By Mark Wauck on Meaning in History.
First, lets address what has some commenters upset—the seeming victorious drive of the AFU toward Liman. Will Schryver discusses what’s going on in considerable detail, and posits a major shift coming:
Please read the entire substack post, but here is the most directly relevant portion—relevant to the Liman situation but also to what’s coming:
The Russians established their primary line of defense on the eastern bank of the Oskol River. Every day for the past two weeks, Ukrainian reports claimed that the AFU had taken or were about to take Kupyansk, which sits astride the river. But it was never true until two days ago, when the Russian forces in the eastern part of the city finally ceded it to the Ukrainians – but not before having inflicted a massacre entirely disproportionate to their own losses, and notwithstanding having continually faced attacking forces many times their own number.
…, the Russians have, in typical fashion, savaged the Ukrainian assaults primarily with indirect fires provided by artillery and airstrikes, continually corrected by drones and forward spotters.
In the far southern corner of the pocket, the Russians … concentrated in the vicinity of Liman, on the east bank of the Oskol, and it has been the defense of Liman that has since become the largest and bloodiest engagement of the entire protracted battle.
…, for well over a week, repeated Ukrainian attempts to assault and defeat the defenders of Liman have been repulsed with enormous losses for the attackers. Literally thousands of Ukrainian troops, and hundreds of units of their NATO-supplied equipment have been chewed up in this meatgrinder battle, and yet they have continued to feed even more troops, armor, and vehicles into the ongoing fray, fanatically determined to take the town at all costs.
As I write, the Ukrainians have finally achieved a near-total encirclement of the Russian forces in Liman. …
In any case, the garrison in and around Liman, supported by long-distance artillery and airstrikes, will have, with their sacrifice, inflicted a ghastly wound on the combat capacity of the Ukrainian army formations they have battled. The Russian Ministry of Defense claims upwards of 7000 [Ukrainian] dead in the recent battles along the Oskol River line of defense between Kupyansk and Liman. This is in addition to ~4000 [Ukrainian] dead in the first week of the offensive. …
To advance to this point, the Ukrainians have now expended an irreplaceable portion of the army their NATO overlords worked so hard to assemble over the course of the summer. Yes, there may still be several thousand less-capable soldiers left to nominally staff future engagements, but they have lost large numbers of their “foreign volunteer” shock troops as well as vast quantities of western-supplied equipment and limited stores of ammunition that can no longer be readily replaced due to the simple fact that all the NATO countries of Europe, and even the United States itself have simply run out of their finite inventories of the necessities of modern warfare.
Now, going forward—what’s going on that you’re probably not hearing about?
For several weeks now, seemingly endless trains of Russian military equipment have been flowing from Russia into Ukraine. The video evidence of this unprecedented buildup is abundant, …
Make no mistake, these are not columns of rusty, antiquated Khrushchev-era tanks and vehicles, as the clueless empire propagandists would have you believe. From what I have seen, it is pristine stuff – ….
Yes, much to the chagrin of the many Russian-friendly analysts I follow, it appears virtually none of this huge buildup of military strength has been promptly distributed to the front lines. The valiant forces who have fought at Kupyansk, Liman, and other places for the past several weeks have apparently been adequately supplied, but not substantially reinforced. The ongoing buildup is clearly being reserved for “something big” that is yet to come.
That “something big” is almost certainly to follow on the heels of this week’s referenda in Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe, and Kherson oblasts, and last week’s announcement of a partial mobilization of Russian reserves – …
Perhaps most importantly, there is a substantial but as yet unknown number of Russian professional battalions previously withheld from this war who will now be added to the front-line striking power – …
It is also essential to remember that over eight hundred aircraft of multiple types have been assembled in various Russian bases surrounding the current theater of operations. Although daily air sorties numbering in the hundreds have continued to be mounted all across the battlefield, a mere fraction of the immediately available strength has yet to be deployed.
Indeed, as I have argued for many months now, Russia has been fighting this war with one hand tied behind its back, even as the United States and its various NATO vassals have methodically advanced from one escalation to the next.
In support of this I will append a Youtube featuring Douglas Macgregor. I assume that Macgregor has excellent contacts to keep him up to date on the situation in Ukraine. He begins the discussion by talking about 1) Putin’s very measured response so far, all following legal norms which have now been fundamentally changed by the referenda, and 2) the unprecedented buildup of RF forces, as mentioned by Schryver—the seemingly endless trains hauling top shelf equipment into Ukraine, moving through Rostov-on-Don in the SE and Belgorod north of Kharkov. He also gets into the pipeline sabotage and much else. That will be appended, but now I turn to the nuclear angle that’s getting so much attention lately.
We have all heard Putin recently stating that Russia has been threatened with “nuclear blackmail”. Putin has stated that Russia will not be deterred. In the collective West, there has been an hysterical drumbeat of claims that Russia is preparing to use nukes, accompanied by official warnings to Putin not to do it. The US has reestablished contact with Moscow to bombard the Russians with these warnings—apparently to no effect. Yesterday the Russians, officially, told us to knock it off. Most recently, last night, I saw reports that the US has been trying to get the Chinese and Indian governments to talk the Russians out of using nukes—dispute the fact that the Russians have simply repeated their nuclear doctrine: They will not initiate a first strike but will respond (as in all such matters, there are further nuances, but that will work for now).
What’s going on here? Who is blackmailing Russia—or attempting to? The US? Somebody else?
What follows is speculation, but speculation based on at least an articulable factual basis is all we have to go on. I turn to a two minute excerpt from Macgregor’s comments yesterday:
Here is the transcript of most of Macgregor’s words in this two minute outtake. Macgregor sees the Ukraine conflict coming to “some kind of closure, militarily,” around the end of October or beginning of November–when the ground freezes and Russia can attack in overwhelming force. Then:
We know, for instance, that the Ukrainian Chief of Staff and the Russian Chief of Staff have had a phone call within the last few days to discuss how to end the war. We don’t know what came out of it–perhaps somebody at the NSA knows–but I take that as an indicator that the Ukrainians are nearing the end of their rope.
Zelensky, meanwhile, has been dropping tidbits of information to be reproduced in the Ukrainian media. One item was, he’s having a group of scientists and engineers assembled in Kiev to put together, potentially, a dirty bomb–a nuclear bomb–consisting of spent uranium fuel from one of their uranium power plants.
These are the kinds of things that are coming out. Anybody who objectively looks at this stuff has got to conclude that the Ukrainians are quite desperate. [Continues re horrific Ukrainian casualty reports, especially in the Kherson area.]
This thing is not some grand march to victory by Ukraine. Quite the opposite.
Here are the introductory paragraphs to Wikipedia’s article on dirty bombs:
A dirty bomb or radiological dispersal device is a speculative radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The purpose of the weapon is to contaminate the area around the dispersal agent/conventional explosion with radioactive material, serving primarily as an area denial device against civilians. It is, however, not to be confused with a nuclear explosion, such as a fission bomb, which by releasing nuclear energy produces blast effects far in excess of what is achievable by the use of conventional explosives.
Although a radiological dispersal device is designed to disperse radioactive material over a large area, a bomb that uses conventional explosives and produces a blast wave would be far more lethal to people than the hazard posed by radioactive material that may be mixed with the explosive. At levels created from probable sources, not enough radiation would be present to cause severe illness or death. A test explosion and subsequent calculations done by the United States Department of Energy found that assuming nothing is done to clean up the affected area and everyone stays in the affected area for one year, the radiation exposure would be “fairly high” but not fatal. Recent analysis of the nuclear fallout from the Chernobyl disaster confirms this, showing that the effect on many people in the surrounding area, although not those in proximity, was almost negligible.
Since a dirty bomb is unlikely to cause many deaths by radiation exposure, many do not consider this to be a weapon of mass destruction. Its purpose would presumably be to create psychological, not physical, harm through ignorance, mass panic, and terror. For this reason dirty bombs are sometimes called “weapons of mass disruption”. Additionally, containment and decontamination of thousands of victims, as well as decontamination of the affected area might require considerable time and expense, rendering areas partly unusable and causing economic damage.
So, my speculation is, Is this what the nuclear hysteria is about? Is it an attempt to assist Ukrainian “dirty bomb” blackmail—warning Russia not to respond with nukes to Ukrainian “dirty bomb” blackmail? Is this part of an attempt to forestall the coming Russian offensive, one which is now an offensive in defense of the Russian homeland? Putin has said that Russia will not be blackmailed. The Russian response yesterday amounted to: Read our nuclear doctrine. Is the nuclear hysteria a desperate attempt by the US to move Russia off that spot—again, to enable Ukrainian “dirty bomb” blackmail?
Here’s that Youtube with Macgregor—highly recommended. The small part that I transcribed comes at the very end—the last two minutes of a 22 minute video. [Macgregor also shares some important insight on the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, who are the possible State perpetrators and why it was done.]