The situation on the ground is … hazy. Ukraine continues to mop up in Kharkiv Oblast, maybe it is attacking in Kherson Oblast, maybe it’s attacking in Luhansk, maybe Russian and proxy forces are retreating and/or deserting and/or surrendering. Let’s give it another day or two for some of the fog of war to clear.
Instead, let’s do another check in on the Tankies.
For those who haven’t read previous installments, Tankies are people who believe imperialism is bad, and only the United States can be imperialist. Thus, Russia is the aggrieved party here, only attacking Ukraine because NATO something or other. This tweet encapsulates it perfectly:
Tankies are named after communist sympathizers who witnessed Soviet bloody suppression of the Prague and Hungary uprisings, yet continued to defend the Soviet Union. I’ve written about them here and here, and they’re always good for a quizzical look askance, and then a surprised chuckle when you realize they’re actually serious.
Today we’ll start with Will Schryver, a Utah resident with 27,000 followers on Twitter.
I will simply note that the United States and its willing NATO vassals have deliberately raised the stakes of this conflict such that Russia will very likely now feel compelled to make a momentous decision in deference to the power of perception and narrative.
The empire has played the "ace up its sleeve" in Ukraine.
Over the past several months they methodically constructed a modest strike force of hoarded NATO weaponry and a briefly trained new cadre of Ukrainian soldiers – most of them fresh conscripts.
In addition to these new Ukrainian brigades, they also assembled multiple brigades of NATO troops – “foreign volunteers” – to serve as shock troops for an envisioned “counter-offensive”. The total count of these NATO soldiers is unknown, but is likely at least 3000 - 5000.
I'm persuaded the Russians were clearly cognizant of this build-up. They also clearly provided an irresistibly tempting target for the assembled force, and deliberately created a vacuum into which it would be permitted to advance. What they plan to do next remains to be seen.
“A handful of Ukranians and THOUSANDS OF NATO SOLDIERS took Kharkiv, even though the real number is unknown so I’ll just make up something that sounds good. Oh, and Russia let them, for reasons that even I can’t make up, so give me time to come up with something good!”
This is an ongoing theme—one American Foreign Legion guy took video at Izyum’s entrance, so therefore they’re all NATO. Most of those reports also insist on mentioning that the blacks were also there, likely referring to Malcolm Nance (who has also featured in Russian state propaganda). We know why they need to stress that.
Patrick Lancaster is an American, a Navy vet, who somehow become a chief Putin propagandist embedding with the Russian army.
The actual facts are that Ukraine has retaken 6,000 square kilometers in the current counteroffensive. Russia now controls around 116,000 square kilometers or Ukraine’s total land mass of 603,550, or 19%. I like that he says “internationally recognized,” because it should remind everyone that Russia shouldn’t be there in the first place. Crimea is 27,000 of those square kilometers.
Now, I guess you can argue that liberating 1 percent of Ukraine’s total landmass isn’t “huge gains,” but Ukraine is a big country. 6,000 square miles is
bigger than the state of Connecticut about the size of Delaware, or two Rhode Islands, or half a Connecticut. And really, “they haven’t taken that much” is a pathetic retort when Ukrainian forces are on the march and Russia is struggling to firm up new defensive lines in northeastern Ukraine. And look at that big chunk of red east of liberated Kharkiv:
That’s about 20,000 square kilometers of a whole lot of big empty. If Russian positions have been abandoned in Svatove, as rumored, that whole chunk of land will be marked as liberated, and Lancaster will then argue that it’s still not that much because blah blah blah imperialist propaganda.
Capturing Kharkiv is a big deal. 6,000 square kilometers is a lot, but just as importantly, Russia’s northern supply routes into Ukraine have been cut, and Russia just supplied Ukraine with over 300 visually confirmed military vehicles, including 53 tanks and 94 armored infantry vehicles.
He had me at “Russian always retreats.” He should’ve quit while he was ahead.
The nut graf:
BBC.com quotes you as saying that if support for Ukraine is strong the crisis will be shorter. Hmmm? I guess that might depend on what you mean by “support for Ukraine?” If by “support for Ukraine,” you mean the West continuing to supply arms to the Kiev government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken. Throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a firefight, has never worked to shorten a war in the past, and it won’t work now, particularly because, in this case, most of the fuel is (a) being thrown into the fire from Washington DC, which is at a relatively safe distance from the conflagration, and (b) because the “fuel throwers” have already declared an interest in the war going on for as long as possible.
Zelenska curtly replied that he had sent the letter to the wrong president.
Funny that Russian state media itself is more willing to admit battlefield reversals than RT’s English-facing propaganda shills.
Yeah, Max Blumenthal thinks this is a GOTCHA moment—“AHA! See? They want Putin to fail!” So, guys? Plot twist! You are all now “US hawks” because we want to see an end to a murderous, expansionist regime.
Whitmore is a MAGA conservative with 42,000 followers on Twitter. And what better example of their modus operandi? “I don’t like what I see so I chose to reject it without any evidence. Instead, I will create an alternate reality that better comports to my biases and prejudices.”
The ol’ “mass surrender so we can rise up from the rear” ploy that has worked so well in about zero past wars.
She’s talking about RT losing its broadcasting license in some European countries. Keep in mind it can still stream and publish online. Europe isn’t Russia, where all dissenting media has been shut, and myriad journalists imprisoned, along with the opposition party. Also where legislators that express opposition to Putin’s war are arrested and fined and threatened with seven-year prison terms.
And #NAFO aren’t astroturf, lol. It’s literally Twitter memes like this:
The North Atlantic Fellows Organization has certainly done a great job getting under the skin of Tankies and Russians.
The Ukrainians appreciate the meme warriors.
How it started:
He believed wrong. So how it’s going:
It didn’t? Oh...
It’s probably because Super Invisible Secret Army is about to be deployed!
When have they done the “fade and kill game” before? There was the “get pushed back into a desperate defense of Stalingrad while the United States flooded Russia with lend-lease military hardware.” There was the “get asses kicked in the Afghanistan cold.” There was the “get asses kicked in the Finnish winter.” But “Trick your enemy into thinking they are winning, then fade and kill”? Yeah, haven’t seen that one before.
This will be a classic Tankie cope for the ages:
If you clap loud enough…
This one is a thing someone (a Russian university professor) seriously wrote.
He may actually not be wrong. Putin does seem to care about a little more about Russian losses than Donbas, Chechen, or Wagner cannon fodder losses. But he still doesn’t care about Russian losses, since most don’t come from Moscow or St. Petersburg areas.
And this is a fitting conclusion to this update:
On the ground, just minor confirmed changes:
Oh look, found some of those fierce NATO forces that pulverized helpless Russian invaders.