the task of guiding humankind to its intended destiny. Embedded in the phrase is the essence of our collective identity.

We Americans—not the Russians and certainly not the Chinese—are the Chosen People. We—and only we—are called upon to bring about the triumph of liberty, democracy, and humane values (as we define them), while not so incidentally laying claim to more than our fair share of earthly privileges and prerogatives.

American exceptionalism assumes a Manichean world in which good is pitted against evil, with our side assumed to embody good. Packaged with highfalutin sentiments of the sort to which recent US presidents (except one) routinely—and perhaps even sincerely—pay tribute, American exceptionalism justifies American global primacy.

But we Americans have a problem. Of late, the United States has not appeared especially exceptional. If anything, the reverse is true."

[Below] Two MiG-29s in low near Kyiv. No way to ID these aircraft as Ukrainian or Russian. We believe them to be Ukrainian.

"Who in their right mind would identify with a nation that has in the not-so-distant past engaged in a costly and arguably illegal war in one country (Iraq), while waging a 20-year-long war in another (Afghanistan) that ended in humiliating defeat? In what sense does a nation that loses over 900,000 of its citizens to a pandemic, whose dysfunctional central government annually spends trillions more than it takes in, and that cannot even control its own borders qualify as exceptional? Can a nation in which the richest 1 percent control 16 times more wealth than the bottom 50 percent be deemed exceptional? Or one in which a major political party characterizes violent insurrection as “legitimate political discourse”? As for a nation that elects Donald Trump president and may do so again: The term “exceptional” hardly seems appropriate.

“Reckless,” “incompetent,” “alienated,” “extravagantly wasteful,” and “deeply confused” more accurately describe our predicament."

[Below] Russian Kamov Ka-52 "Alligator" forced down

"How to get out of the political, cultural, and economic mess in which we find ourselves—yes, how to make America great again—is the overarching question of the day.

Those eager for a showdown with Russia over Ukraine offer one answer to that question: Putting a brutal bully in his place will go far toward restoring American exceptionalism’s lost luster. It’s “wag the dog” in modified form: militarized assertiveness in faraway places promising a shortcut to redemption."

[Below] Russian Mi-8 and Su-25 in action over Gostomel, Brovary airport.

Don’t believe it. The people gunning for a showdown with Putin come from the ranks of those who two decades ago were gunning for a showdown with Saddam Hussein, while promising a happy outcome."

"There is an alternative approach far more likely to yield positive results. That alternative approach posits a reformulation of American exceptionalism based not on muscle-flexing in faraway places but on modeling liberty, democracy, and humane values here at home. The clear imperative of the moment is to get our own house in order. Stumbling into yet another needless war won’t help."

[Below] Ukrainian MiG-29 firing S-8 unguided rockets.
[Below] Russian Mi-8 defeating Ukrainian ATGM / MANPAD shots using expendables. Second vid show one helo hit (possible Ka-50). We believe these are indeed Ukrainian ATGM shots.

"As for Ukraine, the crisis there poses minimal risk to the West, which possesses ample strength to defend itself against Russian aggression. Rather than flinging macho-man insults about who will stand up to Vladimir Putin, wisdom suggests that the United States should acknowledge the possibility that Russia possesses legitimate security interests of its own, those interests extending to the question of whether Ukraine has a friendly or unfriendly orientation. As for fascists, the ones deserving concerted American attention tend to be homegrown.

Elevating Russia to the status of Enemy Number 1 is actually a diversion from matters of far greater immediate importance. It’s time for Americans to wake up to the fact that we face far more pressing concerns.

- Andrew J. Bacevich 

Andrew J. Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America’s Long War, co-edited with Danny Sjursen, is forthcoming."

- end - 

Good link to information. However, too graphic to show:
ACIG / Michael Kofman

This is what we have so far on just Day 1. There are literally hundreds of images and videos. Too much to review. We will try and find the most authentic imagery/information we can. This takes time.

We wish the world would solve its problems a different way - wars are a complete waste. But for superpowers like Washington-Moscow - old habits die hard. Welcome back to the New-Old World.

- All media found here is for scholarship and research purposes and protected under U.S. Internet ‘Fair Use’ Law -


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