The end?

I don't think I can post much of what angry General Sneaky just wrote. I'll edit and paraphrase. He's at the NATO summit for those that didn't know.

"It was back in the days of the Afghan War I last had a lot of contact with the US Military, also a couple of small exercises, but those I do not count.
Back then it was European Generals that ambled about like kids thinking they were in a candy store, and the US Generals walked about meaning business.

Now, it is completely reversed, the gritty 10-mile stare ones with their hands never far from personal sidearms even though in the midle of a military base, and with personal guards hovering about keeping people away, are the Euro-generals.
Almost all token-Generals have been to Ukraine, and quite a few have been visiting the frontlines, some even partaken in battle.

All of them, even the ones that haven't been yet, know that we are heading towards a war.
And, there is a large divide, growing by the day.
We the Euros huddle together and talk about bodybag stockpiles, while the US ones huddle talking about parades and icecream machines."

Then a bunch of stuff about the muricans thinking they'll easy beat China in a naval war. Euro incredulity. Murican politicos talking about ceding land and appeasing Russia, Euros saying "Over our dead bodies" kind of thing.

He's grumpy that the US ias at peace, while we ain't, basically. And they have ice cream machines.

Poland is now flying AD missions and air policing over western Ukraine (after the kids' hospitals). Another strategic triumph for the Putins.

"China in Belarus
I for one is not surprised about a couple of hundred Chinese soldiers being there to exercise with their Belarusian counterparts.
EU is after all sniffing China in the ass over in Kazakhstan.
It is just a bit t*t-for-tat, and when Russia is defeated we will liberate Belarus and instate the duly elected President there.

What I found interesting is that China needed Russia to fly them there.
Apparently they are lacking big transport aircraft with that range, which is truly weird.

North Korea in Russia
This one is more serious, but so far it is only 700 soldiers that have materialised, or about half a days worth of soldiers on the Russian side.
It is as I expected mostly a symbolic thing in the greater scheme of things.

The logistics aren't just there for North Korea to send a lot of troops.
Using aircraft and trains they could perhaps send 1 000 a day tops, but that would be shortlived as Kim quickly realises that he would be out of troops fairly quickly.
And such numbers would effectively trigger us going in.

EU - Georgia
We all know that the Russian party Georgian Dream made a "Foreign Agent" law, requiring each organisation that receives more than 20 percent as a Foreign Agent Organisation.
EU didn't take lightly on that, and pulled government support and sanctioned the leaders of said party.
As such it was a very hard response from EU on one of their own membership applicant countries.

Previously EU was lax about things, not so much now.
It was directly velvet glove off and steel hand punch.

Next there was a declaration that EU would aid in replacing the current government and that to make it possible EU would take the 10 billion Euro allocated for Georgia and spend it all other political parties and NGO's in Georgia.
By doing that they are pretty much making half of Georgia a Foreign Agent Organisation, a somewhat humorous way to say **** You.

If you ever looked for a sign that EU is changing into a superpower, you have it here.
If EU does not like, it will change things, even if it is in another country.
Not a bad start for Kaja Kallas to her Foreign Minister Post, straight for changing out a government.

Russia - Deep Font
What is now clear is that there will be no peace.
Yesterdays 40 missiles was Russias answer to their demands being turned down.
And, Ukraine is not about to give up, nor is Europe.

Ukraine has for a year had the goal of being able to strike back harder than Russia for each civilian attack.
The outspoken goal was to be able to field a 1:10 ratio visavi Russia in retribution.

I guess you have seen videos of missiles and drones raining down over Kursk City, Bilhorod City, Voronezh, Samara, Rostov, and so on and so forth.
400 of them at 20 per hour in a constant hail.
This has been supplemented by longrange artillery against Bilhorod.

All targets was obviously military.
But, with temperatures ranging near 40C and it being dry as eff...
Buildings cought fire, and in some areas the fires are spreading taking out entire blocks.
An unfortunate side-effect, but Russia pulled this on themselves.

Now time to go and do something, and then it is time for the dinner and handshake.
I think I will have an icecream before, okay... I am jealous about those blasted icecream machines :) "
I'm given to understand that, in some sort or re-run of Xi's visit, the Putins managed to **** off Modi and he has effed off back to India early.
As Sneaky is shaking hands with Biden today, I don't know where this snippet came from yet.

Edit ... just received more missives, including this explanation...

Turns out that Modi of India was so frank with "Putin", both in private and during the press conference, that he was asked to leave Russia.
He strongly condemned the killing of children, accused Russia of not having humanity, declared that Russia was losing the war and becoming an embarrasment to itself.

And then he ordered Russia to send all Indian mercenaries packing back home, declaring that Russia would not get to sell any more oil if it didn't do as told.
And, Russia want to sell their oil, even though they are getting paid in Rupee's that they can only use in India.

Modi flew home one day early, he got to say what he wanted.
And, for once someone stated the blooming obvious into the face of Putin..."
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I have been criticised on here as hysterical about this war escalating.
Some of the posts, lately, suggest that a European war is almost a foregone conclusion.
And we are still buying Russian oil?
A bit of a summit summary/insight. Btw, he says that after shaking the president's hand he can confirm that he is largely "absent". Apparently the recent deterioration has been rapid ... and a source of great concern amongst the murican side. Anyway, there is plenty about that on the news.

"NATO Summit Results
First thing I should point out, Ukraine was not intended to become the center of attention, but that charming forcefull b***r known as Zelenzkyy made it happen anyway.
Instead these events are mainly about the Alliance itself, and how it forms policy for the defense of its members in the years to come.

It is also a meeting for politicing and compromises, and it has very little to do with how wars are fought, hence why I state that we are all token-generals here to be shown up, the politician with the most ferrocous general wins Kudos infront of the others sort of thing.
I do not know if I won that particular competition, but I was far from last at least, I had stiff competition by a Finn and a Pole (lovely chaps).

I have been grumpy in the last few days, partially because of what happened with the hospitals, partially about my disdain for politicing (even though I know it is needed), and my general schock about the state of the US and The Divide.
But things did turn out in the right direction, and my glumness was somewhat put to the shame.

Normally these events are all about what the US decides, at best they listen a little and make adjustments to humour Europe, but that is about it.
And that is how the first day started, US lording it without honestly knowing what is needed right now.
Second day was the day of pushbacks.

I have never heard so many politicians be so straightforward and demanding.
The day did not start well for the US on key NATO issues, and then it lost the Usage of Weapons arguments both from Europe and from Within.

The US Congress Leaders unanimuously supported Ukraine using US Arms against Russia as they see fit.
And with that in Zelenzkyy's bag, and Euros screaming at Blinken and Kirby, policy changed in a day.
In the end US needed a happy unanimuous meeting without decent.
And, to top it off...

Macron arrived late, extremely late.
He had sent a list of items to be decided or he would not come.
In the end he threatened mid flight to go to Quebec instead to fish.
That broke the back of any remaining US resistance, without everyone attending no final document can be signed.
No document would be a huge loss for the US on an election year.

Going to war was never an item to be discussed, it is not truly a NATO item at this point.
It is something that EU is prepping for, and that US is not **** bothered with, so why even debate it.
But, there was other key issues that needed to be handled.

No, the important parts was 3-fold.
First it was about making the US to understand that from now on NATO is a shared command.
Second part was an article in the Summit declaration that we truly wanted from a EURO-perspective, I will return to that one...
Third, that US should not use NATO as a forum to attempt to force members to follow their rules of engagement and weapons usage.

First was partially achieved, this is a battle that will continue later on.
US got to keap the Commander Allied Forces for now, but there was deep changes in the council giving more power to Euro-members.
Sort of a compromise, but a compromise forward.

The third part was also a compromise, basically US caved here, it must from now on be made very clear that any step of the US line is not a NATO Decission, basically from now on it is up to the member state to decide over its own weapons and how they are used and where.
Sort of a compromise forward.

Then we come to Article 13 of the Declaration.
It was the biggie for EU + Friends.
From now on hybrid warfare and sabotage by a country or hostile actor will be covered by Article 4 and Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.

One would think that this would not be an issue, but the US didn't even see the point of it.
But, against a united Europe on this they caved fast enough, after all they got shown evidence of how our infrastructure and arms factories are getting attacked.
Full victory on this for Europe.

Now, the Mammut in the corner bleeting forlornly...
In other words, China.
The US wanted quite a bit in regards of China, they wanted it up on the list of main threats and a clear Article about how NATO will counter China.

The US got a partial win on this.
It was somewhat watered out, threat became adversary, and there was a liberal sprinkling of "longterm" over it.
And, EU via the Baltics deftly suggested and got implemented a part about opening a NATO Office in Japan, that was popular among the USians.

In the end it was a lot of compromise, but I will state that the Politicos did a good job at mending the rift, and turn things into a more balanced longterm NATO-structure on more equal terms.

It is also more and more clear that NATO will remain as a force, regardless of the S.P.E.C.T.R.E of Trump.
Quite simply, if that happens EU + Friends will just assume the US role and continue, alone if needed, but most likely until the US get their **** together in the end.
To everyones surprise I actually believe that the US will sort the **** out in the end and that things will end up well, it might take a while, it might be very hard, but I am sure that it will happen, the US is after all very good at getting **** together in the end.

Problem is really not the US.
US got to much influence due to Europe and EU not doing enough, and quite frankly not pulling its part.
Now we are slowly getting their with a lot of grunting and hard work, and that should be reflected in the influence part.

Note here that EU wanted a mandatory 2.5 percent defense spending, but it was the US that put the break on that even though they spend 3+ percent.
It sort of shows how things have changed.
EU will though mandate that soon enough.

Anyway, I will have some more icecream after influencing Article 13 of the Summit Declaration, I spent time before to influence EU Politicos on it, so I deserve an icecream as I pack up and get ready to go home later in the evening."

As he put it to me this morning...

"Articles 13 and 15, were the important ones for us. We had to give the US something. Hence the China part".
Airports. long flights and sleep deprivation do this to you

"It is not well known that the former Deputy Defense Minister of Russia, Tatiana Shevtsova, packed a private plane with 1.2 billion dollars and a few well selected files, and went flying in June.
She left Russia the day after she was dismissed, fearing that she would be either arrested or defenestrated.
Something that she was well advised to believe since all of her former colleagues have by now suffered this fate.

Shevtsova was the 13th richest Siloviki in all of Russia, and had gathered a huge fortune from all the bribes she got from being the one controlling all of the payments from the Defense Ministry.
You can steal or take a lot of bribes in Russia in that position, and she sat from 2010 until 2024... so yeah, stinking rich.

During her time she bought properties and companies across the globe, many of them in France.
So, as she fled from a cell or a window on a circuituous routing, it was in France her final destination was.
On arrival she walked over to immigration and stated her name, title and that she was seeking asylum.

And before she even got to stating "Je suis un saloup de fromage" she had been spirited away Direction du Renseigment Militaire (DRM) to a little castle outside of Paris, whereat she has been questioned for hours each day.

With the prospect of walking out a free and fabulously wealthy woman in a country filled with cheese and wine, covered by a new identity, she is squeeling like a pig with a purdy mouth, it is pure Deliverance.

In this day and age military secrets is hard to keep, so much so that there basically are none.
Some bright chap will figure out the most astounding things and bleet it on internet somewhere, and your secret is all of a sudden public knowledge.

If you are lucky, you get to keep it at least a few months, or it is an estimate that is close enough to be working and usefull,
So, mostly it is confirmation of things that is sought nowadays in these debriefings.
Shevtsova is by for not the only one to have defected, but she is to date the highest ranking one, and her position makes it somewhat doubtful that anyone with more knowledge will ever defect from Russia.
She is the Mother Confessor of Confirmation.

And the frenchies are happily sharing things as they come out, at least a lot of it.
I will leave out the more piquant and salubrious details of the the last 100 days of Salo, and instead stick to what might be the most important metric in this war.
That Russia is dissappearing.
Quite literally.

Throughout the war Ukraine have spent a lot of resources on counting everything from destroyed electric scooters to corpses.
That have been presented on a daily basis, and as you know, nobody believe the figures.
Instead people go with Open Source Intelligence (OSInt), or western provided estimates.

Fair, normally both sides in a conflict are lying through their arses, exaggerating numbers wildly.
Russia for instance claim that they have downed 5 times as many airplanes than Ukraine ever had in its inventory.

But, Ukraine figured out that some bright chap would in the end get satelite images, compare those, and fling any such histrionics in their face and use it against them, and with ample evidence to boot.
So, doing the real numbers anyway for their own use, they decided to hand out the daily fairly accurate numbers for Russia, and keep their own lossrate secret.

Obviously there are faults in those numbers, how do you count an atomised Russian constituting X kg of ground beef? How do you count if there are 2 or 3 tanks in a spot when all of it is wrangled pile of metal? How do you count dead Russians that die on an operating table in Rostov?
The answer is that you don't.
On tanks you do as good a guess as you can and move on, and for the operationally dead Russians you just don't count them.

What I am trying to say is that there are percentual ambiguities in the Ukrainian numbers, for tanks it is +/- 8 percent.
But, with several weapons classes it would somewhat even out in between the classes.
For humans... not so much, it is therefore just an estimate for the real number, but more of a conservative one.

Let us stick to humans.
Officially there are 143 million Russians according to the latest published pre-war demographics study of Russia.
It has a tremendously bad shape, with less than 1 million males in the age between 20 and 35, and well above 1 million for 35 to 50 year old males.
Each year the population in Russia has been dropping with about 1 million per year up to the war, but with child births having dropped to the lowest number on the planet, that is more like 1.5 million less Russians per year nowadays, but let us use the lower estimate.

This leaves us with 140 million Russians now.
A very respectable number indeed.
There should be 70 million males in Russia, and 30 million of those should be in the 20-50 bracket.
So, 30 million in the general pool of what Russia is drawing soldiers from.

Now, let us start to deduct males from that number to see how big Russias problem really is.
Let us start with the largest group, war refugees.
These are consisting of well educated Russians that had the means to leave Russia to avoid the war for various reasons.
Migrations data is in almost all countries available, especially if you lean on the local authorities a bit.
There are also volunteer organisations counting them.

A fairly accurate estimate is that 3 million males left Russia to avoid the frontline, and or persecution.
Note that these are the same ones that Russia would have wanted to keep at all cost, well educated driven people in child producing age, basically the pillar of any society.
Let us estimate that half of them are married with kids, and that they brought out their families.
That leaves us with a whopping 7.5 million that has left Russia, giving Russia new net population of 133 million, and those 3 million missing kids are truly whacking the population pyramid.

Now we are down to 27 million males.
Still a very respectable number.
Now we get to the second largest group, that is the Siloviki that are permanently excluded from the front, there's 2 million of those in this age bracket of males, so 25 million left.

Now we get to the dead and wounded.
I have previously stated that you take the kill-number of 556 000 Ivans and add a number of 2.3 times that on top and you get it, that would leave 1 834 000 and change killed and wounded.
A number that did not reconcile with the official number of Russian soldiers that have ended up in the army, and the remaining fairly confirmed number of Russian soldiers on the battlefield in Ukraine.

And it is here that Shevtsova paid off, because she came with the real numbers, and as it turns out, any Western estimate of the number of Russian soldiers cycled through was wildly off since it was mainly based on official Russian figures.
Problem was that those was kept low to avoid public Russian outrage.
As it turns out they have gone much harder than anyone expected.

Let us go through the numbers from the beginning of the war until June.
The initial Russian Army was 300 000 men, plus another 150 000 in air force and the navy.
So, 450 000 in total.
Note, "Russian Army", that as it turns out was just half the story.
They had also pressganged Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea into 3 separate Republics Armies, numbering 500 000, also used in the initial 3 months of attack.
So, let us put 950 000 in memory.

Then Russia did their mobiking, and it is here we have had the largest grey number.
Russia claimed 300 000, Ukraine believed it was between 500 000-700 000, the real number was 1 000 000 mobiks.
Already here we have a surplus of Russians by around 120 000 compared to Ukrainian lossrate statistics.

Now, let us go into contracted volunteers.
Throughout the war Russia has on average gotten 40 000 new volunteers per month by giving good salaries and sign on bonuses for being in Russia.
This account for 1 100 000 Russians on contracts.

To this we need to add 220 000 Conscripts never intended for the frontline, but that ended up there anyway, that is roughly half of them.
And, 100 000 prisoners.

Total tally of Russians going into the meatgrinder is a staggering 3 370 000 Russian males.
Let us now deduct 1 830 000 wounded and killed, and that leaves us with 1 540 000 Russians.
Currently there are somewhere between 650 000 and 750 000 Russians in total in Ukraine, so the number does not add up.

The answer to that paradox lies in two things.
Up until December Russia released soldiers as their contracts ended up, and those with handicapping wounds was let go, from January onwards the only way out of the Russian Army is to die.
If you are wounded and can crawl, you are sent back, something that we have ample video evidence about.

This is starting to skewer the KIA/WIA ratio quite a bit now.
Anyway, if we deduct the wounded and ended contracts we are left with something like 1 000 000 that should be there now.
But they are not.
We do know reliably the amount that came out disabled prior to December 2023, so there is no dark number in the wounded.
I think it is time that we start counting newly dug war graves.
Because I think that the grey number are those that died in transport or on the operating table.

And it is here that Shevtsova paid off, her number in June was 790 000 dead, purely staggering really.
And, if we add on top wounded disabled etcetera, we get another 1.5 million Russians that are out of the population statistics.
23.5 million Russians of suitable gender and age left.

Now we end up with questions...
How many are there that is hiding internally in Russia from being mobilised?
One such number is 2 million, but not even Russia is sure.
But let us assume that it is correct.
21.5 million left.

How many are working directly in the wartime economy?
How many are in essential services like trains and the airline industry?
How many in essential industries?
All we can say is that Russia is in trouble from the perspective of demographics and working age population now.
And no wonder, more than 1/4er is gone from this vital part of the demographics.

And this is something that we see in the troubles that Russia is now facing in regards of getting enough manpower for the meatgrinder.
How are they trying to fix that?

Salaries & Bonuses
I will do this in dollars since for some weird reason Russians themselves are counting in that particular currency.

The lowest salary you get if you sign a contract is 2 100 USD, that is for a basic grunt with no skills, if you know things that goes up quickly, but let us stick to Ivan Gruntovich, because that is the largest group by far.
The average salary in Russia is 450USD, it is around 700USD in Moscow and St Pete's, and out in the boondocks of Russia it is 250USD.
In other words, 2 100USD per month is a hefty amount of ka-ching, especially for the poorest of Russians.

On top of that Russia paid at the beginning of the war a cash bonus in hand of 1 500USD, boom straight in hand or on your account.
This part has gone up considerably over time, most districts now pay out 15 000USD in cash, and the record is a whopping 16 500USD (Moscow).
And still the numbers of volunteers are dropping, from the average it is now down to 20 000 soldiers per month.

This is in part fueled by the arms industry paying much higher wages to compete, driving up average salaries in other industries, and this is causing inflation in turn.

Now there is a new bonus.
A bonus of 1 000USD if you can convince someone to sign on.
So, if your son is going, the mother/father can get a cash bonus for their soon to be dead kid.
Or, any odd friend can get vodka cash for following his drinking buddy.
Or why not a loving wife selling her husband for an extra cash bonus?
And now that bonus is about to be raised to 2 000USD.

From a Russian perspective, getting 18 500USD in bonuses, plus a steady income of 2 100USD as long as he is alive, and then 500USD per month in cash for the Wife/Children...
That is a heck of a lot for an Ivan Gruntovich living on 250USD per month in rural Russia.

But now even that is not enough.
Russia has grown out of willing Ivans who's life is **** enough to take that pile of cash.
Now the remaining ones are fairly well paid, actually loved by their relatives, and that knows that he ain't coming back if he goes in.
The equation is just no longer there."
Even General Sneaky thinks this is all too weird to make sense of. Who knows what's going on...but something is.

"It was a nice day on the beach, the idea was to go outside of the City to camp, but it is just to damn warm to be far away from cool things to drink.
For an old salty dog like me it is somewhat weird how far technology has taken us.
Nowadays a generalcan sit on a beach leading a battle on the other side of the country while drinking iced kvass.
It somehow feels ridiculous :)

But, if you can manage to hold the battle map in your head, and have a good radio set, it is eminently possible on a warm day with a nice breeze from the ocean.

Oh god how you guys must hate me harping numbers by now.
But, a war is mostly numbers applied on a numerical area to achieve numerical effects.

In the last 60 days Russia has lost 1 167 soldiers on average each day, or 70 000 in total.
This is the KIA number, if we would include the WIA it is higher, but since Russia is now sending back their troops to the frontline directly from the hospitals, WIA has lost any real meaning in this war.
This means that Russia is loosing KIA-style 35 000 men each month, and struggle to achieve 20 000 new soldiers per month, we have a deficit of above 15 000 each month.

This is obviously creating huge problems for the Russian side over time.
Yesterday Beach General (Tank Girl) achieved liberating a border villagenamed Sotnyt'skyi Kozachok west of the Liptsy Boob (the one with Hlybkove).
Now, try to type that out of memory after a couple of drinks... I didn't manage, General Laughingatme did it.
It was a solitary intrusion, but since the village is flat like a pancake against the Russian border it was hard to cut the logistics to it.

Anyway, due to lack of reinforcements and a fairly substantial amount of drones attacking vehicles along the country road on the Russian side it was finally cleared.
As such things go it was a nice victory.

As I was slowly snoozing off on the beach to the background drone of seagulls stealing sausages from crying children and TG mumbling in her headset, a couple F-16s flew across the beach going places, they did a cheeky roll as they passed and everyone screamed straight out into the air while waving...
Let us just say that a party broke out and leave it at that.

Yesterday a third train arrived with DM-46 towed howitzers of the 130mm persuasion.
I was wrong, it was build in the early 1950s, before Russia abandoned 130mm for the new version of the 152mm.
It did replace an older 130mm version using the same shell.
The difference is a longer barrel compared to the one Stalin stopped in 1942.

It is though a very good sign seeing that they are now relying on this one, after all they have not produced any such shells since 1970.
It speaks volumes about their shell hunger that they are bringing only these ones out now.
It is most likely also a sign of them almost having run out of more modern 122mm and 152mm systems, or ran out of replacement barrels for those.

Another option is that they have obtained a store of North Korean shells for them, Russia dumped oodles of such systems on North Korea back in the day, together with shart loads of shells and a factory that can produce them.

At the same time there is rumours that Russia is somehow going to reinforce the Kharkiv front with substantial numbers of troops.
It is right now up to conjecture where the heck those would come from, there's no large amounts of Russian soldiers in Russia to draw upon, nor are there an abundance of reserves in any other direction to draw upon.
At least if you are not planning upon abandoning a large area.
I will return below upon what I think might be happening, but now it is time to discuss a mystery submarine that has surfaced.

Whisky on the Rocks
The Soviet Navy placed a submarine named U-137 on the rocky beaches of Sweden.
Now there is a Russian submarine bobbing about out on the ocean South of the Danish Island of Bornholm.
And when I say bobbing, I mean bobbing.
It is surfaced, and seem to lack engine power.
I have tried to reach my favourite admiral, but she ain't picking up the phone, probably a taaaaad busy.

Why do I write that it is a mystery?
After all it should be the diesel-powered Kilo-class Magnitogorsk submarine, famous for being the worlds loudast submarine.
It is after all the only submarine in the entire Russian Baltic Fleet.
Problem is that it left Baltyisk Port this morning pushing the pedal to the metal going places.

Next problem, the surfaced submarine undoubtedly looks like a nuclear-powered Victor III submarine with that telltale rear hydrophone pod.
If so it is coming from the Russian Northern Fleet, they are the ones having the two last remaining ones in service.
One is getting a refit and will probably never come back into service due to budget cuts, that leaves the Tambov that returned from refit in 2023.

Now for some nerdiness.
It is not that easy to take a large heavy Atlantic submarine into the Baltic Sea.
The difference in salinity makes them hard to control without a heck of a lot of fettling and retriming.
The Soviet Union could do it, and did it on occassion, the Russian navy is rarely if ever doing that.
If they run a submarine into the Baltic it is coming surfaced, and remain so.

Next problem is size, the entrances to the Baltic are narrow and shallow, and the Baltic Sea itself is fairly shellow in large parts, and filled with obstacles like Swedish rocky beaches.
And somehow this one snuck in, or at least the Russians thought it was "snucking".

But, since it surfaced next to a German Frigatte, and a Swedish Gotland Class submarine also surfaced nearby, it is unlikely that it was doing any real "snucking".
Now there is also a Gotland Corvette there to further increase the Russian woes.

Now everyone seems to wait for a powerful Danish Missile Frigatte to heaveto to take command, it is after all Danish Waters.
NATO or not, it is up to the Danes to decide what to do with the Russian sub.
They are entitled to arrest it if they so wish, and the German Frigate and the Swedish submarine and Corvette would happily aid in whatever now the Danes decide.

My guess is that as it was snucking it fould its cooling-water intakes by going to close to the bottom, or it might even have struck said bottom.

How's that for a weird news?
And it is not even the weirdest...

Oh boy, where do I even start.
Uncle Luka is back, with a blast.

A few days ago a couple of hundred Chinese soldiers dropped in to have an exercise with their Belarusian counterparts.
I believed that this was a pretty neat powermove by Xi against EU due to us fishing hard for Kazakhstan.
A neat t*t-for-tat if there ever was one.

I was pretty much the only one having that theory, but it turns out that I was the one least wrong of everyone.
But, I was not even remotely correct at the same time.
There is probably a modicum of Xi peeing on EU in it, but it is also a nice powermove by Uncle Luka.
Let me explain.

Uncle Luka is a dictator with a huge arsed problem.
He is not powerful on his own to be able to be certain to crush any resistance movement or uprising.
And, he is having a resistance movement on his hands, one that has a President Alternative for Belarus beside himself in Tsihanova, that may be or not the elected President.

To get her down and the protests after the election he had to rely on Russian soldiers aiding with crushing the protests.
That lost him influence visavi Russia, but at least he staid in power.
Something that is the penultimate goal of any Dictator.

So far all was well, Uncle Luka could live with having lost influence to Putin, he could just wait for a situation to get some or all of it back.
Then the war happened, and all of a sudden he had a huge Russian army in Belarus, and a war in Ukraine, and Putin robbing him of weapons and making all sorts of demands that Uncle Luka was not inclined to fulfill.

And to make things even more problematic Russia did badly in the war, that army that was in Belarus got squished in a very long tank-salami, or became radioactive in Tchernobyl.
And then Russia all of a sudden could not aid Armenia and instead NATO and EU traipsed in their to take over the Russian peace-keeping mission.

And to make things even more pathetic, all of a sudden Russia needed the help of third rate powers like Iran and North Korea to even be able to continue the war.
Uncle Luka probably looked at this, and noticed that there was no chance in hell that Russia would be able to haul his ass out of the pickle if he got another big uprising on his hands.

Now we have to get something very clear, we may laugh at Uncle Luka today, but he is very smart, and he is the longest reigning dictator on the planet, and he is utterly ruthless.
As the Soviet Union came crashing down he was the one who's support put Jeltsin on the throne.
He then made Belarus and Russia into a Union against the promise from Jeltsin that he would take over to attempt to rebuild the Soviet Union.
The throne was his.

Then a ferret came between him and his goal.
If anyone has reason to hate Putin, it is Uncle Luke.
And from that day on he has played a long-game to get Putin out, and himself into power.

That is the type of man that is now having a western aided oppositional "President-in-Waiting" with an opposition movement brewing under his feet.
And, Uncle Luka knows that Putins days are most likely numbered, and perhaps he can be the man to do it.
But, to pull it off he needs something that he is desperately lacking, military power and international cudos.
Because right now, if Putin falls, so will he in a western fueled uprising.

And he somehow played Putin into giving him back the nukes he sent to Jeltsin as a part of the promise to become his successor.
Putin probably thought that was a good idea to scare the West.
Only problem is that Uncle Luka does not give a single **** about the West.
Uncle Luka want to things in life, or perhaps three, stay in power, Putin dead and Russia under his command.
He is prepared to do literally anything to achieve that.

Now for the conjecture.
With Russia to weak and to occupied to be able to help him to stay in power he needed a friend that could help him with that.
A friend suitably far away to not be a true bother for him, and that had their reason to send some troops to help out a fellow dictator.

There was ever only Xi that could fill those particular shoes.
Xi wanted to give a little bump to EU, and he likes his dictators, and having a favour or two to call in later on... why not do it.
And, after all Uncle Luka knows full well that Xi and Putin are no longer besties, so who better than him to become the new bestie of Xi?

Uncle Luka knows that it is somewhat unlikely at this stage that EU would start any open war against him with chinese backing.
And, he after all have those nukes that may or may not work, and that is currently under Russian control.
They are also sort of a guarantee against EU, and he is probably trying his darnedest to get those under his thumb now.

And with China helping out he could even push back on Putin, after all China has a big army up Putins ****.
China did though ask for a couple of small things for being the Best Friends Forever, and Uncle Luka was surprised at how small things they asked for.
Just a couple of things, small things, and none of them was in his way, and also along the lines of what he thought was the correct things to do.
And for that price he got China, and free hands Eastwards.

Here are the two things:
1. Do not **** with EU. That is for the big boy in the new Friendship, and big boy does not want to have a conflict or a war with the EU.
Any poking will be done thoughtfully by said Big Boy looking like Winnie the Pooh.
Generally Uncle Luka is fine with this, if anything he would want his formerly somewhat good relations with Europe back, after all, he was previously Europes somewhat favourite dictator.
2. You are no longer even remotely a part of the war in Ukraine, no forces on the Ukrainian border, no helping Russia by letting them transitting Belarus, no more housing of Russian troops.
This was music to his ears, Uncle Luka never had a problem with Ukraine, he never wanted a war against Ukraine, he never wanted to aid Russia, and having his army posted on the Belarusian border is making for a very cranky Ukraine that is becoming scarily powerful with Western aid.

At the same Russia is now so weakened that they would be hardpressed to even beat him, he felt muscular with his 200ish Chinese soldiers.
So, today he got on stage... and oh boy what a stage it was.
Seriously, the Eurovision Song Contest would love to have something that impressive, see the link at the bottom.

On his mahoosive and technically impressive stage he ordered all of his troops to move from the Ukrainian border back to their permanent bases (barracks).
It also seems like he "kindly asked" his Russian housepests to vamoose, not that there was more than 30 000 of those remaining, half of them wounded.
I would also not be surprised if the dicking around near the Polish border will end soon.

Now we probably have the answer to where the heck Russia would find that "substantial reinforcement" to the Kharkiv area.

Now, it would be simple to assume that this is some sort of ruse, but the wiley b***r called up Zelenzkyy and said that he would be ever so happy if Ukraine refrained from taking advantage of him pulling out his 70 000 soldiers from the border.
Next a colonel traipsed across the nomans land and shook the hand of a very surprised captain, and thanked him for providing so many beautiful asses to look at.
This happened at the main checkpoint between the two countries at Mokrany-Domanova.
At the same time the Oltych Checkpoint had all mines removed together with the barbed wire, and customs staff took over the guard duties.

Obviously it will take a couple of weeks until we know if all troops are pulled out, but right now it looks like Belarus feel that their border is once again open for visiting Ukrainians, something that is not entirely bad since many Ukrainians have relatives in Belarus.

It is obviously incredibly early days, and things may no be as they seem, or may reverse.
But, if things seem to hold, it would over time make it possible for Ukraine to send 150K soldiers packing Eastwards to the front.
If it turns out to be a true reversal, the oddity is that then Ukraine sort of owe Belarus a favour.

This leaves us where we began, with Uncle Luka looking Eastwards.
His army is in the greater scheme of things small at just 70 000.
But, it is somewhat well trained, and visavi Russia at this point it is even well armed.
And if Russia starts to truly creak at the seems, he might feel that he can ride into Moscow as a Knight in Shining Armour, there to save All Russias and bring peace to the suffering Russians, heck.. he might even get Zelenzkyy at that point to anoint him.
Yes, he will probably have to give over some parts to China... and some parts to EU.
But, in his eye that is probably a very small thing to pay, and who knows what the future might bring, parts can after all return in the history of an Empire.

A couple of tidbits.
"Russias problems are Russias problems"
"Ukraine is Ukraine"
"We have our own Iskander".
Definite power talk.

Okay, I take the hint. This was yesterday.

Remember Vympel?
There are still around 20 hardy ones hiding down in the basement tunnels, refusing to give up their position.
About fifth of the soldiers caught gave up a long time ago, and the rest are now dead.
Problem is that we do not know where they are, and smoking them out is both dangerous and hard.
We do not even know if they are able to get out after all the bombings done, they might even be stuck permanently down there now.
If so, they will be left to starve to death, something that is likely to happen anyway soon.

In Vovchansk there has been progress and a chunk several blocks large have been looped off towards from the Western side towards the hospital.
There is a lot of Russian tears about this, both from the survivers of the battle, and on Russian Milblogger channels.
The latter is complaining ginormous crocodile tears over losing the battle slowly but steadily.

Otherwise there was some minor advancement uphill East of Vovchansk.
Each meter here is hardfought, but strategically important since it making Ukraine closer to taking the hill ridge overseeing the entire Eastern side of the Vovchansk Boob.

Kreminna Forrest
Ukraine is once again advancing both East and North retaking forrest areas not held for over a year.
The war has now almost completely reversed in the Luhansk area, from a static war with a very minute advancement of Russia in the southern parts.
Instead it is now a static defence up North still, but Ukraine is now pushing more broadly in Southern Luhansk.

Obviously Ukraine is not performing a large offensive, it is more a situation of taking opportunistic advantage of emerging "Lackings" in staffing and equipment on the Russian side.

The Russian advancements here have now stalled out, at least for now.
Russia is not bringing in reinforcements to take advantage of their advancement, something that is highly unusual on their part.

Ukrainian artillery and drone artists are working hard on chewing up that narrow Russian advancement route south of Niu-York, and the somewhat broader advancement North of Niu-York.
If no new soldiers show up in the next couple of weeks I expect that the Russian advancements will collapse back to the initial trenchline they advanced out of.

Ocheretyne/Novoselivka Percha
This is now the only region where Russia is truly attempting to advance now.
In the other areas they are more trying to take advantage of perceived Ukrainian weakspots, something that is done by running headlong in meatwaves upon the strongest strongpoint that they can find, like Chasiv Yar, but once upon a time even blind bats find an under-defended partial field and take it.

In the last couple of days Russia advanced around 100 meters in the village of Novoselivka Percha under heavy losses.

At the same time they made slight progress in Prohres...
Something that is much more funny in Ukrainian since Prohres is pronounced Progress.
A partial treeline was taken here.
Soutch of Ocheretyne Russia also gained a couple of partial fields.

The Russian prohres in the area has though vaned now that better defence lines are coming online.
Ukrainians are very good at digging when told to do so, and Zyrskyi have them furiously digging line upon line connecting villages up as they go.
We are already seeing the effect of all that digging, and he will probably have it locked down entirely in a few weeks, like up in Kupyansk.

Kherson on Fire
If you do not have a powerful stomach I would avoid videos from this region right now.
Let us say that they show a lot of BBQ au Russienne and leave it at that.
Well, there is that video of a fisherman knocking a Russian spydrone with a fish, but that is pretty much it in watchable videos.

Otherwise the area is piece by piece being sanitized with fire.
There is not a day without carefully started fires producing BBQ grills.
Gorey, but it has to be done.

Kherson is now the region with the by far lowest number of Russian troops, about one third has been moved out to strengthen up in Kharkiv, and quite a number has burned up.

Part of it is due to Russia somehow still believing that the river can keep them safe here, and also that they seemingly do not care that much about this part now.
Which is sort of odd since it is the gateway to Crimea.

It should also be stated that this is the area of the entire frontline that has been hardest hit of all of them during the entire war by Ukraine.
No matter how bad it got during the shellhunger caused by US dawdling, Kherson always got at least some.
This is still true, with the region getting 3 times as many shells and drones per square kilometre compared to the next one over (Kharkiv), and this has been the case for more than a year now.

We are as I have mentioned noticing Russia having equipment woes.
It is 3 key areas that are showing lackings, APCs, Tanks and Artillery.

In key areas APCs are almost exclusively replaced now by chinese golf carts, ladas and motorcycles.
Tanks are used more sparingly, but the supply of "new" tanks is fairly steady still, something that can't be said for APCs.

Problem is that more and more of the "new" tanks are truly ancient.
About 60 percent of the tanks brought in now are of the T-54 variety.
And just to explein how "new" that is...
The T-54 was the replacement tank for the T-34 tank.
Technically there was a T-44 tank, but that was produced in incredibly small numbers.

The T-54 is the most produced tank in history, with around 96 000 produced according to Russian figures.
It was replaced in the 60/70/80s in Russia, and was not in use from then on, so at least 50 years of cold storage without maintanence.
And when the Soviet Union got rid of them, they sold off prodigious amounts.
Question is though how many remain, answer is that nobody truly knows the answer to this one.
But, with most of them being 70 years old, and with none produced from 1961 onwards, they are truly ancient.

So, how good are they?
A T-90 is stated by Russia to have an Armour Equivalent (AE) of 720mm of rolled mild steel in armour, we now know that this is a load of bullhork, it is more like 500mm when tested in the West.
The T-54 has 320mm of AE, considerably less, and on the sides and top it is even worse.

Whereas for the armament (gun), it has a 100mm rifled manually loaded gun, it is not able to penetrate any Western Tank used today.
So it is relegated to service as a big gunned APC with Russians sitting on top of it.

The T-62 got a rare 115mm gun, and from the T-64 it is the 125mm auto-loading gun that was used.
As such, on all metrics the T-54 is pure ***** by todays standards, with one excception... Russia still has them available for repairwork in Nishnyi Tagil.
How many do they have?
Here comes the problem, they might have 1 000 repairable ones left, or 10 000 repairable ones.
We just do not know.

What we do know is that the rate they are coming out of the UralVagonZavodsk is amounting to slightly more than 1 trainload per every 3-4 weeks.
That is a lot by any metric, but barely enough to cover for their losses.
And, even if the numbers stay somewhat stable, for each trainload the Russian tank-ability is dropping due to them being crappier than what they replace by a wide margin.

Now, let us nerd upon the DM-46, the new main battle-artillery of the ever less technically advanced Russian Empire.
Russia is truly belting them out from service now.
They are bog simple, so easy to restore.
Just a bit of derusting, some oil, and slap on new paint and tires and off to the front they go.

So far 3 trains with 30 on each train has arrived in two weeks.
That is somewhat impressive to see 90 artillery systems roll in like that.
There's though a tinsy winsy problem, they are supposed to replace 770 lost artillery systems.

Here we do know how many Russia has, they have 600 of them in grand total.
If we break it down to current distruction numbers roughly 36 of them are destroyed per month, a number that will go up as they become more numerous.
So, let us say that Russia will run out of this old artillery in about 10 months or less.
And long before that Russia will be sending WWII or even earlier artillery to the front.

Same thing here, Russia is now rapidly devolving in technological capability on the battlefield, whereas Ukraine remain the same, and in the case of artillery is even increasin in tech-level and numbers each month, not much but enough to make a cumulative effect over time.

What I am trying to say is that Novemeber still is looking like the date when Russia will run into true problems.
Especially in regards of APCs and Artillery, but they will be somewhat better off on tanks than expected.
This is due to the introduction of the "new" T-54, but also due to Russia using fewer tanks now, and Ukraine somewhat downgrading hunting them at depth in favour of hunting artillery.

These 3 emerging Lackings has had as an effect that the mortality rate among the Russian soldiers have started to climb slowly.
I expect that towards November this will either be at an average of 1 500, or that Russian fronts are collapsing due to lack of troops, it will be interesting to see which it will be."
In Vovchansk there has been progress and a chunk several blocks large have been looped off towards from the Western side towards the hospital.
There is a lot of Russian tears about this, both from the survivers of the battle, and on Russian Milblogger channels.
The latter is complaining ginormous crocodile tears over losing the battle slowly but steadily.

Otherwise there was some minor advancement uphill East of Vovchansk.
Each meter here is hardfought, but strategically important since it making Ukraine closer to taking the hill ridge overseeing the entire Eastern side of the Vovchansk Boob.

The sole Ruzzian achievement everywhere in Ukraine is basically Vovchansk multiplied: