30 January 2024 19:21 EST (last updated)

All the West needs to do is give Ukraine ammunition, they are willing to do the fighting. As a former combat infantry officer, I can assure you that was – and fleetingly remains – an extremely generous bargain.

All that Mr. Biden needs to do is compromise on measures to secure the perpetual multi-decade catastrophe that is the U.S. southern border. All that Mr. Zelenskyy needs to do is mobilize every possible military age male (age 20-59) at home and abroad that isn’t already in uniform while he still has enough brave and battle-hardened volunteers in the fight.

Additional recruitment opportunities should also be made available for females and all those aged 18-19 that might be willing to volunteer but not necessarily into the trenches.  It is a potentially fatal strategic error for Ukraine to attrit its own limited supply of willing combatants to coddle those that are too selfish to show up to the fight.  Corruption in any military necessity risks self-defeat; Ukraine can afford that least of all with its conscription system.

In our last update, we predicted that the outcome of the conflict would be determined by the 2023 campaign. Sadly, our prediction appears accurate albeit not in the manner for which we had hoped. From the earliest Ukrainian maneuvers with modern armor, it was apparent that Russia had prepared formidable defenses. U.S. doctrine calls for air supremacy prior to attacking these types of deliberate defensive lines.

The Ukrainians (those in the fight, at least) are extremely brave to continue on in spite of terrible conditions and relentless high-intensity combat. Although we never saw a significant assault with massed modern armor, it may have been wise for Ukraine to preserve that material – since cowardice is obviously not the problem for Ukraine at the front. Mr. Zelenskyy and Ukrainian policymakers would be wise to understand that their brave, willing and experienced soldiers should be regarded with the same care as those prized and expensive modern war machines.

Ukrainians are writ large a tough people who have demonstrated levels of resilience, cohesion and selflessness that simply no longer exist in American society. Americans and American policymakers would be wise to view Ukraine’s ability to sustain the fight as an absolute priority and an act which is directly preventing conflagration.

Russia has made its strategic ambitions clear, even shifting into a war economy. Any type of rebuilding the Russian Empire will involve conflict with a NATO alliance member. Those are the stakes of preventing a Ukrainian defeat and that practical view has to be exponentially furthered by the war crimes committed by Russia. The scale and nature of these horrors cannot be understated.

Wagner, convict battalions, and storm-z penal units underscore the harsh realities of our times. The Russians have committed every type of war crime, en masse, for nearly two years. Yet the cash-soaked West still cannot find the resolve to even produce sufficient ammunition.

If the Ukrainians – for their part – had brought in everyone from the start, as we had called for, the dynamics of 2023 would have been categorically different. If the would-be draft dodgers were simply compelled to face their fears and fight for their lives instead of coddled like 21st century snowflakes, some of them would have done their duty well. Nearly all the others would have at least done something to save Ukraine.

If the Finnish people had conducted themselves in a similar manner, we highly doubt Finland would have existed after 1940. Unlike Ukraine, Finland was abandoned by the international community. Having won their sovereignty by mounting a heroic defense, the Finns still had to cede the Karelian Ismuth and other major concessions in exchange for a peace with the Russians.

Ukraine built significant external support yet failed to enforce total national mobilization. That question more than any other, in our view, will determine what the future holds for Ukraine.

Maintaining an active front until there is a change of power from within Russia, although that may mean years of brutal status quo, is the only viable course for Ukraine.

13 Feb 23 17:45 EST – the War in Ukraine has just entered a radically different phase.  As the war approaches the 1-year anniversary of an invasion date set to optimize fighting conditions for heavy tracked vehicles, the materiel and fighting forces both sides now field has significantly escalated from 1-year ago.

We predict the conflict will be concluded by the campaign apparently launched on Friday (local time).  In our view, the possible outcomes are widely variant but only in nature not in number.  The conventional war objectives for both sides are likely total control of the annexed regions for Russia versus restored territorial integrity for Ukraine.

If Ukrainian battlefield ingenuity continues, we think the latter is the most likely conventional warfare outcome; however, it is unknown if Ukraine will be able to reclaim territorial integrity without Russia using WMD.

The market accepted the long-war status-quo and as is the market’s nature, moved on.  Thus, we let our last update stand.  Since then Ukraine was able to launch a successful counter-offensive (aided by western long-range ground systems) and then establish an impressively static winter front-line all while primarily using inferior soviet-era equipment versus what the Russians field.

The decision to give Ukraine modern armor is game changing; one can only imagine what they might accomplish with far superior tanks to what the Russians field (and in significant numbers) given their successes when most had written them off to a 72-hour collapse nearly 1-year ago.

16 Mar 22 08:55 EST – risk-appetite update: situation is highly-fluid; concentrating behind our best ideas, trying to be patient yet move with conviction when we do (both risk-on & off) // yesterday, we balanced the likelihood of a relief rally against our grave concern that Russia could use ‘tactical’ WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Ukraine.

09 Mar 22 09:28 EST – best outcome for Ukraine: emulate the Finnish Winter War 1939-1940 whereby they inflict perpetual heavy losses while frustrating the attack, forcing the Russians to withdraw.

04 Mar 22 17:05 EST – the operational delay for the siege of Kyiv is, in our analysis, primarily a result of the Ukrainian’s denial of Gostomel airbase for use as the landing zone for the Russian main effort and secondarily the fierce Ukrainian resistance in the east // we are deeply concerned that the conduct thus far shown by Russian regulars on other fronts will be in sharp contrast to the total horror that the units we deduce are in the Russian main effort will unleash on order. Given that we’ve already witnessed the widespread bombardment of civilians and the firing of heavy ordinance at a fueled nuclear power plant – we see a siege unfolding for Kyiv where mounting war crimes feed the righteous indignation of the Ukrainians. Each day the Ukrainians hold, the reluctant West is shamed into further action – raising the stakes even higher. The number of pledged anti-armor & anti-air missiles actually getting to the battles are the ultimate variable against the main effort the Russians are almost certainly about to unleash on Kyiv.

25 Feb 22 16:05 EST – the worst idea of all is escalating to cyber warfare because they utterly failed Ukraine in all the ways they shouldn’t have // it goes both ways and it’s insane to escalate there.

25 Feb 22 13:55 EST – reports of Ukrainians retaking Gostomel airbase from Spetsnaz and the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ making six air-to-air kills (fighter ace) on the first day of the war // heroic if true // in our view, the tenacity of the forthcoming defense of Kyiv will indicate all.

24 Feb 22 19:40 EST – the West is powerless to truly sanction Russia because of dependence on Nord Stream 1 and the inflated cost of fossil fuels in the U.S. during an election year.

ZERO HOUR – 22:00 EST on 23 Feb 22 – the Russian leader makes statements on Russian media at “zero hour” as Russia initiates it’s invasion of Ukraine (at approximately 04:00 local time).  At the same exact moment in New York City, Russia opens the U.N. security council meeting convened to avert the invasion of Ukraine.  Russia acts as the sitting U.N. security council chair.  This is called Day-0 in military terms.