25 March 2022

Putin's failed war

After one month of fighting, it's clear that Putin's invasion of Ukraine is an unmitigated disaster.  The Russian army is still bogged down and failing to advance, while around Kyiv, the Ukrainians have actually pushed the invaders back a substantial distance in some areas, and may even have surrounded Russian forces west of the city.  Up to 60% of Russian missiles are malfunctioning.  Stories abound of Russians with MREs and even medical supplies which expired years ago.  There have even been a few claims of Russian officers being killed by their own exasperated men.  The US estimates that the number of Russian troops killed ranges from seven to fifteen thousand, the latter figure being equal to the number the Soviets lost in Afghanistan in ten years, and more than a quarter of the US dead in the entire Vietnam war.  Russia is now reduced to bombarding cities in an effort to wreck a country it cannot conquer, committing mass murder of civilians which will stain its name for a generation.  Despite tightening repression, and harsh retaliation against dissenters, anti-war protests in Russia continue, with over fifty thousand arrested so far:

Ukrainian intelligence claims that some among the Russian elite are already contemplating removing Putin.  While he seeks scapegoats among them for the disaster, they blame him and his secretive, megalomaniacal regime:

It remains to be seen how much truth there is in such reports, or what the result would be if Putin were overthrown.  The Afghan fiasco was a contributing factor (though certainly not the only one) to the downfall and break-up of the USSR.

o o o o o

See photos here from the first month of the war.  As a reminder, the Kyiv Independent remains a very good source of news from Ukraine.

Verified charities here for helping Ukrainians.

In one incident, Russian vehicles apparently backed down before a crowd of unarmed civilians.

Putin's blunders are rooted in Russian nationalist history and in the common tendency of dictators to underestimate the resolve of democracies.

Even if Russia conquers Ukraine in some sense, the occupation will be worse than the war.

Here's general McCaffrey's latest assessment of the Russian military's floundering:


Blogger NickM said...

Yes, it is generally good news from Ukraine. I even bought the T-shirt - the yellow trident/dove on blue. A few quid from which goes to refugee charities. And, yes, I do have a sister-in-law if not exactly in this fight - certainly very close - she lives in South-Eastern Poland. Her husband (a Pole) has been training-up in case (unlikely) he gets called-up. But there is one massively uncertain factor. Putin has nothing to lose by going NBC on this one because he has everything to lose. He's bet his entire KGB arse on this caper. If he can't win (or spin it as though he has) he might as well take the entire gaff down with him.

Apparently the Ukrainians have been using facial recognition and social media to tell the families of the Russian dead because the Kremlin isn't. If (and that's a big "if") the Russians have lost 10,000 dead in just under a month then there will be Hell to pay. I somehow don't see Putin being rusticated to his dacha to write his memoirs, "... and that wasn't even the funniest meeting I had with Chancellor Merkel..." That is not how it generally goes with failed Russian leaders.

26 March, 2022 03:37  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

Infidel -- another excellent summary (and thanks again for the links)!

26 March, 2022 06:44  
Blogger jenny_o said...

That was an interesting MSNBC interview. Pretty much confirms what people suspected, that Putin was never challenged on his plan because it was too risky personally for his people to speak up. But when the invasion began to fail, he started getting rid of them anyway, or if they tried to leave and it would look bad for him, he forbade them to leave. He's irrational and I hope at some point he is publicly and painfully reduced to zero status in Russia.

26 March, 2022 07:06  
Blogger Jimmy T said...

Yeah, you have to feel some sorrow for what the Ukrainians are going through, and the repeated and indiscriminate attacks on civilians certainly rises to the very definition of war crimes. I've offered regular donations through Mercy Corps since the attack began. I wish I (we) could do more, but the Ukrainians have responded much better than generally expected. During WWII, the Ukrainian unit in the Soviet army were the best said army. Now we see why. I've found a link to a Ukrainian English language newspaper that I've found useful for keeping up on the goings on there. It's worth a look...


26 March, 2022 08:28  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

Thank you for this update and the links. You do a great service.

26 March, 2022 09:04  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

It might not be going how Putin had planned it but I feel bad for all the civilians who are being killed, bombed and displaced.

26 March, 2022 13:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful taking advice from former leaders. He knows a lot about what he says but he is also burdened with an understanding that likely stopped evolving twenty years ago.

One of the reasons the Marines got rid of their tanks was they understood early on that modern man-portable AT systems, as we are seeing in Ukraine, had made armor much more vulnerable. Even the M1 isn't invulnerable.

Also, the Ukrainians have familiarity with Russian hardware. They have long trained with it and they know how to maintain and use it. Their logistical system has the tools and parts. they know the strengths and weaknesses.

Introducing M1s would require huge changes. You would have to have train people how to maintain it. You need to set up an entire supply system to get the parts, store the parts, get the parts to users, and restock those parts. All that and you still need to have crews and commanders who know how to use those tanks. It takes months of practice and practical field experience for a crew to learn, gain proficiency, and gel as a team. Modern tanks, particularly the M1s, are complex machines and there is a lot to learn and know if you want to get the best use out them.

26 March, 2022 16:19  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: Putin has nothing to lose by going NBC on this one

Probably true, but the point is, Russia does have something to lose -- everything, in fact, if they go nuclear. Hence my hope that others there will realize Putin himself has become a danger to their country, and act accordingly.

That is not how it generally goes with failed Russian leaders

It would serve Putin right to end up like Nicholas II.

Hackwhacker: Thanks!

Jenny_o: It's a good example of how authoritarian, unaccountable government leads to bad decision-making, which is why non-democratic regimes are usually incompetent.

Jimmy T: People are doing a lot. Unfortunately it's difficult to get humanitarian assistance into a war zone, especially when the Russians show a pattern of promising safe conduct and then attacking anyway. After the war is over there will need to be a huge amount of help sent.

The Kyiv Independent is a very good source. I've recommended them a couple of times in these posts, including this one.

Ricko: Thanks, I appreciate it.

Mary K: We always need to remember that. If anything, Putin seems to be destroying cities out of frustration that he can't capture them.

Anon: I suspect a general who is regularly consulted on such matters keeps up with the times as much as he can, and most of his earlier experience of military tactics (and competence) is still just as relevant.

That had occurred to me about the M1 tank. The Ukrainians right now don't have time for extensive training on unfamiliar systems. When the possibility of providing planes came up, they were going to send Mig planes donated by the Polish air force rather than than American-made ones, because the Ukrainians are already familiar with Soviet-made planes.

26 March, 2022 21:09  
Blogger Kay said...

Thank you for this. I know it's a disaster for Russia, but I feel terrible for the Ukrainians. Even if Russia gives up, how can they get their country back to what it was?

27 March, 2022 19:40  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

I'm just so happy our friend Allen and Tanya are safe...

27 March, 2022 20:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Kay: It will take time, probably a couple of years, and also money, which the West can help with. Remember how after World War II Germany and Japan rebuilt from much worse devastation. I'm not trying to minimize how much damage and suffering is being inflicted, but countries can and do rebuild.

Granny: I can imagine.

27 March, 2022 22:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is, essentially, a group of people scraping the social media sites. identifying what it is, and whose it was, and keeping a tally.


There are a lot of reasons this is not a balanced sampling, Russian troops don't have cell phones and Ukrainian civilians may be reticent to show Ukrainian losses, so it cannot be a direct comparison. This is pretty raw data filtered only for duplicates and fakes.

Early observation: Russia has lost a lot of tanks, AFVs, vehicles generally. That, and a lot of high end gear, like jammers, that should have been protected. Conclusion: Things are not, despite claims otherwise, 'going according to plan'.

28 March, 2022 06:51  

Post a Comment

<< Home