I have no communication with Ukraine and Russian’s reading this blog and using it to plan their operations do so at risk of their own deaths when Ukraine does something different.
In general Ukraine must do a better job of saying and feinting one thing and doing another.
STEP 0 (not shown) is the complete destruction of the 40 enemy ships in the Black Sea. There is alleged to be a US “plan” to provide Ukraine with long range rockets of some type to do this, but it is on hold. The use of 1960’s carrier-destroyer missiles, essentially WMDs when used on land targets, should be used as an excuse to provide these now. But it should not be announced until it is fait accompli. Always use the Reagan method (which he used in a joke, but it works). “We begin bombing in 5 minutes.” The other side has no chance to employ rhetoric. Rational as retaliation makes their retaliation just more aggression.
STEP 1 (blue line) is already underway as of June 12 (all dates 2022) Ukraine launched a major air attack in the region near Kherson. The stated objective would presumably be to un-liberate or re-liberate Kherson, whatever you want to call it. I do not care which side is right. I’m taking the role of a strategist devising a plan on behalf of Ukraine. My plan would be to unexpectedly bypass Kherson and rush for the small corridor providing access to Crimea. It is probably heavily mined and otherwise defended.
- Essential to have Western artillery and MLRS which out-ranges Russia. This is necessary to keep enemy artillery out of range when crossing rivers, and at pinch points. Air defense must be carried along at each stage to protect from sea launched cruise missiles.
- Destroy any artillery west of the #1 line, and/or hug the coast, so that the column does not take fire from both sides. Attempt to clear back enemy artillery to east of line.
Put all available offensive power into crossing into Crimea. No stalls. If it really stalls, it has failed, retreat if not actually holding Crimean territory of some sort. Russia will either begin to retreat across their bridge (no navy at this point) or more likely reinforce. Pick a moment when a large number of personnel are on the bridge to Russia, and destroy it utterly, 20 to 40 missiles, so that everyone on it is killed, it cannot be easily rebuilt, and it blocks the Azov Sea entrance (no rescue by boats from there).
STEP 3 Either withdraw from Crimea, or if able hold the western edge, but redeploy main offensive capability to a similar charge toward Mariupol. The announced intent is to liberate Mariupol. As before, that is false. The offense is halted as soon as a large mass of Russian troops and artillery are place in between the leading edge and Mariupol. Then these are destroyed with the long range MLRS. Concentrate all of it there (they only have maybe a dozen units). This stops troops from using the land corridor. A major objective of the invasion is thwarted. Russia can neither reinforce nor evacuate Crimea. These trapped people are now Ukraine’s negotiating pawns. But Russia is not ready to negotiate.
STEP 3n (3-north) is to charge along the border from Kharkiv, headed east-northeast, isolating those troops from Russia. By then hopefully more long-range artillery is available. This should happen around the first of August. The claimed purpose is to regain control of the border. That’s a lie. Ukraine troops formerly in the three-sided “cauldron” in the last spot of Luhansk (likely withdrawn by then) can reassert with long range artillery, “claiming” to recapture the already-destroyed cities. That is not their objective either. Instead, the northern extent of Russian troops are now in a 3-sided cauldron. These troops are not preserved. They are killed as quickly as possible in relentless bombardment. Russia has made tactical retreats before. We want them to think of tactical retreat in this area, some of which is just outside their precious Donbas anyway.
Ukraine has now set up two kill boxes (northern troops, Crimea) but is only killing in one. Crimea, with a lot of civilians, is only subject to defensive fire on military targets. Hostages are more valuable alive and unharmed. And a break in the land corridor near Mariupol, but no cities are recaptured and no Ukrainian troops actually inserted into the break.
STEP 4 turns the corner in the north, heading along the border to the southeast (green), threatening to isolate those troops. “X” denotes intense killing of the enemy using any tactic or weapon. “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy” – Sun Tzu.
A second part of STEP 4 is to move the long range weapons over near Donetsk (city), announce its intended liberation (alarming the Separatist government there, like kicking an anthill over to expose them to poison, in this case Ukrainian artillery). But Donetsk is bypassed to the south and this time troops do charge in, using the same technique to out-range the Russians as before. But they cross a little way into Russia at the Sea of Azov as shown below.
The X’s indicate killing with extreme prejudice to the west of this new corridor. The lines indicate defensive fire only. It is now announced this is the other end of the border control exercise. A buffer zone will be established on both sides of the border. Not just on the Ukraine side. No major Russian city is threatened, though they are clearly within artillery range. Advancing military is of course slaughtered.
The real objective is to kill the remaining troops west of this corridor, clearing land that was under Ukrainian control before Feb. 24. Russian troops will be isolated in the cities and killed if they venture out. All the space between this and the earlier corridor west of Mariupol is either taken or rendered a no-man’s land.
Ukraine will have to have a strong stomach during this time. Isolated Russian troops will create hundreds of Bucha’s. Many of them will realize there is no out, they are going to die.
If Russia plans to use something like a tactical nuke, they will begin moving it into position. This is where the US must respond, both by B-52 or B-1B flights, and by rhetoric clarifying proportional response.
Proportional retaliation is legal under world conventions and laws recognized by most countries (except Russia . . . even China pays it lip service). If no other recourse is available (e.g. UN security council stalemated), it is allowed. But what if a very large country damages a small one, taking out cities amounting in population to 100,000. Is it proportional to take out 100,000 civilians in the attacking country?
- Life for life, or structure for structure, is absolute proportionality. This is easy to calculate and appropriate when adversaries are within a factor of 2 of the same size.
- The US will say relative proportionality should be used between Ukraine and Russia, in the ratio of 144/44 = about 3 to 1, which is their approximate population ratios. Russia will whine and complain, and maybe think before they act. Nah, as long as it’s in Ukraine they are sure we will do nothing.
So, for example, if Russia takes out a small city of 85,000 people with a tactical nuke, we take out Tagonrog just across the border, 255,000. If Russia takes out 3 cities of 100k each, we take out Rostov-na-don, population 1.1 million. If they take out ANY European city, we take out Moscow, being particularly sure nothing can ever be built on the site of the Kremlin again.
I do NOT think Russia will use a nuke. But we must be absolutely committed to this level of destruction, and I don’t think we have the stomach to do it slowly with conventional weapons the way the Russians do.
At some point, we are going to have to declare their destruction of cities to be WMD-like, and start taking out Russian cities, but as long as Ukraine is advancing we do not do this. This is held in reserve.
Two countries have a policy of first use of nukes, if they are being overrun in a conventional war: France, and Russia. France was the first to adopt this posture, after we failed to defend them in the 1956 Suez crisis. They decided to develop a completely independent nuke program, and they do NOT allow NATO to control their nuclear weapons. The US must adopt a first use policy if an ally is about to be overrun, or it will lose credibility as an ally. Whether Ukraine can kick the Russians out without the US doing this, it’s possible, it depends on what the Russians do. If they use nukes, Ukraine doesn’t have any. If they do a lot of civilian damage, we don’t have the stomach to do that with conventional weapons, we have to use nukes.
So Ukraine beyond STEP 2 would continue to reclaim the border, cutting off the separatist territory from Russia. Ukraine should offer neutrality to this region, and autonomy, but it cannot be allied with Russia militarily, politically or economically. Russia must get no economic benefit from it. Ukraine should offer rebuilding and economic incentive. The west must help with this. This is the Marshall Doctrine – rebuild both your friends and enemies.
Crimea cannot be offered autonomy because Russia seized it outright. However, all the people there who prefer Russia, and there are a lot of them, if not before 2014 then now, can be allowed to leave in exchange for returning all deported (and filtrated) Ukrainians in Russia. ALL of them. No Crimean leaves until this is done.
To incentivize negotiation, Ukraine begins extending the kill zone in the Mariupol corridor toward Crimea, while not bothering the separatists except in defense. So Russia has a time table. When the kill zone reaches Crimea, duh, what do you think is going to happen? If Russia does nothing, Ukraine has to follow through and kill them. This is war, not a game, in case you hadn’t noticed.
If the separatists do not accept autonomy and neutrality – and by the way Ukraine must be very careful not to shell them so they will not be afraid of Ukraine – then as a last resort after Crimea is cleared, Ukraine must kill everyone in the separatist territory. Anyone loyal to Ukraine left long ago.
And that’s how you clear Russia out of Ukraine. Russia may continue to attack from within their borders. I did not say I was going to tell you how to fix that. Ukraine should start a program to develop its own long-range missiles, with large-area effect conventional warheads, to make retaliation independent of Western nations. The carrot of sanctions relief can be used to try and promote Russia to quit any bad behavior. They will have already lost. By this time hopefully Ukraine is in the EU, if not NATO, and irretrievable to Russia.