Putin, Holding a Weak Hand, Raises the Stakes

Putin, Holding a Weak Hand, Raises the Stakes

After Putin’s speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for the accelerated admission of Ukraine to the NATO alliance… This could mean a U.S.-Russia war, which could escalate to World War III and nuclear war, and was something that every U.S. president from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan saw as his highest priority to avoid.

In a Kremlin speech last week, President Vladimir Putin identified Russia’s real “enemy” in Ukraine as “the ruling circles of the so-called West” whose “hegemony has a pronounced character of totalitarianism, despotism and apartheid.”

In the West, Putin declaimed, “The repression of freedom is taking on the outlines of a reverse religion, of real Satanism,” which, on issues like gender identity, amounts to a “denial of man.”

Putin then formally annexed the occupied Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson and pledged to defend these new Russian territories with “all the forces and means at our disposal.”

He suggested that those means included nuclear weapons, for which the Americans “created a precedent” at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Reading Putin’s excoriation, it is hard to recall, in four decades of Cold War, or the three decades since, a speech of such relentless vitriol and hostility toward the West.

Beyond the rhetoric, though, what does this tell us about Putin’s policy?

Putin is drawing a red line at Russia’s annexation and absorption of the four occupied oblasts in the south and east of Ukraine, roughly 15% of that country, and declaring it to be sacred Russian soil.

He intends to conscript and commit thousands of fresh troops to defend these new Russian territories. He will not rule out the use of nuclear weapons to repel any who attack and attempt to detach these new lands from Mother Russia. While open to negotiations, he will fight it out on this line if it takes all winter.

This leaves Ukraine, NATO and the U.S. with some difficult calculations and hard decisions.

Are they willing to engage the Russian army in the four oblasts to drive them out, if the Russians, rather than quit these territories, use a tactical nuclear weapon to repel the attacking Ukrainians?

After Putin’s speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for the accelerated admission of Ukraine to the NATO alliance.

Were such an accession process to be expedited and Ukraine admitted to NATO, the U.S. would be obligated under Article 5 to go to war against Russia in Ukraine, on Kyiv’s side.

This could mean a U.S.-Russia war, which could escalate to World War III and nuclear war, and was something that every U.S. president from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan saw as his highest priority to avoid.

Fortunately, membership in NATO, and extension of an Article 5 war guarantee for the new member, requires a unanimous vote of all 30 member nations in the alliance.

And the requisite enthusiasm, inside NATO, to fight the world’s largest nuclear power over who rules Luhansk is nonexistent.

Which brings us to the sabotage of the Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II pipelines built to carry Russian natural gas across the Baltic Sea to Germany, and from there on to Central and Western Europe.

Late last month, explosions blew holes in both pipelines, preventing any renewal of Russian gas exports to Germany through the pipelines, even if Moscow decided to turn on the taps.

NATO Europe is blaming the Russians for blowing up their own pipelines. But these pipelines are a strategic asset that gives Moscow leverage over the economies of much of NATO Europe.

Putin blames the Americans and Brits for the sabotage and has called for the UN Security Council to investigate the act of “terrorism.”

Said Putin, “The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: They moved onto sabotage.”

But, again, though Europeans are pointing the finger at Moscow, why would Russia sabotage two pipelines it helped to construct, which give it lasting leverage over the prosperity of NATO Europe?

Why would Putin sabotage his own strategic assets?

What sense would that make?

As of today, the respective goals of the principal participants in the Ukraine war are becoming as clear as they are irreconcilable.

Putin has annexed and seeks to hold Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, attach them to Crimea, declare victory, and end a war he is not winning. This weekend, Russian forces were driven out of the city of Lyman they captured in the early days of this war.

Zelenskyy wants to defeat the Russian invaders, drive them out of his country, humiliate Putin and achieve a victory for Ukraine that would put him in its history books as the Winston Churchill of his nation.

However, it appears today that Ukraine will not be allowed to achieve these goals by Putin’s regime, even if preventing it requires the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

And the Americans, what do they want?

Given the Russian losses of troops, tanks, aircraft, armor, artillery, along with the perception that Putin and the Russian army launched a war of aggression against a smaller power and were defeated, America, which provided the weaponry to produce this outcome, is already perceived as a winner.

America should be looking to ending this war before it expands into a nuclear war, which this country has sought to avoid since the atomic age began.

26 replies
  1. Richard McCulloch
    Richard McCulloch says:

    Buchanan should avoid this subject. His analysis does him no credit and, other than his obvious desire to avoid escalation and nuclear war, cannot be distinguished from the disinformation served up by all MSM outlets including Newsmax and Fox, the latter with the sole exception of Tucker Carlson. One America News is an exception but its almost total inaccessibility to TV audiences removes it from the MSM category.

  2. M Sotil
    M Sotil says:

    Pat Buchanan says: <>
    Maybe for Pat Buchanan “the Europeans” are the puppets who have climbed the political ladder of their respective countries (really fiefs of the hegemon). What we are seeing is a widespread popular revolt against what their “democratically elected” leaders are doing, which is appeasing the demands of the war mongers from the Potomac swamp. As beguiled, hoodwinked and outright lied Europeans have been by their false leadership in the last few decades, they are not completely stupid. They see that they are being screwed while being told that they are being saved. Most know exactly who blew holes on the pipelines and it was not the Russians.

  3. Dixie Serb
    Dixie Serb says:

    If anyone is to uses nukes is the U.S. – how else they will afford another colossal defeat when their proxies, Ukrainian military starts getting anhiliated by the end of the year. Also, Putin never threatens with the Nuclear war, he simply reiterated the Russian Mitary Doctrine written in 2014. Yes, it’s eight years old and it’s a well know and accessible document.

    Mr. Buchanan had a good run, I believe it’s a good time to call it quits, and maybe start gardening or something else except analyzing current Geopolitical events. Otherwise he’d know the Russians are fighting U.S./NATO and the people in the U.S.the real ‘skippers’ of the American foreign policy, the NeoCons with disastrous record in their military adventures- don’t have reverse gear.

  4. Strange World
    Strange World says:


    Recently, I experienced a similar situation in a local supermarket. The highly praised capitalism has already turned into communism (economy of scarcity) in many places, half-empty shelves, partly three-quarters empty. When I asked an employee how this was possible, she said that this has now been the “normal state” for weeks, especially in the late evening hours. Obviously, it is a matter of supply chain difficulties or already bankrupt suppliers who can no longer deliver. At least the “economic migrants” shoveled into our home countries are still allowed to wallow in luxury. https://rmx.news/article/migrants-housed-on-luxury-5-star-cruise-ship-celebrate-with-viral-tiktok-videos/

  5. Emicho
    Emicho says:

    “Zelenskyy wants to defeat the Russian invaders, drive them out of his country, humiliate Putin and achieve a victory for Ukraine that would put him in its history books as the Winston Churchill of his nation.”

    Yes Pat, because Zelenski is a Ukrainian, sees himself as Ukrainian, and of all things, most desires to go down as a Great Ukrainian of Ukrainian history.

    Come on.

    Nigga please.

  6. Emicho
    Emicho says:

    Pat’s definition of how to go down in Ukrainian “. . history books as the Winston Churchill of his nation”.

    In just sixteen easy steps –

    1. Dance like a faggot in a homoerotic video.
    2. Play the piano on national TV with your член.
    3. Become an Jew-ligarch’s bitch and make mad bank with money stolen from Ukrainian peasants.
    4. Run for president on a platform of peace.
    5. Provoke a war with a nuclear superpower as soon as elected.
    6. Allow all Jews to instantly leave the country/Bar any Ukrainian men from leaving(except the super rich).
    6.a) Make no provisions for Ukrainian women and girls being marched into sexual slavery the moment they hit the border.
    7. Shut down all last semblances of ‘your people’s’ liberty.
    8. Let your secret police loose, to hurt & terrify anyone against your war.
    9. Corral all Ukrainian men of fighting age or no, and send them to die in the meat-grinder at the front.
    10. Sanction the most ridiculously stupid atrocity hoaxes that don’t stand up for a single week.
    11. Do nothing as thugs in uniform, deranged by hateful propaganda you endorse, commit sadistic war crimes on Russian prisoners.
    12. Absolutely refuse any and all peace initiatives, no matter how many thousands of ‘your people’ are killed or maimed.
    13. Oversee the destruction of the nations’ infrastructure.
    13.a) Use said destruction to scam European peoples out of their money, and divert it to you and your friends’ off-shore bank accounts.
    14. Shell a nuclear reactor(that is providing electricity to ‘your people’).
    15. Spend the majority of your time thinking of a way, any way, to kick start a nuclear holocaust.
    16. Do all this from your villa in Israel, with a few short pit stops in Kiev for photo-shoots to kike the goyim.

    Actually perhaps Pat is on to something, Zelenski is on track to inflict as much pain and misery on the Ukraine as Churchill wreaked on us in Britain.

  7. Pat Kittle
    Pat Kittle says:

    “Putin identified Russia’s real ‘enemy’ in Ukraine as ‘the ruling circles of the so-called West’ whose ‘hegemony has a pronounced character of totalitarianism, despotism and apartheid.'”

    That’s a reference to the Terrorist Theocracy of Eretz Yisrael (“Israel” in goyim-speak), the internationally recognized present-day practitioner of apartheid.

    Damned (((shysters))) aren’t content with Ukrainian Whites killing Russian Whites wholesale; (((they))) always want more:

    “How Jewish Is the War Against Russia?
    Let’s be honest about who is promoting it”:
    — (https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/how-jewish-is-the-war-against-russia/?showcomments#comments)

  8. kerdasi amaq
    kerdasi amaq says:

    Is it against NATO’s rules for Ukraine to join? That is, they have a territorial dispute with a neighbouring country?

    Apparently, this is the reason that Georgia cannot join that alliance.

  9. Heavy Gustav
    Heavy Gustav says:

    This dastardly attack on the German embassy in Kiev just cries out for the delivery of German tanks (unspoken: to prolong and escalate the war), Mr. Sumlenny sent a prompting signal via Twitter. https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2022/10/10/german-consulate-hit-wave-russian-strikes-across-ukraine-reports/

    Let us guess what “ethnic-religious background” this political maven has (hint: his original homeland must be far south of Ukraine). https://twitter.com/sumlenny/status/1544261438507810819



  10. Tim Allen
    Tim Allen says:

    While the jews were saying abolish whiteness, patty pointed at the leftists. When the jews lied about the debt and how we needed to work harder to pay it back, patty screamed socialist. When the jews said we needed sex education in schools , patty screamed commies. Now that we can see dead whites in the streets like Waukesha, patty says protect this putrid entity. I say patty is a fetid rotten tool.

  11. SimpleMale
    SimpleMale says:

    Putin just released a new news report for Russia’s own citizens at https://ria.ru/20221010/amerika-1822637706.html The title is “Americans don’t understand who controls them.” No where in the article does Putin mention the Ashkenazim.

    Then, in another article on the same site, it says “Losses of the Kiev army along the entire front line amount to more than 1 thousand people daily, Apty Alaudinov, Secretary of the Chechen Security Council, commander of the Akhmat special forces in the Luhansk direction in the SVO zone, told RIA Novosti.”

    The Ashkenazim has also just blown up the multi-billion dollar Crimean bridge connecting Crimea to Russia, the “red line” Putin said that if crossed, would result in a decisive nuclear strike on the “West.” Also, from https://tass.com/russia/1520047

    “The Federal Security Service (FSB) notes a significant increase in the number of attacks on the border regions of Russia by Ukraine since the beginning of October.

    “Since the beginning of October, the number of attacks on the border territory of the Russian Federation within the Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod regions by Ukrainian armed units has significantly increased,” the FSB said in a statement on its official website on Sunday.

    According to the FSB, “over the past week, more than 100 shelling attacks of 32 settlements in the Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod regions were recorded with the use of multiple launch rocket systems, cannon artillery, mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles.”

    As a result of these attacks, one person was killed, five were injured, including a child.

    “In the border settlements, two power substations, 11 residential buildings and two administrative buildings were destroyed. Eight checkpoints across the state border were damaged,” the FSB said.”


    So, what the above indicates is that the Ashkenazim is decimating the ethnic Ukrainian population at a rate of one thousand individuals per day, the Ashkenazim is destroying dozens of billions of dollars worth of Russian infrastructure, and the Ashkenazim is causing the loss of much Russian Slavic lives. On the other hand, the Ashkenazim have lost no lives or property. And finally, Putin is still lying to Russia’s citizens about who is actually at war with them.

  12. SimpleMale
    SimpleMale says:

    Hello, please forgive me for my confusion, but I noticed that both my posts were not approved. It saddens me even further to realize that my posts are simply too low in quality to be approved. Perhaps Unz Review does not keep their bar as high, since they approved both of my posts. Anyway, thanks for your consideration, and I am grateful that I have at least been given to privilege to read these great historical articles on Ashkenazi behavior. By reading about the behaviors of the Ashkenazim on this site, I can much better create hypothesis of both Ashkenazi and Gentile innate behavioral traits and how these behavioral genes change as a result of changing evolutionary pressures. And as always, I will continue my international promotion of the academic works of Professor Kevin MacDonald, as I have done since 1997. Regards.

  13. Curmudgeon
    Curmudgeon says:

    Here we go with the “annexed” narrative again. The people in Crimea and Donbas rejected the coup d’etat of Cookies Nuland John McStain. They voted to separate from Ukraine. Crimea held a referendum on the question of joining the Russian Federation, Luhansk and Donetsk did not, but requested to join. Crimea was accepted, Donetsk and Luhansk were not. The Ukies ignored Minsk, as did guarantors Germany and France. Minsk II was ratified by the UN. The Ukies refused to comply, as did Germany and France. All the while, the Us was arming and training Ukie troops, who had been killing civilians in Donbas, despite a ceasefire agreement. Luhansk and Donetsk declare independence. Russia recognizes the declaration. Referenda are held with international observers, who declare the results valid. “The people” voted to join Russia. The North Atlantic Terrorist Organization declares otherwise, along the lines of what happened peacefully in Catalonia.
    Meanwhile Pat has no problem with the US recognizing occupied Kosovo, that held no referendum, or the didn’t-even-run-for-President of Venezuela, Juan Guido. Democracy, shmemocracy, it is what the US government says it is.

  14. Waldemar's Holy Spirit
    Waldemar's Holy Spirit says:

    “If you ask me who is blowing something up in Crimea or Belgorod, I will tell you in private, yes, it was us.” Russian prank call: Ukraine’s foreign minister reveals classified information.


    Elon Musk has announced that he is ending his aid to Ukraine. Musk had provided the country with his satellite network “Starlink” free of charge shortly after the Russian invasion, with which the country continued to receive mobile and fast Internet through mobile routers.

    Background of the decision are apparently insults of the still ambassador of Ukraine in Germany, Andrij Melnyk. The latter had criticized Musk’s peace plan, which included real referendums supervised by the UN and would have finally made Crimea part of Russia. Melnyk wrote to the Tesla boss that he should “f*ck off” and that nobody in Ukraine would want to buy the “Tesla sh*t”.


    “We are not in a position to donate more receiving equipment to Ukraine or to finance the existing terminals indefinitely,” Starlink announced recently, according to CNN. The company asked the U.S. Department of Defense to cover ongoing costs.

    Musk himself responded to a Ukrainian journalist on the short message service Twitter, saying his company was merely following Melnyk’s “recommendations.” In total, the cost of the system this year would be around 120 million euros. Next year, it would be 400 million.

    According to military experts, it would be “problematic for the Ukrainians” should the Starlink network fail altogether. For artillery in particular, the system is “enormously important,” they stressed “Starlink enables Ukraine to deploy its batteries more broadly through the use of GIS-ARTA and to act more quickly on the enemy than Russian batteries.”

    Melnyk will hand over the post to his successor Oleksiy Makeyev on Saturday. “I return home with my head held high, with a clear conscience and the feeling that I have fulfilled my duty to Ukraine,” the outgoing diplomat praised himself on Twitter. Melnyk will reportedly take a senior position in the Foreign Ministry.

    He was first accredited as consul general in Hamburg from 2007, then as ambassador in Berlin from 2015, and frequently made headlines with abusive remarks toward German politicians, as well as Germans in general. “It is the damned duty of German friends to finally do something and not just talk,” he demanded at the start of the Ukraine war.

    Apart from arms deliveries, Melnyk forbade offers from Germany. For example, when Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (SPD) recommended that Germany play a mediating role in the Russian-Ukrainian war, Melnyk railed that Ukraine stood for “putting your head in a fridge to freeze your hot Russia fantasies.”

    • Waldemar's Holy Spirit
      Waldemar's Holy Spirit says:

      Technological progress in the military in the 21st century is evident not only in weapons systems, but also in the way media accompany war and are used in war. The Ukraine war is probably one of the best documented wars in terms of journalism, photography and video. Every cell phone user can send information visually or textually from the war zone out into the world. So-called milbloggers (short for military bloggers) now provide more detailed and often more expert information about the war in Eastern Europe and other conflicts than the established media.

      In the German-speaking world, the YouTuber “Militär und Geschichte,” whose real name is Torsten Heinrich, has made a name for himself as a military expert on the Internet. Hundreds of thousands watch his videos, and every week thousands tune into his situation report, which provides several hours of information on current war events as a livestream. How does he assess the situation in Ukraine and how much work is behind his YouTube channel?

      The controversial question first: Who sabotaged the Nordstream pipelines? Different theories are circulating regarding the perpetrators. A former Polish defense minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, thanked the U.S. on Twitter in the context. Motive and possibilities would certainly have the Americans. In your opinion, what arguments are there against it and who else would come into question?

      Torsten Heinrich: The political damage, should it come out that it was the Americans, would be too great. Attacking an ally’s infrastructure, which is important for security of supply, would smash far too much political china to be worth it. For that matter, the Baltic Sea is so well policed and American naval units operate mostly with ships from other NATO nations that the Americans would be a likely candidate for such an action.

      It is currently impossible to say seriously who actually did it, since no evidence is known so far. However, it is striking that the blast took place within a week of the mobilization in Russia, where Moscow officially admitted the seriousness of the situation. At the same time, a pipe of Nord Stream 2 remained untouched. What serious military power would fail to leave a pipe untouched if it was not intended to do so? To this end, a pipeline to Poland running in the immediate vicinity was inaugurated at fairly the same time. Putting these things together, Russian authorship seems possible and probable to me.

      The seriousness of the situation, proven by the mobilization, justifies more radical steps. A usable pipe, but of course of Nord Stream 2 , allows for forcing political concessions from Germany, while no contractual penalties are incurred in case of failure to deliver, since force majeure. Moreover, the blowing up can also be understood as a demonstration of capabilities and will as far as other pipelines and submarine cables are concerned. Whoever blows up Nord Stream 2 can also blow up the pipelines, power and communication cables coming from Norway. By blowing up “its” pipeline here, even directly in front of Danish territorial waters, Russia would not yet have committed an act of war against a NATO country, but at the same time would have sent an impressive warning.

      This theory convinces me the most so far, especially when looking at cost-benefit of the other potential perpetrators. But, and this must be emphasized, it is and remains of course only a theory.

      Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has ordered partial mobilization. Reports are piling up about disastrous conditions in the barracks of the draftees and the outdated equipment that the Kremlin is now distributing to its reservists. What effect can the mobilized have on the battlefield now, and what reactions do you expect from Ukraine and the West to this?

      Heinrich: According to what we know so far, the mobilization is disproportionately concentrated on ethnic minorities and poorer regions. The first mobilized are already on the front lines, the others will probably be trained for only a month. Numerous videos suggest that morale is likely to be even worse than that of the soldiers deployed so far.

      To this end, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, no new units will be created, but rather existing formations will be replenished. However, the veterans remaining in these units will not receive any rest, no furlough, even now.

      On the whole, therefore, we can expect to see poorly trained, poorly motivated and poorly equipped soldiers who, in the face of major defeats they have just suffered, believe they are being sent into a war they are losing. The combat value to be expected from this will be far less than that of those soldiers who crossed the border on February 24. Ukrainian Supreme Commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi commented, “We destroyed their professional army, now we will destroy their unprofessional army.” I am inclined to agree with him. I do not see a general transfer of the strategic initiative to the Russian side coming with the mobilization.

      What weapons systems of the West are proving most effective? What do the Ukrainians lack that the West could supply, for example?

      Heinrich: Long-range precision artillery, especially HIMARS rocket launchers, but also Excalibur shells for NATO 155mm howitzers proved decisive. When Russia abandoned the war of movement after its defeat in front of Kiev and attempted a space-based advance with deep penetrations and breakthroughs with a systematic advance under heavy artillery fire, Moscow was able to disguise the effect of its soldiers’ low morale and fully exploit its superiority in artillery.

      HIMARS in particular put an end to this, as they were able to destroy Russian ammunition dumps well behind the front. On Nasa’s FIRMS satellites, after the HIMARS mission began, it was clear to see how the number of fires triggered by artillery fire steadily declined. In the end, an artillery piece without ammunition is just a piece of scrap metal. The use of these weapons thus first destroyed the Russian ammunition dumps and then forced their relocation further back, which significantly reduced the incoming volume of ammunition.

      What would the Ukrainians need? The simple answer is probably: everything. Almost no weapons system in a modern force has no raison d’être. The most frequently mentioned and least delivered systems are probably main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, where the stock of Soviet material is probably slowly coming to an end and therefore Western material will soon have to be delivered or nothing will be delivered. In this case, however, training had better have begun long ago.

      More air defense would reduce the threat from drones and cruise missiles in the rear and push Russian planes and helicopters away from the front, giving Ukrainian forces more room to maneuver and the Ukrainian Air Force more operational options. More artillery, whether self-propelled or towed, in NATO calibers, combined with artillery tracking radar, would give the Ukrainian side a much-needed advantage in the artillery duel. But also drones, winter equipment, logistic vehicles, radios and much more. A military that has grown many times over with ongoing losses probably needs just about everything in fact, even more so if at the same time it is also intended to keep its losses low.

      From time to time, German military officers and experts say that Russia has the “dominance of escalation. What options does Putin have should Ukraine recapture further parts of its territory?

      Heinrich: Russia can go back to its tradition and declare general mobilization. It can try to crush the Ukrainians with an army of millions. In view of a reproduction rate of 1.5, this would be demographic suicide. But since it is now probably only a matter of maintaining the power of the clique in the Kremlin, this is not an entirely unrealistic option. Otherwise, there remains the threat of nuclear weapons, which Ukraine will not be intimidated by. Should the deployment take place, it should be expected that Russia will lose the last of the states as supporters, for example China, India and Brazil. The use of nuclear weapons in a war of aggression will also be unacceptable to most of Russia’s supposed allies.

      What might Moscow hope to gain from the use of tactical nuclear weapons? Ukraine seems determined to keep fighting even in the face of nuclear threats.

      Heinrich: Tactical nuclear weapons have very limited utility in this war. They cannot be used directly on the front lines unless one wants to destroy one’s own troops as well. Therefore, they would have to be used in the hinterland against traffic hubs, on deployment areas or similar. Here Ukraine can considerably reduce the effects by loosening its deployment. According to Soviet doctrine, this would be followed by a push through the area just bombed, but Russia now lacks the trained and appropriately equipped troops to do this.

      Anyone who has served knows how uncomfortable and complicated it is just to put on the protective clothing, not to mention fighting and living in it. So I do not see any solution for Russia in the use of tactical nuclear weapons, especially since the use would be geopolitical suicide. Alternatively, Moscow could of course threaten and then carry out a strategic use of nuclear weapons, i.e. against Ukrainian cities. This would, of course, have to force Ukraine to surrender in the near future. However, it is currently completely unclear how the USA would react to this. This would not change the international consequences, it would only worsen them.

      In the run-up to the attack on Ukraine, Russia was considered an almost invincible military power. The country cultivated a reputation as a military giant that would overrun tiny Ukraine within weeks. There were more than a few military experts and politicians who advised Kiev to surrender immediately. How could it be that Ukraine was so underestimated and Russia so grossly overestimated?

      Torsten Heinrich: People believed the Russian propaganda, as the Russians themselves obviously did. In addition, there was the memory of 2014, when Ukraine had a carnival troop in uniform, but no army. Anyone who watched the reports of large-scale Russian exercises, which, however, are usually highly orchestrated and for the most part probably only with a fraction of the indicated troop strengths, who saw the data sheets of Russian military equipment and looked at the parades on Red Square, expected a powerful army. On the other hand, not much more than what had been seen in 2014 was expected by all who were unaware of the Ukrainians’ progress. Poorly motivated, barely combat-ready soldiers on barely operational equipment who would surrender at the first opportunity.

      What problem areas are currently plaguing the Ukrainian army? In Kherson, progress seems to be slow, while in the east and northeast it is achieving successes.

      Heinrich: At the moment, the army is refraining from calling up conscripts, which usually takes place on October 1. This shows how well staffing levels are now, but equipment remains a major weakness of the Ukrainian armed forces.

      The Shahed-136 drones now being used by the Russians to attack are currently too rarely detected in time by Ukrainian air defenses and correspondingly too rarely intercepted. In themselves, they should be relatively easy to intercept thanks to their components, which come from normal trade and are not military hardened, but for this the Ukrainian armed forces need appropriate radars and EloKa equipment.

      More artillery will be important to repel the crowds that are now coming, just as it will be for breaking through the defensive positions in the Donbass. For assault operations, they will need more vehicles, i.e. infantry fighting vehicles and battle tanks. Whether advancing in an attack in a barely armored transport vehicle with a machine gun without stabilization or in an infantry fighting vehicle with a machine gun and anti-tank missiles can mean the difference between success and failure – and the difference between survival and death.

      The surprisingly good advance at Kherson increasingly suggests that Ukrainian forces probably have a realistic chance of retaking the city before the end of the year, which would be a strategic victory because it would largely eliminate the threat to Mykolaiv and Odessa.

      Ukraine will now have to weather the coming human wave of mobilization while being careful not to burn through its limited armored equipment assets by launching an overly ambitious offensive. In general, however, I think Ukraine now holds the stronger hand, provided that supplies from the West do not stop.

      The Russian army has been able to make significant land gains in the Donbass this summer. Why is it so difficult for it to repeat this now?

      Heinrich: Were the Russian land gains really so substantial? At the beginning of the Donbass offensive, they were already in Izyum and in front of Rubizhne. From Izyum they advanced a proud 22 kilometers to the south, and from Rubizhne they were able to capture Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, but were subsequently stopped after only 15 kilometers. After Popasna in the direction of Bakhmut, it was about 25 kilometers of terrain gained. This all adds up, of course, but is a maximum of 25 kilometers of land gains over several months really “significant land gains”?

      Ukraine clearly had the discipline, after the initial repulse of the Russians before Kiev, not to throw its barely trained units en masse to the front to defend every single meter if possible, but to build up a strategic reserve at the cost of territorial losses. Large mechanized units were held in readiness instead of wearing them out in pointless attempts to hold insignificant places. These units are now available and are being deployed at focal points in a highly competent manner. Russia currently has nothing to counter this. Its sharpest sword since the Donbass battle, artillery, has now become considerably blunter due to the use of HIMARS and Excalibur.

      What challenges will the coming winter pose for the armed forces of the two countries?

      Heinrich: The question will be whether Russia can provide enough winter equipment for its soldiers. There are indications that this could be a problem, but one would inherently expect Russians not to be surprised by the “Russian winter.” Ukraine should not have this problem thanks to support from the West.

      Otherwise, both forces should be more or less equally well prepared for the challenges; after all, both sides know the weather conditions and their requirements well. Western-supplied equipment can sometimes have a bit of trouble in the winter, that’s conceivable. A Bushmaster from Australia might not handle a meter of fresh snow as well as a comparable Russian-made vehicle, but this is more speculation, especially since it shouldn’t matter too much overall. The real challenge will be with civilians, who may be at risk of freezing to death in some places with ruptured gas and water lines in homes with windows shattered by blast waves.

      Your YouTube channel now features hundreds of videos, some of which run for several hours. How do you research your video contributions and what options does an outsider now have to follow the events of the war? What sources do you draw on?

      Heinrich: For me, this is currently a full-time job. I’m giving you this interview at 6:30 a.m. local time. Yesterday I was researching until 9 p.m.. This volume of time will be unfeasible for most, of course, but it allows me to read what are probably the 25 largest pro-Russian Telegram channels, follow hundreds of accounts on social media, and read analyses by think tanks and other analysts.

      In addition to propagandists from both sides, I follow journalists on the ground, soldiers on the ground, politicians, press officers, think tanks, former general staff officers, and many more. In the end, I try to look not only at the Western perspective, but deliberately at Russian propaganda as well, since it too serves to complete the picture. Especially my ability of source criticism, which I learned as a historian, proves to be irreplaceable here, of course, in order to minimize the number of mistakes I make.

      What experience and knowledge do you draw on in order to be able to talk about these topics as competently as possible?

      Heinrich: I have had a fascination for the subject area of the military, military history, armed forces, weapons technology and geopolitics for 30 years. It led me to my studies, because of it I didn’t take the chance of being mustered out and at least for a while I considered a career as a professional soldier, even if it only remained with military service. In the end, I had a private library of over 4,000 non-fiction books on the subject in Germany. It is simply a decades-long involvement with the subject, but also with only conditionally related subject areas, that enables me to evaluate it today.

      I once had a friendship terminated 15 years ago for my alleged militarism because I had posted on social media what books on military and military technology I had just purchased. This rejection of the subject area has, of course, also ensured that competent competition in the German-speaking world is not too numerous, because the stigma of militarism has prevented many others from even beginning to deal with it in a similarly long-lasting and comprehensive way.

      Finally, one more question: What will a Ukrainian or a Russian victory look like in light of current developments? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that he also wants to take back Crimea. For Russia, on the other hand, the loss of Crimea would probably be the super-GAU.

      Heinrich: Neither will Ukrainian troops liberate 100 percent of their territory and then march on Volgograd, nor will Russia reach the Ukrainian-Polish border. Thus, the war will not end with a surrender by either side, but with a negotiated agreement.

      The willingness to compromise needed for this, however, will be generated on the battlefield. Where and when this will be achieved will depend primarily on domestic political factors and is therefore difficult to predict. What is clear, however, is that Ukraine must first crush the Russian armed forces as comprehensively as possible, which will be much more important.

      Heinrich’s (so far) only Engl. vid

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