Ukraine Openly Mocking Russia

Things are not going well in the special military operation.

WaPo (“Explosion hits Crimean Bridge, damaging Russian supply route to Ukraine“):

A giant explosion ripped across the Crimean Bridge, a strategic link between mainland Russia and Crimea, in what appeared to be a stunning blow early Saturday morning to a symbol of President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to control Ukraine.

The damage to the bridge, which provided a road and rail connection from Russia to the Ukrainian peninsula the Kremlin illegally annexed in 2014, marks another serious setback to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine by disrupting a crucial supply route.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the government had no timeline for repairing the 12-mile bridge.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, a top law enforcement body, said a truck explosion had ignited fuel tankers as a freight train crossed the bridge. The cause of the truck blast was not immediately clear. After the explosion, thick plumes of smoke and flames could be seen from a distance.

Putin personally opened the $4 billion bridge, also known as the Kerch Bridge because it spans the Kerch Strait between the Black and Azov seas, in 2018 — a move intended to symbolize Russia’s ownership of Crimea.


The blast was celebrated in Kyiv, where government officials hailed the incident and posted images on social media of collapsed concrete spans of the bridge and footage of the apparent moment of the blast, showing vehicles driving across the bridge just seconds before a giant fireball consumed the area.

Mykhailo Podoloyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky called it “the beginning.” “Everything illegal must be destroyed,” Podolyak added on Twitter. The Ukrainian government provided no immediate official statement on the cause of the blast. But in a taunt, the government’s official Twitter account posted: “sick burn.”

A Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post on Saturday that Ukrainian special services were behind the bridge attack. The Ukrainska Pravda news site first reported the government’s role, citing an unidentified law enforcement official who said Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, was involved.

Ukraine previously has mounted daring attacks deep into Russian-held territory, including on an air base in Crimea, and on military targets across the border in Russia’s Belgorod region. But if the bridge explosion is confirmed as intentionally planned, it would mark the most stunning strike yet by Ukraine, which has been under invasion since late February by Russia’s far larger and better equipped military.


Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, tweeted a picture of the damaged bridge and said: “@Crimea, long time no see” along with a heart emoji. And the head of Ukraine’s postal service, said the agency would issue a new stamp showing a damaged bridge reading: “Crimean Bridge — Done.”

Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, addressed the spate of memes and mocking social media posts from Ukraine. “The Kyiv regime’s reaction to the destruction of civilian infrastructure demonstrates its terrorist nature,” Zakharova posted on Telegram. Throughout the war, Russia has repeatedly bombed Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, including railroad stations, residential housing blocks, hospitals, schools, and theaters.

WaPo (“Kremlin, shifting blame for war failures, axes military commanders“):

Russian Ground Forces Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, who over a 44-year military career was best-known for scorched-earth tactics in campaigns he led in Syria and Chechnya, was named overall operational commander of the war in Ukraine in April. He lasted about seven weeks before being dismissed as part of what appeared to be a wider shake-up in response to heavy losses and strategic failures.

Around the same time, Col. Gen. Andrey Serdyukov, another four-decade serviceman, the commander in chief of the elite airborne troops, was stripped of his post after nearly all divisions of the airborne forces suffered major losses.

And just last week Col. Gen. Alexander Zhuravlev, the head of the Western Military District responsible for Kharkiv, where Russian forces lost huge swaths of territory in early September, was removed after four years on the job, according to Russian business daily RBC.

Far from bestowing glory on Russia’s military brass, the war in Ukraine is proving toxic for top commanders, with at least eight generals fired, reassigned or otherwise sidelined since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24. Western governments have said that at least 10 others were killed in battle, a remarkably high number that military analysts say is evidence of grievous strategic errors.

The upheaval in the upper ranks of uniformed officers highlights Russia’s fundamental mistakes in war planning, and the dysfunctional chain of command that resulted first in Moscow’s failure to achieve its primary military objective — the quick capture of Kyiv and toppling of the Ukrainian government — and more recently in the retreats on the eastern and southern fronts.

But the dismissals also reflect a scramble by political elites to place blame for the costly and faltering war as open criticism grows louder, particularly among pro-war hawks and propagandists.

Like their badly prepared forces on the front, the commanders in the Russian Armed Forces are turning out to be easy targets, even as senior political leaders, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and President Vladimir Putin himself had largely avoided direct criticism.

WaPo (“How Ukrainians, targeting by drone, attacked Russian artillery in Kherson“):

Russian forces in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region are attempting to hold the front line near the town of Dudchany after a strategic retreat along the Western bank of the Dnieper River. Ukraine’s military, meanwhile, is trying to take back even more ground before reinforcements from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization arrive.

The “Falcon” unit of the Kryvyi Rih Territorial Defense Forces on Thursday allowed Washington Post journalists a rare look at a day of battle here through the lens of their Ukrainian-made Leleka-100 drone, which looks like a small, gray plane. Moscow has more weapons than Kyiv, so strikes on “fat” targets — armored vehicles, ammunition reserves and artillery — like the one the Falcon unit identified on Thursday is how Ukraine can weaken its enemy and advance.

In the Kherson region, where the terrain is flat with wide-open fields, hiding that sort of equipment from reconnaissance drones is a challenge for each side — one that will only increase as the leaves fall and winter arrives.

On Thursday, the Falcon unit was able to see through the trees. It located the Russian artillery battery, helped Ukraine’s own artillery target it, and then watched as parts of it were destroyed.

“Our task is to determine how many reserves are coming in, how strong these Russian fortifications now are, and to track all of the military equipment,” Kapli said. “Then we convey all of that to artillery forces, and they shell everything possible.”

Russian forces are now massing near the town of Mylove, Kapli said, to defend their stronghold in the occupied town of Nova Kakhovka, on the opposite bank of the river. There, Moscow has seized a hydroelectric power plant that controls a vital water supply to Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

The artillery battery the Falcon unit spotted was near the neighboring village of Chervonyi Yar. A second drone flight confirmed the equipment was still in place, and Slobodian passed along more screenshots of the site, reading out its coordinates.

Neither he, Kapli, nor most of the rest of their unit had any combat experience before Russia’s full-scale invasion. Slobodian and Garry Wagner, who operates the drone with him, were cameramen for Ukrainian television channels before the war.

CBS (“Russia’s elites are increasingly critical of the war in Ukraine, and they’re looking for scapegoats“):

Cracks are emerging in the solid base of support within Russia’s political elite for President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. As Russia’s forces suffer setback after setback and a botched and highly unpopular military mobilization effort draws thousands of poorly trained men to serve on the front lines, senior military and political figures have been looking for scapegoats, and the blame game is getting closer than ever to Putin himself.

Criticism of Moscow’s military strategy and the way decisions are being made and implemented on the ground has brewed for weeks on social media channels popular among pro-war Russian military correspondents.

This week, however, it reached a new level.

General Andrey Kartapolov, who held a range of senior positions in Russia’s Defense Ministry until he became a member of parliament and head of its defense committee a few years ago, has lashed out at the country’s current military commanders over losses in the war.

“First of all, you have to stop lying,” Kartapolov, who previously commanded the Western Military District, which is central to the Ukraine invasion, said on a popular online video show run by a top Kremlin propagandist.

“All border villages of the Belgorod region are practically destroyed,” Kartapolov lamented, referring to settlements right on the Ukrainian border that have been caught in the crossfire as Russia uses the area as a staging ground for its attacks.

“We hear about this from anyone, from governors and military correspondents. But the reports of the Ministry of Defense do not change,” the politician said. “The people know. Our people are not stupid, they see they are not telling them the truth and this can lead to loss of credibility.”

Casting blame at Russia’s top brass, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu who, at least in the past, has been considered a close friend and confidant of Putin, has become a central theme on Russian television and in public forums.

Direct criticism of Putin himself still appears to be off-limits on Russia’s closely monitored and tightly controlled airwaves, and pro-Kremlin voices have been working hard to shelter the autocrat from the public discontent. But infighting between various political clans does seem to be disrupting the carved-in-stone hierarchy Putin has relied on to remain in power — and to quickly quash any inkling of dissent — for more than two decades.

A week ago, Russian troops were forced out of the Ukrainian city of Lyman. Retaking the railway hub in the Donetsk region deprived Russia of a crucial logistics hub and gave Ukraine’s forces a route to attack the Russian occupied Luhansk region. Shortly after Lyman fell to Ukrainian forces, the powerful head of the Russian region of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, unleashed a sneering attack on the Russian military’s General Staff, which leads the military campaign, and on Alexander Lapin, who Kadyrov said was responsible for that sector of the front line.

“The shame isn’t that Lapin is talentless,” Kadyrov wrote on his blog on the Telegram messaging app. “It’s that he’s being shielded from above by the leadership in the General Staff.”

“If it was up to me, I would demote him down to a private, take away his medals and send him with a rifle to the front in order to cleanse his shame in blood,” Kadyrov added.

The proxy leader installed by Russia in the largely-occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, went even further, issuing rare scathing criticism of Defense Minister Shoigu over Moscow’s recent military losses, including in Kherson.

“Many are saying that the Defense Minister — who allowed things to come to this — should simply shoot himself like a [real] officer,” Stremousov said in a four-minute video posted Thursday to his Telegram channel.

Things are unraveling so much that what seemed unimaginable at the outset of the conflict—a complete Ukrainian victory that includes a rollback to the pre-2014 borders—now appears likely. It has been clear for months that we vastly overestimated Russian military superiority. But it’s also true that years of surreptitiously training and equipping Ukraine have paid major dividends. Augmented with US intelligence and reconnaissance support—not to mention highly advanced rocket artillery—they may be a smaller force than the Russian invaders bring but they’re not a technologically inferior one.

Putin has been crying “nuke” for a while now and President Biden seems to take the threat seriously, even as our intelligence community pushes back. He might be at the point where he’s desperate enough to take the risk.

FILED UNDER: World Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    This is a fantastic, make-a-movie-of-it, kind of operation. It appears segments of the road bridge have actually collapsed. And there’s a big ol’ burning fuel train on the rail bridge. They have ferries but ferries are not remotely as capable as trains and trucks. The Russians in Crimea now have no way to bring in food, let alone ammunition and fuel and replacement parts. And no way to evacuate.

    It is clear that not only should Ukraine be allowed NATO membership, we should be begging them to join rather than the other way around. These people can fight.

    It is also clear that someone in Moscow needs to man-up and put a bullet in Putin’s head. Things only get worse for Russia going forward. As you said, @James, “a complete Ukrainian victory that includes a rollback to the pre-2014 borders—now appears likely.” A year ago I don’t think you could have found a single informed human on planet earth who thought Ukraine might actually win militarily.

    If Putin wants to play with nukes a battlefield use is unlikely to be effective. What’s the target? The Ukrainians are inside the house, so to speak, in areas Putin insists are part of Russia. He’d be irradiating Mother Russia. If he’s going to risk a nuke the only rational target is Kyiv. The one thing hopefully stopping him from doing that is fear of Joe Biden.

    Which is why all the mealy-mouthed objections to strong and credible threats of massive retaliation are wrong. The security of the free world now rests on American threats of punishment. There are Russian admirals who’ve heard Petraeus talk about sinking the entire Black Sea fleet. There are generals who know NATO air power can obliterate their armies. There are businessmen watching their bank accounts emptying. There are the security services who understand that Putin is bringing the country to ruin. There are the Russian people and Modi and Xi. Putin has no winning move, it’s defeat or suicide for Russia.

    Putin’s only hope is to hold out for a return of Trump, his lapdog, his tool, his toady.

  2. Modulo Myself says:

    Putin has been crying “nuke” for a while now and President Biden seems to take the threat seriously, even as our intelligence community pushes back. He might be at the point where he’s desperate enough to take the risk.

    I think Putin is betting on this winter’s energy shortage bringing Europe to its knees. I suspect he’s very wrong on that. If so, then he may be forced to face some hard truths. Or permanent house arrest in one of his tasteful Black Sea nouveau chateaus.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The WSJ has an article up mainly about how HIMARS have changed the battlefield but it also delves into how the the Russian Federation is deteriorating with various Federation states beginning to move away from Russia, with China and the US, actively reaching out to the leadership in these states. It appears that Putin is on the verge of not renewing Imperial Russia, but losing the last of the Soviet Union.

    If Kyiv has video of the truck and train exploding, we can be sure that they are responsible.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It is also clear that someone in Moscow needs to man-up and put a bullet in Putin’s head.

    I have no illusions about Putin but I haven’t seen any evidence a coup would have a beneficial effect. The key playing hardest seems to be the leader of Chechnya and he is in no way an improvement.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    Whoever replaces Putin will have all his same problems and more. Their army will still be shit, their population will still be avoiding conscription, their economy will still be in the toilet. It doesn’t matter how hard-line his replacement is, the next guy will face the same threat if he goes nuclear. In any event his first concern will be suppressing dissent domestically, I don’t think he’ll be in any fit state to go adventuring abroad.

  6. JohnMc says:

    Have been following this compulsively. And it gets better. According to @MBieliekov (using prewar RR maps) there is no rail route with double tracks on the “land corridor” on the Azur sea coast.

    And in other news of this morning, the rail network in northern Germany was expertly sabotaged last night.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Was going to respond to

    But if the bridge explosion is confirmed as intentionally planned, it would mark the most stunning strike yet by Ukraine, which has been under invasion since late February by Russia’s far larger and better equipped military.

    But James got there first,

    they may be a smaller force than the Russian invaders bring but they’re not a technologically inferior one.

    Seems obvious to me. The Ukrainians are also have far better leadership, starting with Zelenskyy who refused to run when everybody said he had no choice, thru their generals and officer corps to noncoms, right down to the squad leaders.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    It bears remembering that authoritarian states are corrupt and the corruption so permeates the bureaucracy that it appears perfectly normal and that the organization should perform as anticipated when tested. This is untrue and the Russian military when stressed collapsed and it will never be able to regroup and be effective.

    The advantage of replacing Putin, even with a harder liner, is that he can withdraw and blame Putin. He’ll tell himself and the world that Russia will return and conquer Ukraine. That won’t happen, the endemic corruption of Russia will mean the same weaknesses that caused the current failure will still be there to sabotage the rebuild effort. All the while Ukraine will become a porcupine and likely a member of NATO.

  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    There is a thread here of contempt within the Russian leadership that seems worth pointing out. They have contempt for the enlisted man – the private. They hold contempt for the Ukrainians – the “little brother”. This has blinded them. The contempt extends to gay people, women, trans people, The West, the “woke”, etc, etc.

    Contempt is the play of the alpha male. It works when you really are better. But it also sets you up for some very, very rude surprises. I don’t disagree with the notion that there is serious corruption, but corruption does not explain why dozens of T-90’s in working order were abandoned near Izium to be captured and driven off by UA. Contempt in the form of “we’re in no danger from this offensive” seems to me to be what did that. Ignore the threat until its too late.

    I have thrown a man twice my size in the dojo, when he didn’t want to be thrown. (It’s a scary fall for a newbie). He had never considered a person my size to be any threat at all. That’s a dangerous belief and I was glad to disabuse him of it. It also gave me a certain pleasure, I will admit. But that contempt and dismissal is toxic.

    This is also why I sometimes protest at displays of contempt toward political figures. Contempt makes you blind.

  10. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    There’s another factor Putin and the generals have to consider.
    NATO has a very high probability of detecting preparations for a nuclear launch.
    An air launched weapon has a considerable chance of being intercepted by NATO (I suspect the launch order would be regarded as an intervention trigger) or by Ukrainians.
    A short range ballistic, intercept might also be possible.
    A long range ballistic shot is a VERY dangerous step.

  11. Lounsbury says:

    what seemed unimaginable at the outset of the conflict—a complete Ukrainian victory that includes a rollback to the pre-2014 borders—now appears likely.

    Mmm – possible, yes. Likely, questionable.
    It does seem likely the Ukrainian forces will roll back much of the occcuption executed since 24Feb22. Retaking Crimea another subject, possibly a nuclear subject.

  12. Mikey says:

    I’ve not much to add except “Fantastic! More, please.”

  13. dazedandconfused says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The footage is from the bridge’s CCTV. Typical of all bridges these in this day and age.

  14. JohnSF says:

    Quote from Aleaxander Clarkson:

    Two weeks before the war started I told an incredulous US journalist that Ukraine’s military intelligence services blended ruthlessness of Soviet traditions with NATO techniques and an Israeli way of seeing the world.
    These are people who do not stop until a target is achieved

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    Kremlin, shifting blame for war failures, axes military commanders

    “By which we mean Putin has personally started hitting his military commanders with an axe…”

  16. Stormy Dragon says:


    At this point, one also has to wonder if Russia’s nuclear weapons actually work? Given the impact corruption appears to have had one the maintenance of their conventional forces, those “nuclear warheads” could be boxes full of pinball machine parts.

  17. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    But dangerous bet.
    Like a gun:

    “The nuke is always loaded, unless verified otherwise.”

  18. charon says:
  19. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnMc: Do you have a cite for that? Entering German territory sounds insane.

  20. JohnMc says:

    @MarkedMan: I am unable to make a link. I just used the “google”… tried:
    dw German railroad sabotage.

    Damned if it didn’t work. Give it a try.

  21. charon says:

    According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate, Russia’s National Guard and police have started arresting military personnel in Moscow.

    The traffic is blocked in downtown Moscow, according to the intelligence report, and all military units in the city are on high alert.

  22. charon says:

    Well organized smoothly functional polity:

    Moscow resident Oleg Vasiliev, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and uses a wheelchair, received a summons as part of partial mobilization, – Russian media.

    The summons was signed by Yurii Smirnyi, the military commissar of the Khoroshiv district of Moscow.

    There is a photo.

  23. dazedandconfused says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Assuming the Russians have forgotten how to light off a nuke would bring a whole new meaning to the term “Russian Roulette”.

    I believe there is a risk Putin is seriously mulling the what-ifs of total military defeat, and may be considering a scenario in which, to perhaps preserve Donetsk and Luhansk (and thereby some face), he will issue an ultimatum to the Ukrainians. “Uncle. We quit, but right here. At this line. Either make a truce or your forces and maybe some more stuff gets nuked.”

    The logic is not bereft of merit. The Ukrainians will have to decide if it’s worth it. They may not, and wisely so. It’s one thing for the rest of the world to say we are having a nuclear war in Ukraine and quite another for Ukrainians to decide they will host one. Putin just might do this.

    He would, however, have to trust his generals would obey that order which is not a given. Very real possibility they would refuse it, and that would be that for Putin personally. I wonder if he’s running it up the flagpole to see what kind of reaction it gets…not from Ukraine and it’s allies, but from his own people.

  24. JohnMc says:

    @charon: Rumors fly about on Twitter (which I only lurk around) about coup plotting in Moscow. Seems VERY unlikely to me. But Kiev Independent might be reporting rumors instead of an actual coup.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnMc: It worked. Here’s a link. Why do you think this connected to Ukraine?

  26. JohnSF says:

    I have seen zero sign that Ukrainians will tolerate the continued occupation of Ukrainian territory by Russia.
    They’ve seen too much bloody horror for that.
    The might, just might, be willing to accept withdrawal of Russian forces to Feb 22 lines as the starting point for negotiations.

    They are willing to face down any threat for anything short of that, because NATO has made it plain that use of a nuclear weapon will bring NATO intervention.
    Stated obliquely in public, because of desire to avoid giving Putin a “See: war with wicked witches of the West” moment, but obvious enough.

    As the Ukrainian front line forces are generally dispersed and dug in, the only targets that would be viable are rear area transportation centres.
    In other words: cities.

    And for the Russian, what happens if Ukraine is hit with a nuclear weapon and still tells Russia to get lost?
    When at that point NATO will be coming into the war.

    The risk levels for Russia are off the scale.

  27. JohnSF says:

    Perhaps a bit of deza via the Kyiv Independent?
    Rosalba Castelletti of di Repubblica reports normal evening in Moscow, no alarums or excursions.

    Though, if moves actually did start being made against the army leadership, that would be very concerning.
    They are Putin’s most secure defence against the crazier nationalists, and those aligned with them: esp. Prizoghin and Kadyrov.

    The real tell of things going to hell; if key units on either side, like the core Wagner mercs, Kadyrov’s Chechens, VDV (or at least, what’s left of them) start pulling out of the line and “rotating” to Moscow.

  28. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I think I mentioned before that I went to a military leadership school with a Ukranian national. Tough SOB. The only guy tougher was the special forces guy also in my class.

    The Ukranians are not going to stop. They have a once in a multi-generational chance to pay back a people that have tormented them for decades.

    This is a stunning collapse of the Russian military machine. But lets be clear–when Republicans say that character doesn’t matter–this is the predictable endstage of a culture of corruption.

  29. JohnSF says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Russians need to think of that line from Watchmen:

    “I’m not trapped in here with you. You’re trapped in here with me.”

  30. dazedandconfused says:


    There was little indication the Japanese would quit fighting in WW2 too. As Mike Tyson might put it: Everybody has a plan to fight forever until they nuked in the mouth.

  31. JohnMc says:

    @MarkedMan: Not necessarily connected. But some resonance with North Sea pipelines and related to Kerch Bridge by time.

    So made a separate paragraph.

  32. JohnSF says:

    Nukes are not “magic”.
    If the first does NOT produce capitulation, what then?
    NATO always intended to fight on a nuclear battlefield.
    Why do you think the Ukrainians will not?
    I have at least some indications from Ukrainians that they have every intention of doing so, if need be.

    And Ukrainians are also well aware:
    “We quit, but right here. At this line. Either make a truce or your forces and maybe some more stuff gets nuked.”
    “OK. Truce”
    Russia, as soon as truce starts? before?:
    “Now, hand over all the four oblasts…now, surrender Odesa…now demilitarize and denzify!”

    You are not thinking this through.
    Be assured, quite a few Ukrainians HAVE done so.

    And as said: if it goes nuclear NATO will enter the arena.
    That’s inevitable.
    If only for reasons some Americans often overlook. 🙁

  33. JohnMc says:

    @dazedandconfused: To be completely frank, it was obvious the Japanese were utterly defeated. It was not clear if their chaotic gov’t could find a way to agree to give up.

    And Rus troops landing in their northern islands was an Army failure and they (the Imperial Army) had been the holdouts.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: A buddy of mine went caving in the Tongass. He spent the majority of his time underground with Siberians. Dropped a 200′ pit and was looking at going borehole, 70′ high by 100′ wide on the other side of an underground lake. Wearing a 5 mil wetsuit, he was hot to trot and ready to go when one of the Siberians said in broken English, “No go, too cold. No go, too cold.” After a bit of back and forth he realized he was arguing with a Siberian whether something was too cold or not.

    I have a feeling the same dynamic applies to Ukrainians.

  35. JohnSF says:

    I took a long time looking at this some twenty-five years ago.
    I really need to catch up on the current journals.
    Time. *sigh*
    But seemed to me Japan was almost like the proverbial dinosaur: didn’t realise it was dead for half an hour.
    Navy was continuing to conceal how incapable they were of holding the Korea Straits.
    On that basis, Army thought that Manchuria and Korea were still viable components of national defensive perimeter, meaning their industrial and food output still available.
    And assumed USSR not entering the war for a year, than unable to take Manchuria for another year.
    In that time, losses to US forces would compel negotiation.
    So, one shock was the Red Army crushing the Kwantung Army in just 10 days.
    The other, the nukes.

    But in reality, even absent either, US was able to seal Japan mainland off.
    And given nukes, to bombard and invade.

    I still have a sneaking suspicion about the reason Trinity Test Pu-bomb was regarded as crucial, when US already had the materials for two U-235 bombs.
    That is: multiple bombings, and “tactical” use to support landings.

  36. dazedandconfused says:


    I did not say they are magic, but they do a lot of damage. You are aware it’s an order of magnitude more than most weapons. To assert with confidence the Ukrainians will just shrug it off assumes a great deal.

    I beg you not assert that I am not thinking. You have not addressed my point, which is how Putin may be looking at things, which you seem to have confused with advocacy.

  37. dazedandconfused says:


    Yes but they were preparing little kids to fight to the death with sticks to stop an invasion. From that school of thought all the way to unconditional surrender in a week. I rather doubt Putin would be mulling demanding that. If he is he has gone mad, and I rather suspect the ultimatum would’ve been given by now.

  38. JohnSF says:


    Shrug it off.

    Endure it?
    Quite possibly.
    How many Ukrainians have you spoken to on this subject recently?

    I did not say you were not thinking; just, perhaps, that you might consider, you might not be thinking it all the way through.
    If Ukraine concedes standstill under nuclear threat;
    – why would Russia not then try for standstill plus 1 single little metre of ground?
    – plus 2 metres? plus 10? plus 100 km?
    – plus 1000km and political conditions of Moscow’s choosing?
    Why the arbitrary assumed STOP POINT?
    You are saying Russia would offer a halt point, and then, if satisfied, would rest content.
    This is contrary to all evidence so far.
    Ukrainians I have engaged with DO NOT believe this.

    Trying to assess how Putin is thinking of things is very difficult.
    Beyond: if it’s really f@kin stupid, then that’s likely the Putin plan.

  39. JohnMc says:

    @dazedandconfused: Gosh, late in the day, formula 1 to watch and a great win for my Vols… and I am not sure what it is we disagree about.

    We’re you compare-and-contrast’ing Japan of 1945 with Ukraine 2022? Possibly saying that they’d likely surrender if nuked? Or that Putin sees them that way?

    Obviously, analogy fails terribly at every step.

    Must be the internet, nowhere else creates such foolishness.

    My very limited point was that the half-dead dinosaur that was Imperial Japan MIGHT have found a way to prolong their misery because Imperial Army had had success in China and not been crushed. So the one use of nukes did not prove singularly the cause of surrender. (Obviously, h/t to that other John).

    Good night to all.

  40. dazedandconfused says:


    You’re confusing my guess as to what Putin is thinking with a prediction of what the Ukrainians will do if presented with the ultimatum.

  41. dazedandconfused says:


    Most historians attribute the use of nukes to the surrender of Japan. Hirohito most certainly did.

  42. JohnSF says:

    The two are inseparable.
    If Putin, or at least his key advisors, have any remaining connection to reality, they will be considering the likely Ukrainian response to any of their moves.
    The unlikelihood of Ukraine capitulating, combined with the massive perils of direct NATO intervention, should be a part of their analysis.
    If not, god help us all.

  43. JohnSF says:

    There is division on this, from my skimming the post-2000 literature.
    Almost all, apart from a few revisionist hold-outs, appear to now consider the atomic bombings central.
    But a minority also accord considerable weight to the Soviet conquest of Manchuria.
    Not “instead of” but “as well as”.
    I tend to agree with the second group.

  44. dazedandconfused says:


    IMO they are two indisputably different things.

  45. JohnSF says:

    IMO distinct but inseparable.
    In any such situation, a rational actor will attempt to forecast the likely actions of the other party, and their second order reactions to the reactions of the first party.
    And you yourself said:

    To assert with confidence the Ukrainians will just shrug it off assumes a great deal.

    Linking the two, it seems to me.