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By John Helmer, Moscow

In war, the losing side has several options. Fighting to the death is one of them, capitulation and surrender are another. Depending on their rank, religion, honour, and offshore bank accounts, the losers may run away or commit suicide.

The Ukrainian regime, with the assistance of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) states and President Joseph Biden, have come up with an entirely new ploy. This is to escalate the combat, sacrificing all their troops and their equipment, and pretend this is winning — before they do a runner. Not even Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, in their last days in the Berlin bunker, thought of this. But then Miami, Malibu, or the Côte d’Azur weren’t haven options for them.

At the current attrition rate on the front line, the Ukrainian army will have lost another one hundred thousand men dead and about three hundred thousand wounded by Christmas; their reserves will have been committed to the fight and exhausted; the army will have neither resupplies of  ammunition nor replacement NATO artillery and other equipment to fight on.  In desperation, if a final fight to the death is their option, President Vladimir Zelensky and  the Ukrainian general staff demand F-16 fighter-bomber aircraft. This means escalation to the use of tactical B-61 nuclear bombs.  These can be stored in Germany, Czech Republic, Poland or Romania, and loaded on F-16 aircraft there.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded directly on July 12:    “We have informed the nuclear powers — the United States, Great Britain and France – that Russia cannot ignore the ability of these aircraft to carry nuclear weapons. No assurances will help here. During the fighting, our military will not understand whether each specific aircraft of the specified type is equipped for the delivery of nuclear weapons or not. The very fact of the appearance of such systems in the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be considered by us as a threat from the West in the nuclear sphere.”

Lavrov warned this may mean Russian nuclear pre-emption against either an attacking weapon, its launch pad, or its storage bunker.  

“The conditions for Russia’s use of nuclear weapons”, Lavrov said, “are clearly defined in our Military Doctrine. They are well known, and I will not repeat them again.   The use of nuclear weapons can be considered as a response option under one of four possible conditions. These include: ‘aggression with the use of weapons of mass destruction against Russia itself or its allies’, ‘aggression with the help of conventional armed forces that threatens the very existence of the state’, obtaining reliable information about the massive launch of ballistic missiles towards Russia and ‘the enemy’s impact on critically important state or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the failure of which will lead to the disruption of the response of the nuclear forces.’”

“Such threats to the Russian Federation in connection with the conflict in Ukraine are not currently being viewed [as likely], Russian officials have repeatedly stated. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that the use of nuclear weapons is theoretically possible: ‘Nuclear weapons are being created in order to ensure our security in the broadest sense of the word and the existence of the Russian state. But we, firstly, do not have such a need. Secondly, the very fact of reasoning on this topic already lowers the possibility of lowering the threshold for the use of weapons. At the same time, Vladimir Putin noted that he has a negative attitude to the idea of using tactical nuclear weapons as an element of nuclear deterrence.”  

These are the stakes. They have been well-known since Russia offered the US and NATO a non-aggression treaty in December 2021,  two months before the special military operation began on February 2022.

 What is new now is that the Ukraine, the US and NATO are losing their war against Russia on the battlefield, and risk losing all the deterrence which NATO has been designing, building, buying, and deploying since 1949.  With or without desperation measures, Swiss colonel Jacques Baud tells War of the Worlds, Russia has already won the war. “Colonel Douglas Macgregor hasn’t this courage,” a US NATO veteran comments, referring to the Trump Administration appointee now broadcasting against the Biden Administration.  

Russian military bloggers and the Defense Ministry in Moscow are reporting that the so-called mosquito tactic of numerous small Ukrainian attacks on the Russian lines, run simultaneously, are resulting in Russian feints followed by artillery counter-fire;  ending in heavy Ukrainian losses followed by retreat without territorial gains.

“It is within the realm of possibility that Ukrainian forces have seen losses at this level,” the New York Times quotes a British security analyst, adding that “ a significant level of lost weapons was generally a hallmark of wars of attrition, like the one in Ukraine.”  The newspaper adds the claim: “In the first two weeks of Ukraine’s gruelling counteroffensive, as much as 20 percent of the weaponry it sent to the battlefield was damaged or destroyed, according to American and European officials. The toll includes some of the formidable Western fighting machines — tanks and armored personnel carriers — the Ukrainians were counting on to beat back the Russians. The startling rate of losses dropped to about 10 percent in the ensuing weeks, the officials said, preserving more of the troops and machines needed for the major offensive push that the Ukrainians say is still to come. Some of the improvement came because Ukraine changed tactics, focusing more on wearing down the Russian forces with artillery and long-range missiles than charging into enemy minefields and fire. But that good news obscures some grim realities. The losses have also slowed because the counteroffensive itself has slowed — and even halted in places — as Ukrainian soldiers struggle against Russia’s formidable defences. And despite the losses, the Ukrainians have so far taken just five of the 60 miles they hope to cover to reach the sea in the south and split the Russian forces in two.”

Source: https://archive.md/

The Russian reports claim the Ukrainians cannot change their tactics; can’t avoid the losses of manpower and materiel, and can’t repair or replace their NATO weapons before the spring next year at the earliest. Escalation is reported by the New York newspaper in the subjunctive tense. That’s the syntax for wishful thinking.

“American officials acknowledged that pause and said that the Ukrainians had begun moving again, but more deliberately, more adept at navigating minefields and mindful of the casualty risks. With the influx of cluster munitions from the United States, they said, the pace might pick up.With the influx of cluster munitions from the United States, they said, the pace might pick up. Ukraine’s top military officer, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, expressed frustration that Ukraine is fighting without Western F-16 warplanes, which the United States only recently agreed to allow Ukrainian pilots to be trained on, but which are not expected to be delivered for several months at least. That has left the Ukrainian troops vulnerable to the Russian helicopters and artillery. ‘It does not mean that it is doomed to fail,’ said Camille Grand, a defense expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former NATO assistant secretary general.”

For an analysis of splitting between the Ukrainian general staff and Zelensky and his advisors, read Gordon Hahn’s new essay.  

Source: https://gordonhahn.com/
 A longtime analyst of Russian and Central Asian security issues, Hahn is at the Centre for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS) in San Jose, California. “Wars always increase civil-military tensions in one way or another,” Hahn writes this month. “The Prigozhin mutiny in Russia underscores the point. Tensions in Ukrainian civil-military relations emerged early in the war…Zelensky entertained and publicly promoted the most unfeasible, inflated expectations. He regards too highly his ability to charm, cajole, and convince people to do and succeed in doing what he wants, whether it is accepting Ukraine into NATO here and now, receiving ever increasing arms supplies from NATO members whose stocks are depleted and defence industries have been wound down, or pushing through three reinforced lines of defence 35 miles deep with a few tanks and a hodgepodge of trained soldiers and a larger coterie of poorly trained soldiers recently scraped off the streets of Kiev, Lvov, and Sumy. Of course, many politicians suffer from this delusion of charisma and mastery over history.”

The western propaganda published in London and New York is also claiming that the senior commands of Russia’s forces are being purged in the wake of the Wagner mutiny.

Source: https://archive.md/7EEN0 

The reporter of this “WSJ News exclusive” claims for his source “people familiar with the situation”. These “people” are quoted as saying: “The Kremlin’s effort to weed out officers suspected of disloyalty is broader than publicly known… The detentions are about cleaning the ranks of those who are believed can’t be trusted anymore… They have been suspended from duty, their movements have been restricted and they are under observation.”   According to the newspaper, its reporter, Thomas Gove, is based in Warsaw.  

Left to right: Russian generals Sergei Surovikin, Andrei Yudin, Vladimir Alexeyev, and Ivan Popov.            

Whatever the real situation in the ongoing investigations of the Wagner mutiny and the corrupt state contracting of Yevgeny Prigozhin, there has been no  impact on Russian military operations; Russian factory production of ammunition and other materiel has been accelerating by several multiples at a rate far outstripping the US and the NATO states;   and there has been no increase in public disapproval of the job President Putin is doing.

Source: the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM).
The VTsIOM measurement of distrust of domestic politicians found that the publicity generated by Prigozhin during the Battle of Bakhmut and then during the mutiny caused a negative 2.5 percentage point rise against the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu; this is less than the margin of polling error.

Leading the discussion in the July 15 broadcast of TNT Radio’s War of the Worlds is Jacques Baud. A former Swiss Army officer, he has trained with US, British and German intelligence agencies, and served in NATO assignments, including the Ukraine. His latest article can be read here.   His books include essays on the Ukraine war; a biography of President Putin;  and an analysis of the western propaganda on the case of Alexei Navalny.  

Click to listen:  

Source: https://tntradiolive.podbean.com/

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