I continue to focus on the western media’s propaganda campaign to persuade American politicians and civilians that the billions of dollars in military equipment and aid that Washington is pouring into Ukraine is turning the tide against the Russian onslaught because it is so fundamentally dishonest.
Two of the leading fabulists masquerading as journalists at the New York Times–i.e., Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper–trotted out their latest cannister of lipstick in another desperate effort to paint the pig in Ukraine. Their article, The ‘MacGyvered’ Weapons in Ukraine’s Arsenal, is rife with deception and convenient memory loss.
Let us start with casualties. Schmitt and Cooper claim:
After six months of war, the death toll on both sides is high: While American officials estimate that up to 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded, Ukraine’s outgunned military has said it is losing 100 to 200 troops a day. Even so, the engineering ingenuity of the Ukrainians lies in stark contrast to the slow, plodding, doctrinal nature of the Russian advance.
Wow. That means Ukraine is really hammering the Russians. Right? Well, not so fast. Here is what Ukrainian officials said just two months ago:
Up to 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed or wounded each day in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, with 200 to 500 killed on average and many more wounded, a top Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.
That report caused a bit of consternation in Washington and NATO headquarters. The Ukrainian Command was told to stop telling the truth about casualties and switched their messaging to citing smaller losses. However, since ousting the Ukrainian forces from Lysychansk in June, the Russians have advanced 50 miles to the west and now surround several key towns, including Bakhmut and Soledar and Ukrainian forces have retreated. Who says? The Ukrainian General Staff:
At Bakhmut direction Russian artillery and tanks shelled Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Shumy, Vesela Dolyna, Yakovlivka, Mayorsk and Zaitseve. Russian aviation conducted airstrike near Kodema, – General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine says in the morning report
Here is the video evidence of Russian troops inside Kodema today, which is located a few miles south of Bakhmut:
Russian troops are not being shelled by an unrelenting bombardment of Ukrainian artillery. Actually, the troops pushing the assault from the Donetsk People’s Republic. There are sporadic, un-sustained attacks against the Russian forces, but these are not mass casualty events. It is Russia that is hitting Ukrainian positions on a daily basis with thousands of artillery rounds, air launched rockets and TOS 1A curtains of fire.
For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense reports killing more than 500 Ukrainian troops in operations carried out on August 27:
High-precision weapons strikes of the Russian Aerospace Forces have destroyed the temporary deployment point of 95th Airborne Assault Brigade of AFU in Slavyansk, Donetsk People’s Republic. The attacks have resulted in the elimination of up to 150 nationalists, as well as 10 units of weapons and military equipment.
Allied Forces offensive in Donetsk direction have resulted in losses of 204th Battalion of 241st Territorial Defence Brigade near Artemovsk exceeding 60 per cent of its personnel. The command of Liman task force has withdrawn brigade units from the combat area to Kiev to be re-staffed.
High-precision strike near Slavyansk in Donetsk People’s Republic has eliminated more than 100 nationalists trained at AFU reserve training centre.
Who is telling the truth? I ask two simple questions–who is falling back and who is advancing? The answers also are simple–Ukraine forces that are not killed in Slavyansk are abandoning their positions and withdrawing while Russia continues to press forward.
Schmitt and Cooper cite a Pentagon official who insists that U.S. supplied HARM missiles are wreaking havoc:
A senior Pentagon official said Ukrainian forces had put American-supplied HARM anti-radiation missiles on Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets — something that no air force had ever done. The American HARM missile, designed to seek and destroy Russian air defense radar, is not usually compatible with the MiG-29 or the other fighter jets in Ukraine’s arsenal.
But the Russian MOD tells a different story:
28 projectiles of multiple-launch rocket systems Olha and HIMARS have been intercepted near Ol’ginka, Novotroitskoye in Donetsk People’s Republic, Chernobaevka in Kherson Region, Antonovskyi and Dariyevskyi bridges, and over Kakhovskaya HPP.
In addition, 1 Tochka-U ballistic missile has been shot down in the air near Novaya Kakhovka, Kherson Region.
We have seen no evidence that Ukraine has any comparable air defense capability and is thwarting Russian attacks. Russia, in stark contrast, is regularly shooting down HARMs, HIMMARS and Bayrakter drones. It does have a robust air defense system that is deployed at the front.
One Russian source explains that the slow pace of advance is out of a desire to minimize the casualties of the Dontesk militia and their Russian counterparts:
The slow pace of advancement in the Avdeevka direction is due to the desire to save the infantry. The main role in the battle for Avdiivka is assigned to the tactics of the “barrage” – massive artillery strikes aimed at the complete destruction of the enemy’s manpower and positions.
The absence of civilians in settlements along the Donetsk Ring Road allows artillery units of the RF Armed Forces and the NM of the DPR to conduct indiscriminate continuous fire, literally burning and leveling the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In Pesky alone, according to Ukrainian field commanders, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost more than half a thousand people killed alone. The Ukrainian side is holding positions along the Ring Road, literally filling the front line with corpses that no one takes out. The bodies of Ukrainian servicemen are decomposing right on the positions.
What would be compelling evidence of Ukrainian success? How about having embedded western reporters accompanying Ukrainian troops who are chasing retreating Russian units? We are not seeing that. During the Vietnam War, U.S. correspondents were on the front lines with U.S. military personnel. The results of battles were recorded in writing and in video clips. Those reports ultimately played a role in persuading the American public that the military triumph over the North Vietnamese being proclaimed by the Pentagon was a pack of lies. Fifty years later we are witnessing the Pentagon parading lies about alleged Ukrainian success in order to try to maintain domestic support for a losing cause.
The absence of daily front line reports from journalists on the ground showing Ukrainian advances is a critical intelligence indicator of who is winning the battles in the Donbas. When a journalist has to rely on the boasts and spin from a Pentagon official to “prove” success in Ukraine, it is one more piece of evidence that Ukraine is in trouble.