From independence, freedom and truth


The slow defeat of Ukraine

Fernando del Pino Calvo Sotelo

June 5, 2023

In the Ukrainian war, the Western political and journalistic class continues to entangle itself in a fiction that is getting further and further away from reality. However, even the blatant lies of war propaganda should have their limits, because there will come a time when the curtain falls and the farce will be exposed. Veritas filia temporis.

The inevitable fall of Bakhmut, which I took for granted a few months ago[1], is a case in point. Western media have sought to downplay the significance of the event by either silencing it, arguing that the city lacked strategic importance or distracting the public with the incursion of a small group sent to its death across the Russian border for the sake of a one-day headline. However, Bakhmut is an important road and railroad hub whose defense was of “capital strategic importance and key to the stability of the entire front[2]“, according to the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, the competent General Zaluzhny, of whom, by the way, there have been no credible signs of life for weeks (had he been seriously wounded or killed, the Ukrainian side would have suffered a serious blow at a crucial moment).

On the other hand, Zelensky and his publicists made Bakhmut an icon of Ukrainian defense to the extent that, when Zelensky visited the US in December and spoke before the US Congress, he dramatically handed over a flag signed “by the defenders of the city” and mentioned “Bakhmut” no less than eight times in his speech. This explains why he insisted on defending it at all costs amidst apparent disagreements with his General Staff, who considered the defense disproportionately costly in human lives[3]. Obviously, sending soldiers to their deaths from the safety of a bunker in Kiev or while on a tour of Western capitals is easier than going to the front line in person with an assault rifle.

Bakhmut has been taken exactly one year after the seizure of Mariupol, a symbolic date for the Russians. The probability of this being a coincidence is very low, leading one to believe that Russia could have taken the city much earlier, but preferred to leave a corridor open for Ukraine to sacrifice more men. The media image of waves of suicidal Russian soldiers crashing into Ukrainian defenses in frontal attacks is absurd. The Russians have learned from their initial mistakes and are now moving methodically and systematically, without haste, following military and not political criteria, unlike Ukraine. Thus, the role of the infantry of the Wagner mercenary group has been rather to identify where the Ukrainian forces were located so that the artillery of the Russian regular army could crush their position before advancing. That is the reason why Bakhmut has been thoroughly destroyed and why the attacker/defender ratio of casualties has been the reverse of the usual.

Some sources state that, by attracting and managing to concentrate and immobilize so many Ukrainian troops in such a small area, Russia has probably annihilated the equivalent of four divisions of the Ukrainian army (about 60,000 men) thanks to its vast superiority in artillery, which firepower is ten times greater than that of Ukraine. Do not forget that 65% to 75% of casualties in this kind of conflict are caused by artillery (and aerial bombardment).

Since much of the forces trained by NATO countries have been reserved for an eventual offensive (not counter-offensive), many Ukrainian defenders sent to the city were rookie recruits, teenagers, over 50s or rural poor thrown to their deaths without any prior training, as the Wall Street Journal reported last week[4]. In the same vein, a couple of months ago the Washington Post interviewed a Ukrainian lieutenant colonel who described the troops’ lack of ammunition and combat experience and confessed to the grim mood on the front. His 500-man battalion had suffered 100% casualties (100 killed and 400 wounded), and the new rookie soldiers sent to him “threw down their weapons and ran away” at the first sound of gunfire. The lieutenant colonel “hoped for a miracle” in the vaunted Ukrainian offensive, which he took for granted would be carried out, even if it ended “in a massacre”[5].

We cannot lose sight of the fact that the stubborn numbers have always pointed to an inevitable Russian victory, even more so in a war of attrition. Both contenders have demonstrated proven courage and will to fight, but the Russians enjoy vast military superiority and enormous reserves, with a 5-to-1 demographic advantage, a 10-to-1 artillery advantage, clear air superiority and an astonishing arsenal of precision missiles.

War is always horrible, and that’s why it should always be avoided nearly at all costs. Although the following figures should be taken with caution, serious sources estimate that the Ukrainians may have suffered around 180,000-220,000 dead and the Russians between 30,000 and 40,000, the inverse proportion to what the media report, but congruent with the difference in firepower. If these data are true, Ukraine would have lost three army corps in one year and would have one last cartridge left, an “offensive” force made up of the few Western tanks (of very different operational status) and the divisions recomposed by men trained by NATO in these months, but still lacking air and artillery support worthy of the name.

“If your enemies are more powerful and stronger than you are, you shall not attack them, but avoid with utmost care any possibility of direct confrontation.” Sun-Tzu’s warning does not seem to have been heeded by Zelensky’s puppeteers, who seem to believe that an offensive, however Pyrrhic, can become a propaganda success and throw Russia off balance. Perhaps they are right, but I believe that at best it will be like the failed German Ardennes offensive (1944) and, at worst, like the suicidal Charge of the British Light Brigade in the Crimean War (1854).

As Napoleon said, the key to “great battles” is to wait, move quickly and concentrate in a timely manner. With a front 1,500 kilometers long where the Russian defenders are scattered, the Ukrainian weaker contender, however, can open a breach in a bold stroke if he counts with the surprise effect and concentrates his forces properly. However, the necessary secrecy hampers preparation, the usual diversionary maneuver dilutes the power of the attack, and the required speed of advance can be unpredictably compromised. Moreover, if Russia were to detect a concentration of forces in the rear, they would be decimated before entering the battle, as may already be happening.

According to Russian sources, yesterday Ukraine tried to breach the Russian lines in an important attack that was repelled among high casualties on the Ukrainian side, including 1/3 of the tanks involved. This might be the beginning of the offensive or the usual distracting maneuver. In any case, if the offensive finally takes place and is initially successful, the Western media will publicize it as a resounding success, but this would be a premature conclusion: with all probability, sooner or later the offensive will lose steam and will be stopped dead in its tracks. With its characteristic iciness, Russia will absorb, stop, counterattack, and overwhelm. Far from defending territory at all costs (except in strategic cities), it will make tactical retreats and focus on methodically destroying Ukrainian military capacity, which is its real objective.

In the face of the horror of this war, it must be denounced time and again that the provocateur of this conflict has been the US government, which scorned Russia’s attempts to reach a mutual security agreement in the face of a threat it considered existential. In the words of someone as unsuspicious as the American John Mearsheimer, a West Point graduate and well-known international relations theorist, “Putin was deeply committed to a negotiated settlement and went to great lengths for years to explain to the US why [a hostile Ukraine] was not acceptable to Russia”[6].

The arguments put forward about an alleged Russian expansionism nostalgic for the defunct USSR are constructions made after the fact for propaganda purposes. Where is the evidence of Russian expansionism in the 22 years that the autocrat Putin had been in power before the invasion? In which Western security and strategy documents – Spain included – was Russian expansionism mentioned as the great threat to Europe before February 2022? Let me answer: in none. Russia has been an artificially created enemy, and its recent past as a member of the G8 seems to want to be swept under the carpet:

The US Department of State counted on economic sanctions to seriously hurt Russia, but these have failed (at least in the short term) as its GDP barely declined by 2% in 2022 and is expected to grow very slightly in 2023. For its part, the self-imposed sanctions by the submissive EU, governed by an inept bureaucracy living in its ivory tower, have hit European citizens with high inflation and structural energy instability, so that the reciprocal interdependence with Russia has been replaced by an asymmetric and expensive dependence on the US. The sanctions have also damaged European businesses, which have been forced to sell off their assets in Russia in a hurry and at a bargain price to Russian buyers! If in Brussels the average IQ is not too high, Berlin is not far behind: after torpedoing its own economy, the German government has accepted the humiliation of turning a blind eye while the US or its “partners” allegedly sabotaged its most important energy infrastructure, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Western threats about Ukraine’s potential NATO membership, made since the 2008 NATO Summit agreed – at the initiative of the US – that Ukraine and Georgia should join the organization[7], can only be described as a dangerous provocation. The US has always known that Ukraine’s NATO membership was “the reddest of red lines for the Russian elite and not just for Putin,” as the current CIA director and former ambassador to Moscow, William Burns, wrote in his memoirs (published in 2019), in which he added:  “In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.[8]” Why was “defensive” NATO training and arming Ukraine since 2014, a non-member state with an aggressive stance towards a nuclear power?

It should also be denounced that this war could have ended in a few weeks, but the US and the UK decided to drag it out and boycotted the negotiations between the parties that took place in March 2022 in Turkey. Indeed, the West intervened to “block” any agreement and make Ukraine leave the negotiation table, according to the former Prime Minister of Israel[9], a view corroborated by the Turkish Foreign Minister[10]. Until then the conflict had caused hardly any deaths, but it would seem that, for the power junkies, weakening Russia was well worth sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and a poor and distant country that no one will remember when it is all over. Of course, none of this could have happened without the immoral complicity of the corrupt Ukrainian government[11], which betrayed its election promises of détente with Russia and threw its own people over the precipice to an implacable adversary that could not afford to lose.

The US provoked the conflict and unnecessarily prolonged the war. It is therefore unsurprising that 85% of the planet that is not the US or Europe is astounded by the Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy. Are these “the values” of which the West boasts and which NATO claims to defend?

The conflict between the USA and Russia that is going on over Ukrainian soil has not only revealed the cold horror of war or the impassivity of the psychopaths in power of both sides in the face of the loss of human lives, but also the state of permanent lie that our society has reached and the immorality of a West that has simply lost its marbles.


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