27 July 2022

The tide is turning in Ukraine

As mentioned here earlier this month, the US-supplied HIMARS system is emerging as a game-changer in the Ukraine war (the UK and Germany have also been supplying similar systems).  The Ukrainians' ability to destroy ammunition stockpiles, command posts, and other logistical targets far to the rear of the Russian front line has seriously degraded the Russians' fighting ability.  They are grinding forward only very slowly in a few places, and Ukraine is increasingly going on the offensive.  There has also been a dramatic decrease in Ukrainian battlefield casualties, probably because Russian shelling is down to a fraction of its former intensity.

Russia seems to be trying to regain the upper hand by continuing its missile attacks on random civilian targets, to terrorize the population, but even there, the Ukrainians are getting better at shooting down missiles.

Poland and the Baltic states are ordering HIMARS and similar systems, a wise precaution in light of Putin's aggression.  Even Kazakhstan, formerly at least somewhat subservient to Russia, is becoming alarmed enough to start seeking Western support.

The tide is turning.  But as the war enters its sixth month, it's obvious that no fast and easy solution is in the offing.  The democracies will need to continue their support, in the form of both weapons and sanctions, for months to come yet.  A negotiated peace that allows Putin to keep some gains would be a de facto positive for him and encourage further aggression.  Ukraine needs to win.


Blogger Mike said...

I think Ukraine can win with continued support from ALL the western countries.

27 July, 2022 01:16  
Blogger Comrade Misfit said...

Concur. If the Ukrainians don't defeat Putler, the war will spread.

27 July, 2022 03:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Irredentism in a nutshell: "This was our empire once, so it always will be." Of course, the Soviets would NEVER call a collection of states forced to do what Moscow wants an empire...

But until Putin realizes it's over, every night is HIMARS o'clock.

27 July, 2022 07:31  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

Thank you for this update!

27 July, 2022 07:51  
Anonymous NickM said...

Russia needs Russia to lose as well. What would make a huge difference is air-power and I have no idea why the Polish scheme to send Ukraine surplus MiG-29s (Poland is replacing them with F-16E/F) was stymied. Well, actually I do have an idea and I don't like it. NATO et. al. seems to be doing this a bit half-assed so as not to enrage Putin further. I would argue he seems pretty darn enraged already and this war needs to be won as quickly as possible. I know it's risky but there is a bloody good chance of Putin going nuclear anyway in a fit of pique. There is also a very good chance it would give his saner generals the opportunity to give him the bottle of vodka and the loaded Makharov...

I appreciate this comment maybe the result of almost a life-time of playing Sid Meier's Civ series but with a nucking futter like Putin there is never a safe option. How do you think he's got away with utter cuntery for so long? He needs a dry-slap. I have other preferred options but they are Chinese in their ingenuity and Afghan in their brutality and I broke the Breville sandwich toaster a couple of weeks back and I can't be arsed getting another from ao.com.

Anyway, let's hope the shit doesn't hit the fan before Sunday because The Lionesses are gonna beat Germany in the UEFA Final - I have a small sum on it. It would be the first time a footie team I supported won anything.

27 July, 2022 08:27  
Blogger Pliny-the-in-Between said...

If the Crimea was the 21st century Austria, then certainly Ukraine is our Czechoslovakia. The line has to be held there.

27 July, 2022 08:36  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

Agree. The increasingly desperate threats coming from Putin and his toadies reflect the desperation on the battlefield. Imagine losing a significant proportion of your materiel and thousands of conscripts/ mercenaries dead or wounded, a dozen or more generals, ammo dumps going up like Roman candles -- not to mention a cratering industrial and technological base thanks to sanctions and an awakened NATO with new members on your border and the Baltic soon a NATO lake. That's an epic fail if there ever was one!

27 July, 2022 11:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mike: The more the better. It spreads the costs around.

Misfit: If Tin-of-Pu gets away with this without unambiguously losing, it will certainly encourage more aggression.

Anon: If a country has the right to take back any land that was once part of its empire. Mongolia should have a strong claim to Russia.

Ricko: Thanks! I haven't been covering Ukraine as much recently, but the situation on the ground does seem to be changing.

NickM: I understand that supplying planes is now being reconsidered, though not that particular deal. We do need to be careful. I don't think the risk of Putin going nuclear in a fit of pique is substantial -- in more than five months of war, if that were going to happen, it would already have happened. There are generally-understood red lines that are recognized as likely to provoke a nuclear state to actually go nuclear, and we need to avoid crossing them (and Putin has been careful to avoid crossing them as well). Ukraine is certainly important, but the highest responsibility of the US government is the safety of Americans -- and the same applies to the UK government and every other government.

Pliny: At least the West seems to be maintaining its resolve so far. I guess we really did learn from the 1930s.

Hackwhacker: Putin's clearly losing, and all those things represent a substantial worsening of his position. If he ever thought that threats would induce Finland and Sweden to obey instead of spurring them to strengthen their position by joining NATO, he's been disabused of that now. Yet he keeps using threats because they're all he's got. If he drives Kazakhstan into the arms of the West, Russia will be almost completely encircled by hostile or potentially-hostile states (I don't think anyone in Russia is stupid enough to trust China, whatever they may say in public).

28 July, 2022 00:41  
Blogger Daal said...

tx for the hopeful info - sure hope the end is in sight -- it can't happen fast enough

31 July, 2022 20:48  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It will probably be several more months yet, unless Putin is suddenly overthrown from within Russia. Things are moving in the right direction, but the invaders are still fighting.

31 July, 2022 23:54  

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