UKRAINE: A PRICE WORTH PAYING? CANNON FODDER SACRIFICE TO AVOID POLITICAL HUMILIATION?
Until very recently Ukrainian tactics against the Russians have been something of a mystery. Despite almost universal reporting of Ukrainian “gains” the reality is that the progress of the Russian campaign has been to inexorably grind down and eliminate the Ukrainian military, not to speedily take ground from them. This, despite all western reporting describing this Russian tactic in various negative ways, is working.
In the face of Russia achieving its primary stated goals, to take and secure the Donbass region and demilitarise/denazify Ukraine, Kiev has, for what appears on the face of it, assisted in these latter two goals by throwing endless cannon fodder at the grinding machine that is the Russian army.
The object of the Russian operation mirrors traditional Russian military tactics, not necessarily to take cities but to eliminate the enemy’s army.
It is clear that the orders from the Kiev authorities through the Ukrainian military high command demand a) that all Ukrainian troops stand and fight, never leaving their positions even when they have become untenable, indefensible and subject to being surrounded and b) to engage in reckless and most likely suicidal so-called counteroffensives. All this leads to is a mounting toll of Ukrainian military losses, deaths, injuries, surrenders and prisoners.
So, why do this?
In recent days Joe Biden appears to have provided the answer.
Biden spoke of the need to work toward a better bargaining position for Ukraine in peace talks which eventually must come. All talk of a Ukrainian victory seems to have ended. The policy of supplying ever more weapons to Ukraine continues however. The goal of creating a better bargaining position relies upon Ukraine maintaining a foothold within the Donbass region and it appears the sacrifice of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Ukrainian troops is seen as a ‘price worth paying’.
Instead of allowing Ukrainian troops to make tactical withdrawals to more defensible positions, engaging in retraining, rest and recuperation along with the incorporation of new weapons from the West which would allow the fight once again to be taken to the Russians, Kiev instead maintains its ‘stand and fight’ orders. This said, there appears to be mounting evidence of Ukrainian troops taking matters into their own hands and either surrendering or withdrawing from hopeless positions where they know they will either die, be injured or taken prisoner.
The gamble the USA/UK/EU is taking along with the Kiev regime is immense. Their hope is that Russia will somehow come to the conclusion that it is no longer worth pursuing its operation due to mounting Russian casualties or damage to the Russian economy. Analysts such as Alexander Mercouris and Jacob Dreizin see this possibility as extremely remote if not completely out of the question.
Western mass media continues to be in ‘war mode’ along with their political elites and continue to broadcast and publish material that provides hope and support to morale regarding Ukraine and seeks to damage the same to those who support Russia or the Russian authorities themselves. This is providing an almost completely false image of Ukrainian “success” on the battlefield and of western policies in general while downplaying or avoiding all mention of Russian successes.
These twin processes, of urging Ukrainian troops to lay down their lives for the sake of future bargaining positions and the creation of a mass ‘war mode’ delusion across the West are both leading to an atmosphere and environment where mass death of Ukrainians continues. Far better would be to negotiate a peace treaty now as even those who oppose Russia’s operation are suggesting, lose some of Ukraine’s former territories forever, than continue what is a hopeless cause.
I don’t see any realistic prospect of Ukraine holding even a toe-hold in the Donbass. More than that its present political elite appear likely to lose much outside of the Donbass also. Once Russia has militarily secured all it has taken it will be in a supremely powerful position to counter all subsequent Ukrainian provocations with great force. Russia has so far only committed a proportion of its forces and is capable of applying as much more of them as is required.
Far from winning anything by its present policy of demanding its troops stay in their positions and fight and sending more and more elderly and partially trained troops to be mown down, the Kiev elite is essentially guaranteeing that Russia will achieve its goal of decimating the Ukrainian army and its associated Nazi-legacy legions. However, these are seen as the necessary, face-saving tactics required by Washington, Whitehall and Kiev that give them some kind of shaky barrier in the face of an inevitable humiliation which approaches them daily now.