Of Cats in a Dark and Cluttered Room

I’ve been getting requests to comment on the recent Ukrainian counterattacks, with some people musing that perhaps “the tide has turned.” There have been two counterattacks, one in the Kherson region in the south, which was repelled, with the Ukrainian forces suffering casualties in the thousands, filling every hospital and morgue in the region and requiring emergency blood drives. That little caper cost the Ukrainian side around 100 tanks and other vehicles, 4000 dead and 8000 wounded. Rest assured, some people are quite happy with this turn of events—especially those who profit by cutting livers, lungs and kidneys out of the corpses and shipping them off to clinics in Israel and points beyond for transplantation (given the large number of casualties, this has turned into quite an industry at this point, along with money laundering and weapons smuggling). In another attack, supposedly much more successful, the Ukrainian side recaptured areas around Izyum and Balakleya, with equally impressive losses.

Since this is the only instance of Ukrainians actually gaining ground since the start of the operation, some people instantly started to hyperventilate and claim that now the Russians will surely be routed from Crimea. I will do no such thing and instead explain why Russia, having committed perhaps as much as 16% of its professional soldiers (no draftees or reservists but increasing numbers of volunteers), is actually succeeding in its mission to demilitarize and denazify the Ukraine, provide for the security of the Donbass region and, beyond that, to shift its relationship with the West (if any) to a more equitable basis. Everything is going according to plan, and although we don’t know the details of that plan ahead of time (it is normally a state secret) we can discern some of its details as it unfolds.

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