Understanding Russia’s Real Strategy in Ukraine

This video is a bit long, but if you’ve got the time, this guy does a great job explaining why it’s apparently “taking so long” for the Russians to win this war:

Now I don’t know much about the guy in the video, his channel on YouTube is called Coach Red Pill, but he is an American who lives in Kiev, so obviously he’s highly familiar with the situation on the ground.

To summarize his points:

  • Western media is characterizing the state of the war in Ukraine as that Russia is failing and losing. This is completely false. Russia is fighting a very restrained war all things considered; basically with one arm behind their back. They have chosen not to take out Ukrainian civilian infrastructure–power grid, internet, water, etc. But they could if they wanted. They could also wage brutal, unrestrained blitzkrieg-style warfare along with indiscriminate bombing. But they haven’t.
  • “The American mode of war is to go to a country and destroy everything–the electrical grid, cell towers, everything. And then roll in…. The US has done this repeatedly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria–it’s a despicable way of making war. The Russians don’t want to destroy Ukraine, they want to capture it intact. They don’t want to hurt the civilians. Why would they? From their POV, if they harm civilians they just create enemies. They want to capture Ukraine, change the political leadership, and install political leadership that is sympathetic to Russia and is a long-term ally. They don’t want to alienate the Ukrainian population, because if they do the Ukrainian people will ultimately overthrow it. They want to set up a regime that the Ukrainian people are more or less indifferent to.”
  • “Everyone concedes that [Russia] is moving very quickly, but they’re not hitting any civilian infrastructure, they’re only hitting military targets. But always with a certain degree of caution. When they encounter any serious resistance from the Ukrainian army, they stop and pull back. What are they doing? They are encircling. That’s their whole strategy. It’s very simple. Whenever they go to a major city, like Kiev, like Kharkov, and soon enough they’re going to be in Dnipro–when they get to those cities, they go up to them and meet some resistance and they pull back, and they allow their forces to start to surround the city. That’s the strategy they’re employing in Kiev and in Kharkov. They’re encircling those cities, and once they completely encircle them, what will they do? They’ll wait. If you surround a city, all you have to do is just wait around and eventually it’ll fall.”
  • “One of the things that Russia is trying to capture intact, and people don’t seem to realize this, is the Ukrainian army. That’s why there haven’t been any major battles with hundreds or thousands of casualties. It’s been light skirmishes. For all intents and purposes, the Russian army is tip-toeing into Ukraine. Insofar as air power is concerned, the Russians in the first 3 hours wiped the Ukrainian skies of everything. The Russians own the Ukrainian skies; any plane flying is Russian. Insofar as their army is concerned, this isn’t WWII. This isn’t a situation where the Russian army is ‘kissing cousins’ of the Mongol horde. This is a modern Russian army that has the goal of capturing, intact, Ukraine and the Ukrainian army. Because the Russians realize that once they have captured Ukraine and changed the political leadership, they will need an army to look after the Ukrainian state, the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian land. They don’t want to destroy the Ukrainian army; they could do that if they wanted to, and they would have done that already. They own the skies.”
  • The fact that Russia consistently pulls back any time they encounter significant resistance is interpreted in the West as “weakness.” “The American style is to obliterate anything that crosses your path, friend or foe, they don’t really care. But the Russians do care. That’s why they’re not obliterating the Ukrainian army.
  • “A friend of mine… pointed out something that I’d never considered that is very obvious. The current Ukrainian leadership in the military, the generals–they went to military academies with the generals of the Russian army. They’re drinking buddies from back when they were 18-19 year olds. They know each other. They don’t want to kill each other. Of course not.”
    • This is an interesting point. What he’s talking about is that the generals in this war on both sides all came up during the Soviet Union era, when Russia and Ukraine were on the same side. Figure anyone over the age of 55–obviously generals tend to be older and more experienced–came up in the Red Army. So it’s obviously true that the generals fighting in this war know each other quite well.
  • “Once the Russians owned the skies, they could have done whatever they wanted. They could have annihilated the Ukrainian army–just blown it to smithereens. And blown away the entire population of Ukraine if they wanted to. They could cause a major, major humanitarian crisis if they wanted to, but they obviously don’t. How do I know this? Because they haven’t done it! They’ve had the opportunity for three days. I’m recording this video from a hotel room in downtown Kiev, and I’m going to upload it to the internet. Do you think I’d be able to do that if the Russians were really serious about conquering Ukraine? They want to capture it. You, in the West, are being goaded into thinking Putin is this evil antichrist. You don’t understand why the Russians are invading. And your political leadership–Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, all these people–they don’t want you to understand. They want you to just demonize–take the easy way out. They want you to imagine that this is a Marvel Comic book movie and that there are white hats and black hats, good guys and bad guys–gotta kill the bad guys because we’re the good guys! It’s so naive. The Russians don’t want to harm Ukraine. They would have destroyed Ukraine if they wanted to. But they don’t. They want to capture it in one piece.”
  • “What really bothers me, and perhaps this isn’t a wise thing to say because I’m in Ukraine under the Zelenskiy regime. What really bothers me is that the Zelenskiy regime has no trouble causing a humanitarian crisis, in fact they welcome it. They would love to see dead Ukrainians. I know this for a fact. The Zelenskiy government has been handing out AK-47s willy-nilly to the civilian population. As I understand it they’ve already handed out 10,000 and munitions to match… The Russians have professional soldiers. If they see somebody armed, be it a soldier in a uniform or a civilian, they’re going to shoot them. And that civilian will be dead, and that will present a great photo-op, so that Zelenskiy can wrangle some European country, the Americans, or whoever, to come in and get involved in this war, and escalate the situation to levels that are unimaginable.”
  • “The Zelenskiy regime is doing something that is quite frankly evil. It is evil to encourage civilians to do something that dangerous and irresponsible. The Zelenskiy regime has also put heavy weaponry in civilian population centers. The Russian army has every right and obligation to destroy such heavy weapons, but of course it’s inevitable you’re going to hit around the weapons. These weapons are in the middle of apartment complexes, you’re going to have Russians shelling apartment complexes, killing civilians. The Zelenskiy regime wants this to happen. They are also forcibly conscripting men between the ages of 18-60. They are not allowing them to leave the country, and if they try they’re arrested and forcibly conscripted… Women and older people are hiding these younger men so that they aren’t forcibly conscripted into the Ukrainian army. I know some of these people personally, they’re drinking buddies and business associates of mine… You don’t forcibly conscript men into your army if you think you’re winning, now do you?”
  • “This handing out of weapons to civilians is the thing I find most despicable. [The Zelenskiy government] is willing to have these people become martyrs. What do you think the Russians are going to do when they see a civilian with a gun? They’re going to shoot him, and he’s going to die needlessly, for absolutely nothing. I find that truly and completely despicable, and it’s all so the Zelenskiy regime can get a nice photo-op.

People following the American news media have a fundamental misunderstanding of this war. You will never be able to make sense of this war unless you understand what the guy in this video is saying.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Friend:
    Thank you so much for your very enlightening article. Very enlightening. But, no. No, No, No.
    Particularly the part about being an American. Either you’re very very stupid, or you’re not an American.

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