Final draft of analysis originally posted 6/21 with situational updates noted, so as to not be obsolete or cheat:
It's only a matter of time before Russia takes Luhansk (UPDATE - done) and Donesk. The Donbas (edit: 1 s) entire appears lost for good and Crimea, eastern Donbas and the land corridor are without a doubt irretrieveable for as long as Putin or a successor of like mind is in power.
Russia's material, industrial and population advantages are simply too great with Ukraine right next door, and Putin will not relinquish said gains if he has to scrape every barrel, gut his economy, expend his arsenal and chuck every available soul into the chipper.
Gotta save face.
While recovering the far south and east is out of the question, some swaths bordering natural boundaries may be up for grabs in the future, and Kherson in the present-tense.
Western heavy weapons arrived too little and too late to alter the trajectory in the short-term, otherwise. I read somewhere that training was the principle bottleneck, but some allies dragged their feet shamefully.
Had the UA been augmented sooner with hundreds of modern artillery pieces, more counter-battery radars, a horde of drones, a million or two rounds and more than a handful of MLRS's (and some front-line air-defense systems and tanks to boot) this would be a different story, and maybe the invasion wouldn't have taken place in the first place.
But that could have precipitated a wider war.
Western intelligence did publically announce that Ukraine would fall within days at the outset (psyop?), and may have deemed such an effort and expense pointless - hoping to deter Russia instead.
Moreover, as Europe and Zelensky himself (ostensibly) didn't take the prospect of a full-scale invasion seriously, there was little impetus.
Did MI anticipate this artillery-drone duel?
Someone surely did, and when Russia repositioned to attack from the east, the eventuality was evident as immanent for weeks before the onslaught. That was perhaps the last-best time to pump a decent quantity of heavy weapons in theatre, but the shot-callers evidently calculated that doing so would risk unacceptable escalation.
Too timid, or justifiably prudent? Some in charge are just trying their best to win without igniting WWIII (I hope).
May God aid and advise them.
Clark characterizing the amount of aid cited in this video as game-changing didn't ring true. It's a splash in the bucket which will though, when paired with the rest of the aid, render a conquest of the Donbass significantly more difficult, put Ukraine in a better position to thwart further incursions elsewhere and help facilitate future counter-offensives.
And strike deep where it hurts more.
If and when Russia penetrates the built-up fortifications in the east, future territorial gains outside of urban areas will come at a lesser cost to the Ruskies and a greater one to the UA if it doesn't cunningly maneuver or plain reteat, as a better-armed invader will enjoy greater mobility and air-power, and the defender less cover, in terrain mostly unfavorable to the defender.
Some ridgelines look promising, Ukraine is surely busy preparing less static defensive architecture, and those Javelines and other ATM's plus the manpads will be more effective on the move, right?
Not a tactician here, pardon. I hope the promised air-defense systems arrive in time.
Hopefully, more of Ukraine's best can retreat from eastern pockets before being encircled and/or annihilated than than their leadership has (right or wrong) permitted to date. So many of their prewar trained troops have been killed, captured or otherwise neutalized.
Hopefully, not too many.
UA command continues to reinforce untenable positions and sacrifice lives rather than ordering a retreat to secondary lines - shortening the lines - but it's probably necessary to play it like that to cover and execute a withdrawal not entailing a self-inflicted massacre.
An orderly retreat; trading space for lives and time when the time is right, it is then I hope. Attrition does not favor Ukraine at this point (hundreds of the cream-of-crop killed and more out of action daily) unless the above is true, morale is at stake and the Russians are exhausted and running low on ammo.
UPDATE 7-4: Game-changing Himars obliterate Russian ammo depots - Russians 'exhausted' - offensive paused! Window opened to rest, shore-up and prepare the retreat. Apparently, the UA knows their own business better than I do.
Long-game - is Zelensky willing or able drag this out for years to gain the upper hand, and will the West oblige?
To what end?
Is there hope for anything remotely resembling victory for Ukraine other than a depleted, bloodied Russia?
Less land surrendered and national honor satisfied is on the table.
The hold-at-all-costs-until-impossible strategy in lieu of falling back may well have been necessary for national morale and to convince the West to continue supplying aid.
To what end?
Is a degraded Russia worth the price of eastern Ukraine in ruins? If Russia is defeated (beaten to a pulp with minimal objectives met) and every scrap of land that can be regained returned - maybe so.
Future aggression dissuaded.
Whether the Russians will have the momentum, personnel, material and morale to fully capitalize on the coming breakthrough and incite a full rout remains to be seen (I don't think so), but it defies logic that they will stop moving forward if the way grows easier unless Putin decides to play it safe and declare victory after devouring the Donbass, if he doesn't decide to keep killing to snag more territory and maybe secure a better negotiating position.
How far west the lines might stabilize depends on too many variables for me to compute, but at the rate it's going, the dynamic doesn't look promising for either party's greater ambitions for some time. The Dnieper may very well border a Ukrainian rump-state should Russia further mobilize, but I think Putin is too savvy to bite-off more than the wider international community will allow him to chew without more countries getting on-board to impose additional isolation.
We know a full mobilization won't sit well with many Russian youth, though the elder generations not fighting are probably game.
Echoes of Vietnam?
I predict he will annex only the predominantly Russian-speaking/heavily-ethnic-Russian areas; roughly outlining what he's taken to date plus the Donbass whole (and Odessa if feasible) and perhaps set-up a few more "people's republics".
How much popular support does he have in those areas? UPDATE 7/4 - I heard rumors of partisan activity in the south.
While Putin wants it badly, Odessa will be a tough nut to crack.
Consolidating gains in the east to then concentrate efforts there looks to be Russia's next move if it has the will and the way. Odessa is mostly Russian-speaking, and a land-locked Ukraine will be a thoroughly defanged Ukraine.
I believe Zelensky should have attempted to negotiate in good-faith (would Putin have reciprocated?) before the bullets started flying, or just after the Kiev debacle before permanently losing swaths of territory - in exchange for guarantees - making and receiving equitable concessions so as to not set a bad precedent.
Now, what's been conceded on the battlefield is is reduced to rubble; soaked in blood.
The best Ukraine can reasonably hope to do at this point is to stabilize a front just west of the Dnieper in the SW - shielding Odessa - hold near the Donbas further west, puncture portions of occupied territory in the south and expell the Russians north-and-west of Kharkiv past the border while waging a successful guerilla campaign to prevent Russia from comfortably holding all of its current and future gains; whittling Russian troops down while disrupting supply lines to secure a palatable negotiating position.
Which side will maintain the will to fight and die longer? For how long can the Russian economy support the endeavor and how much more punishment can the UA take before collapsing?
How inexhaustible is Russia's reasonably available manpower pool?
Maybe Ukraine can dish-out and take enough punishment and hold-on tenaciously like the Vietnamese did to wear and wait Russia out.
Conventional counter-offenses may bear fruit, but Russia has plenty more resources to draw upon, which presupposes that his grip on power is secure enough to push the Russian people to their limit and not be ousted, of course.
Most painful of all, this war was unnecessary, though it may have been inevitable following the lackluster response from the West to the events of 2014, a failure to acknowledge Russia's security concerns before and after to keep open a working dialogue and not adequately arming Ukraine before the invasion - barring a willingness to negotiate on terms favorable to Russia.
Maybe a precedent needs to be set better late than never: that aggressors pursuing their interests by means of force or threat of force will pay a high price.
Small comfort to the Ukrainian people.
Putin's nuclear blackmail has paid off, unfortunately. I now believe that the West should have called his bluff and publically reminded him and the Russian people that we're willing and able to push the button too, as was done to win the Cold War, but perhaps the risk of escalation was too great given Putin's penchant for calculated risk-taking.
Khrushchev's menacing was dealt with firmly, but only blind luck saved modern civilization from being extinguished in the process.
Most regrettable of all, precious opportunity was needlessly squandered when more flexiblity and firmness through diplomacy could have achieved a better, less bloody or even bloodless outcome pre-and-post 2014.
At any rate, it's all above my pay-grade and only hindsight can be 20/20.
As bad as it is to say this, people need to stop saying that Ukraine for sure will win this war; with how things are turning out right now, it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen. This isn’t me being pro-Russia, I want Ukraine to win this war and give Russia the middle finger, but we need to look at facts and events happening right now as opposed to how we feel. Russia can always resupply its troops and equipment, but Ukraine has to get weapons from other countries.
Clinton, Obama and Soros thought they would bankrupt Russia and oust Putin and lap up the natural resources but Putin has destroyed the Globalist agenda, the EU and the US economy. Between Trump and Putin they have undone 70 years of Socialist progress. It's a great time to be alive. 81 million strong and growing everyday no mail-in ballots required.
Russia will be a broken down old man when the war ends . They will be a broken down country that will only have broken down government and broken down economy because of a mad man dictator that is broken down...
True words, indeed. Those two guys know what they are talking about :) So my colleagues in the Russian Armed Forces and the Kremlin - in particular the FSB, SVR and GRU - should listen to those gentlemen - and restore diplomacy and dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, so that Peace Talks can commence. We are also advocating the founding of a world organization that is above all other governments - even above Russia, the UK, China, the EU and the United States - so that Peace and Prosperity can be manifested in the world.
Everything you see in the news about the war in Ukraine is a total fabrication. Everything. Putin is only eliminating NATO built labs. He has removed most of his military from Ukraine. The communist Zelenskyy is doing most of the attacks on his own people using the weapons we are giving him and saying that it is the Russians. Zelenskyy is the real dictator that has eliminated the democracy of Ukraine. He is a globalist puppet serving the new world order to aid in the elimination of Putin who is fighting the globalist. And yes, America has been taken over by globalists. Russia has been in their crosshairs now since 2016.
Yes idiot Piers Morgan NATO destabilized Ukraine 9 years ago NATO trying to move up to Russian borders forcing Russia to react into establishing buffer. NATO dismissed Russian justified security concerns constantly before conflict. NATO EU refused to negotiate before conflict. Russian Requested many times about written assurances regarding NATO expansion. Idiot Piers Morgan
Whoever believes in freedom as the most precious of all human gifts, should keep Ukraine into his prayers and hope they will counter-attack effectively to regain their land. Western Democracy isn’t perfect, but it surely is the best chance humanity’s got for its future.
It’s going to be a long cold winter in Europe. The US is going to have a rough time. This US/NATO enterprise is turning into a disaster. How embarrassing: first Afghanistan, then Ukraine. The “expert” are the same people that brought is Iraq. Big fail. All for a war that could have been avoided.
USA will definitely loose troops the same way as Russia does if it fights with more modern army unlike Goat herders or WW2 era Iraq. Also if Iraq was kept supplied Soviet and Modern Russian equipments back then we would have suffered the same way Russia is Suffering Now. A war with Russia is a Catastrophic disaster and that's why Every Western Country Avoids that. You can't just roll over like you did in other nations. It will be a mutually Assured Destruction. And no Nation wants that.
THE GREED MACHINE, IN ONE PLACE OR ANOTHER, IS ALWAYS AT WORK AGAINST THE PEOPLE! THEY DON'T MIND KILLING THE PLANET? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKd4XA4LRbQ PLEASE SHARE TO HELP UKRAINE! WE MUST NOT GET BORED OR TIRED OF THEIR STRUGGLE! Will you do a little help to keep your friends "FEEL" how horrible this PUTIN WAR is on the common citizens? PLEASE SHARE FAR AND WIDE! Thank you!
Liars. The U.S. and NATO lost this war (the war they egged Russia into) about 2-3 months into it. There is no strategy to win. Only a strategy to make it as costly on the Russians as possible, whilst global oil prices surge, and third world countries face famine due to the lack of wheat exports. These Neocons have blood on their hands once again.
What left for the West is FakeNews after FakeNews. They don't want to fight with Russia why unwinable and total destruction, and at the sametime telling us Ukrainian can win this How? They want to fight with Russia for the last poor Ukrainians, what cowards!!!
Sanctions have failed miserably! There would not be much left of Ukraine after Russia finished with it. The war mongering US and the UK should be tried for fostering the continuation of this war with tragic loss of lives.
The West/NATO caused this war! On the doorstep of Russia, they entered the Ukraine with ulterior motives. 10 000 Ukrainian troops were trained per YEAR by the west. That's around 80 000 western trained Ukrainian troops BEFORE the war started. Western war apparatus were supplied to the Ukrainians BEFORE THE WAR.
Putin told NATO that under no circumstances would the Ukraine be allowed into NATO. He warned them week after week month after month ever since the west started promoting the idea.
Who is going to win this war?
Here is the picture;
Russia cannot allow itself to lose as this will then have a western backed force right on their doorstep. This will allow NATO to use the Ukraine as a springboard into Russia.
Putin WILL be forced to go Nuclear!
America and it's allies - NATO America and allies have invested much more than just money into this so called -lets help a friend out- situation. Money. Time. Training. Support. Weapons....billions and billions worth. NATO wants a Russia that is weak. A Russia that can be controlled. A compliant Russia. A controlled Russia. They need this war to be won by the Ukrainians. (With their help of course). Should Ukraine start losing then NATO will knuckle down and bring in more support. More money. More weapons even more troops. Probably from Poland. But who knows? Should this happen, then it all goes Nuclear pretty damn quickly. Should Ukraine lose this war, NATO will find a reason to join in and then it all goes South and it becomes Nuclear. Here given, are the three situations. They all end in a Nuclear fiasco because of politicians and governments that cannot leave well enough alone.
Power greed money... = Nuclear war And now they blame those dastardly Ruskies? It's Putin's fault?
Putin warned them time and again. Leave Ukraine be. Let them do their own thing without the west's or the easts involvement. But NATO/America had other ideas. And now it's the Russian's who are at fault?
Think about this... How can any idiot even think of conquering a country 20 to 40 million people with an army of 190 000 troops?
Figger the above out and you will start to see the west's lies and disinformation at work