We are about to fact a reality test in Ukraine


FRIDAY 27 MAY 2022


CONTRIBUTORS: David Knowles, Dom Nichols, Venetia Rainey, Mutaz Ahmed, Alex Ostrovskyy


  • Russia is still pushing west. 
  • Ukraine is calling for heavier weapons. 


  • It’s not going as well for Ukraine in the Donbas as it has previously in the war. 
  • Russia is trying to reduce the area into ashes.
  • Soldiers are being deployed from Mariupol.
  • Russia is throwing everything it has into this fight for the Donbas.
  • We have been hearing rumors that National Guard members have refused to go to Ukraine.  Some of them have been fired.  Official Russian sources have now confirmed 150 national guards are being sacked for refusing to fight in Ukraine. 


  • The Russian successes in the Donbas are coming as a surprise in many of the European capitals.
  • They have had the comfort that the Ukrainians were succeeding before this.
  • This fact glossed over divisions in the alliance.
  • In the Donbas this is evolving badly for the Ukrainians.  Macron and Kissinger speaking the appeasement line.
  • The disagreements will become angrier, calls to do more.


  • Trials of Russian soldiers.  The “just following orders” defense is being used in those cases.


  • Zelensky is talking about the genocide of the region.  This level of honesty is to be applauded.  The operations in the Donbas are not successes.
  • You can undermine your case to be unrelentingly optimistic.
  • Where the Russians are not succeeding, they are causing untold damage.
  • People need to be prepared for setbacks.


  • Morale is high in Ukraine and so the government has leeway to be honest about setbacks.
  • Russia is making progress and there is a possibility that Putin may be able to declare a kind of victory.
  • The West needs to double down on the equipment. 
  • If Putin is able to declare any kind of victory it will be a victory for brute force and any victory for brute force will be an invitation for more brute force.  Paraphrase of Zelensky statement.
  • There is a lot of thought going into the food crisis and inflation.
  • There is frustration with comments from people like Kissinger in the UK.
  • Western leaders don’t need to be projecting how the end of the war should go.


  • In the Kharkiv region, the Russians took losses.  It’s only with these small tactical successes in the Donbas.
  • There has been intelligence that Putin has been meddling way down the chain of command in the military.  After the defeats around Kyiv, the Russians moved to the Donbas and military analysts were wondering whether they would take a pause to reconstitute.  It is thought that Putin forced them to just jump right into the Donbas fight.
  • If Putin claims a victory after securing parts of the Donbas, it will be interesting to see whether Putin forces the military to push onward, toward Odesa for example, or if they will take that needed break.


  • Western leaders thought they could absorb the economic disjuncture of a war in Ukraine.  This has proved to be more difficult than they thought.
  • We are facing famine in the third world which will mean migration. 
  • Just how long Western countries are going to stay supportive is a question.


  • We are about to face a reality shock.  We will find out who is in this for the long haul.  (Note: This feeling that the war is over is bolstered by the US corporate press which has stopped covering the war.)
  • We are about to enter the real test. 

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