Part IV: The Economic Implications of the War in Ukraine

They say that one picture is worth a thousand words.  

The picture to the left is the ruble to dollar ratio for the last 11 months.  So that means, today, we’re going to talk about the economic situation about the war in Ukraine. 

We can –and will–discuss the military situation in the Ukraine.  It is far from over.  But it would be insane to not take into account the economic consequences of this conflict, both before, during and after the Russian invasion.

Here’s another picture:   

Looks like the sanctions are working after all.  Unfortunately, not against Russia.  Oops!

Let’s look at the economic picture in chronological fashion:


I.  Before  

It is now obvious that Ukraine served as a slush fund for criminal oligarchs.  Not only Ukrainian ones but Western ones as well.  That’s why then-Vice President Joe Biden could openly brag in a brazen fashion how he ordered President Poroshenko to fire the special prosecutor who was investigating his son’s role in Burisma.  

As we knew long before the election, the well-placed sons of American oligarchs also served on the board of directors of this company.  Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden for example, drew a salary of $83,000 per month doing nothing (as he had neither the expertise in the energy business nor the language skills to sit on a Ukrainian board of directors).

Nor was Hunter the only well-connected son of American politicians to be so handsomely rewarded:  Paul Pelosi, Jr, Christopher Heinz (the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry) and Craig Romney, also had their fingers in the Ukrainian pie. 

And that’s the ones we know of.  Ukraine was just part of it:  Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz used money from their fathers’ Chinese connections to set up Rosemont Seneca, a private equity firm in June of 2009.  (Hmmm, let’s see, who was vice president back in 2009?)

No doubt, we will know more as time goes by.  I imagine that Russian special forces gathered much information in the first weeks of the invasion which they are sitting on and will release at a time and place of their choosing.  

Based on everything we’ve learned so far, we shouldn’t be surprised when all the beans are spilled.  (Maybe this explains why the West is doing everything within its power to prevent the beans from spilling?)


II. During

After an initial collapse (of 150 rubles to the dollar), the ruble has rebounded mightily (56 rubles to the dollar).  This is the strongest that it has been in five years.  In fact, according to Bloomberg, by the end of March of 2022, the ruble was the “best performing currency in the world.”

How did this happen?  And what does it portend for the future?

President Putin immediately did two things to shore up the ruble.  First, he removed the fiat status of the ruble and made it backed up by gold.  (Most Western currencies, including the US dollar, are backed by paper, not gold, hence its “fiat” status.)

Second, he announced that “unfriendly countries” would have to pay for Russian oil, natural gas and coal in rubles.  At first, the West laughed.  Until they didn’t.  And little by little some European countries did just that:  use euros to purchase rubles which were then placed in Russian banks and/or the holding companies of Gazprom and other such firms.

Both of these actions caused the ruble to strengthen, almost overnight. 

Third, he didn’t make this an “all or nothing” proposition.  Countries which were not “unfriendly” (i.e. most of the rest of the world) were allowed to use their dollar reserves for these (and other commodities).  China, India and Pakistan were allowed to use their own currencies to purchase Russian goods.

This was a win-win for both supplier (Russia) and buyer (China, India, Pakistan).  Or they could use dollars as well, if they wanted to.  Regardless, this created an incentive for the countries of the Global South to not get on  Uncle Sam’s Great Russophobic Bandwagon and Traveling Salvation Show.  It also shored up their currencies as well.  (See what I mean?  “A win-win”.)

What these actions portend is nothing less than the “de-dollarization” of the international financial system.  In doing so, Putin announced the death-knell of the so-called petrodollar as the world’s reserve currency.  By rights, the dollar should be plunging by now but in actuality, it’s the Euro that’s taking a pounding, so this is buying the dollar some time.  On the other hand, it’s going to royally piss off Europeans as they’re freezing this winter. 

Third, the U S did Putin a huge favor, one that was incredibly stupid:  they confiscated foreign-held Russian assets.  This was nothing less than a brazen act of piracy.  One of the glories of the the so-called Rules Based System, was that foreigners could rest assured that if they had any assets that were housed in American banks, that they were always going to be there. 

Because of this action, the mask of American stability has been yanked off.  In soccer, this is called an “own goal.”  More than anything else that has transpired these last seven months, this horrendous action will indicate the point in which America was no longer a trustworthy partner.  As Putin said to President Xi of China, “the Americans are agreement incapable.”  

This is long-term however.  What it meant in the short-term for Russia was the stabilization of the ruble, the taming of inflation, and a strengthening of Russian industry. 

Fourth, by boycotting all Russian goods, the sanctions have forced Russian businessmen to look for other markets.  Thanks to the Global South (which is 85% of the world’s population), the Russian’s found a ready-made market for their goods.  And they discovered another one as well:  the internal Russian market.  (That’s one reason why the purchasing power of the ruble is higher than it was last year.)

What is little known to many in the West, is that Russia is an autarky, a country which can sustain itself.  (The Russians have taken to calling this set of affairs Russky Mir or “Russian World.”)  It not only has oil and coal but uranium, nickel, platinum, gold, silver and a host of other commodities in abundance. 

It is also agriculturally independent.  It not only feeds its itself, it can feed the rest of the world as well.  At the very least, this means that it can weather the sanctions that the West has imposed on it while at the same time profiting from the exports of its commodities.  In the meantime, it is strengthening its position as the hegemon of the non-Western aligned nations by selling its products to “friendly countries” at a discounted rate.  (Because of the sanctions its exports are still being sold at a premium.)

Thus the West is in the unenviable position of financing Russia’s Special Military Operation.  Worse, as far as the non-Western nations are concerned, the West has nothing to offer them in order to get them on the anti-Russian sanctions program.

In the final analysis, unless the West eases up on the sanctions, the Russian Federation has the economic wherewithal to continue its SMO for as long as it takes.  Baldly put, Russia is not feeling an economic pinch, at least not to the extent that the West is.  The West on the other hand, is seeing its collective economies collapse.  Already, the inflation rate for the United States is 15 percent (if calculated by 1970s standards).

What’s worse is that even during the “malaise” of the Carter years, America could rebound under Reagan because we still had a manufacturing base.  Despite a brief revival under Trump, that base has withered away.  And our national debt to GDP ratio is worse than Greece’s levels in 2008.   

Not good, people, not good.  


III.  After

As Yogi Berra said, “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”   

But let us do so anyway.

It is my opinion that time –and events–are on Russia’s side.  Winter is already happening in parts of Germany and Poland.  Germans are being told to go to the nearest forest and chop wood.  Poles are queuing up in lines outside of coal mines.  Some are actually sleeping in their cars in order to not lose their place in line.  Most anti-Russian Western governments have fallen.  (As I write this, the Italians went to the polls and elected a very nationalistic, right-wing government.  Brava Giorgia!)

President Putin is making a calculated decision that come November, things will be so bad in Europe that the great anti-Russian alliance will start to crumble.  Once Germany runs out of LNG, then Ukraine will have no diesel to power its army.  (As Garland Nixon has sardonically noted, “General Winter is on the march.”) 

Even with the partial mobilization just announced by Putin, it looks like Russia’s economy will contract by only 2 percent this year.  The EU’s economies on the other hand are experiencing more contraction than that.  As for us, we are being told by the Red Queen (Karinne Jeanne-Pierre) that we’re not really in a recession.  (Just ignore all the growing hordes of homeless people living under the bridges.) 

How dire are things in Germany (the economic engine that drives Europe’s economy)?  Look at this assessment from Larry Johnson:

“The craven sycophancy demonstrated by Germany, France and the United Kingdom in their passionate embrace of America’s confrontation with Russia is now on life support.  Despite continued bombastic threats to keep arming Ukraine until Russia collapses, economic reality is hitting the Europeans like an icy cold shower from a fire hose.  Rapid inflation, particularly in the energy sector, is forcing factories and businesses to shutter operations. The de-industrialization of Europe, especially Germany and the UK, has started. German steel plants are closing, German bakeries are trying to figure out how to pay soaring utility bills while still making bread and pretzels and German toilet-paper manufacturer Hakle GmbH has applied for insolvency proceedings in self-administration. If you don’t have a bidet or a bucket full of sand, toilet paper is an essential item. The inflationary spiral may lead to the day where it is cheaper to wipe your ass with a 100 Euro note than three sheets of Hakle.”

That doesn’t sound too optimistic does it?

All of the prices for foodstuffs and commodities that Russians pay for have declined while ours have risen.  (The only exception being fuel:  they’re have risen 10 percent while ours have risen anywhere from twice to five times that.  


IV.  Is there a wild card?

Yes there is.  Unfortunately, I fully expect a false flag immediately before the November elections.    

In order to stave off further European disengagement from the anti-Russian coalition, I believe that the State Department will stage a false flag in the Ukraine (possibly involving a nuclear device) sometime in October.  As President Alexander Vucic of Serbia said the other day while speaking at the United Nations, unless things change, we should prepare for a major war in two months.  A few months ago, Henry Kissinger likewise said that things could get out of hand unless cooler heads prevail.  He wisely counsels caution and negotiation.  

Trouble is, on this side of the Atlantic, there are no cooler heads.  Even a Red Wave might not be able to contain the russophobic rage of the neocons who control the State Department.  

The thing is, the Russian’s have another ace up their sleeve. As I write this, four Ukrainian oblasts –Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhie and Kherson–are holding referenda on whether to join the Russian Federation.  The Ukrainians have mishandled things so badly with their constant shelling of civilians that they are handing Putin an electoral win. So, on or about September 28th, President Putin will address the Duma and announce that the people of those four oblasts have formally requested to be included into the Russian Federation.  If (as expected) the Duma approves it, then the Russians would have acquired another 200,000 sq miles of territory and 5 million new citizens.  And the border will be shifted further to the west.

This means that the Russian army will create new military districts to accommodate the new territory.

According to the boys at the Duran, Putin will then issue an ultimatum to the Kiev regime on September 30th , informing them that they need to cease all bombing of the civilians within the new Russian borders immediately.  

And if they don’t?  Then the SMO will cease operation and Russia will declare war on Ukraine.

And then, the ball will be in NATO’s court. 



  1. If I remember correctly, in Germany and Poland you must be licensed to cut down trees as well as pay for a permit to gather fallen branches.

    • How will the Permit Police enforce their rules
      if Les Sansculottes rise to seek wood for heat
      and to seek food to eat?

      For a grim vision of what may be coming
      let us turn to the Sage of Craigenputtock:

      Thomas Carlyle: The French Revolution
      ” Now surely not realization, of Christianity, or of aught earthly, do we discern in this Reign of Terror, in this French Revolution of which it is the consummating. Destruction rather we discern–of all that was destructible. It is as if Twenty-five millions, risen at length into the Pythian mood, had stood up simultaneously to say, with a sound which goes through far lands and times, that this Untruth of an Existence had become insupportable. O ye Hypocrisies and Speciosities, Royal mantles, Cardinal plushcloaks, ye Credos, Formulas, Respectabilities, fair-painted Sepulchres full of dead men’s bones,–behold, ye appear to us to be altogether a Lie. Yet our Life is not a Lie; yet our Hunger and Misery is not a Lie! Behold we lift up, one and all, our Twenty-five million right-hands; and take the Heavens, and the Earth and also the Pit of Tophet to witness, that either ye shall be abolished, or else we shall be abolished! “

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, you’re quite correct.

      Unfortunately, freezing and starving people usually have a way of overriding pesky little rules.

  2. Dazed and Confused says

    About that false flag prediction, it’s come early. Today both the Nordstream 1 and Nordstream 2 pipelines developed major leaks and are spewing gas into the Baltic in a major environmental disaster. Poland is congratulating the USA for destroying them, while some of the western press is pointing fingers at Russia. To have three out of four pipelines fail at the same time is unprecedented, and certainly hints at sabotage. I would not expect a quick fix, and the Germans better start chopping firewood faster. It will be a rough winter in Europe with economies grinding to a halt and the potential for revolution by springtime as people grow tired of warming themselves around bonfires.

  3. Excellent analysis, George!

  4. Don’t you think it’s odd that there was a Baltic Pipeline ceremony yesterday at the same time the news was reporting about Nordstream 1 and 2 gas leaks?

    “Leaders from Poland, Norway and Denmark have attended a ceremony to mark the opening of the new Baltic Pipe, a key stage in the drive to wean Poland and Europe off Russian gas.”

  5. 9/27/22
    Leaders from Poland, Norway and Denmark have attended a ceremony to mark the opening of the new Baltic Pipe, a key stage in the drive to wean Poland and Europe off Russian gas.

    Pretty weird this ceremony took place same day news was reporting the Nordstream gas leaks.

  6. “…some of the western press
    is pointing fingers at Russia.”

    Why would Russia bomb the pipeline
    when she could just turn the tap off?

  7. Euro and other European currencies are falling down in relation to dollar.

  8. Don’t be surprised over the next six months of doom and gloom predictions of European economic collapse and freezing fail to come to pass. At the same time, the Russian economy may do worse than you think. Nothing near collapse, but running into increasing headwinds and suffering snowballing effects from multiple adverse factors.

    Russian exports outside of oil have generally dropped. Oil is often sold at a significant discount. Russia has decided to stop selling gas to Europe, but unlike oil can’t resell most of it it elsewhere. The infrastructure doesn’t exist, and won’t anytime soon. The Russian budget has likely crossed into deficit and the 2023 budget is going to get a haircut for everything that isn’t the war. Russian manufacturing is far from self-sufficient and import substitution is going to continue to be a problem.

    On the military front, things are getting really dicey for the VSRF in Lyman. Putin has apparently decided no more retreats, hence things like the attempts to quickly reconstitute the 3rd MRD and 20th GMRB and rush them to the front. That isn’t going very well. At the end of the day, declaring regions of occupied Ukraine part of Russia through sham referendums isn’t going to stop Ukraine. The annexation is likely to backfire on the Kremlin politically when Ukraine starts liberating its territory that Russia has started claiming is actually Russia (even if no-one else recognizes it).

    • George Michalopulos says

      Nate, did you see that chart I put up about the price differentials for basic commodities between Russia and the UK?

      Remind me again how 1/3 of all pubs in the UK have had to close because of soaring energy costs (that that is supposed to be a good thing)?

      As for the price of petroleum, I bet that the “discounted price” just shot up thanks to the NS 1 &2 sabotage. Meanwhile, our stock market continues to tank.

      Now would be a good time for liberals to stop listening to Karinne Jean-Pierre. There really are solid definitions to what a “recession” is.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Then there’s this:

        “The coming weeks will expose fractures in the NATO alliance. Britain, for example, woke up this morning to learn that the once mighty pound Sterling, which once had twice the value of the US dollar, is now worth less than the dollar. That means that the Brits will be paying more for products they import from the United States. Although the United States only accounts for 12% of the UK imports, the price increase will further inflame the inflationary spiral in the UK. Newly minted British Prime Minister Liz Truss already is facing push back from the Tories about her proposed economic plan. The death of Queen Elizabeth put the political problems on a back burner for a couple of weeks. That honeymoon is over and the pressure of domestic politics in the UK will make continued support for Ukraine less certain.”

        (From Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst.)

        • George Michalopulos says

          “The UK’s infrastructure, utilities, roads, railways, education and healthcare, has in many places reached what used to be called ‘Third World’ levels. The UK currency crisis has come about because of the UK government’s need to borrow huge amounts of money – this was MissTrust’s ‘bold plan’. After all, the UK Establishment follows to the letter US orders and has had to refuse Russia’s riches and subsidise the bankrupt Ukraine. The UK level of debt is now approaching that of the USA and catching up with that of Italy, whom it used to mock as a ‘basket case’. As they say: ‘What goes round, comes round’.” –Batiushka (from the Saker)

          One of the glaring anomalies of the American Empire (as opposed to all other empires) is that the American people get very little out of it. Where are our new massive projects? The intercontinental railroad, the interstate highway system, the space program?

          All we do is spend our blood and treasure on spreading “democracy” while in reality it is the oligarchs who derive any benefit.

          • “The UK currency crisis has come about
            because of the UK government’s need to borrow
            huge amounts of money – this was MissTrust’s ‘bold plan’.”

            IN LIZ WE TRUSS

            What could possibly go wrong?

  9. Qui bono?

    Russia has no incentive to sabotage its own pipelines. Why close off options and end leverage? It is the US, perversely, that has a motivation to attack Nordstream. The message is probably something like, “Don’t even think about making peace with Russia to end the energy problem because we can take out Nordstream at will and effectively blockade the EU from Russian energy.”

    If this is the case, it is an act of utter desperation – attacking the potential energy sources of ones allies.

  10. Sorry, just saw the Duran on this. It’s “cut bono” rather than “qui”.

    • Cui? 🙂

      • Oui.

        • I just thought “poor bono,
          nobody like him any more…”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Cui: Latin for “who” as in cui bono (“who benefits”).

          I must say, that my initial thought was that NATO sabotaged the NS pipelines. After listening to Alex Christophorou in his analysis of Blinken’s press conference, now I’m not so sure.

          Mind you, I have nothing but utter contempt for the Brandon regime and Blinken strikes me as self-satisfied fool but he seemed very reticent about casting blame for this fiasco on Russia. Usually, when we pull off false flags, the official story is tight and there is no disputing the talking points. We also place immediate blame on the enemy of the day.

          Blinken didn’t do that.

          Christophorou makes a plausible case that rogue elements within the West pulled this off in order to cut off any “off-ramp” that the Ukrainians might want to take to pursue negotiations. Then there are the idiot Greens who have no problem seeing millions of people starve and freeze to death. (Someday soon, I’m going to tell y’all a story about my run-in with some radical greens back in 1997, in Bath, England. Scary what these people believe.”

          From what I understand, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in the process of brokering a breakthrough and this action quashed it.

          In any event, the price of oil will shoot up.

          • Seems likely to me that it was either the US govt or at the behest of and with the assistance of the US govt. I doubt the Ukies could have pulled it off.

            It most benefits the US, in direct contradiction to what Blinken asserted. Having the pipelines available for operation is a constant reminder to the Germans, et al., that all they have to do is get on the phone with Putin, drop sanctions and prosperity will be restored. Now there is at least a cloud over whether the US would even allow such a thing to occur given the sabotage. Message was sent before the arrival of General Winter.

  11. I agree 100% with everyone saying that Russia has no motive to attack their own source of leverage over Europe and that the US are the prime suspects, especially as Biden and Nuland both threatened Nord Stream 2.

    However, I’d like to posit an even more perverse scenario, and that’s that it was either done by or with the blessing and/or help of the German government. Sounds crazy, right? Why would they ruin their own source of cheap energy which could save them this winter? Simple: the radical German Green Party (Die Grünen), despite having only 15% of the votes, is setting the current government’s agenda, and they don’t care about Germany. They’re globalists with one major policy goal: force the Green New Deal (Energiewende) at any cost.

    Habeck is on record saying, in response to assertions that the Greens don’t understand love of country, that they understand it perfectly and reject it. Baerbock has said that she’ll stand behind Ukraine (which is her excuse for the Russian gas embargo) at any cost regardless of what her German voters think. Those are the two people running that party, and the rest of them are no better.

    There’s one thing they fear in the near term: energy protests this winter. The opposition parties, specifically Die Linke and AfD, waste no opportunity to remind everyone that the crisis is self-made and could easily be solved at any time by opening Nord Stream 1 and 2 on their end and removing sanctions so that Putin opens them on his end. People could heat their homes again without going bankrupt, problem solved. The most effective way for the Greens to combat this? Set it up so that they can plausibly argue “we couldn’t open the pipelines even if we wanted to,” and by extension “replacing us won’t help you”.

    Of course this is a purely circumstantial argument and they could have nothing to do with it, but they’re sociopaths who stand to benefit directly from this act of sabotage and aren’t going to shed any tears over the pipelines, even if it ruins the German economy.

  12. Joseph Lipper says

    More than ever, it seems ridiculous for Russia to blame this war on Patriarch Bartholomew’s “meddling”. Because if there’s any infighting in Ukraine between the OCU and UOC right now, it’s only helping Russia’s cause.

    Yet it’s almost like Russia wouldn’t allow for a unified Ukrainian Church in 2018, because that would have been a more serious threat to the inevitable Russian invasion. Had the UOC and OCU completely merged into a united church, then the Russian invasion probably would have been much more devastating.

    Conversely, without Patriarch Bartholomew’s backing of the OCU in Ukraine, probably all Orthodox Christians everywhere in the world would be a target right now. Even ROCOR should probably thank Patriarch Bartholomew for this.

    • Joseph Lipper, I’m not sure what you mean by ‘merge’? The OCU is a schismatic entity full of deposed clergy and self-ordained laymen—as were the previous bodies that now comprise it. In order for there to have been a ‘merger’ with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by Met. Onufriy…there would have to be a proper reception of the schismatics. In other words, sincere repentance AND genuine Apostolic ordinations—plus the return of churches and monasteries that the OCU (and predecessor bodies) have stolen!

      You’re also forgetting the fact that Pat. Bartholomew (aka the bishop of Istanbul) invaded the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. So, Bartholomew is, at least, partly to blame. You cannot dispute that.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Alex, there are Ukrainian soldiers from both the OCU and UOC fighting side by side in defense of their country against invading forces from Russia. It’s only a matter of time that a merger will happen. While the Russian Church has chosen not to accept OCU clergy by economia, there has already been such precedent within the Russian Church, such as with the 1946 “Council of Lvov”. The decision to receive schismatic clergy whether according to pastoral dispensation, “economia”, or liturgical exactness, “akrivia”, is usually based not on dogma, but rather on the politics of the time. That appears to be the only reason for the discrepancy between today and the 1946 “Council of Lvov”.

        Metropolitan Onuphry has, for all practical purposes, become the head of an autocephalous church, so it’s likely that a merger will happen eventually. Meanwhile, there are clergy of the UOC who have stopped commemorating him:

        While I haven’t heard anyone specifically use the term “schismatic” in reference to Metropolitan Onuphry yet, there are such arguments already being made. For example, Father George Maksimov, the head of the missionary department of the ROC’s African Exarchate, has recently been quoted as saying that Metropolitan Onuphry and his flock are on the road to hell, because they have separated themselves from the Russian Church:

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Economia is exercised to restore one to the Church not change the Church. The Church requires ordained clergy. If you don’t have ordained clergy, you’re existing outside the Church, i.e. schismatic.

          Metropolitan Onuphry is not going to be an agent to change this. It would be incumbent on the OCU to repent and be reinstated (legitimately ordained, even) which they refuse to do. Plus, the hatred they feel toward those who are sympathetic to Russia would preclude any kind of kumbaya sort of thing.

        • Joseph L., it’s highly, highly unlikely that the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Met. Onuphry will merge with the schismatic OCU. On the other hand, it’s more likely that the UOC will absorb some elements of the OCU—elements that showed contrite repentance—for their many years of transgressions. You know, stuff like stealing the churches and monasteries of the UOC, beating up innocent priests and old ladies. And, other heinous and evil things. (Bad behavior that your beloved Pat. Bartholomew seems to condone.)

    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, the Ukrainians had a “united” and canonical Church in 2018. One does not “unite” with conmen, mountebanks and charlatans.

      Guess what? They still have a united Orthodox Church. One that has Onuprhiy Berezovsky as its valid, legal and canonical primate.

    • Thank Patr. Bartholemew for overstepping his canonical authority using arguments of universal jurisdiction that would lead Orthodoxy directly into Papism?

      Sorry, if the arguments he uses to establish his powers over other bishops’ jurisdictions are allowed to stand, there’s another bishop with a prior and higher claim to those powers to whom even Constantinople would owe allegiance. Bartholemew may not see it, but in his attempt to increase his own authority he’s inadvertently arguing for someone else’s primacy.

      Standing against the OCU is standing for Orthodox ecclesiology. Attempts to make the UOC/OCU divide out to be about geopolitics are merely obfuscating the real issue. As to ROCOR, I think they can defend their own position without following Bartholemew into heterodoxy.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well reasoned, Peter.

        In my study of the Phanar, I’ve found them to be highly intelligent, very clever but not at all wise or rational.

        Sad for me to say this as I am of Greek blood myself. The Turks really did a number on us (in more ways than one).

        • Clever people often do stupid things.
          You want proof? Read a history book,
          any history book, from any country…

    • Very fanciful, Mr Lipper. Anyone (whether you or those who can’t stand Bartholomew) who thinks affairs of the Church played anything more than a minor, peripheral…one could say state propaganda…role in the this conflict is kidding themselves.

      This world doesn’t care about the Church or its leaders except to the extent to which portions can be manipulated (or maligned) to achieve its own ends.

      As in…

      “Religion means a lot to these people. We can use that.”

      • Gail Sheppard says

        No truer statement was ever said.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Brian, propaganda is a very effective tool in war. It’s even been said that the former Soviet Union collapsed primarily because of U.S. propaganda.

        Now we have Patriarch Kirill selling the war in Ukraine to the Russian populace by way of, what basically amounts to indulgences, the forgiveness of sins. Patriarch Kirill preached the following in his sermon last Sunday:

        “the Church is aware that if someone, driven by a sense of duty, the need to fulfill an oath, remains true to his calling and dies in the line of military duty, then he undoubtedly commits an act that is tantamount to a sacrifice. He sacrifices himself for others. And therefore we believe that this sacrifice washes away all the sins that a person has committed.”

        How are Patriarch Kirill’s words really any different than the Papal Bull of the Crusades? For that matter, how are these words different than what motivates a Muslim jihadist to wear a suicide vest? At any rate, I fail to see an Orthodox soteriology here. What I do see is religion being used as a motivating factor for Russia invading Ukraine.

        Thank God that there are still Orthodox leaders like Metropolitan Onuphry, who from the very beginning condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

        • Gail Sheppard says


        • Indulgences implicates purgatory and the RCC’s alleged treasury of created grace. So perhaps you need to read a bit more before you compare such things.

          • We should not forget the authority of bishops to “bind and loose”.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              “Metropolitan Avgustin (Markevich) of Belotserkovsky and Boguslavsky , head of the Synodal Department of the UOC for interaction with the Armed Forces and other military formations, called heresy the teaching that all sins are washed away from a warrior who gave his life in battle, defending the Motherland.

              “’Those who believe that a warrior is a hero, especially when he gave his life for his homeland, for his neighbors, automatically receive the Kingdom of Heaven by this, that the blood shed on the battlefield cleanses from sin … This is heresy. Only the blood of Christ cleanses sin. And sins are forgiven through repentance,’ Vladyka said.” (Google translated)


            • Joseph Lipper says

              So, there we have it, a UOC bishop calls it heresy, the teaching that death on the battlefield washes away sins.

              In English:


              In all fairness to Patriarch Kirill, though, his sermon most probably had an intended audience of exactly one, Vladimir Putin. His main message here is that the Russian Church is not going to speak out against the Russian state and military. Yet, as some have pointed out, he is doing so in betrayal of not only the Gospel, but also Jesus Christ, the Church, and those Ukrainians who are fighting with their lives to keep their country as a sovereign nation.


              • Gail Sheppard says

                Pat. Kirill did not say death on the battlefield washes away sins.

                This bishop who said is myopic and should retire.

                AGAIN, this is what Pat. Kirill said: Quote: “We know that many today are dying in the fields of internecine battle. The Church is praying that this battle will end as soon as possible, that as few brothers as possible will kill each other in this fratricidal war. And at the same time, the Church realises that if someone, driven by a sense of duty and the need to honour his oath, stays loyal to his vocation and dies while carrying out his military duty, then he is, without any doubt, doing a deed that is equal to sacrifice. He is sacrificing himself for others. And, therefore, we believe that this sacrifice cleanses away all of that person’s sins.”

                These are the major points:

                1. He uses the word internecine which means “mutually destructive; ruinous or fatal to both sides.”

                2. He also calls it a fratricidal war; a war between brothers, which means what ever he says about the Russian casualties he is saying about the Ukrainian casualties. He clearly views this war as we do our Civil War. Brother against brother.

                3. He prays that the war will be over soon.

                4. He says, “. . . the Church realizes that if someone, driven by a sense of duty and the need to honour his oath, stays loyal to his vocation and dies while carrying out his military duty, then he is, without any doubt, doing a deed that is equal to sacrifice. He is sacrificing himself for others.”

                4a. Duty and to honor your oath, staying loyal to his vocation:
                +Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Hebrews 13:17
                +Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. Romans 13 1-14

                4b. Dying while carrying out ones military duty [for his countrymen], then he is, without any doubt, doing a deed that is equal to sacrifice:
                +By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16
                +Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 5:13
                +This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15 12-13

                5. Finally he says: He is sacrificing himself for others. And, therefore, we believe that this sacrifice cleanses away all of that person’s sins.”
                +You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. John 15:3
                +But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1-7
                +If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9


                The bishop who said: “Those who believe that a warrior is a hero, especially when he gave his life for his homeland, for his neighbours, automatically receive the Kingdom of Heaven by this, that the blood shed on the battlefield cleanses from sin … This is heresy. Only the blood of Christ cleanses sin. And sins are forgiven through repentance” should get down on his knees and repent.

                Pat. Kirill said nothing about “warriors,” “heroes,” or “blood shed on a battlefield.”

                It’s not the location of where the blood is shed, or if one’s a warrior, or a hero that makes any difference. It is why the blood was shed that is important. And Christ does cleanse that sin.

                If a soldier is doing what his commander asks of him (Romans 13 1-14) and he lays down his life for his countrymen [neighbors, friends] (1 John 3-16), because by this they [the soldiers] know love (1 John 3-16) and he [the soldier] is already clean because of the word which I [Christ] has spoke. (John 15:3).

                Because it’s Scripture, this is what the Church teaches.


                Joseph, this is for you: 1 Corinthians 5:11, But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

                If Pat Kirill did NOT characterize the things you keep accusing him of, what does that make you, Joseph? A slanderer, right up there with sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, so quit doing it.

                Not only are you slandering Pat. Kirill, you’re trolling the Internet to find others to do the same and came up with this bishop. You seem to delight in bringing up this up over and over again, all with the same intent: to discredit Patriarch Kirill.

                Stop, for your own sake, stop, and never bring this up on the blog again. I don’t want to have any part in this.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Gail, I take no delight in any of this. It is completely tragic. I certainly don’t consider Patriarch Kirill to be a heretic either, and simply because of something he said in a sermon without any further clarification.

                  However, when we are dealing with matters of soteriology, the forgiveness of sins and our salvation, we are dealing with fundamental Christian dogma.

                  There’s a lot of people right now pretty riled up about what he said. That’s the point I’m making. It seems incumbent on Patriarch Kirill to at least further clarify his statement, at least for the sake of Orthodox Christianity.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    So let’s look at the soteriology.

                    The accusation is that Pat. Kirill is saying that it isn’t Christ who washes away our sins. If this is true, one would think there would be other statements to this effect.

                    Can you find one? I’d be surprised if you did.

                    If true, perhaps there is something in his background to explain it. Let’s see. He came from a religious home. He studied theology, graduating with honors. He was a monastic and a metropolitan since 1991.

                    Nope. Nothing there to suggest he doesn’t accept that salvation is through Christ and Christ alone.

                    Has he done anything that demonstrates he isn’t a Christian? Any weird symbols under the carpet or over the throne. Any meetings with people who do not believe in Christ?

                    Again, I don’t think so.

                    I understand Ukraine has hired mercenaries who genuinely like to kill to fight for Ukraine. Some are reportedly atheists and even Satanists. If they were inadvertently killed by a missile or something, has Pat. Kirill ever said they would have their sins washed away, too?

                    If he has, I haven’t heard it, have you?


                    Is it possible that the people who are “riled up” are not “riled up” about what he said, because they don’t care. They’re “riled up” in general because they HATE the Russian Church and believe Pat. Kirill is somehow responsible for Putin’s actions in Ukraine? Because there is a LOT of evidence that this is the case.

                    One of the reasons he’s probably not clarifying what he said, Joseph, is because he’s in isolation due to COVID. Plus, if he tried to clarify everything these crazy people have been throwing at him, he’d get nothing else done.

                    These people are persecuting him.

                    I can understand why they’d be worried about who washes away the sins of the world. They should be. They don’t care that he can’t speak for himself right now; they don’t even care what the truth is. If they did, they would give him the benefit of the doubt until one or two of them could ask him what he meant before getting all riled up in the first place.

                    Unless he was teaching it, which he wasn’t (it was a poorly worded comment, at best), this isn’t heresy.

                • Very well stated, Galya.

                  It actually reminds one of C.S. Lewis’s remarks about two soldiers, both Christians, on opposite sides, killed in battle who simultaneously arrive in heaven and embrace.

              • So is he saying that this is false teaching?:

                “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

                Or does he deny that a bishop has the authority to absolve sins?

                Or is he denying that killing in warfare is “praiseworthy”, as St. Athanasius asserted?

                Or is he denying the doctrine of baptism in blood, or baptism itself?

                OR, is he just spouting off in a visceral reaction to something Pat. Krill said, twisting it into something it is not? I realize Ukrainian hierarchs are in a bad position and are trying to be patriotic. I assume this nonsense is part of that.

              • Having looked back at what Pat. Krill actually said, while I do not think it is heresy, I would not have phrased matters the way he did. He did not limit matters to this conflict or to Orthodox soldiers who die but rather seems to be thinking out loud about a principle. I really wish Moscow would run matters by ROCOR before saying these type of things.

                What he could have done is call it a Sacred War, compare it to the Israelite wars against Amalek and Moab in the Old Testament and grant absolution to all Orthodox soldiers killed in battle. Instead, perhaps due to some uncertainty about what precedent there is or what authority he has, he spoke broadly and, arguably, inaccurately.


        • Thank you, Mr. Lipper.

          I do hope folks here will click on the link you have graciously provided, invest a few moments to read it, and see for themselves whether the narrative you are seeking create is an accurate reflection of what he said.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I agree, Joseph. Surely you don’t want to make a point by mischaracterizing something someone else said. How would this be profitable?

            When Met. Kirill says, “ . . . the Church is aware that if someone, driven by a sense of duty, the need to fulfill an oath, remains true to his calling and dies in the line of military duty, then he undoubtedly commits an act that is tantamount to a sacrifice.”

            No one can disagree with that. It’s a sacrifice for many people. Because I lost my own son, when I hear of a young man dying, the first thought that comes into my head is, “some mother is going to be crying herself to sleep the rest of her life.”

            When Pat. Kirill says, “He sacrifices himself for others. And therefore we believe that this sacrifice washes away all the sins that a person has committed,” perhaps he’s talking about all the sins that had to be committed in battle and the fact that the person did not get a chance to confess them. For when we confess our sins they are washed away.

            The fact that the person made that sacrifice, for his country, would matter. Those words would bring comfort to his family and those who loved him.

            This isn’t handing out “dispensations.” It’s Orthodoxy 101.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Gail, do you believe that a soldier’s sacrifice of his own life in wartime “washes away all the sins [that he] has committed”?

              That sounds to me like either a new and/or different religion entirely. Rather, it is Christ who is “the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

              Christian martyrs sacrifice their own lives for the sake of Christ, and fulfill the words of Christ “whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25) However, those who sacrifice both their own life and the lives of others by killing them for the sake of earthly kingdoms and wartime political ideology are not martyrs.

  13. A funny meme I saw today: an intact Russian passport was found floating in the bubbles (near one of the burst pipelines)

  14. Joseph, this is fantasy, pure and simple.
    There was no inevitable Russian invasion in 2019.
    Peace was on offer right up to February 2022 and beyond,
    but Ukraine refused to avail themselves of it
    either in the Minsk Accords or later in Turkey.

  15. Joseph Lipper: ” Had the UOC and OCU completely merged into a united church”

    OCU is not Orthodox. Period.

  16. RE: “Conversely, without Patriarch Bartholomew’s backing of the OCU in Ukraine, probably all Orthodox Christians everywhere in the world would be a target right now. Even ROCOR should probably thank Patriarch Bartholomew for this.”

    Right. “Thank you, Bartholomew, for saving the church by means of schism. Thank you for walking more closely with the State Department than with Patriarch Kirill. Thank you for accepting any – ahem – *offerings* that may have been given.

  17. George Michalopulos says

    Why would Poland want the NS pipelines destroyed? And why could they get the US to do it? Because they leverage over the US:

    “Makes you wonder if there was some wheeling and dealing was going on between Washington and Warsaw. Given Warsaw’s critical location and role in ensuring U.S. and NATO military supplies is delivered to Ukraine, the Poles have a bit of leverage to push the United States to take out the pipelines or to help Poland take out the pipelines. Poland’s message to the United States was simple–reverse course on Nordstream and rupture the pipelines or you can find another way to move your military supplies to Ukraine.

    “But wait, doesn’t this create some real problems for Germany? Sure. But Poland “don’t” (sic) care. There was this little incident called World War II and it seems that the Poles are still miffed at the Germans. If revenge is a dish best served cold, then this sucker is a frozen dinner.”

    Again, from Larry Johnson

    • Yes, I saw some commentary yesterday about how the Poles do have some incentive. Plus it puts them above Germany in gas distribution, if Germany has been cut off. But then this morning someone said one of the Nordstream II pipes was not blown up? There are two of them. But I don’t know if that’s true.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Of course, one should never piss off the Germans. (Read about the revenge the Germans took on the French because of the ruinous reparations they placed on the Weimar Republic.)

        In the final analysis, America has effectively destroyed the EU’s economy, all to our benefit.

    • Are the Poles that stupid?
      Well, if you read their history,
      their Governments traditionally have been…

  18. Tucker had a good monologue on this.

    This is actually disturbing. It seems clear to me that the US did this and that they’re blaming Russia for it. Russia is, of course, the one country that knows for sure that they did not do it. And you are talking about Russian state property. This is, of course, why the US is preserving deniability. Otherwise, it is a direct act of war.

    That being said, what’s broken can be fixed – but not immediately. The new Western Baltic pipeline that just opened handles only a small fraction of the volume of either NordStream. Grandpa Frost is going to wreak havoc in Europe.

    Hopefully this will wake the Europeans up.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I certainly hope so, Misha.

      One reason I’m 100% sure that the Russians didn’t blow up their own pipeline (which would have been 5-D chess played on an intergalactic level) is because several Russian oligarchs sunk lots of coin into this pipeline. They’d assassinate Putin as he would have wiped out their assets.

      • Should the Europeans wake up, the first thing
        they will need to realise is that the United States
        (or, rather, the Deep State that runs the United States)
        is not their friend

        • Gail Sheppard says

          You’d think they’d know that since they have so much in common. (Not talking about their people, obviously.)

  19. George Michalopulos says

    Then there’s this (which was a RAND report that was leaked):

    “The present state of the U.S. economy does not suggest that it can function without the financial and material support from external sources. The quantitive easing policy, which the Fed has resorted to regularly in recent years, as well as the uncontrolled issue of cash during the 2020 and 2021 Covid lockdowns, have led to a sharp increase in the external debt and an increase in the dollar supply.

    “The continuing deterioration of the economic situation is highly likely to lead to a loss in the position of the Democratic Party in Congress and the Senate in the forthcoming elections to be held in November 2022. The impeachment of the President cannot be ruled out under these circumstances, which must be avoided at all costs. . . .

    “The current German economic model is based on two pillars. These are unlimited access to cheap Russian energy resources and to cheap French electric power, thanks to the operation of nuclear plants. The importance of the first factor is considerably higher. Halting Russian supplies can well create a systemic crisis that would be devastating for the German economy and, indirectly, for the entire European Union.”

    In other words, this war was planned to “strengthen” America’s economy. If by one “strengthens” oneself by weakening somebody else, in this case Germany (and as Germany goes, so goes the rest of Europe).

    • Remnant ROCOR is a strange place. They hate the MP, modern Russia, and, of course, contemporary ROCOR, but are total devotees of Trumpian Republicanism.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Why would you say that? My guess would be the exact opposite.

        • Have a look at the blog and see for yourself. Because they’re schismatics from the normal ROCOR, they by definition have to hate everything associated with the MP or the Russian government, but the blog proprietor is an unwavering follower of Trump and, for some reason, sees that he is more legitimate than the evil Putin or Patriarch Kirill because of “muh Sergianism” or something.

          Schismatics lack consistency.

      • Completely false ! A ROCOR member all my 78 yrs, since arriving in the USA in 1950.

        • I’m not referring to ROCOR, Father, but the so-called “Remnant ROCOR” website.

          From my experience, the real ROCOR under Metropolitan Hilarion are a very sound group of people with whom I am in complete agreement.

  20. As an aside, watching Putin’s speech yesterday (utterly historic), I spotted Metropolitan Hilarion and Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk sitting side by side in the audience. Anthony was recently appointed to be head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations after Hilarion stepped down. How I would love to know what they were thinking.

    And frankly, as of that speech I believe we are now living in a very changed world. The game itself has changed. Where it will lead, I don’t know. Fasten your seat belts is all I can say. But I feel as my parents must have felt as WWII broke out, and my grandparents at WWI.

  21. George Michalopulos says

    Joseph, Gail is correct in this. Jesus Himself said that “greater love hath no man that this: that he should lay down his life for his friends.” That said, this must be a small consolation to all those mothers who have lost their sons. Still it is true. The Russians and their allies are not fighting to enrich global elites and their Ukrainian oligarch friends. The Ukrainians unfortunately cannot say that.

    As to Patriarch Kirill’s actual words, my late father told me several decades ago that Greek soldiers were told by their bishops that if they die defending pisteos kai patrida (“faith and fatherland”) that their sins would be absolved as well. Given the fact that a small country like Greece had no margin for error and that enslavement and/or genocide was the “error,” I can see why the Good Lord would absolve Greek soldiers fighting a defensive war.

    (Although I cannot know the pain she feels, I personally remember Chase [her son] in my nightly prayers and always light a candle for him whenever I go to church)

    The Russian army and its allies are doing a noble thing: they are liberating 5 million Ukrainian citizens whose only crime is that they speak Russian. (A language btw which all Ukrainians spoke up until a few years ago.)

    Since I ascribe to the Just War theory, I can say without equivocation that the SMO was indeed a just war.

    1. The Kiev regime was warned repeatedly to stop provocations,
    2. It is proportionate,
    3. The Russians have gone out of their way to not target civilians (the Ukrainians have not),
    4. The Russians have gone out of their way to minimize Ukrainian casualties,
    5. They have taken their time to encircle hostile forces, giving them the option of surrender, etc.
    6. Finally, this is not a war of conquest/aggression but a military action designed to ensure Kiev’s neutrality, which is necessary to prevent sworn enemies of Russia (NATO/EU) from using the Ukraine as a staging ground for an eventual war of aggression against Russia.

    As to point #6, we did the same thing during the Cuban Missile Crisis and we prevented the creation of another Soviet client-state in Nicaragua by arming the Contras. We believed for the future safety of our nation, we did not want a hostile power to stage missiles and/or troops in our backyard. I agree with this.

    As to the other points, compare the Russian actions against the Ukraine with what we did in Iraq: not only did we bomb the Iraqis to smithereens with “shock and awe,” during the Clinton years, we caused the starvation of half a million Iraqi children with the oil embargo we placed on Iraq. The fact that we modified it with an “oil for food” program proves that we were aware of our atrocious behavior.

    War, when fought under the right conditions and for the right purposes, is not a “necessary evil” but a “lesser good.” (Borrowing here from Fr Alexander F C Webster.) In other words, given that we live in a fallen world, the Lord instituted authority among men in order to restrain evil. Those who restrain, whether they are police or soldiers are not evil nor are they committing evil per se when they execute their duties. At least in the ordinary course of their mission.

  22. Nate Trost says

    At times like this, if you read English translations of the raw take from pro-Russia warbloggers and Telegram channels, something is rather apparent. That thing being, if you look at the native English pro-Russia crowd, they pretty much ignore everything negative reported by those outlets or spin it as unimportant.

    In days like these, it’s rather grotesque. Look at this absolute nonsense from Larry Johnson:

    “Let me note some concerns regarding the military operations of Ukraine and Russia. First, Ukraine’s assault on the Russian position in Liman was carried out without any significant close air support. Ditto for Russia–i.e., no apparent close air support to fend off the attacking Ukrainians. Ukraine has an excuse–it no longer has a functioning air force. Russia does not. It has a surfeit of available air frames that could carry out that mission. Why are they holding back?”

    Ukraine does still have a functioning air force, Ukrainian Su-27 and MiG-29s have been degrading Russian air defenses with US supplied HARMs. Which helps Ukraine keep UAV recon going. And Russia did try to provide close air support in the area prior to Lyman being liberated. Which resulted in losing a Su-34, two Su-30s and a Su-25 in the span of 24 hours. CAS missions are really really high-risk for either side.

    And then we have this:

    “The second issue is the quality of battlefield intelligence and Russia’s ability to act on it. Let me present the options for your consideration and discussion:

    Option 1–Russian intelligence knew the size of the Ukrainian force attacking Liman and the Russian Commanding General ignored the intelligence and did not call for sufficient reinforcements.

    Option 2–Russian intelligence knew the size of the Ukrainian force attacking Liman and the Russian Commanding General believed he could hold them off.

    Option 3–Russian intelligence DID NOT know the size of the Ukrainian force and the defenders were caught by surprise and unable to reinforce until it was too late.

    Option 4–Russian intelligence knew the size of the Ukrainian force attacking Liman but Russia did not have the ability to resupply and reinforce the defenders.

    Option 5–The Russians know Ukraine’s intention and allowed Liman to fall–effecting a tactical withdrawl–in preparation for a counter strike that will destroy the Ukrainian force who believes they have the Russians on the run.”

    Larry clearly believes the answer is option 5. Guess what, it isn’t option 5.

    Meanwhile, in Kherson, things are getting really dicey for Russian forces on the western side of the river.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Nate, if this is true, then why haven’t the Ukrainians used their air force? They could have absolutely destroyed that 25 mile long infantry column that was headed to Kiev back in early March. They could also have sunk several ships of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

      I highly recommend watching New Atlas, Judge Napolitano (any time he has Col Douglas MacGregor on) and Andrei Martyanov (Reminiscence of the Future). Also Jacob Dreizin (The Dreizin Report).

      Whatever you do, don’t watch CNN, MSNBC or even FOX (other than Tucker). According to them, Zelensky was supposed to be at the gates of the Kremlin by now leading Putin off in chains.

      • Nate Trost says

        The short answer to your question is straightforward: The Ukrainian air force did not possess the capabilities to carry out the missions you describe (despite having planes). And they’ve been pretty good about not wasting their very limited number of airframes and pilots on ops with a high potential for loss and low probability of meaningful success.

        To expound a bit more, first let us regard the stalled mechanized formation in March. It was the opposite of defenseless against air attack. There were SHORAD units present. The formation was still far inside the effective engagement range of long range SAM systems in Belarus. Ukraine had no ability to conduct a SEAD/DEAD campaign, very limited EW, and no long range air-launched standoff weaponry to speak of. There’s no effective strike package they can put together for that mission with what they’ve got.

        Attacking ships in the Black Sea was similar. Russia has S-400s in Crimea. That’s a big coverage range for their fleet. One of the main reasons the Moskva was so close to the Ukrainian shore was to use its extensive anti-air capabilities to provide coverage and aerial interdiction (especially for Snake Island) for a region outside those long-range platforms.

        Ukraine didn’t have the ability crack that nut with aircraft. So they sunk the Moskva with a double-tap of Neptune missiles, and then a supply ship headed to Snake Island with a pair of Harpoons. All launched from land despite that reducing range because they haven’t yet integrated any of those systems into their aircraft to enable an air launched attack. Worth noting that Ukraine did fly dumb bomb airstrikes on Snake Island with Su-27s after Moskva had been taken out of the picture. Degrading the limited air defenses the Russians tried to install on the island was within Ukraine’s capabilities once Moskva was gone.

        You know, I watched the first several minutes of a clip with Douglas MacGregor on Napolitano from last week that got linked on here. MacGregor just embarrasses himself. If you’re curious I can expound, but he’s living in a fantasy land detached from reality, which is forming his really bad opinions.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Nate, two things right off the bat:

          1. If you have an air force but it is grounded for fear of it being destroyed, then effectively, you don’t have an air force. Think of the cop who decides to have another cup of coffee at the donut shop instead of answering an APB about an active crime scene.

          2. MacGregor actually saw combat in the first Gulf War and led his unit into victory. I have never served in the military. What are your military bona fides?

          • Nate Trost says

            The Ukrainian air force has never been grounded, they’ve been flying missions (and taking losses, they’ve lost somewhere around a quarter of what they started with) the whole war. I watched drone footage of a pair of Ukrainian Su-24s bombing a Russian armor position in Kherson oblast last week. I think you’re just overestimating Ukraine’s actual aerial operation capabilities both in mission set and tempo rate.

            As for MacGregor, his military career just means one can at least give him the initial benefit of the doubt before evaluating his claims and subsequently flipping the bozo bit. Positing that only people with certain qualifications that also agree with you are the only true experts is a bit of a appeal to authority trap, isn’t it? Personally I grade on track records, and the ability to analyze previously incorrect predictions and working assumptions.

            • George Michalopulos says

              If things are going so swimmingly for the Ukrainians, then why is the Clown of Kiev asking America to launch a nuclear strike on Russia? That doesn’t make sense.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Here’s another thought: last week, after speaking at the UN General Assembly, the overwhelming number of delegates there assembled, lined up to speak with Sergei Lavrov. Hardly anybody took the time to give Antony Blinken the time of day.

                Question, would they have done this if Russia was losing the war?

                Here’s another consideration: the military chiefs of staff of most world’s nuclear powers (such as China, India, Pakistan) and the regional powers (Turkey, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Iran) know which way the wind is blowing. Are any of these men going to their respective presidents and telling them “Hey, Tayyip/Xi/Jair, you know, things aren’t looking so good for Putin. Cards on the table: he’s losing. Maybe you should distance yourself from him and avoid pissing off Uncle Sam?”

                You see, that isn’t happening either.

              • Nate Trost says

                If it doesn’t make sense, personally I’d first question whether he actually said what was claimed. He did not! His remarks were taken out of context, and just to eliminate any ambiguity, further clarified:



                Erdoğan has continued to iterate that Crimea should be returned to Ukraine, and Putin faced criticism from Xi and Modi at the SCO Summit. The international picture for Russia is much murkier than you would suggest. Iran was willing to sell Russia a bunch of UAVs and loitering munitions it desperately needed, but will that continue if Russia continues to take Chinese and Indian market share for Iranian oil (to say nothing of the current political unrest)? All this would take a while to fully unpack, and I try to be brief.

  23. Yes, The New Atlas is the best source I know of to really understand what’s happening in the Ukraine (for those who still think Ukraine has a chance in this conflict).

  24. Did Uncle Sam, a.k.a. Wile E. Coyote,
    Blow Up the Wrong Pipeline?