US Tells Ukraine: Withdraw from Artyomovsk!

This is the advice which social media say the U.S. Government is today giving to the Zelensky regime in Kiev. It follows by a day or two the public release by German intelligence operatives of their own assessment of the latest course of the war, saying that the stubborn resistance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to advancing Russian ground units in Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) just as the defense of Soledar (lost to the Russians a week ago) was a death trap set by the Russians for the Ukrainians. As the US overlords understand today, continued losses of Ukrainian forces in these hopeless PR stunts are compromising any chances of their making a spring counteroffensive when the advanced military gear now being shipped to them arrives and is put into the field.

What conclusion can we reach from “withdraw from Artyomovsk”? Very simply that the notion of 1:1 death and injured rates that the Anglosaxon news disseminators have been shouting for weeks to slant the news towards some “stalemate” between the opposing sides is pure nonsense. It would be safer to follow the figures put out by the Russian military, which indicate a 10:1 imbalance in casualties on the Ukrainian side.

Meanwhile, the big news in the past 24 hours was the meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in the German army base at Ramstein. This was most notable for the failure of the defense ministers of the 50 participating countries to reach any agreement over delivery of tanks to the Ukrainians. Tanks are allegedly needed to support Ukraine’s spring counter offensive, with the objective not merely to push back the Russians to the line of demarcation in Donbas prior to the start of the Special Military Operation, but even to recapture the Crimea.

The central issue at Ramstein was German Chancellor Scholz’s refusal to send in German Leopard heavy tanks or to allow the many NATO countries where Leopards are held in the inventory to send any of their tanks to Kiev. Scholz is said to insist the Americans first ship their own Abrams tanks to Kiev before Germany will lift a finger. And why is he being so stubborn in resisting all the jackal states in NATO on this very issue? Western reports say he is fearful of leading the pack on delivery of tanks and incurring special Russian wrath.

Let us decode this message: the German chancellor is not some indecisive imbecile, as our newspapers hint. No, he is a cunning fox who is unwilling to allow Washington to send him and Europe to hell in what could easily become a Russia-NATO hot war if the Russian red lines forbidding heavy armaments deliveries are crossed.

So all the Ukrainians will get by way of new weapon systems as per the decisions announced yesterday in Ramstein are token deliveries of armored personnel carriers and armored machine gun and cannon vehicles that one might just call light tanks. That and a lot more howitzers of every variety coming from several different NATO countries.

But in terms of the big picture, what difference would tanks make? The vision of big tank warfare across the Ukrainian steppes that underlies the Washington war scenario is fallacious. As I have pointed out repeatedly, despite the lies and PR blasts from Washington and London, the war is being fought according to the Russian scheme, not the U.S. scheme.

We have heard how poorly the Russians coordinate air and ground. We have heard how they just cannot put together any good shock and awe. But this is beside the point. The Russians are waging an artillery war for good reasons: they have the world’s largest manufacturing industry of cannon, multi-rocket field launchers and munitions and they are waging a war of attrition on the ground which can only favor their armies.

If the slaughter of Ukrainians continues at its present rate, if the United States and its allies cannot ramp up munitions production, if the destruction of the Ukrainian energy infrastructure continues, if the logistics for conveying Western military supplies to the front are further impaired, then the Russians will find themselves against a disarmed Ukrainian army some time in the early spring, and they may get the capitulation they seek without shock and awe heroics.

In saying this, I acknowledge my own misreading of the Russian war plans, since I expected them to deliver the death blow to Kiev some time ago. But then I am joined in this misreading by many others who actually have military expertise guiding their assessments, such as Col. Douglas MacGregor.

Who laughs last, laughs best. And that may well explain the sardonic smile we see from time to time in President Putin’s public statements about the course of the war effort.

That is not to say that we can sleep calmly in the belief that the end of the war is nigh. There are risks arising as the inevitability of a Russian victory sinks into thick skulls at the Pentagon. The latest risks come from those saying publicly in Washington that the Ukrainians must be given longer range missiles so that they can strike directly at Russian military installations in Crimea if not in Central Russia. Such extravagant plans for the conquest of Russia can lead only to a nuclear response from Moscow and…the end of civilization as we know it.

Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book is Does Russia Have a Future? Reprinted with permission from his blog.

© Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

20 thoughts on “US Tells Ukraine: Withdraw from Artyomovsk!”

  1. Also:

    Federal Intelligence Service warns of high losses of the Ukrainian army

    1.46 pm: The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is alarmed by high losses of the Ukrainian army in the battle for the strategically important city of Bakhmut in the east of the country. According to information from SPIEGEL, the foreign intelligence service informed security politicians of the Bundestag in a secret meeting this week that the Ukrainian army is currently losing a three-digit number of soldiers every day in battles with the Russian invaders.

    The BND warned that the capture of Bakhmut by the Russians would have significant consequences, as it would allow Russia to make further advances into the interior.

  2. As Alex Mercouris says in YouTube, there are videos showing the Ukrainian vehicles simply running over the dead bodies of conscripts in Bakhmut. Like in Kherson, they stop picking them up.

    This has been going on throughout the war, Ukrainians leave dead bodies in the field instead of returning them to their families, because then they can be registered as “missing” so they don’t have to pay money to the families. Russia has found plenty of drug packages in Ukrainian trenches, maybe that could explain their indifference.

    But Ukraine is also the most corrupt country in Europe, if you want to claim that it’s a European country out there in the far east. It has African levels of corruption. Treating dead bodies this way is a small matter for them – it’s a country where it’s legal for men to beat their wives, which is common, especially with the high alcoholism rate. It’s also legal for men to visit prostitutes but illegal for women to BE prostitutes, so that the men can beat them and rahpe them and they can’t go to the police.

  3. Withdrawal is no longer an option. They are operationally encircled. Zaluzhny pinned half his combat capable forces along a 30 mile front in a failed effort to forestall the inevitable. It’s all over but the kicking and screaming.

    Russia has crushed two armies now, and it’s not likely AFU/NATO has anything left in the tank for a third. Unless Washington gets involved directly, Army Group Center has collapsed and Steiner’s attack is not going to materialize.

  4. Even if someone hates Russians in their bones (Racism or got Polish blood?) and even as ignorant as I am, it’s hard not to realize: This is a brutal situation for the Ukrainians. They are dying for NATO/Neocons. The MSM, Thomas K, and the CIA talking pointers describe the last year as failure for Russia in Ukraine. They seem to want Russia to get even more brutal like we did in many countries like Afghanistan. They ignore that we were bombing and warmongering in Afghanistan for 20 years and accomplished nothing. …What’s that? You disagree? Then, why did Afghanistan go Taliban as soon as we withdrew? …Ahh, we didn’t bomb them hard enough? We didn’t bomb Vietnam hard enough? Okay, you got me. I knew there was a simple explanation. (Sarcasm Alert)

    1. The last year has been a failure for Russia in Ukraine. That’s just a fact of reality. What you fantasize that I “want” is irrelevant to that. What I want is for Ukrainians and Russians to overthrow their regimes, replace them with nothing, and create anarchotopia. But I know that’s not going to happen. Hopefully some kind of peace can be reached. It would be reached more quickly if the US wasn’t pouring arms and ammunition into the conflict.

      If you think I ignored — or ever supported — the US war in Afghanistan, that thing you’re doing that you think is “thinking” isn’t. I was openly and vocally against it as soon as it seemed like a possibility.

      1. “What I want is for Ukrainians and Russians to overthrow their regimes, replace them with nothing, and create anarchotopia.” So our government provokes the war between Russia and Ukraine in order to expand NATO and your solution: overthrow their governments? Are we addicted to overthrowing other governments?

        1. I want your government to be overthrown, too.

          I’m unaware of any “we” that includes both you and me, unless the “we” is “commenters at”

          Unfortunately, most commenters here are non-anarchists, also known as “pro-war when I like the regime I expect to win.”

          1. Don’t be condescending. I doubt that you know more about this than I do.

            I’m actually anti-statist. However, that’s not the same as being an anarchist. We need a major human population reduction so that we can live tribally in small numbers.

            I don’t like the state either, but the problem is deeper than that. Civilization, caused or allowed by overpopulation is what causes war. By the time humans created states, war was already well-established.

      2. So, Russia has taken over about 20% of Ukraine, but your reality says that it’s a fact that last year was a failure for Russia in the war? Sure, Russia took a “soft” approach in its invasion and didn’t advance anywhere near as easily as it expected, but that doesn’t make the results a failure. The only thing that I can see that failed on Russia’s side is their intelligence: Russia apparently didn’t know that the Minsk agreement was a sham intended to give the U.S. time to arm Ukraine and train its military (I include NATO in “the U.S.,” because the U.S. is the main funder of it and basically controls it), so it encountered much stronger resistance than it expected.

        I think that Russia took the wrong approach to U.S. provocations by invading Ukraine, both because I’m anti-war, and because I think that everyone including Russia would have gotten a better result by trying other solutions like Russia working with China. But I think that saying that the first year of the war has been a failure for Russia considering what it wants is just U.S. propaganda.

        1. There’s no such thing as “my reality.” There’s just reality.

          11 months after announcing objectives, the Russian regime has achieved neither those announced objectives (“de-militarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine,” aka regime change) nor the more rational likely real objectives (securing Donetsk, Luhansk, and a land corridor connecting the two to Crimea).

          Several months into what would have been a two-week war if successful, the Russian regime had to move to “partial mobilization” of 300k new troops, and seems to be moving into another phase of that escalation. Why? Because so far what it’s been doing hasn’t achieved its objectives.

          Achieving your objectives is success. Not achieving them is failure.

  5. I f**king hate it because even provoked invaders deserve to eat sh*t and die slowly but a Russian victory is the only way this thing will end because the Russians are the only ones who even want it to end. Zelensky needs an endless war to justify his increasingly autocratic regime while surrounded by Nazis who will rip it to shreds the moment the Katyushas stop dropping and America just wants to bleed Russia dry in order to stall an inevitable Eurasian century. Putin is a d*ck, but he needs peace to hold on to power at this point. NATO makes everyone a lesser evil.

  6. It’s like the Little Rascals vs. the Red Army. “50 participating countries” all jabbering away at a base in Germany trying to scotch tape together a plan to defeat a unified and overwhelmingly superior force that’s relentlessly wiping out the Ukrainian military. But for the blood and gore it really is like an episode of The Little Rascals.

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