(Ukraine needs ATACMs) - '..Ukraine is doing immense work for European security and suffering massively in the process..'

Posted by archive 
'..The Ukrainians are fighting for their very existence against a power that is trying to deny their whole culture and history, who is abducting their children and who has committed countless atrocities against them. Normally the Ukrainians go to great lengths to assure everyone of the their gratitude for the aid they receive. (tbh, I think states that ask for this gratitude are being pathetic, Ukraine is doing immense work for European security and suffering massively in the process—we should be thanking the Ukrainians). However, at times their anger comes out, and they are angry at the work of mostly anonymous critics to try and cast the counteroffensive in a negative light. They understand the public opinion crisis this could cause (I wrote about it in the midweek substack).

Anyway, the narrative change over the counteroffensive by the Ukrainians was not just PR—they seem genuinely to believe that things are improving. They always had more confidence in what they were doing than many in the west, but now they seem to be getting signs that the strategy theyve been following for the last 10 weeks or so is bearing fruit. Interestingly, President Zelensky himself tweeted out a positive description of how the Ukrainians are moving forward (“despite what anyone says”—believe me this is a deliberate swipe at those trying to undermine the counteroffensive).

The fact that Zelensky personally intervened is a sign of the confidence. The Ukrainians would not want the president to be seen to give misleading information—particularly to the Ukrainian people.


This also brings up a constant bugbear of mine—the lack of reporting on the condition of Russian soldiers. The Ukrainians have allowed a huge amount of access to their soldiers to outside reporters. This openness is to be commended, but it also means that we have had lots of stories about the difficulties and suffering that the Ukrainians are undergoing. Sometimes these stories are very effective (the one by Marc Santora in the New York Times yesterday was great), but it others they lead to ridiculous extrapolation. This happened regularly in the Bakhmut campaign. Reporters would engage with Ukrainian troops who had clearly had a hard time in the fighting, but would extrapolate from that that the Bakhmut campaign itself was a failure. Its easy to draw a connection between the horror of war and thinking an engagement is a disaster—but that is often wrong. The Bakhmut campaign was arguably the most important and succesful Ukraine has fought, not least for destroying Wagner and showing the cracks in the Putin regime.

Anyway, the access to Ukrainian soldiers and the lack of access to Russian soldiers at the same time, exaggerates the importance of the difficulty of the former and obscures the massive problems being faced by the latter. Actually, the Russian troops, as indicated by these lateral redeployments, are more than likely in far worse shape than their Ukrainian counterparts. The Russians are kept in the front line for far longer, are treated far more brutally by their own side, and are being pressed back. Remember that the next time you read a splashy story about the difficulties of the Ukrainians (which are real). Russians soldiers are almost certainly suffering greater deprivations and are in worse shape. You just wont read stories about it.

Third. The Ukrainian artillery campaign seems to be working. I made a point of discussing this in last weekend’s update and once again, the FIRMS data (treat with caution) shows that over a 7 day period, the fire from the Russian lines backward is heavier than from the Ukrainian lines backward.


Russia still has lots of artillery, but Ukrainian fire just seems to be better and is taking a toll on Russian resistance.


A Note of Caution. At times this week I actually thought some of the commentary was getting too optimistic. The course of the counteroffensive seems to be progressing well and intelligently, but I get a little worried when I see talk about imminent Russian collaspes or great Ukrainian breakthroughs. The negativity of earlier was wrong, but we need to be careful not to allow the counter reaction to be overly optimistic. What the Ukrainians are doing remains extremely challenging—it will take time. At least, though, the negative stories should end for a while and the signs of progress are more tangible.'

- Phillips P. OBrien, Weekend Update #44, September 3, 2023


Why Biden Must Send Ukraine the ATACMS It Needs — Now

(Ukraine needs ATACMs) - '..Providing more aid to Ukraine .. could shorten the existing conflict.'

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'..European militaries to start thinking about how they, alone, could defend Europe against Russian aggression..'

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- Budanov (Source, September 1, 2023)