Ukraine VIII: Bold Strategies and High Stakes


  • Situation in Severodonetsk
  • HUGE numbers of troops from both sides
  • Artillery war
  • “Road of life” from Bakhmut to Severodonetsk has 1km clearance from Popansa salient and has been a huge fight -- if it goes down, UKR at risk of losing >10k troops in that pocket
  • Ammo situation
  • Ukraine out of Soviet ammo; now fully on NATO
  • 100% dependent on Western shipments 
  • Would have literally run out of ammo without that support -- possible insight into why Russia thought it could win Donbass
  • UKR National Guard troops who are basically there to eat shells and prevent a breakout are losing morale
  • Russia has blown up the bridge between Severdonetsk and Lysychansk -- this is a major problem for the troops in Severodonetsk, but they could in theory make a river crossing
  • “US General says Elon Musk’s Starlink has totally destroyed Russia’s information campaign” 
  • UKR seriously needs more heavy guns -- especially artillery. Losing 100-200 troops/day (to death; likely 500/day to wounds), mostly to artillery


Game’s far from over, as it turns out. Ukraine could totally win, Russia could totally win.

My past assessments didn’t take ammo into account. Turns out the Russians just have a ton of old ammo they’re willing to use indiscriminately. Ukrainians are low on it.

Ukraine has the will and skill and people to win if it’s supplied.

The crazy situation and bold strategy in East Donbass

Zelensky correctly called that Russia was so obsessed with getting a symbolic victory in completing the “liberation” of the Luhansk oblast, that it would pour everything into urban warfare to pull it off. Putin has his own obsessions, but also has to demonstrate progress on the current stated aims of the war -- liberation of those two provinces. So they’re throwing everything they can at Severodonetsk.

Russia is not good at urban warfare. Most assaults, everywhere, are getting repelled (and when that happens, it means Russia lost a lot of troops, stuff). 

BUT -- and big BUT here -- Ukraine is out of Soviet ammo. Which means a whole shitload of their artillery just went silent. Fully dependent on NATO sending even more, which seems to be a slow thing. And would love to have heavy armor, but NATO is against it. Ukraine has to do an artillery duel with a massive (at least 10:1) disadvantage, trying to use superior intelligence and western radar to precision-target Russian artillery and take it out, bit by bit. Long work, lots of ammo. Need more ammo. 

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