Ukraine War Day #120: The Classical Cauldron

Dear Readers:

I must interrupt my Snake Island coverage, to bring some breaking news from the battlefront. Namely, the creation of a so-called “Classical Cauldron” by the Russian forces. Under the supposition that this news won’t make it to Westie MSM for a few days. I myself often know about this stuff a day or so before it makes the Russian MSM, since they are cautious and don’t report something until it’s super-confirmed. I knew about this cauldron even before it was reported in this piece by Evgeny Krutikov. Why am I so prescient? Well, because I am a military genius! (No, not really.)

It’s because, as I have evolved, I ended up following (on a mostly daily basis) three different Military Analysis channels on youtube, here are the links in square brackets in case you wish to visit them yourselves: Military and Foreign Affairs Network, aka “The Voice of Reason”: [], this guy speaks American English with a light southern accent and seems to know his stuff. Ukraine Military Summary and Analysis: [], “Dima” from Belorussia who gets overexcited sometimes but has excellent analytical and visualization skills. And last but not least, our old friend “Wyatt” from Singapore with his Defense Politics A-a-a-a-a-asia channel: []

So, anyhow, between these three channels I believe I am able to keep on pretty well with the daily grind of the battlefront and also get the expert analysis from these guys. They discuss scenarios and make predictions based on science and logical thinking; and their predictions have a good track record, statistically speaking.

Now, a lot of interesting stuff has happened, including the creation of the first “Classical Cauldron” of this war, which was formed in the Zolotoe-Gorskoe pocket.

First, what is a Classical Cauldron? People talk about “the art of war” but I think I never really understood that term. How could something so deadly and so ugly, be an art? Well, it seems like generals and strategists approach the battlefield like an artist approaches his canvas. One recalls Russian Defense Minister Shoigu (by religion, a shamanist, if I am not mistaken) waxing eloquent about the “budding flower” of the Popasna front. A shape which Wyatt later came to see as a combination unicorn and “pig-bear” face.

The pig-bear-unicorn Popasna front.

Military art also includes classical maneuvers which have existed since the dawn of warfare, including the famous Russian “cauldron”. I imagine a general can derive the same satisfaction from creating the perfect cauldron, as a conductor when he leads his orchestra in a perfect rendition of Beethoven’s Leonora Overture. There is beauty in a perfect shape and in a perfect performance of a task; even if the end result is ugliness, death, and horror.

And so it came to pass. The Russian and Allied forces finally pulled off a beautiful and classical cauldron, some say the first of its kind in this war if you don’t count Mariupol. There were partial cauldrons before: For example, the so-called “Mongol” cauldron which involves triangulating an area, but leaving one pass or bridge open for the enemy to leave if he wishes; or a more modern partial cauldron, which covers most of the pocket, but the open corridor still under fire control. But this one is a complete and total cauldron, complete physical coverage and no way out, leaving an uncertain number (some say around 2,000) Ukrainian soldiers completely trapped inside the pocket. They will have no choice except to surrender and become POWs. This map shows the pocket:

The final closure of this cauldron occurred with the taking, by Russian forces, of the town of Mirnaya Dolina (which in Russian, ironically, means “Peaceful Valley”). That’s the one at the top of the pocket, which snapped it shut, just yesterday, according to Krutikov. Days earlier they had already controlled the bottom of the pocket, towns such as Zolotoe and Gorskoe.

Then Russian soldiers basically went on a spree yesterday, taking one town after another in this area: Vrubovka, Rai-Alexandrovka, and moving West to Artemovsk (aka Bakhmut). Meeting virtually no resistance. Why? Apparently there was a mutiny in the Ukrainian armed forces: Battalions ordered to go into the cauldron, refused, and fled Westward, in disarray.

A word about Artemovsk: Krutikov explains the new editorial policy of the Russian MSM: Henceforth Bakhmut is no more, the city (and others being captured) are reverting to whatever names they had before the massive renamings of 2014-2016. Bakhmut was actually the original name from way back; then the Communists renamed it to Artemovsk in 1924, after a local Bolshevik named Artem. After Maidan, the Ukrainians, as part of the de-Communization process, put it back to its original name, Bakhmut. But now it’s Artemovsk again. Things must get confusing there. Anyhow, I already knew from watching my youtube shows, that Artemovsk is the next target. After which, the Russians will be forming an even bigger and greater Classical Cauldron, around Lisichansk itself.

Speaking of editorial policies, I already noticed a certain tendency in the Russian mainstream media: Some reporters are already starting to refer to “the former Ukraine”, or even calling it “the former Soviet Republic”.

Winning a game is about the percentages of shots taken.

I shall end this piece with a final thought: With some help from my favorite youtube analysts, I started to realize why, at a certain point, the Russian victory became inevitable. Maybe it wasn’t always that way, even though everything favors Russia (size, army, wealth, etc.), maybe the Ukrainians still had a shot (a long-shot but still a shot) closer to the start of the conflict. But at a certain point, you start to notice: Who is shaping the battlefield? Who is taking the initiative? Who is literally calling the shots? The Russians, of course. And who is just reacting? Who is fighting bravely but not taking initiative? The Ukrainians, of course. Who are acting like they never had a plan, or if they had a plan and it was thwarted, they simply get paralyzed and don’t know what to do. Severals years ago, I attended my first American basketball game, with my (then) girlfriend, who had to explain to me how it worked. It was a women’s game, so there was actual strategy involved, not just egotistical dunking and stuff. She explained how the team which approaches the net more often is more likely to win. I was, like, “But so many of their shots miss the net…” And she was, like, “It doesn’t matter. It’s all about the percentages. If you never approach the net, then you never even have a chance.”

And that’s the Ukrainians. They rarely approach the net. As one of the youtubers put it, “They do not appear to have the know-how to launch a coordinated counter-offensive using combined forces integrated with equipment.” Which leaves them with nothing except a kind of mystical religious faith in their own victory.

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29 Responses to Ukraine War Day #120: The Classical Cauldron

  1. colliemum says:

    Excellent sitrep, yalensis! The sites you mention as giving you your source material are indeed excellent, I’m only watching one of them (Military Analysis) and have found it most instructive.
    One point occurred to me: while the West is bleating on about ‘brave Ukrainians’ fighting valiantly, and while we see in the Russian reports that more and more of them surrender, talking about having had no food, no weapons, no ammunition and no commanders who’ve fled, one aspect is totally overlooked.
    The Ukrainian military was drilled and instructed according to NATO doctrine, there were even joint exercises in the Ukraine. So what does this tell us about NATO might and power, never mind their instructions? That they are cr*p, that they are not fit for purpose, i.e. fighting Russia. The same goes for the valuable arms and weapons systems sent by NATO states, generously being ‘donated’ to the Donbas military when not ‘calibered’ upon arrival. Do the NATO states bordering Russia recognise this? Will they start questioning (behind closed doors) the wisdom of relying on what the Chinese would call a paper tiger?
    I hope they do, and that they act accordingly, i.e. refrain from poking the Bear.


    • yalensis says:

      Excellent points. The Ukrainian army was trained for 8 years according to NATO standards, and with the set goal of defeating the Russian army. Individual Ukrainian soldiers themselves turned out to be, for the most part (when under adequate leadership) quite good. Nobody even doubts (on the whole) their bravery and their hard-work ethnic. So, if it’s not their fault that they lost… could it be that NATO’s plan was ill-conceived from the start?


      • Fern says:

        There’s a world of difference between a military industrial complex which is a giant boondogle designed to transfer enormous sums from public to private pockets and a military industrial complex which has been designed to fight and win a war against a genuine existential threat.


  2. Liborio Guaso says:

    The Ukrainian side is directed by remote control from the West, for a cause that only benefits the West and a small group of Ukrainian crooks who get rich from the war and therefore the Russian victory is assured.
    Apparently the military in Ukraine would be just a pretext to put into action the western economic war and with the economic terrorism of the sanctions to subdue Russia, which failed because the Russians saw what was coming and they were preparing very well and when they acted they have surprised the world.
    And now a crisis in the West does not have any trained politician to face what they are suffering.


    • peter moritz says:

      So far Russia has been incomprehensibly tame in its action.
      Instead of crippling the goddamn EU with a cut-off of Oil to the EU refineries, especially the ones in Germany, whose operation has been apparently designed to rely heavily (solely) on the grade supplied by Russia and would take a whole bunch of engineering and investment to change, including the redesign of logistics, they keep making deals with them.
      Instead of just saying “fugetaboutit”, and just shutting down all the gas pipelines except the Turkstream supplying Hungary, they sort of, with some excuses, throttle the supply. No, throttle those idiots by turning it OFF, idiots who sold their soul to the US instead of fairly dealing with the nation with all the resources they would ever need for keeping their economies running, a nation situated in their own bloody continent.

      And in my mind it is actual high treason committed by the Russian government including Putin, to keep supplying all those goodies eventually by stealthy means
      Russia should use this as a teaching moment. The lesson, as we in German say: Dummheit muss bestraft werden.

      To my rather confused brain: what the Russian government commits, including especially Mr. Putin, to not hurt the oligarchs I guess, is actually high treason. To supply the enemy (as it will likely happen in the case of oil) using subterfuges and stealthy means to hide the origins of the sources, keep exporting critical minerals etc.
      If you want to play at all, play fucking dirty with those fascist supporters and kick them where it hurts: squarely in the nuts.
      Unless Russia really shuts down supplies, to stop their industries, to force them to their knees and have them beg for mercy, Russia is just playing around and senselessly sacrificing its own people. That really is treason, betraying the populace, committed by Mr. Putin and his staff.



      • peter moritz says:

        Forgot: Rant over…but still pissed off.
        I almost come to the conclusion my brother-in-law puts forward: all the oligarchs, be it in Russia, China, NATO countries, etc. are in cahoots.

        Pandemics, the Ukrainian exercise is all part of following the Orwell script: to divert the public attention, to proceed with the final solution: impoverish the populace, and keep them under control – remember the useless masks, the lockdowns many a researcher said were useless and actually counterproductive in many ways, all exercises to test how far the government with even unconstitutional methods are able to go – with scares like wars of Oceania vs. Eurasia, pandemics etc.

        I happen to still believe that we are looking at a fight of uni- vs. multipolarity, and the sovereignty of nations to develop according to their desire and culture, but the un-seriousness of the way Mr. Putin fights on the economic front lets me doubt that.

        I find this rather enlightening:

        During a May 2022 interview, World Economic Forum Guru of the Great Reset Yuval Noah Harari shared his dystopic view of humanity’s next phase of evolution. In his assessment, the primary problem for the governing elite managing the world will not be solving war, or hunger, but rather managing the emergent “new global useless class”.

        ““I think the biggest question in maybe in economics and politics of the coming decades will be what to do with all these useless people? The problem is more boredom and how what to do with them and how will they find some sense of meaning in life, when they are basically meaningless, worthless? My best guess, at present is a combination of drugs and computer games as a solution for [most]. It’s already happening…I think once you’re superfluous, you don’t have power.”

        And if that was not scary enough already:

        “If you have enough data, and you have enough computing power, you can understand people better than they understand themselves and then you can manipulate them in ways that were previously impossible and in such a situation, the old democratic systems stop functioning. We need to re-invent democracy in this new era in which humans are now hackable animals. The whole idea that humans have this ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ and have free will… that’s over.”


        • yalensis says:

          Hey, Peter. Rant not only forgiven, but completely understood!

          To add to your beefs against Mr. Putin, I would also add, that he has been playing footsie with Israel for a very long time. As if deluding himself that the Israeli/Zionist government will ever be a friend to Russia, when they are in very tight with the whole Westie establishment, and the U.S. in particular. I think recently Putin started to see the light just a little bit, once he learned just how much the Israelis were helping the Ukrainians.


        • Fern says:

          Peter, you write of Putin being ‘unserious’ on the economic front – it’s useful to ask ‘who is the intended audience here?’ I think it’s the rest of the world outside of the West. The message surely is that Russia is a totally reliable business partner; it adheres to contracts in the most difficult of circumstances. It does not weaponise supply of its resources. Countries can do business with it and be confident that assets etc will not be frozen or stolen.

          As far the rantings of Yuval Noah Harari, they remind me of a quote from Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ – ‘the devil and his children still walk with earthly feet’. Pure evil.

          Liked by 1 person

          • peter moritz says:

            I get your points, of course, but at one point when your opponent/businesspartner keeps supplying your proxy warmachine (quite broken now) with ammunition, that not only kills your soldiers, which might be forgivable, but is used with the clear intention to destroy infrastructure and civilian lives, the question arises: when is it time to drop that partner and not show him that you can break his industry and social structure, but actually do it?

            To save further loss of life, public assets, etc., this is to me is completely justifiable. Or you wind up in the moral morass like the USA, that has no trouble supplying its army with weapons and sends supplies to the enemy as well.
            I remember stories of my Dad’s who was drafted into the German army in 1942 and send to fight in Italy. He was captured in 1944 and sent as a POW to Egypt.
            He later told me that when fighting around Triest, they unpacked new tires for their vehicles that clearly were from a famous tire brand (I guess Firestone) and labeled “made in USA”.


          • peter moritz says:

            Regarding mr. Harari and those he speaks for, I penned some night thoughts years ago, before Mr. Schwab and his aims, and those of his ilklings and ilklets became widely known, and they seem to be closer to reality as ever before:

            What if..another conspiracy theory based on the current state of the world

            The current situation of depletion of resources, the threat of global warming, and the inability of the planetary resources to bear the demands of an ever-increasing population, the unabating increase in wealth of a small group of already immensely wealthy people, facts all well-known, lead to the following conclusions of a small group of oligarchs worldwide:

            “The planet with the current load of population and their demands is under threat, the current model and mode of production, creating wealth and wealth distribution does neither work nor is it sustainable.

            We have at our demand available all resources and have accumulated wealth sufficient that we control almost all the world’s production

            We, with the means that are available to us, can radically change the current situation of overpopulation.

            Therefore we decide:

            The vast majority of the people not of our class are superfluous.

            We do no longer need to increase our wealth with gains based on the debt slavery and production by hired labour

            We substitute any needed labour with AI sufficient to produce what we need for a sustainable life in comparable luxury with nonhuman labour, demanding no food or space.

            We save on energy, free up space for the regrowth of forests and undisturbed wilderness, and reduction of CO2, sufficiently to curb global warming to prevent the ecosystem We rely on from collapsing.

            We keep those of the population needed for research into further development of AI so it becomes ever more autonomous, research into diseases threatening the remainder of humanity, and research into agricultural projects to with increasing efficiency needing ever less human interference to keep food production viable and continuous for the remaining population.”

            What if talks about overpopulation, and environmental destruction being a real threat are quite correct, but should be resolved based on the decisions and in the interests solely of a small and immensely privileged class?


            • yalensis says:

              It’s just that, if these oligarchs are relying on AI to serve their needs, then they are deluding themselves. AI’s can do a lot of things, but there are even more things they can’t do. Like decode a simple Captcha, for example. Sometimes it’s just so easy to get around them, especially when you remember that these things are just big adding machines with a finite database. In the war human vs machine, I still root for the human!


              • yalensis says:

                P.S. having said that, here is my big plan for humans fighting back against our Reptilian Overlords with their puffed-up adding machines:
                1.) Build a political party with a platform that kicks oligarchs out of positions of political influence and limits personal wealth, among other important things. (I don’t want to sound like Robespierre, but there is absolutely no reason why a single individual should own a personal jet and rip up the ozone layer for his own pleaure. Just as one example.)
                2.) Build mass movement which puts said party in power, take over governmental functions and pass said laws.

                Problem solved! Ordinary humans win, reptiles are sent away in shame.


              • peter moritz says:

                You see, being a member of the elite obviously doesn’t make you smarter, it just makes you more arrogant because you think that “you made it because of yourself”, forgetting that “to make it” requires community, infrastructure, social network, family, environment, either some or all of those etc.
                No one, absolutely no one makes it alone, but the big lie about the self-propelled business genius gets perpetuated for obvious reasons – you are not beholden to anyone, and you can trample on the rights of others.
                And because of this arrogance learned through a lifetime or at least a major part of it, they think their ideas have to be right, and have to be the solution…or else.


              • yalensis says:

                Well, it’s the good old-fashioned Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged” kind of model. “You’ll be sorry when I pick up my toys and go away… oh wait! I didn’t actually create those toys myself…”

                I believe that humans are the only species in which the parasites believe that they are the hosts; and that the victims they they feed off of, are the parasites!

                Liked by 1 person

  3. S Brennan says:

    Ukrainia, a region, not a country anymore, like Transylvania in Romania. You know where it is but, it’s leaders traded it’s status as a country, it’s leaders betrayed it’s people for 30 pieces silver…just so a corpulent-retard like Nuland could place a pin on a DC-think-tank’s map. And that’s all Ukrainia is to DC, a pin on a map.

    What we really need is a term, like “quisling”, to describe Ukrainia’s “leadership”. I despise those who betray the trust of a good person[s]…a special place in hell for those empty souls.


  4. the pair says:

    they were trained by NATO so it’s hardly surprising. a giant money pit and anchor around the necks of any non-US member that didn’t even actually DO anything until after the cold war was over. lobbing missiles at impoverished countries is hardly good practice for facing an actual first world-level military. if libya or iraq had S400s and hypersonic missiles they would still be actual countries. just look at syria; it faced the same fate but then “borrowed” russian capabilities and defenses.

    the pricks in kiev also believed at some level that the west would jump in at the first sign of trouble. having a giant psychopath with a giant gun (ostensibly) at your side can lead to arrogant mistakes. take note, israel. another western armed fake country with fake borders that boasts of its military might but goes into conniptions at the sight of rock throwing kids or flaming kites. this whole operation has been another example of what those of us in the west already knew about our “elite”; they look out for “number one” and expect all gains with no losses. (e.g. drone warfare, QE, other wall street smoke and mirrors ponzi schemes, etc)


  5. Aelfsige says:

    I’m pretty sure Shoigu is Orthodox now, I’ve seen a picture of him crossing himself.


  6. Bob says:

    The Banderites spent the last 8 years supposedly learning and integrating NATO tactics. The US/NATO haven’t been in a real, stand-up fight against a competent and well-equipped professional army since WWII. None of the combat experience from the Gulf/ME has prepared any of the US/NATO military advisors for what the Russians are unleashing when they launch an offensive (even though they operate now with one hand behind their back in an effort to spare the civilian population). I think the Ukies might have done better without any US/NATO advice.


    • yalensis says:

      I agree. I think if the Ukies had fought using their own Soviet style of combat, and the strategy/tactics taught in the Soviet academies they would have had a better shot at winning major battles. At the very least they would have known how to behave like more integrated tactical groups. The NATO way seems very static to my untrained eyes.


  7. Stephen T Johnson says:

    A minor point on your piece, Yalensis. War is an art because it is irreducibly uncertain. I think Gwynne Dyer put it nicely in one of his shows (I’m probably paraphrasing) “In war, you can do everything right and still lose” Anyway, Clausewitz says so, so it must be true 😉


    • yalensis says:

      Is Art then also so uncertain? That implies that Science is deterministic, but that’s not true either!
      “In war, you can do everything right and still lose.” So true. Except I don’t think that was Clausewitz, that was Captain Kirk (“The Kobayashi Maru Gambit”).


  8. Cortes says:

    Isn’t dominating the area at the net more associated with tennis champions? In basketball it’s difficult to score if you’re not close to the basket. Sorry for taking things off topic.


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