NATO’s Stoltenberg Admits War Could Have Been Prevented as Russia “Lets Ukrainians Run Against Defenses to Kill as Many as Possible” (NYT)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg conceded that the Ukraine war could have been prevented with assurances not to expand NATO to Russia’s borders. The BBC reported from Ukraine that “An easy breakthrough is simply impossible,” in Ukraine, and that front-line troops are “getting ready for a long-term war.” The U.S. House of Representatives approved another $300 million for Ukraine late on Thursday.

“President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a joint committee meeting of the European Parliament on September 7. “That was what he sent us. And [that] was a pre-condition (to) not invade Ukraine. Of course we didn’t sign that.”

(Putin) “went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite,” Stoltenberg said, referring to  Finland joining the alliance in April. Finland’s joining NATO “demonstrates that when President Putin invaded a European country to prevent more NATO, he’s getting the exact opposite.” Finland’s defense budget is $6 billion. The US defence budget 2024 is $842 billion. Countries like Finland join NATO to enjoy the defense offered by the US military and funded by the US taxpayer.

The House of Representatives approved another $300 million for Ukraine yesterday, with 117 Republicans voting against.

One of the few Western journalists reporting from the front lines in Ukraine, BBc’s Mark Urban, reported that  “Ukrainian society has not yet woken up to how many damaged people there are now.”

“Many boys, well those who remained alive but lost a limb, also lost their family,” one of the patients at a rehabilitation centre in Lviv for soldiers with life-changing injuries named Pavlo told Urban. “The record of death, maiming, and capture may well be affecting people’s willingness to serve,” Urban reported. He notes that many of the men he saw being trained  “were in their 40s, and quite a few in their 50s.”

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In August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired all the top recruitment officers over a massive corruption scandal, with draft officials raking in $3,000 to $15,000 for a draft exemption, as Gateway Pundit reported. “Amid a war that has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, a report that a $4.35-million seaside villa in Marbella had been purchased by Yevhen Borysov, the head of the Odessa regional military enlistment office — along with an office in the Spanish resort city and a luxury car — pushed public anger to a point where the government apparently decided it had to act”, US government-controlled Radio Free Europe reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Kiev had lost more than 71,000 troops since the start of the “Sping counter-offensive” June 4, while while Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed this week that Ukraine’s had lost more than 17,000 men this month alone. Observers including Col. Douglas MacGregor and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had claimed Ukraine had lost approx. 350,000 men before the start of the offensive. That would put total Ukrainian casualties at 438,000.

The Ukraine Ministry of Defence claimed that Russia has lost 277,660 troops in Ukraine since Feb 24, 2022, as well as 4,687 tanks, 8,972 armored fighting vehicles, 8,836 vehicles and fuel tanks, 6,409 artillery systems, 794 multiple launch rocket systems, 536 air defense systems, 315 airplanes, 316 helicopters, 4,991 drones, and 20 boats. The New York Times believes Russia has lost 300,000 men, including as many as 120,000 KIA and 170,000 to 180,000 WIA. The New York Times claims Russian numbers “dwarf the Ukrainian figures, which the officials put at close to 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded.”

Why America Should Send Military Advisers to Ukraine“, Council of Foreign Relations mouthpiece Foreign Affairs wrote, heralding the possible next stage of Vietnam-style escalation, as presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. noted.

“Establishment journal Foreign Affairs signals the next step of Ukraine War escalation: stationing U.S. military advisors on the ground. Have they forgotten how we got embroiled in Vietnam?”  RFK wrote on Twitter/X.

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“After 18 months of war, a breakthrough looks more difficult than ever,” the New York Times wrote, noting that “the front line has barely shifted” in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive “has struggled to push forward across the wide-open fields in the south”, the NYT writes. “It is facing extensive minefields and hundreds of miles of fortifications — trenches, anti-tank ditches and concrete obstacles — that Russia built last winter to slow Ukrainian vehicles and force them into positions where they could be more easily targeted. When both sides’ gains are added up, Russia now controls nearly 200 square miles more territory in Ukraine compared with the start of the year.”

“Less territory changed hands in August than in any other month of the war, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the Institute for the Study of War. While Ukraine made small gains in the south, Russia took slightly more land overall, mostly in the northeast,” the NYT wrote.

Countrary to hysterical Western claims that Vladimir Putin seeks to conquer all of Ukraine, attack Europe or even “restore the Soviet Union”, Russia has so far been content to conquer and hold the ethnically Russian areas of Ukraine. Russian troops have dug in with extensive defensive works dubbed the ‘Maginot Line’ – a reference to the French defensive line built facing Germany post-WW I.

“The Russian military appears to be comfortable holding the territory it already controls,” according to Marina Miron at King’s College London the NYT reports. “It’s not losing anything by not moving forward,” she said.

Russian forces outnumber Ukraine’s “nearly three to one on the battlefield,” and with a larger population to replenish its ranks, Russia could keep up the fight for a long time, the NYT notes. “The whole strategy in Ukraine is for the Russians to let the Ukrainians run against those defenses, kill as many as possible, and destroy as much Western equipment as possible,” Miron said.

Miren warned that “Western support could wane, either through lack of political will or unwillingness to donate more weapons,” if “it looks unlikely (for Ukraine) to recapture large areas of the country.”

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BBC Newsnight host Kirsty Wark noted that “the summer counter-offensive in Ukraine is drawing to a close without making the breakthroughs so many had hoped for.”

Reporting from the Bakhmut front for two weeks in August with Ukraine’s 24th Mechanised Brigade, BBC’s Mark Urban noted that “the expectations of what the Ukrainian military could achieve were perhaps higher in the Pentagon than among the veterans of the 24th Brigade.”

“An easy breakthrough is simply impossible,” a soldier named Jimmy told Urban. “We are getting ready for a long-term war.” An officer   “compared the conflict to Vietnam, implying it could last many years,” Urban writes. “As the fight goes on, so does the loss.”

Before the war, 24th Mech Br was 2,000 strong. Now its ranks have swollen to more than 7,000, as “the old regular soldiers were joined by thousands of volunteers and conscripts,” Urban reports, earning $3,195 a month.

None of the 15 company commanders who commanded 24 Mech Brig at the start of the war are still in place, Urban reports, “all having been promoted or become casualties.”

At a cemetery on the outskirts of Lviv, Urban spoke to Natalia Nezhura as she brought flowers to her brother Andrii’s grave, who was killed earlier this year in the battle for Bakhmut with the 24th. “I tried everything to stop him going to the front line,” Natalia said.

“She breaks down as she tells me of her feelings of failure that she had not managed to do this,” Urban writes. “She had hidden Andrii’s call-up papers, then, when that was not successful, used a connection to get him a firearms instructor’s job at the Yavoriv training ground, “but in the end most of the boys were sent to the front line”.”

Source material can be found at this site.

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