Ukraine is Losing, and Direct Intervention by the West Risks a Nuclear Conflict – So What Now?

E. Rowell:  While this article might on its face be criticized as mere Russian state propaganda, it is difficult to argue with the author’s substantive points.  Numerous American and international analysts have written essays or contributed video analysis that document and support the thesis made by the author;  the US and NATO under Joe Biden’s leadership has been checkmated.

As it seeks to minimize its own risks, the US-led bloc is about to hit a dead end.

By Sergey Poletaev, THE INTEL DROP     25 May 2024

FILE PHOTO ©  RIA Novosti / Sputnik

In our last article, we analyzed Kiev’s military prospects in light of its new mobilization law. Here we consider the West’s options in the proxy war it’s using the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) to fight.

Western officials have been talking about sending troops to Ukraine since the beginning of the year. French President Emmanuel Macron said that he is ready to consider “any scenario,” including a ground operation. Government officials in Estonia and Lithuania (including Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte) were quick to support him. And the Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries became the first US politician who didn’t exclude the possibility of sending troops.

Formally, Ukraine hasn’t requested Western troops – Kiev has only demanded more weapons. But now, the New York Times reports that Kiev has officially asked the US and NATO to send military instructors to train 150,000 recruits on its territory, closer to the front line. Though the US has refused to comply with the request, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Q. Brown Jr, has said that a NATO deployment of trainers appears inevitable, and that “we’ll get there eventually, over time.”

The subject of sending troops to Ukraine comes up quite often but, so far, Western countries have steered clear. Why? Is a full-fledged NATO intervention in Ukraine possible and what would happen if it took place? And how else might the West turn the course of the conflict in its favor?

A larger-than-life bet

Western doctrine in regard to Russia was defined even before the start of the full-scale conflict: the idea was to fight Russia “with the hands of” Ukraine and on Ukrainian territory. The goal was to force Russia to play by Western rules (ideally, by defeating it on the battlefield) and reassert the US-led bloc’s shaky global hegemony. But, at the same time, officials wanted to minimize their own risks and avoid being drawn into a direct military confrontation that could result in a nuclear war.

 The West is worried, that’s why Blinken made an urgent visit to Kiev

The second staple of this doctrine – a total trade war – has not yielded the desired results. In 2022, it became clear that the West overestimated the degree of its control not only over the international financial system, but even over its own financial flows. Despite certain losses and additional costs, Russia has been able to replace old trade ties with new ones and to do so with a minimal loss of revenue. The severe sanctions imposed by the West on its own companies turned out to be quite useless, since for the most part Russia continues to receive the latest Western products and technologies.

As for the idea of defeating Russia on the battlefield, the turning point occurred in the summer of 2023. After the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, it became clear that the AFU would not be able to impose peace on its own terms. The problem is that in the conflict with Russia, the West has gone ‘all in’ and any military outcome that could be regarded as beneficial for Moscow – even negotiations on an equal footing – would now be regarded as a defeat. The whole world would realize that they can stand up to the hegemon and not just avoid becoming an outcast, but even gain some benefits. The West cannot allow this, since it could cause a chain reaction on a global scale.

Two options

By the beginning of 2024, Western countries faced a dilemma: In the current proxy war it was clear that they were losing and Ukraine was getting weaker, while Russia was growing stronger. Western leaders realized that the situation will continue to get worse until the middle or end of 2025 – by which time their own military production should gain momentum and Moscow may begin to experience a shortage of volunteers at the front. In other words, the worst-case scenario meant that Russia would be able to conduct at least three more successful military campaigns (summer and winter ‘24, and summer ‘25) with superior military forces.

The logic of the conflict is pushing the West towards the choice that we wrote about back in May 2022 – either intervening directly and fighting Russia on its own, or starting serious negotiations with Russia on the topic of Ukraine’s NATO membership and, more broadly, security in Eastern Europe.

Paradoxically, though, the West has chosen a third option: doing nothing. And it’s not just because of inertia, but also down to the weakening position of globalist elites, who have many unsuccessful ‘crusades for democracy’ behind them, from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

As of now, the AFU is growing weaker, the scale of the hostilities is growing, and the chances of the West directly entering the war, with potentially catastrophic consequences, are increasing every day. In the fall of 2022, before the limited mobilization in Russia, 10-15 NATO brigades could have turned Ukraine’s notable but rather meaningless victories near Kharkov and Kherson into a strategic success – for example, they could’ve ensured a breakthrough to the Azov Sea and a subsequent blockade of Crimea – but now it would take a lot more effort to simply support the front.

Fooling the system

The reason for the West’s indecisiveness is clear: it fears an escalation of the conflict. Russia is the world’s largest nuclear power and President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that he will not tolerate a widespread NATO intervention, which will result in a nuclear war.

Moscow’s warnings have challenged Western countries, headed by the US, to find ways “to intervene without intervening” and to enable Ukraine to win (or at least save face) without directly defeating Russia. In short, Western countries are forced to walk the thin line between defeat and nuclear war, without a clear end goal in sight.

After the failure to cut open a land corridor to Crimea, the West has not been able to find an alternative military strategy. Moreover, it has no idea how to get out of the war of attrition which, even in the case of a positional deadlock and a ‘static’ front, will result in Ukraine’s defeat, since an opponent that is many times weaker (Ukraine’s current population is at least five times less than that of Russia) will inevitably lose. We see plenty of such examples in history.

In this situation, the only thing that Western strategists have managed to come up with is to continue supporting the AFU and “increase costs” for Russia in the hope that Putin will get tired of fighting. Of course, no one in the West takes Ukraine’s suffering into account. It takes for granted the fact that Ukrainians will continue to die en masse just so that the West can save face. Neither do they care about Ukraine’s demographic and social collapse (unprecedented in post-WWII Europe) or the destruction of its infrastructure, which will prevent not only a normal economy but even normal life in these territories for many decades. Such issues are simply ignored or considered collateral damage.

Read more

 Vladimir Zelensky: No mandate, no election. So what now?

The West may not explicitly state its strategy in regard to Russia, but it is clearly expressed in various publications and statements: the goal is to support the AFU at the front and at the same time move the conflict deeper into Russian territory in the hope that Putin will beg for mercy before Ukraine collapses.

It is unlikely that Western leaders still hope to see a victory for Kiev on the battlefield. The more likely goal now is either the “Korean scenario” where no one wins and Ukraine is kept as Russia’s opponent, or the “Palestinian scenario,” ie, eternal war on Ukraine’s former territory. What is clear is that the West will do anything it can to avoid holding serious negotiations with Russia.

War of the cities

Despite the growing escalation and the West’s increasing involvement in the conflict, one red line still exists: Ukraine is not allowed to hit Russia’s”old” territories – ie, those territories which the West recognizes as part of Russia – with Western missiles.

However, the ways in which Ukraine (with the West’s approval) circumvents this ban resemble the methods of an ingenious lawyer who finds the most unexpected loopholes in laws. For example, if “territory” is interpreted as “land” then air targets are not considered “territory” and Ukraine may hit air targets in internationally recognized Russian airspace; if a long-range drone has Western components and Western targeting, but was assembled in Ukraine, this also doesn’t count; and if Western weapons are used under a false flag (for example, by the Ukraine-based paramilitary group Russian Volunteer Corps) – this is fine, too. Of course, there are many such examples.

Why so? It is unknown whether any clear agreements regarding this issue exist but, in any case, Moscow has clearly stated that any obvious attacks on its “old” territories will allow Russia to retaliate and hit Western cities directly – not through proxies.

In military terms, the AFU will hardly benefit from such an escalation. Firstly, by resorting to such strikes, the Ukrainian army won’t change the strategic situation at the front, just as bombing Russia’s “new territories” and Crimea with all sorts of weapons hasn’t helped.

Secondly, the supply of Western missiles is not enough to overload Russian missile defense systems and achieve real military goals. Even though occasional missiles hit its territory, Moscow has adapted to the situation, takes measures to prevent future attacks, and carries out retaliatory strikes.

In other words, by striking Russian cities, (an unheard-of idea even in the most intense years of the Cold War), the West will not achieve anything but will only face increased risks and an escalation which it wishes to avoid.

However, it is possible that the desperate situation at the front and the need for some kind of propaganda success will sooner or later force the West to take such a step – and perhaps this may happen very soon. So far, this seems to be the most likely scenario that may lead to an escalation of the conflict beyond the zone of the Ukrainian “sandbox.”

Boots on the ground

And what about sending troops to Ukraine – will the West actually do it? This is unlikely. As pointed out already, in the past two years the scale of the conflict has changed and, in order to achieve success, NATO would now need to send dozens of brigades to Ukraine (at least 100,000-150,000 people), several hundred aircraft, and launch huge cruise missile attacks (hundreds of volleys per day).

Finally, even though such efforts might stabilize the situation at the front and save the AFU (supposing that the Kremlin does not declare a greater or even full mobilization in response), it would not guarantee Russia’s defeat but would only bring nuclear war closer.

In a direct intervention, NATO ground forces (just like Ukrainian ones today) will eventually face a shortage of ammunition and, in the air, NATO forces will suffer damage from Russian missile defense systems and will be exposed to attacks (currently, NATO reconnaissance operates over the Black Sea without any obstacles). Moreover, conflict with China also looms on the horizon and, if NATO empties its arsenals in Ukraine, China may either watch the situation unfold or offer Russia direct assistance.

As a result, NATO countries would find themselves in a positional conflict with heavy losses and unclear goals. Eventually, though, this may help to resolve the contradictions between Russia and the West, since, like a stubborn child, the US-led bloc may feel it has to try all means of resistance before giving in.

Read more

 Here’s why Russia’s Kharkov offensive is far more than just a military setback for Kiev

Another option for the West would be to move troops to Ukraine “symbolically”– for example, to send one or two brigades that would serve as instructors for AFU recruits (though it must be said that, two years into the war, the veterans on both sides of the front line are the ones who should teach the rest of the world, including NATO, how to fight), or just maintain aircraft.

Of course, it goes without saying that any third-country troops stationed in Ukraine will become a military target for Russia.


In conclusion, we may say that the Western doctrine – ie, the combination of a total trade war and a proxy war – has failed to bring about victory and has put its “client” (Ukraine) at risk of a major defeat. The West is still afraid to get directly involved in the conflict, even when it comes to striking “old” Russian territories or operating missile defense systems under its own flag, not to mention directly sending troops.

At the same time, the West avoids serious negotiations with Russia and prefers to go with the flow, consoling itself with the idea that Russia will eventually get burned by growing costs and retreat.

Meanwhile, Moscow is adapting to the situation, rebuilding its economy, trade relations, and society in order to live and successfully develop in the reality of a long conflict. The West’s strategy (or rather, the absence of such) has been clearly unsuccessful – especially considering the current level of involvement in the conflict, Ukraine may exhaust its forces long before Russia experiences any major inconvenience at the front.



May 28, 2024 | 30 Comments »

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30 Comments / 30 Comments

  1. @Adam

    On the other hand, Ukraine has achieved some success with rocket and drone attacks on Russian oil installations, arms depots, airfields, ships and other targets have begun to take a toll on Russia’s ability to wage war.

    Is it your opinion, or that of anyone here, that destroying Russia’s entire economy, which is hardly within Ukraine’s capacity to do, will result in Ukraine having more men or more arms with which to fight Russia? Indeed, Ukraine has demonstrated that it has a will to fight, but they lack the means to achieve victory, which is why SIGNIFICANT gains have been made by Russia since Ukraine expensed the Western goodies in its failed Summer offensive. Notably, the likelihood of Ukraine regaining a significant number of tanks and APCs in the number they had last year is remote, and yet it is irrelevant because they lack the munitions, replaceable artillery for those which are currently being consumed and have a finite number of men to fill the ranks which is so low that the troops now on the front are being held in place without relief.

    So as Ukraine harries the Russian people, the Russian oil stores or the Russian countryside, it will not provide the strategic advantage which Ukraine requires to prevent their ultimate collapse, ie vast increases in men and munitions to support Ukraine as it continues to give ground as it retreats further and further from their high tide mark.

    Ukraine is going to lose this war for the simple reason that it never had the means to win it, and they are now positioned with even greater disparity on the key assets which will bring certain victory for Russia, and that is a relatively endless number of men and a MIC which is entirely independent of the political whims of distant foreign powers, factors to which Ukraine has foolishly tied its fate in this quarrel which should have been avoided some years back. None of this is affected by whomever leads Russia’s military, which is perhaps why Putin feels at ease placing an economist in charge of the Russian forces rather than a military expert which he has had in place in recent years. Again, Putin’s motives, while they are obscure to us all, have no bearing on Ukraine’s disadvantages in this war which are not improving over time, but quite the contrary.

  2. I disagree with the headlines. Scaremongering.

    I do NOT believe that there are any conceivable circumstances at issue where nuclear weapons would be introduced…for the first time since 1945

  3. The military situation is more complex than this analysis. Yes, the Russians are moving forward with their spring offensive, and have taken some ground. On the other hand, Ukraine has achieved some success with rocket and drone attacks on Russian oil installations, arms depots, airfields, ships and other targets have begun to take a toll on Russia’s ability to wage war. The proof of this is Putin’s massive shake-up of the military command . Five generals and two colonels jailed for alleged corruption, the Minister of Defense fired, and according to rumors reaching the Western press, many other senior officers have been sacked as well. bvviusly, if Putin thinks the war was going well , there would not be all these dismissals and even arrests of senior army officers, Obviously, Putin believes that the the Russian military is failing in their mission and needs a complete leadership overhaul as a result,

  4. Or maybe it was primarily due to the history of Russia’s treatment of Ukrainians up to and including Stalin’s genocide.

    The switch to hating Russians happened after WWII, and accelerated after the fall of the Soviet Union.
    It was primarily due to the United States.

  5. I agree.

    Ukraine does not need feet on the ground, she needs weaponry but she is not receiving it. The West is working against Ukraine, the West is working against Israel.

  6. Bullshit. Not only is there racist hatred for Ukrainians, but there is also hatred for Jews by Russians.

    Even at this late stage there is not a racist hatred for Ukrainians coming from Russia.

  7. @Felix

    I never used the word echochamber

    Censorship is a divisive and imprudent tool when employed to win an argument, as you have suggested we should do. The consequence of such ill advised advice as you have suggested is the formation of an echochamber based around what thoughts you find acceptable after the public square is purged of such thoughts you find unacceptable. In any event, you should be well aware that I stand in the middle of the road on few topics, but I won’t censor your comments suggesting otherwise in any event. I hope my point is clear enough as to the use of the word echochamber and why censoring such as you have repeatedly advocated is not employed here on Israpundit.

    As Sebastien notes quite wisely, we need more voices discussing the events of the day, not fewer voices.

  8. @Sebastien
    I am of the same opinion as you. And to your point, there are far too few voices brave enough or engaging enough to share their thoughts. Hopefully, this will change with time.

  9. Peloni

    I never used the word echochamber

    Your position leaves Israpundit as a talking shop, Unable to take up a position on anything of consequence

    Those who sit in the middle of the road not maybe but WILL be run over

  10. @Peloni I think Israpundit is unique and precious. I wonder how many people look at it. There are so few commenters.

  11. @Felix

    You could not take action to cleanse this site.

    Israpundit is not an echochamber. Personally, I find such challenging conversations as I have had with those who are clearly obsessed with Russia to have been both instructive and beneficial. Indeed, an argument may not be won while using censorship to provide a voice to only those with whom we agree. Rather, it requires a thorough discussion employing logical analysis of pertinent facts with alternate views. Hence, views which challenge our own perspectives should not be silenced, but rather they should be welcomed and those who bring such perspectives should not be abused, but rather they should be applauded for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate that our own views, such as they are, are in fact fully defensible and soundly based, that is, if they actually are fully defensible and soundly based.

  12. Vivarto

    Actually I know a little about that because I got the book In the middle of civilized Europe

    It is about the massive Pogroms 1918 to 1921 in Ukraine

    So I agree

    But it doesn’t explain that deadly virus of Antisemitism Jewish Bolshevism

    Which was very deadly to Jews

    And only got stronger as class issues rose

    There’s an image of jesus carrying the cross, Jews as soldiers and Trotsky overlooking etc etc

    Mein Kamph is full of it

  13. @FelixQuigley
    Actually hatred of Poles and Jews was more important that of Russians.
    Bandera’s army assisted with extermination of over 1 million Jews and between 50k and 250k ethnic Poles.

    The switch to hating Russians happened after WWII, and accelerated after the fall of the Soviet Union.
    It was primarily due to the United States.

  14. Even at this late stage there is not a racist hatred for Ukrainians coming from Russia.

    But have people on Israpundit not realised there is deep Nazi Bandera hatred coming from those who rule this state since they took the power by means of that 2014 coup.

  15. At the centre of the ideology of Stepan Bandera was the ideology of hatred of Russia a Russia hatred which led straight to the Holocaust. Because it was the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941 which led yes straight to the Holocaust. I think it happens again. Zelensky wants it.

  16. Peloni

    Zelensky and his political ideology also has had a role to play. He adopted Bandera.

    He is a full Jew who adopted Bandera

    As far as Israpundit is concerned this ideology of hatred of Russia has been encouraged on Israpundit.

    Look at the people here who have never spoken a word

    Russia hatred which has also at the same time been a hatred of the working class revolution is part of capitalist ideology

    It became central to that ideology at the centre of Nazi Fascism. It led directly to the war against Russia and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan

    And to the Holocaust.

    You and ted fought this Russia hatred in words. You could not take action to cleanse this site. These people continued to remain and you have their ugly politics a platform.

    What use is an Israel if it is ravaged by Global conflagration.

    As a result you and Ted’s ac
    tions and lack of has led to these articles of these people. Which has left Israpundit bereft of a meaningful role.

    I mean how can you talk of defending Israel when this is coming round the corner. It is that serious.

    The situation with Zelensky is that serious.

  17. @Adam

    outright genocide in Ukraine

    There is no genocide taking place in Ukraine, not by either side.

  18. @Shmuel HaLevi

    The best they can do is to settle.

    This has been the reality for Ukraine since 2014 when the American coup set these things on their current course. Russia has made multiple efforts to settle with the West, and make no mistake that it is the West which are controlling Ukraine’s fate, which is why Ukraine will never settle, because as much as a million dead slavs, Russian and Ukrainian, would be considered only a good start for the Western psychopaths which are now leading Ukraine and Europe on the trainwreck it is now travelling.

  19. Is this not on your conscience

    A great many Ukrainian homes have lost their much loved children. Far more than that have had limbs blown off.

    You never think of this Laura

  20. Michael

    You lie

    You’re a bare faced liar

    “Putin insists that it was the Poles who started WWII, but to each his own opinion.”

    A total liar

  21. Hi, Adam

    The people who rationalizw Russia’s outright aggression and outright genocide in Ukraine remind of those Germans, and others, who accepted at face value that “World Jewry” was responsible for the second world war,

    Putin insists that it was the Poles who started WWII, but to each his own opinion. For over two years now, I’ve been seeing one Putin apologist after another, insisting that Russia had already won. With Vladimir’s latest “big push” now reeling back, like those before it, here we go again with the propaganda.

  22. Adam Dalgliesh

    Are you on some kind of dope

    Putin’s naked and vicious agreession against the Ukrainian people,

    All right smart guy. Answer this

    What was the coup in February 2014 about?

    What caused the change of government?

    We’ll see if you answer so called democratic person

  23. A great many Ukrainian homes have lost their much loved children. Far more than that have had limbs blown off. So clear when you know the story of the history of this, which is granted not easy, that this did not have to happen. There’s a moral and a lesson in there somewhere. The Ukrainian leaders plus Neocons were Nazis. They had to be defeated but Putin is not a Marxist much less Leninist so we have today.

    Why do you people not take on this Laura?

  24. The people who rationalizw Russia’s outright aggression and outright genocide in Ukraine remind of those Germans, and others, who accepted at face value that “World Jewry” was responsible for the second world war, that they deserved to be exterminated as a blessing to all manakind, the Churchill was a warmonger responsible for the outbreak of Wirkd War II, that Germany was responding when it invaded Poland to a Polish attack, that Hitler invaded Soviet Russia because Staln was about to launch an invasion of Germany, requiring Germany to preempt. that Germany really needed East European territory as living space for its people, because was th eonly way of blockading Germany and denying it food whenever the British warmongers wanted to demand conessions or resources from Germany. And by the way, Youtube is crowded with web sites by neo-Nazi sympathizers making all of these claims, even eithy years after World War II ended,

    Those who justify Putin’s naked and vicious agreession against the Ukrainian people, his military’s deliberate bombing housing, estates inhabited by civilians, his soldiers orgy of rape, pillage and murde rin the places they have occupied have misread what is actualoly going on in Ukraine, much as the people who believed the Nazis lies in World War II did.

  25. E. Rowell: “While this article might on its face be criticized as mere Russian state propaganda…” Yes, RT is a Russian state propaganda. “…we may say that the Western doctrine… has failed to bring about victory.” Why does the author think that the Western goal was/is to bring victory? According to globalists’ “2030 World Reset” or “Great Reset” plan the wars should be extended. Ukraine does not need feet on the ground, she needs weaponry but she is not receiving it. The West is working against Ukraine, the West is working against Israel. After the Covid plandemic next step of the plan is WWIII.

  26. Since quite a while back the Ukrainians fate was sealed. The best they can do is to settle.

    Are you sure about that?

    The Russian army has already conducted 99 offensive and assault operations at the front since the beginning of the day. The largest number of combat engagements was recorded in the Kupianske, Pokrovsk and Kurakhove directions, reports the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

    “The Ukrainian defense forces are taking all necessary measures to deplete the offensive potential of Russian troops, beating the enemy and destroying its equipment,” the General Staff emphasized.

    Situation on the frontlines

    In the Kharkiv direction, the occupants continue to conduct assault operations. Ukrainian troops successfully repelled six enemy attacks, four are still ongoing.

    In the Kupiansk sector, the Russians continue to put pressure on the defensive lines of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They are unsuccessfully trying to improve their tactical position in the areas of Myasozharivka and Novoyehorivka. In total, they increased the number of assault operations in this area to 14. Half of them were successfully repelled by the Defense Forces, and seven are still ongoing.
    In the Lyman direction, the enemy conducted five attacks over the last day, one of which is still ongoing.

    In the Siversk direction, the occupants continue to attempt to storm the positions of Ukrainian defenders near Bilohorivka and Verkhnekamianske. The number of combat engagements has increased to nine since the beginning of the day. Four attacks were successfully repelled by our troops, five are still ongoing.

    In the Kramatorsk direction, Russian troops continue to conduct assault operations near Klishchiivka, Novyi, Ivanivske and Andriivka. Since the beginning of the day, 11 combat engagements have already taken place here, one of which is still ongoing.

    The Pokrovsk direction remains the hottest spot along the entire front line, the General Staff notes. The number of enemy attacks here has increased to 23 so far.

    The occupants are trying to push through the Ukrainian defense with the support of attack aircraft. Ukrainian soldiers are holding their lines and inflicting significant losses on the enemy. The Ukrainian Armed Forces successfully destroyed a Su-25 in this area today.

    The number of combat engagements in the Kurakhove direction increased to 14. Eight enemy attacks were repelled, four are still ongoing.

    In the Orikhivsk direction, the enemy tried three times to conduct assault operations near Robotyne and Novoandriivka. They were unsuccessful.

    In the Prydniprovskyi direction, on the bridgeheads on the left bank of the Dnipro, the occupiers increased the number of attacks to nine, but as before, all these attempts to push the Ukrainian Armed Forces units in the Krynky area were in vain.

    The situation has not changed significantly in other areas, the General Staff added.

    Earlier, the General Staff stated that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are keeping Russian troops under strict fire control and depleting their potential.

  27. Since quite a while back the Ukrainians fate was sealed. The best they can do is to settle.