This is remarkable first-person view of the destruction of a Russian tank.
Russian sources claim the tank from which this was filmed was destroyed shortly after.
Lots of chatter in the comments over the assassination of a Russian national right-wing blogger in St. Petersburg. Apparently, he had been critical of several aspects of Russia’s invasion.
There may be a Wagner/Prigozhin connection.
He was a real piece of shit.
As noted by several Brits (or expats?) in the comments, British supermarkets are back to being fully stocked. That was a temporary matter. But the negative effect of Brexit on the UK economy is indisputable, “Overall, the government's independent watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, thinks the UK will ultimately be 4% worse off, than it would have been if we had voted no to Brexit.”
For most of last year, I happily pointed to sources suggesting Russian troops suffered such poor morale that they would inevitably cease fighting. We hoped for mass surrenders, or troops packing up and returning home. We seized on reports of troops ignoring orders to advance, and videos of families back in Russia furious at their government for treating their loved ones as “meat.” We thought the harsh Ukrainian winter might break the will of the Russian army.
And yet here we are, with Russia making 60-90 attacks every single day. Who knows, maybe some of the above is true, but on the battlefield, we’re seeing plenty of evidence of Russians leaning into the fight, defending positions fiercely, and attacking with energy.
Whether they are so brainwashed that they truly believe that the war in Ukraine is existential to Russia’s existence, or whether the famous Russian passivity to authority overrides their will to survive, it’s clear that hopes that shitty Russian morale would hasten the end of the war has proved unfounded.
In Russia, the “government” is thought to be a separate, almost miraculous entity, something entirely different from the people. Ordinary citizens do not consider themselves as a part of the country, only as expendables.
When your national identity says you are an insignificant piece of crap who deserves whatever authority deems of you, then it’s easier to understand why Russian soldiers are perfectly content to be sent to their deaths. It is their fate, as Russians, to suffer.
It’s hard to grasp that as Westerners, and thus we overestimated the desire of Russians to save themselves from senseless and needless slaughter—or at least I did.
Yesterday, Mark Sumner gave a fairly detailed update on the Bakhmut situation—Wagner mercenaries are pushing heavily toward city hall for propaganda purposes, while the pincer movement north and south of the city has stalled. This state of affairs has led various sources on both sides of the conflict to heavily speculate on the relationship between Wagner and Russia’s military.
What everyone agrees on: Wagner is focused on the battle inside Bakhmut, which is now a direct head-on advance against Ukrainian defensive positions. Meanwhile, regular Russian army forces are holding the flanks to the north and south of the city. Everyone also agrees that inside Bakhmut, Ukraine’s defensive lines aren’t concentrated around the administrative city center. There are areas of the city, dotted with defensible high rises, that are easier to hold, but Wagner has clearly decided that planting their flag (not Russia’s) at city hall is more important than militarily defeating the bulk of Ukraine’s defenses. Their thirst for propaganda is deep.
And everyone agrees that the flanks are stalled. The debate is over why.
Theory 1: Russia is undermanned, can’t hold the flanks, and is running out of ammunition
In this reading, Russia is afraid to push those flanks and complete Bakhmut’s isolation because they don’t have enough forces to hold the lines if Ukraine counters.
Look at those two flanks northeast and northwest of Bakhmut. Both have become mini salients of their own, exposed to potential Ukrainian counterattack. It takes significant manpower to protect the flanks on any advance, and there are plenty of indications that Russia simply lacks the bodies. In fact, Ukraine has successfully pushed back the Russian presence southwest of Bakhmut in the last week. See the town just west of Bakhmut on the map above? That’s Invanivske. Russia hasn’t just been unable to keep pressure on that town, and on the Road of Life it sits on (the last road supplying Bakhmut), but it is currently losing ground south of it.
Meanwhile, reports abound of Russia’s “shell hunger,” or lack of ammunition. Russia has explicitly asked China for help (rebuffed for now), so American intelligence claims Russia has gone to North Korea as its desperation grows. So even if it wanted to push forward around Bakhmut, and even if it had the troops to do so, it might not have the artillery firepower to carry out its one and only tactical approach—reduce ground to rubble, send cannon fodder forward to see if any defenders are left, and keep repeating the process until an area is cleared.
Theory 2: Russia is happy to sit by and watch Wagner (and their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin) destroy themselves.
There has been a great deal of palace intrigue over Prigozhin’s obvious political ambitions, and his effort to build his stature in Putin’s eyes at the expense of Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (how has he kept his job this long?). The conflict has erupted out in the open, both with Shoigu and Prigozhin taking verbal shots at each other, and reportedly on the battlefield as well.
In recent months, Prigozhin has boasted Wagner is the only force to advance anywhere on the front line (he’s right, but barely), and complained that his supply shipments of ammunition and artillery support have dried up. Now, many suspect that rather than close the pincer around Bakhmut, Russia’s ministry of defense is happy to leave Bakhmut open to supply so Ukraine can finish off Wagner once and for all. Shoigu has zero reason to give Wagner and that peacock Prigozhin a victory anywhere on the map. They won’t even fly the Russian flag!
Putin has been happy to field multiple armies in Ukraine—Russian army, Wagner mercenaries, Kadyrovite militia from Chechnya, local militias from both the Russian occupied Luhansk (LPR) and Donetsk (DPR) regions, and Putin’s private Rosgvardia national guard. One single powerful defense ministry could one day challenge Putin’s rule. So a fractured military apparatus is by design. Putin wants these factions fighting each other, and we know this because he’s letting the feud play out, regardless the consequences on the battlefield.
But those consequences naturally lead to what we’re seeing in Bakhmut. Unable to take it by themselves, Wagner needs the help of other forces in the area to finish the job. The system itself actively discourages that kind of cooperation.
Remember, a tankie believes imperialism is bad, and that only the United States (and Europe) can be imperialists. So literally labeling Russia and China as empires isn’t really imperialism.
Figures an account posting that kind of ridiculous nonsense would have “Trump Lover” in its name.
Nikolai Patrushev, Russia’s secretary of its security council, has thoughts.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces are becoming a full-fledged army capable of conducting offensive operations. This has already been legally confirmed by Japanese law, which is actually a gross violation of one of the most important outcomes of World War II [...]
Russia’s war has dramatically reshaped the world security order. In addition to massive arms buildups in Europe and Asia and the ascension of Finland into NATO (and soon, Sweden), both Germany and Japan have begun a transition from their post-World War II pacifism. Russia may not like it, but Russia (along with Chinese belligerence against Taiwan and in the South China Sea) made it happen.
The collapse of the European Union is just around the corner. Of course, Europeans will not tolerate this supranational superstructure, which not only does not justify itself, but also pushes the Old World to open conflict with our country.
Europeans bent over backwards to be pals with Russia: Witness French and German efforts to keep engaging with Putin long after he launched his invasion. The one country to leave the EU (the U.K.) is suffering grievous economic consequences, including bare supermarket shelves, while the few remaining non-EU European states—including pro-Russia Serbia—are desperate to enter the common market.
[America is a] patchwork blanket, which can easily disperse at the seams. Let's say, as it was originally, they will be divided into North & South … no one can rule out that the South will move towards Mexico, whose land the Americans seized in 1848…
This dumbass really thinks that if the U.S. split between north and south, that the “south” part would reunite with Mexico.
To be clear—he really thinks that the Republican dominated south would want to be part of the same country as Mexico.
And this guy is in charge of Russia’s security council.
[T]his is just one of many examples of systematic attacks on the independence of Latin American countries. There is no doubt that sooner or later the southern neighbors of the United States will regain the territories stolen from them.
Now he says that Latin America will … invade the U.S. to regain lost territories?
This kind of thinking really exposes the Russia obsession with who is historically entitled to what land—thinking that leads to perpetual conflict. Imagine if Finland demanded the land Russia stole during the the Winter war of 1939? Heck, tiny Lithuania could have claims on existing Russian territory, as does China, Kazakhstan, even Ukraine. You either have perpetual war over historical claims, or you freakin’ accept the current modern reality. This is why the concept of the EU is so powerful—erasing national boundaries for the common economic prosperity—and yet so difficult for selfish Russia to understand.
U.S. elites… have never associated themselves with the American people. Their projects such as BLM … and the general planting of transgender theories are aimed at the spiritual degradation of the population already in a state of apathy
You can see why the MAGA right is so enamored by Putin and his ilk. They speak the same deplorable language. Imagine thinking that it was “the elite” that created BLM, when literally the exact opposite was the reality—a movement by some of the most marginalized people in our society challenging the establishment status quo.
[Russia] in many ways surpasses America spiritually, morally and militarily…
American exceptionalism is obnoxious, and somehow Russia manages to one-up it. We can see their morality in action in Ukraine. They shouldn’t be so proud of their mass murder, rape, pillaging, and wanton destruction. Their spiritual leaders have Putin-style dachas, super yachts, and the most expensive cars. And worse than all that, they bless mass murder in Ukraine. And that’s not just their top priests in Russia. Here is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine:
That’s an S500 Mercedes, which starts at $112,150 before upgrades. The scarf is a Louis Vuitton, which cost this much, and the watch is a Patek Philippe Calatrava which costs around $35,000. Russian spirituality is clearly for sale and morally bankrupt.
Their military is a joke. And while I bet he’s talking about nuclear weapons, because they’re obsessed with theirs as a point of national pride, at this point no one should assume they’d even hit the right continent (even if they somehow managed to clear their launch tubes).
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