Ukraine and the West are facing a devastating defeat

T. Belman. Rarely, if ever, do we read such honesty in the western media. Having said that, the prospects for Ukraine are more dire than he suggests.

Col. D. Macgregor explains just h0w dire the situation is in this video.

The prospect of a failed counter-offensive and significant territorial concessions would only embolden Russia and China

By Robert Clark, DAILY TELEGRAPH      

Since Putin’s tanks crossed into Ukrainian territory last year, three options have been on the table for how this war would end: victory for one side or the other, a frozen conflict or a negotiated settlement. The public comments made this week by Oleksiy Arestovych, a former advisor to Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, appear to indicate the last may be more likely than previously thought.

Arestovych raised the prospect of Ukraine making territorial concessions in return for the rest of the country receiving the most cast-iron security guarantee there is: Nato membership. These comments have proved highly controversial. Not only would such an outcome be unpalatable to many in Kyiv and other European capitals, raising it as a possibility highlights a growing uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of the war – particularly amongst Ukraine’s western backers.

Arestovych’s suggestion comes at a crucial time. The long-planned counter-offensive, now in its second month, has run into several problems – not least that Kyiv is still waiting for approximately half of the western military equipment promised earlier in the year. Meanwhile, its forces are under increasing pressure to commit its reserves as Russian troops – despite reports of low morale across the front – remain dug-in, seemingly committed to defending every inch of Ukrainian ground captured since last year.

As Russian minefields take their toll on western-supplied tanks and Ukrainian sappers, their forces have so-far retaken approximately five miles of the sixty miles they need to split the land-bridge connecting Russia to Crimea. The land between Mariupol in the east and Melitopol to the west is seen as the vital ground to achieving this.

It is incredibly tough going for the Ukrainians. They lack the air cover and advanced jets to protect their ground forces from Russian attack helicopters and fighters. Their soldiers, meanwhile must negotiate miles of minefields, tank-traps and then ultimately the heavily dug Russian trench networks.

This gruelling endeavour was always going to take longer than the occasionally impatient international audience was prepared to wait for. It is a military effort of immense proportions, where mass, manpower, morale, equipment, stocks, logistics, grit and luck all play vital roles. So far, the Ukrainians are displaying all of these military qualities.

The variable that isn’t on their side is time. In war, time is perhaps the cruellest factor one cannot change. We saw this in NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban took great delight in the retelling of a famous Afghan proverb; ”you may have the watches, but we have the time”.

Summer will soon begin to roll into autumn. Indeed, we are already half-way through the season. The fighting will begin to grind to a cold halt as the freezing winter saps troops’ ability to conduct high-intensity warfare. This will only give Russia more time to further build up its defences, as it did last winter.

By this point in the West, meanwhile, all eyes will be on the upcoming US election, with more political attention diverted by the UK’s general election. Kyiv knows it has a shortened window of opportunity to capitalise on its battlefield initiative and take back as much ground as it can.

If Kyiv fails in its battlefield endeavours to split that land bridge, and retake much of its own territory by winter, then vocal calls of territorial concessions for marginal political outcomes will likely become far more prevalent – not just in Ukraine but likely from western capitals, as so-called “war-fatigue” begins to bite, international stockpiles of equipment and ammunition wither and politicians begin to worry about domestic budgets ahead of national elections.

While much fighting remains to be done across Ukraine’s southern farmlands over the coming months, governments across the west must be prepared for the grim prospect of territorial concessions as one potential political outcome of a failed counter-offensive. Whether a Putinist Kremlin would respect such a deal if Kyiv were to receive security pledges short of full Nato membership is extremely doubtful.

Regardless, this would surely be a favoured outcome for China’s ruling “wolf warrior” foreign policy elite. Beijing would be utterly delighted if the war were to end with Ukraine divided, Russian troops permanently in the Donbas harassing Kyiv and Europe, and Nato fractured on political lines. Such an outcome would be a gift to China as Xi Jinping begins to ramp up his own imperialistic and extra-territorial ambitions across the Indo-Pacific – and a devastating defeat for the West.

Robert Clark is the director of the Defence and Security Unit at Civitas. Prior to this he served in the British Army

July 24, 2023 | 9 Comments »

Leave a Reply

9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. UK Maj. Gen. Chapman describes the situation well.

    Russia continues to have a tremendous disadvantage in terms of morale and leadership, while struggling to defeat the entire West with an economy the size of Italy. These basic facts simply will not go away, while the situation on the ground continues to be a stalemate.

  2. @peloni1986

    You make so many well-stated points, which are hard to disagree with. When you say that the war needs to stop now, you are in good company. Trump has said so, and so has Viktor Orban. I respect your position. May I make a few counter-points?

    The problem that I see with the proposal of turning Ukraine into a central European pie where everybody gets their piece…

    I do not see it as a problem; I see it as a necessary part of a long-term solution. Stopping short of that may leave lingering regional antagonisms. Unfortunately, Russia and Belarus have just announced within the last few days, that they would not accept Polish annexation of western Ukraine, so there goes my pie theory.

    Either Russia completely conquers Ukraine, which is possible with a longer war, or the US gives up their hold on the proxy which they have developed, exploited and depopulated…

    I think that the west will try to hold on to its proxy until it becomes too much of a liability, politically or financially. With US elections looming large, the US may become anxious to unstick itself from the Ukrainian tar baby. Also since NATO is not in a position to go to war with Russia, I think we will see the west cut Ukraine loose sooner rather than later. Unless Ukraine sues for peace (and not just a ceasefire), I think Russia will roll all the way to the Polish border. It may not take long as there may be little resistance by that time.

    Recall that every third word coming out of a neocon’s mouth when speaking about Ukraine is ‘nukes’,

    Yes, this is the west’s ace in the hole. They have no other cards to play. If the Russians were dealing with sane rational adults, the war would be over by now, or would perhaps never have started, but that’s not where we are at. How do you deal with crazy people? How about by threatening them with other crazy people? Russian Defense Minister Shoigu has just visited North Korea. Everyone is wondering what he is doing there. I’m sure that he has legitimate business to conduct, but perhaps while he’s there he might suggest to his friends that they rattle the American’s cage a bit. I’m sure that they would love to do that. In any case, the nuke threat coming from the west is very worrying, but that is exactly what they want. Since they have nothing else to stop the Russians, they raise the threat of a nuclear exchange. It is a bluff, but you don’t bluff the Russians (or the Chinese). The bluff will be called. At that point it is entirely up to the west whether they launch or not, or perhaps the Russians will launch pre-emptively. Who knows?

    I don’t know what more to say. A curse on our house for letting such people take control of our government.

  3. @Raphael

    I wonder how much of the “old Ukraine” is worth saving…

    The problem that I see with the proposal of turning Ukraine into a central European pie where everybody gets their piece, is that it would require one of two outcomes. Either Russia completely conquers Ukraine, which is possible with a longer war, or the US gives up their hold on the proxy which they have developed, exploited and depopulated over the past decade. There are probably other scenarios which I have not considered here, but they would all require that the war go on rather than that it should end, and I really do believe it should end.

    In fact, I am hopeful that the war will end sooner rather than later. It is dangerous simply from the standpoint that the US neocons have no sense of discretion or restraint. Their willingness to jeopardize the wealth, health and stability of Germany and Central Europe by finally blowing up Nordstream was proof enough of this, but this is hardly the only example. With this in mind, it is best to end this war and keep them from doing the next most unthinkable thing they can think of doing. Recall that every third word coming out of a neocon’s mouth when speaking about Ukraine is ‘nukes’, which should be enough for everyone advocating the war to continue to take some pause while doing so.

    In addition to this, though of less import IMO, is the issue of Russia and Ukraine, the combatants themselves. Neither of these two countries want to continue this war. This was made evident towards the beginning of last year when the US and England collapsed the peace agreement being developed at the Istanbul negotiations. So, if the two parties are willing and able to strike a bargain which is satisfactory to their own interests, the war should be ended.

    Lastly, I would note that for the Rump Ukraine to be ripped into pieces, the continued period of war which would be necessary to accomplish this feat would see untold numbers of Ukrainian and Russians die. Of course, I wouldn’t say that their deaths would be pointless, because constraining the Galician controlled Rump would be a very important point, but the additional victims of this war would still be victimized, and the truth is that Ukraine has been the greatest victim of all in this war, as it lost its center and was overtaken by radicals in support of an American coup and proxy war against Russia.

    I do agree with you that there is much that can be gained by ridding the world of a nation so tolerant of Nazi’s and so easily manipulated towards killing their own people, but the significant risks and costs of seeing this task fulfilled seems too high to see it thru. Of course, these are just my own inflections such as they are.

  4. Amazing. He still doesn’t get it. Keeping NATO out is one of the two casus belli of the war! He’s not advocating peace but, rather, a ceasefire in which NATO can rearm for next time. And he wants to negotiate this from a loser’s position? Does he think the Russians are stupid? Is he?

  5. @peloni1986

    Ukraine must be allowed to end this war while there still remains a semblance of Ukraine with which to barter on behalf of their own future.

    I wonder how much of the “old Ukraine” is worth saving…Neo-na_ism, systemic corruption, oppression of ethnic minorities… It might be better to let all the ethnic areas (Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, yes, and even Polish) revert to their respective mother lands. That would leave a much smaller ethnic Ukrainian entity that would need to be perpetually dis-armed and neutral. Then, and only then might things in Eastern Europe become peaceful again. Hopefully NATO breaks up, but if not, it must at least withdraw from the Baltics and Finland, and amend its charter to say NO FURTHER EXPANSION.

  6. Mr. Clark is starting to “get it”, namely, that some sort of negotiated settlement, (with territorial concessions), will inevitably be arrived at, but he obviously still clings to the view that the evil Putin invaded the peace-loving nation of Ukraine (presumably) to re-establish the former Soviet empire. What Clark and the rest of the west still aren’t willing to admit is that it was they who (deliberately) precipitated this war. As such, meaningful negotiations cannot take place, and the eventual Russian victory is what will determine the end of the conflict.

    Now, about the Chinese, you don’t need crystal ball to know their position. They are watching closely as the war progresses. There is much for them to learn about the effectiveness of western weaponry, and how the west fights against a “real” adversary. They understand that the conflict in Ukraine is a proxy war, initiated by the west to bring down Russia, and to extend US hegemony. They, therefore, want Russia to win. The Chinese are also wise enough, however, to stay out of it. They have no need to become involved. The Russians are doing very well on their own. In the midst of the war, a huge opportunity has emerged for China to free itself, and the rest of the world, from the dollar-based economic system. This has the potential to make China stronger and America weaker. All of this, for the Chinese, is useful as they prepare to face the sabre-rattling US on their own doorstep.

    Perhaps the greatest lesson for the Chinese and for the rest of the world, (as if it wasn’t plain by now), is that the United States, and its sycophantic allies, are dangerous bullies, and that they are currently being run by rash, politically unsophisticated people who are drunk with power and who are out of control.

    At the moment, it looks like the Russians and the Chinese have the upper hand in their respective spheres. Let’s hope that they can resolve the current world situation and lead us into a more peaceful and secure future.

  7. When Ukraine launched its big counteroffensive this spring, Western military officials knew Kyiv didn’t have all the training or weapons—from shells to warplanes—that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But they hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day.
    They literally used the failed tactics of WWI to fight massive artillery superiority with sheer will power of infantry advances. No nation under its own control would subject their people to such abusive tactics while resisting calls for an end to the war. The Ukrainian people are simply an expendable commodity to their American masters whose gross indifference reveals their complete lack of regard for the lives they are consuming in pressing forward with this senselessly unwinnable war.

    Now Russia is targeting Odessa, and the Rump of Ukraine will soon become much much smaller, far less defensible, and even more dependent upon the corrupt West for their future. The cynicism which maintains this war, if left unchecked, will consume Ukraine entirely. Ukraine must be allowed to end this war while there still remains a semblance of Ukraine with which to barter on behalf of their own future.

  8. I always wonder how short human memories are: since 2014, Ukraine has been shelling and bombing its own citizens in the regions that are now those brand new republics recognized by Russia as soon as they were declared. Since Russia was prepared to protect those brand new republics, Ukraine has only intensified its efforts (for unknown reasons) to recover its whipping boys. The only other factor of interest is that the majority of citizens of the new republics are of Russian descent.