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Ukraine: Allies Waving the White Flag

by Oui Tue Dec 5th, 2023 at 12:14:30 PM EST

See my first part yesterday ...

Stoltenberg: A Big Win for Ukraine

NATO must be 'prepared for bad news' in Ukraine, says Stoltenberg

The Washington Post has produced a long, two part piece, about the failed 'counter-offensive' in Ukraine. It dispenses equal blame on the U.S. and British planning of the whole mess and the Ukrainian execution of it.

The War In Ukraine Is Done | MofA |

The bullet points from the first part:

    Miscalculations, divisions marked offensive planning by U.S., Ukraine | WaPo | [cached]

    As winter approaches, and the front lines freeze into place, Ukraine's most senior military officials acknowledge that the war has reached a stalemate.

    This examination of the lead-up to Ukraine's counteroffensive is based on interviews with more than 30 senior officials from Ukraine, the United States and European nations. It provides new insights and previously unreported details about America's deep involvement in the military planning behind the counteroffensive and the factors that contributed to its disappointments.

    The second part of this two-part account examines how the battle unfolded on the ground over the summer and fall, and the widening fissures between Washington and Kyiv. Some of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations.

    (Sources: Institute for the Study of War, AEI's Critical Threats Project)

    Key elements that shaped the counteroffensive and the initial outcome include:

      ●  Ukrainian, U.S. and British military officers held eight major tabletop war games to build a campaign plan. But Washington miscalculated the extent to which Ukraine's forces could be transformed into a Western-style fighting force in a short period -- especially without giving Kyiv air power integral to modern militaries.
      ●  U.S. and Ukrainian officials sharply disagreed at times over strategy, tactics and timing. The Pentagon wanted the assault to begin in mid-April to prevent Russia from continuing to strengthen its lines. The Ukrainians hesitated, insisting they weren't ready without additional weapons and training.
      ●  U.S. military officials were confident that a mechanized frontal attack on Russian lines was feasible with the troops and weapons that Ukraine had. The simulations concluded that Kyiv's forces, in the best case, could reach the Sea of Azov and cut off Russian troops in the south in 60 to 90 days.
      ● The United States advocated a focused assault along that southern axis, but Ukraine's leadership believed its forces had to attack at three distinct points along the 600-mile front, southward toward both Melitopol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov and east toward the embattled city of Bakhmut.

NATO Secretary General with 🇺🇸 US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III | 15 June 2023 |

Ukraine's Defense Minister Reznikov Officially Resigns | Kyiv Post - 5 Sept. 2023 |

Oleksiy Reznikov had been at the helm of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense for nearly two years, taking office in November 2021. Zelensky says "new approaches" are needed, 550 days into full-scale war.

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has voted to accept Oleksiy Reznikov's resignation from his position as Minister of Defense. People's Deputy Yaroslav Zheleznyak officially announced this decision via his Telegram channel following a vote that garnered the support of 327 members of the parliament.

Oleksiy Reznikov had been at the helm of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense for nearly two years, taking office in November 2021. His tenure ended amid a series of scandals the Defense Ministry has recently faced. As Reznikov was leaving the hall, he received a standing ovation.

The announcement of Reznikov's resignation came after President Volodymyr Zelensky's declaration on Sept. 3, in which he revealed that Reznikov would step down from his role as Defense Minister.

Defense Minister Reznikov Ousted, Zelensky Calls for 'New Approaches'

Political appointment of Oleksiy Reznikov was done in preparation for NATO's war on Russia ...

From my diary about preparations for war ...

Top Military War Planning Under Joe Biden - Ukraine | 12 Sept. 2023 |

Ukraine, US Sign Defense Deal Amid Russian Threat | Sept. 1, 2021 |

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Minister of Defense Andrii Taran shake hands after a signing ceremony at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Aug. 31, 2021. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky knows what it means to fight the Russians, and he came to Washington asking for more military assistance to help keep Russian President Vladimir Putin from encroaching further on Europe.

. _ ._ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ ._ . _ . _ . _ . _ .

The initial days leading up to a full scale conflict between NATO and Russia ...

In covert action OSCE observers, British and US nationals, leave the OSCE Mission in Eastern Ukraine, leaving their colleagues behind.

U.S. Evacuates Personnel from Ukraine as Russia Crisis Escalates: Troops, Diplomats, Staff of OSCE Mission in Occupied Donetsk | Defense Express - 13 Feb. 2022 |

With increasingly dire warnings from the U.S. that Russia will likely attack Ukraine in the coming days, the U.S. is evacuating its diplomats and troops in the country and urging private American citizens to leave immediately, reports ABC news citing the State Department and Pentagon.

Biden warns Putin of 'swift and severe' costs of invading Ukraine | ABC News |

Separatists in eastern Ukraine order mass evacuation as Ukraine warns of Russian provocation | CNN News - 18 Feb. 2022 |

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would be "catastrophic," UN Secretary General António Guterres said Friday during his opening remarks at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, calling for diplomatic efforts to continue.

"I am deeply concerned about heightened tensions and increased speculation about a military conflict in Europe. I still think it will not happen but, if it did, it would be catastrophic," Guterres said.

US Vice President Kamala Harris from the Munich conference warned that "aggressive action" by Russia would be met with "severe consequences" of economic sanctions.

Biden administration officials have privately urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky not to leave Ukraine and visit Munich on Saturday given concerns about a possible incursion, according to three US officials and one senior Ukrainian official.

Zelensky's full speech at Munich Security Conference | 19 Feb. 2022 |

Two days ago I was in Donbas, on the delimitation line. Legally - between Ukraine and the temporarily occupied territories. In fact, the delimitation line between peace and war.

The Azov Battalion and other fascist "defense" corps initiated a wave of attacks on positions in occupied Eastern districts of Luhansk and Donetsk. See reports by OSCE-SMM Mission.

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM)
Daily Report 40/2022 issued on 21 February 2022

  • In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 18 and 20 February, the SMM recorded 2,158 ceasefire violations, including 1,100 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 591 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 18 and 20 February, the Mission recorded 1,073 ceasefire violations, including 926 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 975 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The Mission followed up on reports of damage to a civilian property and a factory building in non-government-controlled Mykolaivka, Luhansk region.
  • Small-arms fire was assessed as directed at an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Staromykhailivka, Donetsk region and the Mission heard explosions close to its location in Mykolaivka, and Horlivka, Donetsk region*.

NATO tasked to 'reset' with more forces for long-term challenge posed by Russia | Stars & Stripes - March 16, 2022 |

NATO's top commander was tasked with developing a plan to add military force within alliance territory in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, following a day of high-level talks in Brussels.

The planning to be headed by U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters is expected to be ready within weeks and address the long-term security challenges of Russia's unpredictability, officials said following a meeting of the alliance's defense chiefs.

"We face a new reality for our security. So we must reset our collective defense and deterrence for the longer term," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. "Today we have tasked our military commanders to develop options across all domains -- land, air, sea, cyber and space."

President Joe Biden and other allied heads of state, who are set to meet in Brussels next week for emergency talks, are expected to approve plans for more troops along NATO's eastern flank at a separate summit in June.

Austin Meets With Ukrainian Minister of Defense at Pentagon, 6 Dec
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III today hosted bilateral discussions at the Pentagon with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov. The meeting comes on the heels of the Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference today in Washington, D.C.,
Austin said advancements realized through industry partnerships will open pathways for Ukraine to produce spare parts closer to the point of need and more swiftly return repaired military equipment to the frontlines.
and also aligns with today's announcement of [the 52nd] security assistance package for Ukraine.
The two-day conference, co-hosted by the White House, Commerce and Defense Departments, brings together U.S. and Ukrainian industry and government representatives to discuss ideas that could bolster Ukraine's defense industrial base.
Remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference
...One of our key strategic advantages is the power of our free-enterprise system. And that's especially important with the challenges facing Ukraine.

We have already invested around $27 billion across more than 35 states for contracts to produce critical capabilities for Ukraine, including lifesaving air-defense systems, munitions, tactical vehicles, and other equipment. I hope that Congress will soon pass the President's urgent national-security supplemental request, which would include another $50 billion to flow through the U.S. industrial base. Much of the money in the supplemental will come right back to us through investments in American jobs....

"We discussed ways to strengthen partnerships among Ukraine and the U.S. defense industry," Austin said. "This just underscores America's commitment to a free and sovereign Ukraine—one that can defend itself today and deter further Russian aggression in the future."
As is the custom, signs of "strategic defeat" are premature
by Cat on Thu Dec 7th, 2023 at 06:42:45 PM EST
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country needed to secure three key "victories" abroad. This includes the approval of major aid packages from the US Congress and the European Union and the formal start of accession talks to join the EU.

Ukraine releases 2024 budget plan, more spending on military,
but raising enough funding will be tough

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 7th, 2023 at 10:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 7th, 2023 at 10:18:41 PM EST
Ukraine Fatigue: Bad for Kyiv, Bad for the West

The Ukrainian economy shrank by almost 30 per cent in 2022, but has made a small recovery this year. It is less than a tenth the size of the Russian economy, however. Given the damage to key sectors of the economy, and the cost of the war and of post-war reconstruction, Ukraine will remain dependent on external financing for the foreseeable future. Sanctions against Russia have had some impact on specific sectors, but they have not been as effective as Western policy-makers and analysts hoped.

    "I know a way to finish the war quickly... I stop supporting Ukraine and the war will finish, by surrender of the Ukrainians.... [But] If Putin wins this time, who is next?". It has become increasingly clear that there will be no quick victory for Ukraine, certainly not this year. The West, and above all European leaders, must decide whether to keep helping Ukraine, however long it takes to defeat Russia, or to look for some other outcome.
    [Josep Borrell at the CER's conference on 'Europe and the World']

Ukraine's efforts to recover control of its territory from Russia are reaching a critical moment. While Ukraine's ground offensive is more or less stalled, the war between Israel and Hamas has knocked Ukraine off the front pages. Though European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen paid her sixth visit to Kyiv on November 4th, and the Commission recommended on November 8th that the EU should open accession negotiations with Ukraine, it is no longer the top issue at every European Council meeting, as it has been since Vladimir Putin's full-scale invasion in February 2022. These are dangerous times for Ukraine, politically and militarily. 

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 7th, 2023 at 10:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. President Joe Biden's warning about a potential direct clash between the U.S. and Russia | CNBC |

If Putin takes Ukraine, American troops will be fighting Russian troops - Biden

Remarks by President Biden Urging Congress to Pass His National Security Supplemental Request, Including Funding to Support Ukraine

Make no mistake: Today's vote is going to be long remembered.  And history is going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom's cause.  

We can't let Putin win.  I'll say it again: We can't let Putin win.  It's in our overwhelming national interest and international interest of all our friends.

Any disruption in our ability to supply Ukraine clearly strengthens Putin's position.  We've run out of money to be able to do that, in terms of authorization.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 7th, 2023 at 10:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No quick end to the war in Ukraine: so how do we get ready for the long haul?

For  the year 2024, Russian government has planned to spend 10.8 trillion  rubles ($111 billion) on "national defense," which is 70% more than the  current year and almost triple the amount spent prior to the invasion of  Ukraine. These unprecedented military expenditures, consuming nearly a  third of the budget, are expected to be covered by a sharp increase in  tax revenue.

The War Tax in Russia | Wilson Center |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 7th, 2023 at 10:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Foreign Secretary travels to US to reaffirm support for Ukraine

The Foreign Secretary will travel to the United States today (Wednesday 6 December) to reaffirm both the strength of the UK's relationship with its closest strategic ally and our unwavering support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. 

He will also discuss the Middle East, getting humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict in Gaza and how the UK and US can work towards enabling a long-term two-state solution which allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace. 

David Cameron taking over from where Boris Johnson set an early example ... blind Russophobia. Cameron has shown his credentials in overthrow of Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

David Cameron urges US Republicans to send Ukraine more long-range weapons | The Guardian |

David Cameron has used his first trip to the US since his appointment as the UK's foreign secretary to urge the Republican party to back Ukraine with more long-range weapons, saying the aid represented tremendous value for money.

He said for 10% of the US defence budget nearly half of Russia's prewar military assets had been destroyed. Urging the west be patient about the pace of Ukraine military advances, he argued no red line should be set on western aid save Nato troops directly fighting Russia.

"There is nothing that will drive Russia further back and put Putin more on the back foot than actually seeing that Crimea, which is legally part of Ukraine, is properly under attack from Ukrainian forces" Lord Cameron said. He said that would require the further supply of long-range weaponry.

ET archive key word | Luke Harding |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Dec 8th, 2023 at 11:18:26 AM EST
There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.
by Cat on Fri Dec 8th, 2023 at 03:40:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Dec 8th, 2023 at 08:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clueless as clear victory escapes Kyiv in 2023 ... or 2024. Pentagon and White House narrative: accept status quo, declare Mission Accomplished, call for "truce" at present demarcation line and make UA a new NATO member over night. Today in news talk show Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Fears of a NATO Withdrawal Rise as Trump Seeks a Return to Power | NY Times |

Current and former European diplomats said there was growing concern a second Trump presidency could mean an American retreat from the continent and a gutting of NATO.

In his 2000 book, "The America We Deserve," Mr. Trump wrote that "pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually." As president, he repeatedly threatened a United States withdrawal from the alliance.

Yet as he runs to regain the White House, Mr. Trump has said precious little about his intentions. His campaign website contains a single cryptic sentence: "We have to finish the process we began under my administration of fundamentally re-evaluating NATO's purpose and NATO's mission." He and his team refuse to elaborate.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 10th, 2023 at 11:00:19 PM EST
Before Congress goes on recess ... could be as early as tomorrow 🇺🇦

Republicans steadfast, national security starts at our own borders. AmericaFirst! 🇺🇸

The president just as steadfast to destroy Europe putting all blame on Putin ... crazy old man!

Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hold news conference | full video |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 12th, 2023 at 11:14:02 PM EST

House Speaker Mike Johnson spoke to reporters following his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The meeting comes as additional U.S. funding to back Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia remains in question.

"For clarity, we need a clear articulation of the strategy to allow Ukraine to win and thus far, their responses have been insufficient," Johnson said.

"They have not provided us the clarity and the detail that we have requested over and over since literally 24 hours after I was handed the gavel as Speaker of the House. And so what the Biden administration seems to be asking for is billions of additional dollars with no appropriate oversight, no clear strategy to win and none of the answers that I think the American people are owed," Johnson added.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 12th, 2023 at 11:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 12th, 2023 at 11:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 12th, 2023 at 11:36:58 PM EST

Abkhazia: Russia to build naval base in Georgian H'separatist' region | BBC News - 6 Oct. 2023 |

Abkhazian leader Bzhania said the new naval base in the Ochamchire district would boost the defence capacity of Russia and Abkhazia, and "safeguard the fundamental interests" of both. "Security is above all," he told Izvestia.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 13th, 2023 at 08:39:50 PM EST

NATO Secretary General Denounces Russia's Naval Base Plan in Occupied Abkhazia

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 13th, 2023 at 08:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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