What a juxtaposition of absurdity versus reality. On the same day that the Kyiv Independent publishes a horrific report detailing the catastrophic losses of Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut, Lloyd Austin and Mark Milley compete for the “Who is the most stupid” award. I think it is a tie. Judge for yourselves.
Let us start with the article from the Ukraine publication, the Kyiv Independent. We will use this as the benchmark to evaluate what Austin and Milley said at their press conference on Wednesday.
Battle of Bakhmut: Ukrainian soldiers worry Russians begin to ‘taste victory’
Just days before heading back to fight in the Battle of Bakhmut, a Ukrainian soldier Volodymyr, 54, said he felt ill-prepared.
“When they drive us to Bakhmut, I already know I’m being sent to death,” Volodymyr told the Kyiv Independent during his brief stay in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk Oblast some 25 kilometers west of the front line.
Volodymyr, an infantryman from the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, said he struggled to eat after fighting in Bakhmut for months. He looked shaken as he talked.
For two months, Volodymyr’s unit was tasked with guarding Bakhmut against small Russian assault groups creeping into the city. The brigade was constantly under mortar fire as soldiers were outdoors where shrapnels could wound or kill them at any moment.
“(The Russians) keep firing at us, but we don’t have artillery – so we have nothing to attack them back with,” Volodymyr said. “I don’t know if I will return or not. We are just getting killed.”
Ukrainian infantrymen interviewed by the Kyiv Independent described the fighting in Bakhmut as a desperate survival challenge against Russia’s “infinite” stocks of artillery munitions and manpower. With just their machine guns and rifles, they say they braced relentless Russian mortar and artillery attacks until their hideout was eventually destroyed. . . .
While Russian casualties on the Bakhmut front are assumed to be very high, Ukraine is also taking heavy losses as it holds on to the city, soldiers’ testimonies reveal. NATO intelligence estimates that at least five Russian soldiers were killed for every Ukrainian loss, CNN reported on March 6, citing an unnamed official with the alliance.
Valeriy, a Ukrainian infantryman, says that most of his fallen comrades were fatally wounded by projectile fragments.
“It’s a pity that probably 90% of our losses are from artillery – or tanks and aviation,” Valeriy told the Kyiv Independent a few hours after leaving the Bakhmut front. “And much less (casualties) from shooting battles.”
Valeriy counted that “only a few” of the original 27 members of his platoon got out of the Bakhmut front with him, though he explained that most of them were wounded, not killed.
“The Russians have so many weapons, and there are so many of them,” Valeriy said. “They are firing at us all the time. Sometimes, you hear an incoming (shell) every second.”
Russian forces have intensified their assault on Bakhmut since mid-January after capturing the nearby salt-mining town of Soledar, which sits some 15 kilometers northeast of Bakhmut.
The author of this piece tries desperately to put lipstick on the pig of Ukrainian losses by repeating the bogus CNN claim that Russia is losing troops at a five to one ration compared to Ukraine. Yet, the Ukrainian soldiers tell the real story. Russia is shelling them with a seemingly limitless supply of artillery shells and the Ukrainians have no shells to fire in return.
I repeat what I have written before — the side that fires the most artillery shells inflicts the most casualties. Just wishing that Russians are dying in droves does not make it so. The picture painted by the Kyiv Independent is grim and horrific. So keep that in mind as you listen to the Austin/Milley clown show. (I am providing key portions of the transcript below.)
Lloyd Austin: This contact group has pushed hard to ensure that Ukraine can defend itself from Putin’s Imperial aggression. Brave Ukrainians stood firm during Russia’s ground invasion with the help of their new anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles which contact group countries have provided and Russia hopes to grind down Ukraine in a war of attrition.
But Ukraine has been supplied by more than 40 countries. Meanwhile Russia has had to depend on Iran and North Korea and has had to use equipment dating back to World War II. So Russia is running out of capability and running out of Friends. Putin has now had a Year’s worth of proof that the United States and the contact group will support Ukraine’s right to defend itself for the Long Haul
Austin is delusional and a liar. He fails to note that those 40 countries can no longer supply Ukraine with 155 mm artillery shells. That includes the United States. He repeats the canard that Russia is running out of ammunition, weapons and missiles and is forced to use 80 year old equipment. Has no one briefed him on the Kinzhal hyper sonic missile that continues to wreak havoc on Ukraine? Austin reminds me of Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz (“There is no place like home, there is no place like home). Somebody buy that man some Ruby slippers.
Austin apparently believes that if he keeps repeating the mantra that “Russia is running out of capability and running out of Friends”, it will become true. But the facts show otherwise. The new alliance between Russia and China means that Moscow has a powerful new friend. It also has strengthened relations with India and Saudi Arabia. Russia is busy creating a new multi-polar alliance that falls outside the U.S. sphere of influence. Austin betrays his ignorance and shallowness by such nonsensical claims.
Austin was not the only buffoon at the podium. General Milley demonstrated his skill as an unrepentant sychophant:
General Milley: Russia launched, and has continued for over a year now, a war of aggression and flagrant violation of international law. This is and remains a Russian frontal assault on the rules-based international order that has been in place for 80 years eight decades since the end of World War II. In the face of this act of aggression in a war of Conquest, this group remains unified. NATO is United, the people of Ukraine are unyielding. They are standing steadfast in the face for the Russian onslaught.
Russia remains isolated their military stocks are rapidly depleting. The soldiers are demoralized, untrained, unmotivated conscripts and convicts, and their leadership is failing them having already failed in their strategic objectives. Russia is increasingly relying on other countries, such as Iran and North Korea. As the secretary pointed out they’re using Iranian drones to continue to terrorize Ukrainian civilians. This relationship is built on the cruel bonds of oppressing Freedom subverting Liberty and maintaining their tyranny yet free people will not return to the shackles of tyranny.
Milley also is lacking in self-awareness and irony. He insists that because Russia is allegedly relying on Iran and North Korea for weapons that this is sign of weakness and failure. Hello? And Ukraine receiving aid from 40 countries is a sign of strength?
I will close with one more iconic moment from the Wizard of Oz. General Milley reminds me of the Scarecrow with a weight problem: