(Long) Last Stand opportunity for Ukraine

Have a look at this map:


or this 


There's a section of Ukraine in the far west that's protected by the Carpathian mountains and another section in the Southwest that's protected by

  • beaches that are unbelievably bad for an amphibious landing
  • a 4 km wide water obstacle (Dniestr river estuary)
  • a single 200 m bridge on an extremely narrow strip of land, which at some point appears to offer only about 30 m wide strip where a T-90 tank would not risk getting stuck

These are potential defensible last stand areas for Ukrainian defenders, with easy resupply and radar + electronic warfare support by NATO if need be. The West should now talk to the government of Moldova (also because of Lukashenko's map brain fart that indicated a planned push into Transnistria in Moldova).

Our purses are easily deep enough to convince them to allow NATO troops in Moldova to secure it against an incursion (at least outside of Transnistria). This would make a Russian right hook around that Dniestr estuary impossible.

It may be politically decisive for the future of Ukraine to keep fighting instead of surrendering.

- - - - -

BTW, allowing the Russians to cross a bridge (or maybe the dam) at the lower Dnjepr river was an unbelievable fuck-up by the Ukrainian military. 

Their Eastern forces will soon be toast if they don't hurry using the hydroelectric dams at Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia to withdraw to west of the Dnjepr. The Dnjepr line should be defensible for a while when the Cherson breakthrough gets cleared by some "Schlagen aus der Nachhand" counterattack.

You can easily look up all bridges and dams (which are de facto bridges that you shall not blow up) along the Dnjepr from Black Sea to Kyiv in Zoom Earth:


I'm not so terribly concerned about that huge convoy NW of Kyiv. The Russians attempted an Ardennes Offensive-level bet there. The area is swampy, marshy - the famous and huge Pripyet Swamps. It's no wonder they get stuck left and right of the road and thus got shot up on the road. There are too few roads in the area to support huge Russian forces logistically. The bombardment of Kyiv from the East (other side of Dnjepr than most of the city is located at) is soon going to be the main issue, not the attacks from the Northwest push.

Now if the Americans wanted to make a statement, then some B-2s could at night drop hundreds of Mk 83 bombs with JDAM kit along that road, but the American military is good only for beating up poor brown people and then withdrawing.

I very much hope that Putin's advisors/lackeys find a face-saving way for him out of the mess that falls short of taking the freedom of most Ukrainians away. Right now I'm not sure he's in the mood to accept such an offer. He may want to at least get a certain scalp first.



P.S.: This blog post was previously published for a few minutes in a version that had lost almost all lines. I have no idea what happened there.


  1. Is the upcoming Battle of Kyiv going to be decisive with Kyiv being the center of gravity of Ukraine?

    1. The question is whether the Ukrainians keep fighting, conventional or guerilla doesn't matter so much.

      A fall of Kyiv could means a death of Selenskyj and that might break the will to fight conventionally, but I doubt it will end the guerilla activities.

      I hope that Putin will be content with getting the Donezk and Luhansk Oblasts for good and killing or capturing Selenskyj and then withdraws as he did from Georgia.

    2. What war goals will he realize with such a decapitation strike? Any successor not appointed by Moscow will move heaven and earth to join EU and NATO.

      There's currently a debate in the EU about making Ukraine a member. This would trigger the mutual defence treaty of the EU and put us at war with Russia, which the EU outnumbers in everything but nukes and artillery two to one. If Ukraine is able to keep fighting in Kyiv for the next months, this might become a reality.
      So my guess is that Russia does want to occupy as soon as possible as much as possible of Ukraine to prevent it from becoming a EU member. NATO won't fight, because the Americans are afraid of nuclear escalation and China seeing an opportunity. A EU-Russia war is much less likely of going nuclear.

  2. >Last Stand opportunity for Ukraine
    Judging by how things are going with our blockheads. Hohols - on the Dnieper will arrange a great cosplay of the 1943 battles.

  3. Lost a whole post :(

    To sum it up. Great Russian coup the main in the lower Dnjepr, ****up by the Ukrainians there. What ended in disaster in the airport was rewarded here.

    Not much to add to NW; NE is easiest to reinforce and will become the center of Russian ground combat power; SE to remain fairly static. Biggest risk for the Ukrainians is the encirclement of the (south)eastern forces.

    The Russian success in the south seems to be a mix of better troop plus special forces, Ukrainian blunders and maybe weather. Troops must be spread very thin as they have pushed deepest, in two major prongs plus more minor ones. Have not seen much in terms of artillery fires. Looks heavy on helicopters plus there is of course the potential for landings.

    Odessa seems to be a harbor to far for now.

    Local Ukrainian counterattacks might reap great rewards, especially if the cloud cover holds.


    P.S: I suspect that most artillery fire on Mariupol comes from the east, doubt that the eastern prong of the Southern front has much ammo.

  4. Agree that even a fairly small holdout could be very important politically and morally for the Ukrainians.

    Overall I can not see how the Russians can hold large swaths of Ukraine without brutal losses compounded by an economic collapse. You have arguably the biggest economic bloc right behind the country you are invading. Support can flow easily and quickly into the it.

    Taking some southern areas quickly and without much bloodshed will have stunned military and popular resistance but that might be rekindled quickly by the rest of the country. It will be also a contest of willpower.


    P.S: It is just a sidenote but much of your writing has been very relevant so far for this conflict as well. Overall basic military knowledge seems to be sourly lacking at many levels of the media and politics. I'm surprised that the Western world is mostly surprised by the Ukrainian will to fight.

    1. The Ukrainians surprised themselves. IIRC pre-war I wasn't sure at all whether the initial invasion would be opposed much (and I didn't really expect it to happen because I routinely don't want to underestimate the intelligence of aggressors). It was clear all the time that Russia could not really keep Ukraine occupied, though. Too many people, too nationalistic, too many weapons, too much outside support, too large terrain, too long borders (with difficult terrain) and coastline to seal. Even stable puppet regime looked and looks unachievable.
      Moreover, remnant Ukraine would go West if Donbas was taken from it. The attack is stupid strategy.

  5. Not blowing the bridge near Kherson might have been a mistake militarily, but I tend to think that Ukrainians were simply not ready (mentally) to give up on eastern Ukraine. Blowing it would have prevented evacuating citizens or sending humanitarian aid. It is a tough choice, and I don't envy the people who have to make those choices. We will have to see how heavy the cost of this is going to be.