Ukraine counter offensive. It’s time to talk straight

Ukraine counter offensive. It's time to talk straight

The enemy controls the sky, their air force has a tenfold advantage over ours. We save every shell, the enemy spends many times more. The allies have provided us with armored vehicles equal to the staff of two American divisions. We are facing a 1,500-kilometer-long front, hundreds of square kilometers of dense minefields, and a echeloned defense of three lines of fortifications. This is the reality in which our offensive began and is currently underway.

A reality in which none of our allies' armies have ever attacked, or even tried anything like this. In their theory, it is impossible. The theory is actually wise and correct, and in such conditions it is not worthwhile to attack. But in our reality, we simply have no choice, so we attack.

And despite all these conditions and despite the predictions of the theories, we are still continuing the offensive and every day we are gnawing away not just another meter of our land, but another position, another enemy strongholds and blocks, that is, slowly but surely we are wiping out the first of the three enemy defense lines, along with its defenders, from the map. And we are inexorably approaching the second one, which is even denser...

Meanwhile, in another reality, a well-fed Harvard political science professor, who has seen the war only on TV, picks up a calculator and divides the distance to Sevastopol by the distance our soldiers have covered in a day. And with a serious look, he writes that we have about 16 years left until the liberation of Crimea.

He fails to realize that in war, distances are not linear - there is one kilometer that takes months to break through, and then there are hundreds of kilometers behind the defense lines, which can be covered in a day - if you have previously overcome that first kilometer. This is clear to anyone who has fought, but as for that arrogant Harvard guy, he sees a map on the Internet and considers it enough to draw wise conclusions.

This nonsense is published by influential publications, and it merges into a whole chorus of other publications, the general content of which boils down to one thing: the allies, who have not provided us with even one tenth of the resources that their military doctrines require for the offensive campaign we have launched, are "disappointed" with the slow pace of our advance, which "does not meet their expectations."

IS IT TIME TO TALK IN A BAD WAY?

Our expectations are in order, at least in the army and those on the home front who are at least slightly involved in the war. No one expected a repeat of the "Kharkiv miracle" last fall, because the conditions were radically different. It's not that there was no surprise effect - on the contrary, the enemy knew all the possible directions of the offensive in advance, there were not many of them, and for exactly the entire 8 or 9 months that we were gathering resources for the offensive (including literally begging our allies for armor and artillery piece by piece), the enemy was digging in, building concrete pillboxes, mining the approaches to them, and preparing to repel our attacks. The task was initially on the verge of being impossible, if not beyond it, and the surprise now is not the slow pace of the offensive, but rather the fact that it has been more or less successful so far (under theoretically impossible conditions), and that the enemy's losses in the course of our offensive are much higher than ours (again, contrary to theory, where it should be the other way around).

Thus, we have a paradoxical situation where the situation on the Southern and Eastern fronts is better than on the bloodless, but no less important, Western Front. It seems that we are not only not on the offensive there, but we have to repel a powerful information attack, or even an offensive campaign, which determines changes in public opinion, which in turn directly affects the supply of vital resources to us, and how soon we will be forced to freeze the conflict, which is a disadvantage for us.

This is now becoming almost our main problem, so it is worthwhile to understand the essence of the problem and try to find possible solutions.

To begin with, let's put aside emotions and abandon the posture of "offended by allies," because we really have no one to be offended by and nothing to be offended about. Our allies are who they are, we don't have any others, we can't change them and we can't make them see the world through our eyes, feel our pain and think with our brains.

We might not have had such allies or even such assistance - we can recall how the world once refused to help first the UPR, then the UPA, and compare it with the attitude towards us now. And we can also compare the amount of aid to us with the amount of aid we provided to the people of Syria or earlier to the people of Chechnya during the Russian bombing campaign, so that the question does not arise as to how our tragedy can be perceived so indifferently: in the same way we perceived the tragedies of others. Everyone always puts their shirt on their back, and neither we nor our allies are exceptions.

We should also not forget that it was not our allies who prevented us from preparing for this war. For some reason, even during the eight years when the war was already underway, we ourselves did not prepare for the fact that it would be the same in essence, but completely different in scale, even though it was quite obvious. And that is why we now have to ask the allies for every shell, even though we could have had all the necessary supplies of weapons, equipment, and ammunition, as well as a trained army reserve, in eight years.

For those 3 or 4 months, when the Allied intelligence had already drawn all the arrows on the map, which the interventionists actually followed, instead of making ambushes along these arrows, across the arrows of the defense line, arming the troops in advance and mobilizing in time, we were preparing to barbecue on May Day - and that is why all our victories in this war have been paid at an incomparably higher price than they could and should have been. That is why we need this desperate and extremely difficult offensive campaign now - even though it would be incomparably easier to hold the South in the spring of 2022 than to take it back now.

So let's not blame Biden, Trump, and Sullivan for all our sins, and let's not consider ourselves "white and fluffy" - we got to this point, including complete dependence on foreign aid, and the need to liberate almost every fifth square meter of our country from the occupiers, first because of a series of our mistakes, and only then did strange "red lines" in the minds of our allies add to our problems. But now we are already doing everything possible and impossible, and now these "red lines" and "cockroaches" in the minds of our stakeholders are the biggest obstacle to our victory.

What's wrong? Do we lack arguments? Are we unconvincing or incomprehensible? Not at all. Our arguments are absolutely convincing and understandable - for those who are ready to hear and consider them at all. However, it seems that we have already exhausted the resource of those people in the West who were ready to hear us in principle.

First, we exhausted the resource of empathy and compassion. This resource is generally more humanitarian and very personalized, and it has almost no impact on the scale and nature of state military assistance. Empathy is about accepting our refugees. It is about Western volunteers who bring us trucks of humanitarian aid at their own expense. It's about volunteers who gave up everything and came to fight for us. But it's not even about the Javelins or the Stingers, let alone the Abrams and the Atkins.

Next, we mobilized all those who do not perceive us emotionally, but instead rationally understand the Russian threat to themselves and how the entire world order depends on the outcome of this war. The Baltic states and Poland, Britain and Scandinavia gave us everything they could give us and even a little more, Scholz became a hawk and shook out almost everything from the Bundeswehr that had not been rotten and scrapped over the years of inactivity, and France, for these reasons, provided us with at least a lot of weapons and suddenly became our lobbyist in NATO.

And now we are left with a distant overseas country that helps us the most, but at the same time restrains us the most with a bunch of bans and limits the range of supplies. In fact, it is the position of the leaders of this one distant country that is decisive in terms of our nonaccession to NATO (yes, it looks like in ten days in Vilnius we will face a huge "bummer" - instead of an invitation to join the Alliance, we will be offered a fig leaf of yet another "security guarantee" not much different from the Budapest one), and in terms of not providing us with aircraft, long-range missiles, etc., and in terms of the shameful ban on taking the war to the enemy's territory.

We have overcome many obstacles that seemed insurmountable a couple of years ago, but now seem to have hit an impenetrable wall in the mind of Biden's grandfather. And this wall is not his personal "prejudice," it's unfortunately much worse.

The march of the Wagnerites in Russia has finally made it obvious to Western politicians what we have known for a long time - that the Russian state is not only not omnipotent, it is actually a construction of shit and sticks, and may well collapse in the very near future. And it is precisely this prospect that has forced the part of the Western political elite that is currently fully shaping the White House's position to finally take off their masks and show their true motivations.

The author is Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, a luminary of journalism, and one of the "opinion leaders" in the Democratic camp. Reading it, we can imagine that we are reading the thoughts of Sullivan, Kirby, or Biden. The article is short, you can read the whole thing to get a general idea of what is going on in the minds of the current leaders of the world's most powerful state. But the main thing for us is formulated in the last paragraph, and I quote verbatim:

"If he (Putin) wins, the Russian people will lose. But if he loses and his successor is a mess, the whole world loses."

The conclusion is obvious - of course, it is better for the "Russian people" to lose (there is no mention of our people at all) than for the "whole world" to lose. In other words, Putin's victory and the preservation of his regime are presented as the lesser evil, and the alternative is portrayed as chaos with a bunch of new uncontrolled regimes with pieces of the nuclear arsenal in the hands of each of the numerous prigozhins and kadyrovs.

It is this fear that determines the limits to which the White House is willing to support us, and it seems that we have already hit that limit. It's time to recognize an extremely unpleasant fact: our main ally is simply afraid of our victory, and therefore wants to avoid it.

This is the best explanation for all those twists and turns in "not helping" us that may seem strange, illogical, and inconsistent. In fact, it is a very consistent policy, though at the same time immoral and short-sighted. And part of this policy is the chorus of journalists and Harvard "experts" who "express disappointment" with the pace of our offensive.

The essence of this policy is simple: not to let the POO win - yes, to let us win the Rashka - no, because "the whole world will lose." And it seems that none of our well-thought-out rational arguments can break through this fear, because irrational fears are among the strongest human motivations.

We can appeal to values as much as we want, but we've already done it, and it didn't work.

We can explain that such a position is not really wise, that it is not a "pragmatic calculation" but just the unwillingness of lazy and well-fed cowards to leave their comfort zone. And that they will have to leave their comfort zone anyway, sooner or later, and that it is in the pragmatic interests of the United States to accelerate our undeniable, convincing victory and to prepare in advance to take control of the processes in the event of inevitable perturbations in Russia. But we've said all this before, and we've stuck to our guns because we're not ready to hear it.

I'm afraid that since we are dealing with deep-rooted fears, they can only be overcome by another fear, an even more powerful one. And it seems that it is time for us to add to the arsenal of our argumentation "horror stories" that will block the horror of the "unknown future of Russia" in the minds of our allies.

Perhaps it is time to draw pictures of a possible future for our allies, against which Prigozhin's conventional rashka will not look like the worst option.

It is worth explaining to our friend Borel (friend without quotes, he really does his best) that he is not entirely right when he says that without Western weapons supplies, we "will lose the war in a few days and turn into a new Belarus." Yes, we will lose, but not in a few days, but in many months. During these months, hundreds of thousands will die, and another 15-20 million will join refugee camps in Europe. And then we will become not a "second Belarus" but a "second Afghanistan," where a bloody guerrilla war will not stop for years and even decades right next to the EU border, with all the "amenities" for our neighbors.

It is worth telling our enemy Orban that if his efforts to help Russia win suddenly prove successful, and we lose the war as he predicts, the last order to our million-strong army, hardened in battles with the second largest army in the world, will be to retreat to neutral countries in Europe with all weapons and equipment and intern there. And that the route of this retreat would not go through the countries that helped us, but exclusively through Hungary. And along the way, this army will be tasked with providing a humanitarian corridor for millions of civilian refugees to leave, also through Hungary. After all, shouldn't the Magyars know what it looks like - a thousand-kilometer armed march through someone else's "forcedly hospitable" lands in search of the "promised land" - history sometimes takes paradoxical turns, and they should think about it.

It is worth explaining to all these Harvard-Pulitzer "experts" that a Ukraine forced to a "non-winning" and a truce, part of which will remain under occupation, will certainly not be able to become part of NATO and the EU, no one will invest in it, etc., and that we will make it not only our tragedy, but also their powerful headache.

This undefeated and abandoned country, despite its poverty, will invest all its resources in the war, including bone-deep efforts to build nuclear weapons, and it has a very good chance of success.

And if the CIA does manage to prevent this, then the so-called "dirty bomb" will be built in almost every basement, and no one will be able to do anything about it. In the absence of reparations and investment, we will also have to fight poverty by any means necessary, including becoming one of the world's hubs for the trade in illegal weapons and other goods undesirable in "cultural" countries, a laundry room for laundering shadow money, and so on.

So maybe it's easier for the White House to hand us over to Russia than to have problems with such a crippled PTSD country? Also no, because the country may not exist, but there are too many Ukrainians to be physically destroyed by the Russians.

A million veterans with unique combat experience, feeling betrayed, without jobs and prospects, will travel the world to compete successfully with the Wagnerites or form criminal groups that will make the Balkan and Italian mafias nervously smoke in the corridor.

The children of the fallen soldiers will grow up as refugees in European orphanages and will nurture hatred not only for the occupiers, but also for those who betrayed us at a crucial time. And since it will be difficult for them to reach Moscow, their anger is channeled into revenge against those who can be reached - Western politicians who once contributed to our defeat. If only one hundredth of one percent of the expected 20 million Ukrainian refugees become terrorists-avengers, we will have a two-thousand strong underground of people well integrated in Western countries - no match for al-Qaeda...

All these and similar horrific images must be brought before the eyes of the Friedmans, Sullivans, and Bidens, and become more real nightmares for them than the very abstract "mess in Russia." And lead them to understand that the only way to avoid all these nightmares is for a victorious Ukraine that, with the help of the West, has completely defeated Russian troops, liberated all territories, joined NATO and the EU, and in return must continue to be polite, controlled, follow the rules of the "club" and coordinate its actions with allies and investors.

Of course, not all such messages can be publicly voiced by our state (although Ambassador Melnyk's successful experience proves that it is often worth being rude and even brutal to be heard).

But in addition to official spokespersons, there is also the press, expert communities, and many other channels of communication and message delivery. Perhaps it's time for these channels to stop being afraid of irritating our allies, and vice versa, to start informing them about our version of the "apocalyptic mess."

Yes, this will not make them love us more. But we have already used the potential of love and compassion to the maximum, and we will not squeeze more out of these noble feelings of good people. And to win, we need more, and much more. It's time to reach out to the bad people, to those who don't like us anyway, and to reach them through the only thing that motivates them enough - apocalyptic fears.

If we can't reach an agreement in a good way, we'll have to talk in a bad way.

After all, we have no choice - we only need to win.

Yevhen Dykyi, military, scientist, head of the National Antarctic Center

Ukraine Front Lines

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1 Comment
  1. Richard Braatz 11 months ago

    Incredible article. I couldn’t understand till now why Biden has always slow walked aid. Not enough to win. But enough to hang on and look like aid is fully being provided.
    Biden needs to try and see the world through those who neighbor Russia and have felt their brutality over decades. But, that won’t happen unfortunately. He is too mentally impaired.

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