The War Continues

The War Continues


John M. Lane

                                    A month into their invasion of Ukraine, the Russians have learned the same painful lesson combatants in all wars know that the moment the shooting starts, the best of plans will collapse in chaos and confusion. It is what the Prussian/German military theorist Karl von Clausewitz called the “Fog of War.”

                                   The Russian military leadership did not anticipate the resistance from Ukrainian ground forces. The plan seems to have been to take the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv with as little fighting as possible, install a “puppet” government, solidify their gains in the East and South, and, if possible, occupy the entire country. It was all supposed to be a “lightning” operation accomplished in days, maybe two weeks. The belief was that once the Russians seized control, the fighting would end, the West would forget about the sanctions, and things would return to business as usual. The Russian military leadership knew that the longer they exposed their poorly trained and equipped conscripts to actual combat, the more likely they would see morale collapse and discipline break down. That is precisely what happened. As the shooting started, some Russian troops abandoned their vehicles. A BBC reporter entered a house left by the Russians near the town of Bucha and found it littered with empty vodka and whiskey bottles.

                                   Russian “killed in action’ numbers are somewhere between 9,000 to estimates as high as 15,000. The pictures coming out of Ukraine of the areas that the Russians have withdrawn from are stunning, in addition to the photographs showing dead civilians who had been summarily shot (the early numbers are in the hundreds, sexual assault has also been widespread); the pictures of entire tank/ personnel carriers/ trucks convoys destroyed are a clear indication of the fighting capability of Ukrainian forces and the stunning, devastating quality of Western anti-tank weapons and other high-tech sources (drones). Those weapons and supplies continue to arrive in eastern Poland, as transport planes are landing and taking off regularly. An American reporter indicated that another aircraft is preparing for the return flight as one C-17 transport is offloaded.

                                   As the Russians abandoned some of their positions, they laid hundreds of land mines and set up numerous booby traps. It will remain unsafe for any civilians to return to their homes in those areas for the foreseeable future. The humanitarian situation has reached catastrophic levels as millions of Ukrainian civilians are now international refugees or are internally displaced. All are seeking safety, food, clothing, and shelter.


                               The new Russian strategy appears to be: One, regroup for a renewed assault on Kyiv. Two, solidify gains in the East and the South on the likelihood/hope of dividing the country permanently. (That scenario might be the best hope for the Russians to “save face” from what was a disastrous decision), Three, continue the “terror” bombardment by artillery 

Europe, 2022 (Source: World Factbook)

and missiles on Ukrainian cities. In recent days, it has been reported that at least 200 civilians were killed when an apartment complex was hit in a bombardment. There is no point to this except to continue to punish and cause pain to innocent people.


                            A Russian economist reports that the sanctions on his country have ended thirty years of economic progress. Sanctions appear innocent; they are not; sanctions are warfare. Early 20th century diplomats, when they invented the idea, knew that. They were seen as combat without direct killing—the debate on how effective they are is ongoing. However, there is no doubt that everyday life for ordinary Russians has been completely disrupted. The longer the war goes on, the more dangerous for the world it becomes. One mistake or miscalculation by a junior Russian officer near a Baltic country border or an air incursion over Poland or Slovakia could be disastrous. The sanctions are already causing grain shortages in North Africa and the Middle East. Across the World, fuel prices continue to rise. Dependency on Russian oil and gas, especially in Europe, has crippled the ability of the Europeans to respond to the Russian invasion. They are still buying Russian oil and gas. Oil, coal, and gas powered the “Second Industrial Revolution.” Whether admitted or not, that revolution ended in 1990-91. This war has put into full view the need to finally and seriously begin an “all-out” effort to develop alternative, renewable sources of energy and transportation (electric cars?) The country or bloc that does this first will control the “Commanding Heights” of the world economy for the rest of the 21st century and beyond. (In addition to saving the planet, yes, Climate Change is confirmed).

 Meanwhile, the fighting, bombing, and killing go on, with no end in sight…

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