4 October 2022
The Telegraph Podcast, “Ukraine: the Latest.”
- The Russian defensive line in the south towards Kherson is collapsing at an “incredible rate.”
- The Ukrainians are trying to maintain operational secrecy to protect the offensive.
- The Russians are retreating in masse. They maintain that they are just exhausted.
- Russians like to base themselves in towns. There is therefore a lack of especially mobile infantry surrounding the towns.
- It is being said that the Ukrainians are painting Zs on their vehicles to fool the Russians. This means that they are able to maintain tracking of those vehicles and know that they are friendly rather than Russian.
- This would be a high-tech tracking system.
- Russians are saying that Ukraine is massing troops for an attack on Melitopol, near, just south of Zaporizhzhia.
- Melitopol has been held by the Russians since the beginning of the war. If so, the Ukrainians are trying to cut off the land bridge to Kherson. They are trying to cut off the supply route into Melitopol.
- This is a tactic that the Ukrainians have used successfully.
- This won’t be a quick tumbling of the Russian lines.
- The war is likely to slow down soon because of the weather.
- Kherson is a lot more defended than other cities.
- Zelensky announced liberation of territory. There is liberation of territory in the South.
- Western officials are saying that Ukrainians can wreak havoc within the Russian chain of command. The Ukrainians seem to be calling the tune in the south.
- There are reports that a train involved in nuclear offensives has been seen moving toward Ukraine.
- This train belongs to the unit involved in nuclear offensives.
- It is likely an example of Putin attempting to show that his remarks about the nuclear threat are serious. He wants the west to know that this is a feasible possibility.
- It is probably that Putin wants this movement to be noted by the West, as part of the threat.
- In Washington Post, the editorial board has posted information about the significance of the tactical nuclear weapons. It includes an analysis of Pentagon planning.
- If tactical weapons are going to be used, it would be days of maneuvering that we could see before an attack. We are not seeing these movements.
- It is the political significance that is important in the movements we can see at the moment.
- Patraus (former CIA) has indicated that there would be a massive conventional response to the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
- The evidence would suggest that the Russian elite inner circle is not supportive of the use of nuclear weapons. So, Putin would be risking his own political survival if he tries to take this step.
- Western officials have played down the threat of the use of nuclear weapons and the movement of the trains.
- (Note: Iodide pills have been distributed to Ukrainians around Zaporizhzhia.)
- The Pentagon is doing simulations modeling what might happen if Russia used nuclear weapons. There is talk about destroying the Russian Black Sea fleet.
- There are huge risks for Putin to this step. This would put his personal survival at risk from even his own people. The Russian elite currently support Putin. But, this support is not concrete.
- The decree was to call up at least 300,000 Russian to fight in Ukraine.
- Russians lawyers are working to advise people who are called up.
- Hundreds of thousands of men have fled the country to Georgia and Finland. Many have gone into hiding or are arguing that their religion prevents them fighting.
- There are videos of people advising about breaking limbs to avoid military service.
- The morale levels are not good. There is Russian military kit on the Russian version of ebay. This indicates that Russian commanders are stealing kit and putting it on Ebay for sale. The systematic corruption inside the Russian military is significant.
- Military kit is important as well as warm clothing, sleeping bags, tents. Lack of this will affect morale.
- Analysts are still unsure what the purpose of the call up is. Is it just to fill in lost troops or are they there for developing new military units. Some have only two weeks of training.
- They aren’t going to have the tactical combat knowledge that the Ukrainians have.
- These men are cannon fodder rather than highly trained forces.
- Suggested a peace plan.
- The reaction has been swift and intense.
- Musk has been popular in Ukraine because of technology he has provided.
- He proposed UN supervised elections in the four occupied regions.
- Zelensky has issued an extremely critical response.
- Another Ukrainian official said: “It is not a voting issue.”
- Musk is delusional about the ability to ensure a fair vote.
- The Kremlin has said that they see this as a possible step. They are seeking an off-ramp to this conflict. The acceptance that they will not take the entirety of Ukraine is very significant.
- Musk’s thinking is common to a thread of thinking in the West. This is becoming increasingly spoken about.
- This is a line of thought echoed by others that Ukraine will never prevail completely, that the costs of the war to the West are increasing, the effort is not possible to sustain. There are misunderstandings in the remarks of Musk.
- Musk is saying that should Russia fully mobilize, they would be in an extremely strong position. There is no reason that a general mobilization will shift the military situation on the ground. This argument is built on a false premise, that the war is unwinnable by the Ukrainians.
- Ukrainians are extremely anxious that this is becoming a popular line of thinking by those in the West.
- (Telegraph article by Fallon on this issue, arguing against Musk. He is expected to argue that there is no sustainable peace plan that doesn’t involve a total ejection of Putin from Ukraine. A frozen conflict is a myth. Putin will seek to continue when his hand is stronger. He has to be defeated decisively.)
- It is not what Musk thinks that is important, but the line of thinking that may be becoming more popular.
- Zelensky has just signed a decree refusing negotiations with Putin.
- Putin signed the Minsk agreement. It froze the conflict and it allowed Putin to build up a stronger foothold in the occupied areas without having to use troops. The idea that Ukraine would again, leave the conflict in a standstill for Putin to strengthen his position, is ridiculous.
- The Ukrainians want to retake all their territory including Crimea. They intend to win on the battlefield.
- Winter is approaching. There is a meeting between Germany and French leaders. There is growing fear that Germany will use its muscle to outbid the rest of the EU for gas supplies.
- Germany is coming under pressure to help the rest of the EU. Italy and France are accusing Germany of putting its own interests above that of the rest of the EU by outbidding them for gas supplies.
- The positive thing is that there is a discussion being had.
- There is an attempt to stop Russia from profiting from the higher price of oil. They are pushing a price cap.
- The severity of the winter will be crucial. A mild winter could help. Russia has historically relied on winter as a weapon.
- A severe winter could be catastrophic in terms of energy. It would also be bad for the military situation on the ground.
- There must be a movement away from Russian fossil fuel not only for this winter but for the next.
- The southern members of the EU were told by Germany during and after the financial crisis that they should bear the brunt of their bad decision making and implement austerity measures. Now, the southern countries feel that Germany is not bearing the true cost of its own bad decisions about energy.
- It has to be stressed that we are in the position we are in because of deliberate policies by Western leaders over a generation or more. There has been a lack of priority given to energy security in general. It’s not just the decision by Germany and building Nordstream 2.
- Aside from the factor of the treat of nuclear weapons, western leaders have given Putin this weapon of the threat of energy disruption.
- THIS IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT POINT.
- Power was sacrificed not only to Russia but to the Middle East. These decisions reflect an arrogance that we are now going to have to recon with. Joe Barnes.
- We have escaped nuclear escalation and the use of nuclear weapons twice narrowly, the Cuban missile crisis and in 1983, one man manning the Russian nuclear station was given permission to launch a strike. He did not.
- These decisions are automated now.
- What Putin is doing is “unbelievable reckless.”
- In northeastern Kherson the Russian front is collapsing. Ukraine might be soon in the position to encircle Russian troops there.