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Details of Ukrainian Equipment Losses Confirm Scale of Ukraine’s Defeat

Data published by the International Institute of Strategic Studies confirms that during the fighting in the Donbass in 2014 and early 2015 Ukraine lost more than half its military equipment.

Alexander Mercouris

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As I discussed recently for The Duran, Ukraine’s President Poroshenko has now effectively admitted that Ukraine has been militarily defeated in the war it waged to reconquer the Donbass.

It is probably not a complete coincidence that this admission has come at the same time as the latest edition of the Military Balance published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies has enabled Colonel Cassad – one of the most consistently intelligent and reliable commentators of the Ukrainian war – finally to provide firm details of the extent of Ukraine’s equipment losses during the war (translated into English and published here by the Vineyard of the Saker).

Comparing the 2013 and 2016 editions of the Military Balance shows that between 2013 and 2016 Ukraine has lost 44% of its artillery (including 56% of its self-propelled artillery and a whopping 80% of its light artillery), 29% of its tanks, 56% of its armoured personnel vehicles and 66% of its infantry fighting vehicles.

Colonel Cassad makes the reasonable point that a great part of this equipment loss was probably due to mechanical breakdowns which the Ukrainian military and industry are unable to repair. 

The point has also been made that the 2013 Military Balance probably overstates the Ukrainian equipment inventory.  Colonel Cassad has downplayed the possibility of significant reductions in Ukraine’s equipment as a result of arms sales since 2013.  However endemic corruption probably means that some of the equipment Ukraine claimed to possess in 2013 simply didn’t exist either because it had been left to deteriorate beyond use or because it had been sold illegally abroad.

Even allowing for these factors, the loss of equipment still points to enormous losses on the battlefield. 

The fact Ukraine lost 80% of its light 122 mm towed artillery points to the bulk of these losses actually happening in battle.  Light artillery is relatively easy to maintain and it is likely Ukraine’s loss of almost its entire light artillery of this calibre is explained by its destruction on the battlefield. 

Colonel Cassad speculates this was due to counter-battery fire by the Russian military.  There are in fact reports of Russian artillery engaging Ukrainian units from across the border during the fighting in the summer of 2014.

As Colonel Cassad points out, the scale of Ukrainian equipment losses reported by the Military Balance are indirectly confirmed by a statement Poroshenko let slip in the autumn of 2014 around the time of the first Minsk agreement when he said that Ukraine had lost 65% of its equipment during the fighting in the summer.

Colonel Cassad is on much shakier ground when he tries to deduce from these equipment losses figures for total Ukrainian casualties numbering 30,000 men.  He does this by adding up the total number of personnel used to operate the destroyed equipment – which comes to almost exactly 30,000 men – and then assuming they were killed when their equipment was destroyed.

This is a false methodology.  The figures drawn from the Military Balance show the numbers of equipment Ukraine has lost.  It does not follow that all this equipment was destroyed.  Some may have been damaged beyond repair.  A large proportion is known to have been captured by the militia.

It anyway does not automatically follow that the crew of a destroyed vehicle were killed or wounded when the vehicle was destroyed.  They might have escaped the vehicle before it was destroyed as commonly happens in war.

Though this figure of 30,000 casualties has been aired before, it is certainly an exaggeration. 

The truth is however bad enough.  Judging from the scale of the equipment losses the personnel losses were certainly much worse than the Ukrainians are saying: probably in the region of 8-12,000 in the fighting in July and August 2014 as discussed by me here in October 2014, and perhaps a further 2-3,000 in the fighting in January and February 2015, which was equally intense but which took place over a shorter period.

As I discussed here this is a rate of casualties without parallel in Europe since the German surrender on 9th May 1945. 

The Ukrainian war was a big war not a small war even if in the West and in Ukraine itself it has not been reported as such.

Colonel Cassad rightly says that with its industry in crisis and cut off from Russian spare parts for its Soviet era equipment Ukraine can neither repair nor replace its lost equipment.  Nor will the small dribbles of sometimes inferior equipment supplied by the West have filled the gaps.

As I also pointed out back in February 2015, the scale of losses the Ukrainian army has suffered must along with its defeats have caused a devastating blow to morale even if they have never been admitted.  It is not surprising therefore that repeated attempts by the Ukrainian government to mobilise the male population have encountered stiff resistance and that Ukraine’s National Guard – supposedly the praetorian guard of Ukraine’s government – numbers no more than 5,000 men.

Even if Ukraine were somehow able to replace all the equipment it has lost, possibly through covert supplies of Soviet era equipment from the NATO states of Eastern Europe, there is no reason to think any offensive launched now or later would have any greater success than the ones which were launched on 30th June 2014 and in January 2015.  On the contrary, with the militaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics now functioning at a vastly superior level to what they had achieved in the summer of 2014 and the winter of 2015, and with Ukrainian morale sapped by the heavy losses and defeats it suffered during the earlier, it is overwhelmingly likely the debacle would be even greater.

Even Hillary Clinton, were she to be elected US President in November, could not change this situation.  Even if decided – against European opposition – to supply US weapons to Ukraine, the Russians would simply respond by balancing US arms supplies to the Ukrainian government by  arms supplies to the militia, denying the government the decisive margin of superiority it needs to achieve victory.

On the facts Poroshenko’s elliptical admission of Ukraine’s defeat is simply a statement of the obvious.  For once what Poroshenko is saying is true.

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Vtran

Kiev / Nato Lost of Equipment in Eastern Ukraine from 2 may to 31 August 2014 – Report Dated 1/9/2014

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d0d_1409594249

RaisingMac
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RaisingMac

A fair amount of that equipment could have been captured by DNR/LNR in the ‘cauldron’ maneouvers they executed during the war. The UA was allowed to retreat from the cauldrons, but only if they left their heavy equipment behind. (They were allowed to take their small arms with them.)

DonNeedNoStinkinUserName
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DonNeedNoStinkinUserName

I have to agree with the rejection of C.C’s figures of “200’s” at 30,000. But they were significant and your figures may very well be close to the mark. The demoralisation of the population – after being fed non stop “Glory to the Heroes” & “we are beating the Moskal scum” took a while but it is impossible in the age of cellular phones, that catastrophic losses can be kept away from wives & mothers back home. When Igor has been ringing everyday then stops, no amount of state propaganda will mask the self evident truth. Geeze I miss the… Read more »

Tom Cruise
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Tom Cruise

Ukrainian army have lost to a “militia”?? Really? A “militia”?? Maybe you mean the Russian Army instead??

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Macron pisses off Merkel as he tries to sabotage Nord Stream 2 pipeline (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 177.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss an EU compromise for Nord Stream 2 where EU member states, the EU Parliament, and its Commission will give the bloc more oversight on gas pipelines, with one caveat…the Nord Stream 2 project with Russia will not be threatened by the new regulations in the agreement.

Macron pushed hard to have the new regulations include (and derail) Nord Stream 2, an action which annoyed Angela Merkel, who eventually got her way and delivered another blow to Macron’s failing French presidency.

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Via The Express UK

Angela Merkel hit back at Emmanuel Macron over Russia and Germany’s pipeline project, declaring it would “not be a one-sided dependency”. The German Chancellor explained that Germany will expand its gas terminals with “liquified gas”. Speaking at a press conference, Ms Merkel declared: “Do we become dependent on Russia because of this second gas pipeline? I say no, if we diversify. Germany will expand its gas terminals with liquefied gas.

“This means that we do not want to depend only on Russia, but Russia was a source of gas in the Cold War and will remain one.

“But it would not be one-sided dependency.”

Via DW

The EU parliament and its Council are set to adopt new regulations on gas pipelines connecting the bloc members with non-EU countries, the EU Commission announced early on Wednesday.

The upcoming directive is based on a compromise between EU member states and EU officials in Brussels. The bloc leaders agreed to tighten Brussels’ oversight of gas delivery and expand its rules to all pipelines plugging into the EU’s gas distribution network.

“The new rules ensure that… everyone interested in selling gas to Europe must respect European energy law,” EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said in a statement.

For example, owners of pipelines linking EU and non-EU countries would also be required to allow access for their competitors. Brussels would also have more power regarding transparency and tariff regulations.

Russian ambassador slams US

Brussels has repeatedly expressed concern over the controversial Nord Stream 2 project which would deliver Russian gas directly to Germany through a pipeline under the Baltic Sea. Many EU states oppose the mammoth project, and the US claims it would allow Moscow to tighten its grip on the EU’s energy policy.

Berlin has insisted that the pipeline is a “purely economic” issue.

Speaking to Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung daily, Russian ambassador to Berlin, Sergey Nechayev, slammed the US’ opposition as an attempt to “push its competition aside” and clear the way for American suppliers of liquefied gas.

“It’s hard to believe that a country that is destroying the rules of free and fair trade, that is imposing import tariffs on its competition, that is flying slogans like ‘America First’ on its flags and often threatens biggest European concerns with illegal sanctions, is now really concerned about European interests,” the Russian envoy said in remarks published in German on Wednesday.

Last week, France unexpectedly rebelled against the project, but Berlin and Paris soon reached a compromise. Thanks to their agreement, the latest deal is not expected to impede the ongoing construction of Nord Stream 2.

Citing sources from negotiators’ circles, German public broadcaster ARD reported that the deal left room for Germany to approve exceptions from the EU-wide rules.

According to the EU Commission, however, exceptions are “only possible under strict procedures in which the Commission plays a decisive role.”

The Gazprom-backed pipeline is set to be completed by the end of the year.

 

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UK Defence Secretary looking for a fight with both China and Russia (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 87.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s idea to deploy hard power against China and Russia, starting with plans to send Britain’s new aircraft carrier to the tense sea routes in the South China Sea.

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“Britain’s Gavin Williamson places Russia & China on notice, I’m not joking,” authored by John Wight, via RT

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is itching for conflict with Russia and China. He’s not mad. Not even slightly. But he is stupid. Very.

Unlike former fireplace salesman Gavin Williamson, I am no military expert. But then you do not need to be one to understand that while Britain going to war with Russia and China might work as a video game, the real thing would be an exceedingly bad idea.

So why then in a speech delivered to the Royal United Services Institute in London, did Mr Williamson’s argument on the feasibility of the real thing elicit applause rather than the shrieks of horror and demands he be sacked forthwith it should have? This is a serious question, by the way. It is one that cuts through British establishment verbiage to reveal a country ruled not by the sober and doughty political heavyweights of years gone by, but by foaming fanatics in expensive suits

Placing to one side for a moment the insanity of the very concept of Britain deploying hard power against Russia and/or China, the prospect of fighting a war against two designated enemies at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Not satisfied with that, though, Mr Williamson is actually contemplating a conflict with three different enemies at the same time – i.e. against Russia, China, and the millions of people in Britain his government is currently waging war against under the rubric of austerity.

“Today, Russia is resurgent,” Mr Williamson said, “rebuilding its military arsenal and seeking to bring the independent countries of the former Soviet Union, like Georgia and Ukraine, back into its orbit.”

For Mr Williamson and his ilk a resurgent Russia is a bad thing. Much better in their eyes if Russia, after the Soviet era in the 1990s, had remained on its knees as a free market desert; its state institutions in a state of near collapse and tens of millions of its citizens in the grip of immiseration. Yes, because in that scenario Western ideologues like him would have had free rein to rampage around the world as they saw fit, setting fire to country after country on the perverse grounds of ‘saving them’ for democracy.

As it is, he and his still managed to squeeze in a considerable amount of carnage and chaos in the years it did take Russia to recover. The indictment reads as follows: Yugoslavia destroyed; Afghanistan turned upside down; Iraq pushed into the abyss; Libya sent to hell.

By the time they turned their attention to Syria, intent on exploiting an Arab Spring that NATO in Libya transformed into an Arab Winter, Russia had recovered and was able to intervene. It did so in concert with the Syrian Arab Army, Iran and Hezbollah to save the day – much to the evident chagrin of those who, like Gavin Williamson, prefer to see countries in ashes rather than independent of Western hegemony.

As to the facile nonsense about Russia trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine back into its orbit, both countries happen to share a border with Russia and both countries, in recent years, have been used by the UK and its allies as cat’s paws with the eastward expansion of NATO in mind.

It gets worse though: “The Alliance must develop its ability to handle the kind of provocations that Russia is throwing at us. Such action from Russia must come at a cost.”

“Provocations,” the man said. Since British troops have been taking part in exercises on Russia’s doorstep, not the other way round, one wonders if Gavin Williamson wrote this speech while inebriated.

It is Russia that has been on the receiving end of repeated provocations from NATO member states such as the UK in recent times, and it is Russia that has been forced to respond to protect its own security and that of its people where necessary. Furthermore, not only in Russia but everywhere, including the UK, people understand that when you have political leaders intoxicated by their own national myths and propaganda to such an extent as Britain’s Defence Secretary, danger ensues.

The most enduring of those national myths where London is concerned is that the British Empire was a force for good rather than a vast criminal enterprise, that Britain and America won the Second World War together alone, that Iraq had WMDs, and that international law and international brigandage really are one and the same thing.

Perhaps the most preposterous section of the speech came when Mr Williamson tried to fashion a connection between Brexit and Britain’s military strength: “Brexit has brought us to a moment. A great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality, and increase our mass.”

Reading this, you can almost hear Churchill turning in his grave. Britain’s wartime prime minister had such as Gavin Williamson in mind when he famously said, “He has all the virtues I dislike, and none of the vices I admire.”

Mr Williamson obviously misread the memo talking up not the opportunity for increased conflict with China after Brexit but trade.

This was not a speech it was a linguistic car crash, one that will forever command an honoured place in compendiums of the worst political speeches ever made. As for Gavin Williamson, just as no responsible parent would ever dream of putting an 10-year old behind the wheel of car to drive unsupervised, no responsible British government would ever appoint a man like him as its Defence Secretary.

In years past, he would have struggled to find employment polishing the brass plate outside the building.

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The Birth Of A Monster

The banking establishment welcomed the Fed with open arms. What gives?

The Duran

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Authored by David Howden via The Mises Institute:


The Federal Reserve’s doors have been open for “business” for one hundred years. In explaining the creation of this money-making machine (pun intended – the Fed remits nearly $100 bn. in profits each year to Congress) most people fall into one of two camps.

Those inclined to view the Fed as a helpful institution, fostering financial stability in a world of error-prone capitalists, explain the creation of the Fed as a natural and healthy outgrowth of the troubled National Banking System. How helpful the Fed has been is questionable at best, and in a recent book edited by Joe Salerno and me — The Fed at One Hundred — various contributors outline many (though by no means all) of the Fed’s shortcomings over the past century.

Others, mostly those with a skeptical view of the Fed, treat its creation as an exercise in secretive government meddling (as in G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island) or crony capitalism run amok (as in Murray Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed).

In my own chapter in The Fed at One Hundred I find sympathies with both groups (you can download the chapter pdf here). The actual creation of the Fed is a tragically beautiful case study in closed-door Congressional deals and big banking’s ultimate victory over the American public. Neither of these facts emerged from nowhere, however. The fateful events that transpired in 1910 on Jekyll Island were the evolutionary outcome of over fifty years of government meddling in money. As such, the Fed is a natural (though terribly unfortunate) outgrowth of an ever more flawed and repressive monetary system.

Before the Fed

Allow me to give a brief reverse biographical sketch of the events leading up to the creation of a monster in 1914.

Unlike many controversial laws and policies of the American government — such as the Affordable Care Act, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or the War on Terror — the Federal Reserve Act passed with very little public outcry. Also strange for an industry effectively cartelized, the banking establishment welcomed the Fed with open arms. What gives?

By the early twentieth century, America’s banking system was in a shambles. Fractional-reserve banks faced with “runs” (which didn’t have to be runs with the pandemonium that usually accompanies them, but rather just banks having insufficient cash to meet daily withdrawal requests) frequently suspended cash redemptions or issued claims to “clearinghouse certificates.” These certificates were a money substitute making use of the whole banking system’s reserves held by large clearinghouses.

Both of these “solutions” to the common bank run were illegal as they allowed a bank to redefine the terms of the original deposit contract. This fact notwithstanding, the US government turned a blind eye as the alternative (widespread bank failures) was perceived to be far worse.

The creation of the Fed, the ensuing centralization of reserves, and the creation of a more elastic money supply was welcomed by the government as a way to eliminate those pesky and illegal (yet permitted) banking activities of redemption suspensions and the issuance of clearinghouse certificates. The Fed returned legitimacy to the laws of the land. That is, it addressed the government’s fear that non-enforcement of a law would raise broader questions about the general rule of law.

The Fed provided a quick fix to depositors by reducing cases of suspensions of their accounts. And the banking industry saw the Fed as a way to serve clients better without incurring a cost (fewer bank runs) and at the same time coordinate their activities to expand credit in unison and maximize their own profits.

In short, the Federal Reserve Act had a solution for everyone.

Taking a central role in this story are the private clearinghouses which provided for many of the Fed’s roles before 1914. Indeed, America’s private clearinghouses were viewed as having as many powers as European central banks of the day, and the creation of the Fed was really just an effort to make the illegal practices of the clearinghouses legal by government institutionalization.

Why Did Clearinghouses Have So Much Power?

Throughout the late nineteenth century, clearinghouses used each new banking crisis to introduce a new type of policy, bringing them ever closer in appearance to a central bank. I wouldn’t go so far as to say these are examples of power grabs by the clearinghouses, but rather rational responses to fundamental problems in a troubled American banking system.

When bank runs occurred, the clearinghouse certificate came into use, first in 1857, but confined to the interbank market to economize on reserves. Transactions could be cleared in specie, but lacking sufficient reserves, a troubled bank could make use of the certificates. These certificates were jointly guaranteed by all banks in the clearinghouse system through their pooled reserves. This joint guarantee was welcomed by unstable banks with poor reserve positions, and imposed a cost on more prudently managed banks (as is the case today with deposit insurance). A prudent bank could complain, but if it wanted to use a clearinghouse’s services and reap the cost advantages it had to comply with the reserve-pooling policy.

As the magnitude of the banking crisis intensified, clearinghouses started permitting banks to issue the certificates directly to the public (starting with the Panic of 1873) to further stymie reserve drains. (These issues to the general public amounted to illegal money substitutes, though they were tolerated, as noted above.)

Fractional-Reserve Free Banking and Bust

The year 1857 is a somewhat strange one for these clearinghouse certificates to make their first appearance. It was, after all, a full twenty years into America’s experiment with fractional-reserve free banking. This banking system was able to function stably, especially compared to more regulated periods or central banking regimes. However, the dislocation between deposit and lending activities set in motion a credit-fueled boom that culminated in the Panic of 1857.

This boom and panic has all the makings of an Austrian business cycle. Banks overextended themselves to finance the booming industries during America’s westward advance, primarily the railways. Land speculation was rampant. As realized profits came in under expectations, investors got skittish and withdrew money from banks. Troubled banks turned to the recently established New York Clearing House to promote stability. Certain rights were voluntarily abrogated in return for a guarantee on their solvency.

The original sin of the free-banking period was its fractional-reserve foundation. Without the ability to fund lending activity with their deposit base, banks never would have financed the boom to the extent that it became a destabilizing factor. Westward expansion and investment would still have occurred, though it would have occurred in a sustainable way funded through equity investments and loans. (These types of financing were used, though as is the case today, this occurred less than would be the case given the fractional-reserve banking system’s essentially cost-free funding source: the deposit base.)

In conclusion, the Fed was not birthed from nothing in 1913. The monster was the natural outgrowth of an increasingly troubled banking system. In searching for the original problem that set in motion the events culminating in the creation of the Fed, one must draw attention to the Panic of 1857 as the spark that set in motion ever more destabilizing policies. The Panic itself is a textbook example of an Austrian business cycle, caused by the lending activities of fractional-reserve banks. This original sin of the banking system concluded with the birth of a monster in 1914: The Federal Reserve.

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