by Bernhard at Moon of Alabama
Let me start today’s write up out with two reading recommendations.
Lambert Strether and Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism discuss a piece on the Russian operation in Ukraine that had been printed in the Marine Corps Gazette and of which facsimile pictures were published two weeks ago on Twitter and later in full at Reddit and by Southfront.
A Marine’s Assessment of Russia’s Military “Operation” in Ukraine (a “Profound Appreciation of All Three Realms in Which Wars Are Waged”)
I had read the Gazette piece when it first appeared some weeks ago and found it excellent. It realistically depicts the early Russian move towards Kiev as a feint. This is also my view. The feint, with too few troops to actually occupy Kiev, had a political and a military purpose.
Politically it put pressure on the Ukrainian government to quickly agree to Russian conditions for a ceasefire. This nearly worked when negotiations between Russia and Ukraine at the end of March in Turkey had promising results. The talks were then sabotaged by Boris Johnson’s intervention in Kiev where he, speaking for Joe Biden, demanded a continuation of the war which Zelensky then promptly provided.
Militarily the feint had near prefect results. Some 100,000 Ukrainian troops were fixed around Kiev while Russian troops from Crimea moved nearly unopposed to connect the island via a land bridge to the Donbas and Russia and also grabbed a large foothold in Kherson on the west side of the Dnieper.
The hasty feint had a high price in the form of Russian casualties but helped to established front situations in the east and south that allowed for the mass destruction of Ukrainian forces with a minimum of casualties on the Russian side.
When the feint towards Kiev was no longer useful the Russian forces moved back to their starting positions without much fighting. The Ukrainian claimed that to be a victory but they had hardly anything to do with the well planned and executed retreat.
That the Gazette would print a piece that confirms this view is remarkable. Even more remarkable, as Lambert notes, is the lack of echo it has had in U.S. media:…Continue Reading