Not Just Bakhmut Collapsing

I recently did a voice-over for SouthFront — a video report on the Ukraine. I usually do these voice-overs twice a week, in British English, although, as I Canadian, I am trained in American too. Good practice!

I don’t write these reports — and I don’t necessarily even agree with all the content – but SF’s reporting is always honest, whatever my opinions, which is more than I can say for the mainstream media for whom I have also worked in my other role as media whore.

You owe it to yourself to visit sites like SouthFront. They are major sources of information and criticism.


Also Larry Johnson. Moon of Alabama. Brian Bertelic’s New Atlas You Tube channel. Alex Mercouris. They deserve your support.

The last report I recorded was mostly about Bakhmut (Artyomovsk), a fortress town in Donbass, now much in the news.

Some think that capturing this town is a strategic key to taking larger cities to the north in occupied Eastern Ukraine– such as Sloviansk and Kramatorsk . Others think that it is just a convenient slaughterhouse for the Russians to turn the UAF into porterhouse steaks.

Bakhmut and the Wagner Group

According to SF’s report, Bakhmut is “on the verge of collapse”.

The head of the PMC “Wagner” Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that the Russians have the task of destroying the Ukrainian army and reducing its combat potential but not storming the city. Such tactics should lead to the liberation of the city without heavy fighting on the streets, and also has a positive effect on other fronts of Eastern Ukraine.

In the case of Bakhmut, Prigozhin’s pronouncement is significant. This group is focused on destroying the UAF forces in the city, which consist of conscripts and mercenaries: they do not want to destroy the city itself.

This is in line with Russian policy of trying to reduce civilian losses and protect infrastructure, as well as reduce their own casualties. Certainly, the Wagner Group, which is made up of (it appears) largely of ex-Russian military professionals has been effective in this regard.


Western propaganda aka “the Media” has characterized PMC Wagner as “Putin’s Private Army”, “NeoNazis — and accused it of war crimes, relying largely on information from real NeoNazis in Ukraine – and, in Syria, American friends like Al Qaeda and various jihadist terrorist groups.

All armies commit war crimes, of course, so I am not saying that Wagner operatives haven’t overstepped the bounds on occasion, but their hallmarks are discipline and professionalism— so acts of gratuitous cruelty are not in their best interests. Bad PR of you want to sell military services.

In addition, Western propaganda has come out with so many egregious lies, that anything they claim has to be viewed critically.

Just Google “Russia” and “war crimes”— you will get no less than 130,000,000 results. Now look at this list. You will see multiple entries, using almost identical phrasing, indicating the same sources.

Now Google “UAF war crimes”. 234,000 results.

Yet, there is almost no hard evidence of Russian war crimes. But more than enough of UAF crimes. 15,000 dead in Eastern Ukraine testify to that. Not to mention the well-documented shelling of civilian sites, not to mention random atrocities such as rape and murder. Not to mention numerous Ukrainian videos of the mutilation and execution of POWs.

“Bucha massacre”? A miniscule 1, 160,000 results. Yet all the photos showed fresh bodies who apparently remained fresh for 3 weeks. Those chicken cutlets in my fridge go bad in about a week. of course, they don’t have white arm bands indicating they are Russian chickens.

We must assume the laws of Nature are different for Russians. Not to mention basic psychology.

The Western Media would have us believe the Russians are self-destructive. Massacring their own. Blowing up their own pipelines. Attacking their own nuclear power plants, Shelling their own hospitals, schools, and shopping centers.

Again, this is not to say that individual Russians or Wagnerites have NOT done some bad stuff— just as American and Brit soldiers did in WWII — just not on the same scale as the UkroNazis. Don’t believe what you read uncritically.

Unsustainable Losses

SouthFront reports heavy UAF losses in Bakhmut at the hands of the much-despised Wagner Group.

As a result, the Ukrainian Army loses 500 to 800 killed and wounded soldiers in the “Bakhmut grinder”.

Alex Mercouris confirms these numbers from both Ukrainian and Russian sources, saying that the UAF is losing the equivalent of a battalion a day!

This assessment is backed up by Andrew Milburn, a retired US marine, who works with the Mozart Group training UAF troops in Bakhmut. He puts casualties at at least 70%. He points out that the UAF in Bakhmut are virtually untrained Ukrainian troops, easy meat for Russia’s seasoned veterans.

That’s pretty bad.

But consider that SouthFront, Mercouris and Milburn are talking about Bakhmut only.

The Russian Army is advancing along all its lines, taking towns and villages and killing UAF soldiers and mercenaries as they do so, asymmetric warfare at its best, which the US military admits it cannot yet emulate.

The UAF appears to be suffering particularly heavy casualties in the Kharkov region, including about 90 Polish mercenaries recently in one day. It seems that Kharkov was not much of a success for Zelensky – except in terms of American aid, which is now increasingly being questioned in the US.

At present, the focus is on Bakhmut. UAF use of regular troops is ineffective and resulting in unsustainable losses. So what will Zelensky do?

So far, this shallow grifter has just thrown almost untrained, poorly equipped troops into the “grinder”. What’s a 100, 000 (dead) compared to 50, 000,000 (dollars).

That said, to keep the grift goin’ and the money flow’n the UAF conscripts will be mostly replaced by Ukraine’s better qualified Foreign Legion, mostly Polish and other mercenaries.

The Wagner Group are looking forward to that— they will give no quarter. A few dead Canucks and Americans and Brits are icing on the borsht (to mix a metaphor unpalatably).

Mercouris believes that the Russian strategy has changed towards a more brutal “no-surrender” war.

He quotes a Newsweek article by Michael Gfoeller and David H. Rundell on December 6 using, as an analogue, the American Civil War – another “fraternal” conflict that did not go well.

The article is surprising for Newsweek: it is written by two experienced diplomatic professionals and is rational analysis, relying on simple, historically verifiable and documented facts rather than the usual CIA propaganda to predict Russia wins in the Ukraine in 2023.

Does this indicate a gradual shift in public awareness? The readers comments on Newsweek would indicate no such change. But then that is no indication of general opinion, only of the kind of people to whom Newsweek whores.


Given its audience, why did Newsweek publish it? Newsweek is a indeed a whore. It’s audience are its Johns. Its ululations are pretend orgasms. But the Shag Mag has a Pimp, who is owned by a Cartel and runs things.

It’s hard to know what this article is there for. Read my next post.


Oh, and please, please subscribe and share. I need your help.

Julian Macfarlane

I am 76.  Yes, I know—my profile picture, which is recent, looks younger.  There is a reason my book is called “Ageing Young– You’re Never Too Old To Rock and Roll”, the title given to me by David Bowie’s lead guitarist and songwriter, Mark Pritchett.

I write a lot about health issues, ageing successfully, cognitive issues like ASD—and… umm…genius. (Oh, I wish! But I will have to learn to tie my shoes first).

Recently, I have turned to geopolitical issues. 

I have worked in the media for almost 50 years. I was a stringer in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.  Then I was in Korea. And after that in Japan where I studied martial arts and Buddhism and did a lot of things: union organizer, writer, broadcaster, media analyst, beer and pizza. 

I am neither Left nor Right. It’s a cognitive disability, an aspect of my ASD. I have trouble with that: tell me to turn right and I may go left and vice versa.  Politically, I prefer to say I am “multipolar”. 

Which is probably what most people are.  People who label themselves “left” or “right” seem to be limiting themselves to an ideology. 

Guess that is OK if you are paying membership dues to a political party.  But I don’t have money for that.