6 Months of War in Ukraine; Surprises for All

Perun

Companies that have left Russia, companies that have stayed

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Europe is facing a cold winter without Russian natural gas. Europe is typically seen as weak in the knees and without gumption. Certainly the EU does not have a reputation as a union of tough national characters, making one wonder how Europe expects to survive in tough times. The way that Germany has given up its national economic advantage by allowing the erosion of its indigenous energy foundations — making itself vulnerable to its natural enemy Russia for its industrial survival — spells not only weakness, but also stupidity.

The fact that Germany and other European nations are even trying to keep the pressure on Russia, is a huge surprise. It is a startling show of unity in opposition to Russia’s mafia state of conquest and energy intimidation.

Real HIMARS kick butt; Fake HIMARS decoys draw Russian fire

According to the Washington Post, the wooden HIMARS decoys have attracted as many as 10 Russian Kalibr missiles. As the Russians generally rely on unmanned systems to find and identify targets for their artillery, the wooden HIMARS have been particularly effective. “A decent decoy, situated and camouflaged as an actual HIMARS would be deployed, is almost indistinguishable from the real thing to Russian targeting drones and satellites that provide information to Russian warships carrying cruise missiles in the Black Sea,” Parson wrote. “The Ukrainian decoys are made out of wood but can be indistinguishable from an artillery battery through the lens of Russian drones, which transmit their locations to naval cruise-missile carriers in the Black Sea. 

Russian forces pushed out as Putin’s sleep problem worsens

….soldiers had pushed Russian forces out of the region entirely.

A photograph of Ukrainian soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag over the village was shared by an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday, declaring victory. The photograph, which was shared on Facebook showed three soldiers on rooftops in the town attaching a Ukrainian flag to a pole.

The Ukrainian president announced the liberation of three settlements in total on Sunday but stopped short of offering the names of the two other towns. Two villages are believed to have been recaptured in southern Ukraine – one of which is likely Vysokopillya – and another was reportedly recaptured in the east.

If Putin had used charm instead of invasions and artillery, he could have avoided all the bad feeling between the two sovereign countries. When the two nations were allies, Ukraine was a critical supplier of crucial high technology systems and components to Russia. As enemies, all of Ukraine’s ingenuity is aimed at removing the Russian invaders from all Ukrainian soil.

At the current pace of Russian advances, it would take decades for the Russian military to reach Kiev.

Given its economy and arsenal, which is eroding daily, it seems unlikely Russia can wage this level of conflict for another decade.

What seems most likely, in my view, is that this war of attrition will continue until one side is either defeated or exhausted, and that is likely years away.

A Grinding War Lasting Years

Putin is likely to be dead within that time frame. After years of increasing hardship, will Russia’s population still be in the mood to continue this genocidal war of attrition against the only nation in the world with a population so historically and genetically close to ethnic Russians? The entire enterprise makes sense only in Putin’s mind. Time will not make this fiasco stink any less, particularly after Putin is removed from the picture.

Ukrainians on the other hand, are motivated and optimistic. They have every reason to want to push the Russian invader back across the border.

Russia’s elites are being held hostage by Putin’s desire to rip Ukraine to shreds. Very few of them agree with Putin.

I asked a variety of people what percentage of the top Russian ruling class supported the war. The answers ranged from a low of 10% to a high of 30%. Hundreds — if not thousands — of people at the top have lost millions and billions of dollars, expensive real estate in delightful European countries and the United States because of sanctions and/or the collapse of the stock market. All they get for their loss is endless lamentations from wives and mistresses that “living in this Russia” was not part of the deal. Children studying at Western universities and boarding schools in Britain, Switzerland, and the United States were forced to return to Russia when their educational institutions refused to accept their parents’ toxic money.

That said, people mentioned the names of a couple of billionaires who, despite the sanctions and huge personal losses, called for “striking” Ukraine with nuclear weapons. There is also grumbling in the middle stratum of power brokers, who have lost a lot in mutual funds and especially in cryptocurrency.

No one can predict how the political situation in Russia will develop now. Some give the regime until the spring of 2023, others predict a further intensification of repression in the coming months and are confident that the regime has enough strength to survive another ten years. They insist that the upcoming 2024 elections and the next round won’t change a thing.

I’m not so sure. I’m not sure that Putin’s ruling class, which is made up of dollar millionaires and billionaires and is used to making money in Russia and spending it all over the world, will agree to live and die in a cage.

Ukraine After 6 Months: What Putin Actually Got

Putin expected Zelensky to take the first American transport out of Kyiv as soon as Biden offered it. Zelensky told Biden that he needed weapons and ammunition, not a ride. That surprised the hell out of Putin, and it certainly surprised Biden as well. Six months later the world is still surprised to see Zelensky still pushing back against the mafia thugs of the Kremlin.

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