The Russians are Winning

Within days after the Russian invasion in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, a consensus began to emerge in the Western press that the war was not going well for Russia. The Russian forces would be behind schedule, there would be supply chain problems, the soldiers would be demoralized and surrendering, Putin would be rapidly loosing popular support, and the sanctions would be crushing the Russian economy. In short, the Russians were supposed to be losing. I do not believe it.

On Sunday, February 27, the Ukraine removed the age limit for armed forces volunteers from 18 to 60 before (there are no restrictions on gender) and encouraged its citizens to stop Russian vehicles with Molotov cocktails. For comparison, the German Volkssturm consisted of males aged 16 to 60 years old though the life expectancy was shorter then. Also back in 1944, military vehicles were vulnerable to Molotov cocktails; I am quite sure this has changed in the meantime.

On Monday, February 28, there were reports about a 60km long convoy on its way to Kiev from the Belorussian border. Supply chain problems supposedly struck the Russian forces because they would not move for several days and in some parts of the road, up to three vehicles would be next to each other causing traffic jams. This was taken again as a sign that the Russian offensive was badly organized and about to break down. Here is what I saw: for several days, the armed forces of the Ukraine were unable to inflict any kind of damage on stationary Russian vehicles along a 60km stretch of road on their way to the capital even when they knew they were there. The same day, Ukraine began arming convicts with previous military experience and Russia claimed air superiority over Ukraine. The pleas of the Ukrainian president for a no-fly zone became more pronounced in the following days meaning NATO is being asked to shoot down Russian planes over Ukraine. Since this day, I have not seen or read about Ukrainian military aircraft.

On March 4 the Ukrainian defense minister admitted that its navy flagship Гетьман Сагайдачний had already been scuttled on the first day of the invasion; the Ukrainian navy appears to have ceased to exist.

The Western press continues to inform that in the case of a successful Russian invasion, the guerilla warfare would drain the Russian armed forces. It is NATO countries staying as on occupying force after the end of the combat operations but not Russia. Russian forces fought for 12 days in Georgia in 2008; they left within three months. Russian troops left after the Second Chechen war. The Putin announcement for the "special operation" in Ukraine does not mention an occupation. Moreover, in comparison to NATO countries the Russian military has won its recent engagements or seems to be in the process of achieving its goals in Syria.

Western countries reacted with sanctions to the Russian invasion and by freezing Russian assets. The Russian Federation increased its gold reserves in recent years and its government debt is at about 15% of GDP (for comparison in USA the total government debt is near 130%, France 120%, Germany 70%, euro zone average 100%) although the inflation rate is around 8%. Additionally Russia is a major exporter of commodities including petroleum, petroleum gas, iron, palladium, nickel, platinum, aluminum, wheat, nitrogen, and fertilizer. China, India, and other countries refuse to participate in these sanctions leaving Russia with many possibilities to continue selling its products. After cutting off Russia from many payment systems and processors, Russian banks simply switched to UnionPay.

In recent times the Western press has been less than truthful: COVID-19 vaccines are still ascribed to provide immunity when none of the manufacturers ever made this claim. Ivermectin is described as "horse paste" although it has been approved in 1987 for human use and its inventors won the medicine Nobel prize in 2015. The Western press has also been exaggerating the severity of SARS-CoV-2 (more than three out of five persons dying with a SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis are over the age of 80), ridiculed claims about the need for more than two doses when Israel already had them, and it lumped together everyone refusing the COVID-19 drugs with COVID-19 deniers, right-wing extremists, and conspiracy theorists. With respect to the Ukraine reporting, many highlighted stories are simply false. For example, all soldiers on Snake Island had surrendered and survived instead of fighting to their death; the video of the weeping Ukrainian father saying goodbye to his daughters was made in Donetsk (meaning he was going to fight alongside the Russian forces).

With this background and the apparent discrepancies between the reported and the observed events in Ukraine in the last few weeks, here is how I think things are going: The Russians are winning. The government in Kiyv (or maybe Kiev in the future) will recognize Crimea as Russian territory, permanently give up its pursuit of NATO membership, and recognize the regions Donetsk and Luhansk as independent.