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All right, Alexander, let's talk about what is happening in Ukraine. A Ukraine update. And I think the big story is Marinka. Sergey Shoi du telling Russian President Putin that Russia has fully captured Marinka and it shows how conservative the russian military is when they release statements. Because us, we've kind of known about Marinka for a week, a week and a half but it was just the other day that Sergey Shoigu confirmed everything to the russian president and then we have all this talk about fighter jets being shot down, one fighter jet, Ukraine shooting down russian fighter jets, one fighter jet, three fighter jets, five fighter jets. I've heard numbers that put it at ten fighter jets, an OD narrative being spun by the Alensky regime there. And then we could just talk about the general situation on the front line. A lot of mobilization problems for the Ukraine military. It seems like they have a lot of mobilization problems which says a lot. And maybe we can also discuss, Alexander, the hype around the f 16s because we got once again the hype around f 16. So where do you want to start things off?


Well, I think you're absolutely correct. The big news is Marinka and one has to stress Marinka is itself an important place. The Russians have been battling to capture it since the autumn. It's been very much a stop go battle in a town that's only 5 km Fromtsk, Donnetsk city. It's been a very heavily fortified location that the Ukrainians really dug deep into. It was where they were conducting a lot of the firing, the artillery strikes on Donetsk itself over the last nine years or so the Russians opened an offensive to try to capture Marinka in the autumn. Briefly there were reports which were circulating last autumn, a year ago that they had actually captured Marinka but they turned out to be very premature and very wrong. Then there was a resumption of the fighting for Marinka in the spring and then in June apparently a decision was made that after the ukrainian offensive had run its course the Russians would finally take Marinka and they've now done that. So this is one of the most heavily fortified positions on the ukrainian part of the front lines and it's been a long, very tough, very grueling battle town of around 9000 people before the war so a much bigger place than any of the villages that Ukraine captured over the course of its counter offensive in the summer and also a place which is strategically important because it is located so close to Donnett city itself but it's also apparently an important or was an important linchpoint in the entire defense system, the ukrainian defense system in this part of Donbass, it was connected before the war, before the current fighting, I should say, to a sort of network of fortified positions.


There was the village of Pesky, which the Russians captured in August last year. That was the first big fortified position that the Russians captured. Now they've captured Marinka, which bigger place, more heavily fortified than pesky. And they appear to be gradually. No, not gradually, quite rapidly. Now coming close to the point of taking Avdevka itself now. Avdevka, the most difficult, most heavily fortified position of all. But there's been some really shattering news coming from Avdevka. Firstly, lots of information about the Russians pushing hard around Avdevka itself, also closing the communications corridors to Abdevka. Couple of days ago, the commander of the Aidar battalion, which is one of Ukraine's most militant ideological battalions, said that the Ukrainians might soon have to abandon Avdevka. But there was a particularly harrowing story that came out just a couple of two days ago. It's not yet been fully confirmed, but it's been published by Strana, which is a generally very reliable ukrainian dissident publication published in Europe. They said that 108 soldiers in Avdevka were granted Christmas leave. They were put onto coaches and were supposed to leave Avdevka to enjoy Christmas leave, but they never got through. Apparently all the coaches were attacked by the Russians as they were exiting the town.


And so far as I can tell, all their 108 are either wounded or dead. So I mean, that gives you a sense of how critically bad the situation is. So very bad news for the Ukrainians around Marinka, Abdevka, all of this central area of Donbass, and it's bad everywhere else. On the front lines near Bakhmut, the Russians are making big advances. They captured Kromovo, as we discussed about a couple of weeks ago. They now seem to have captured about half of Bogdanovka, which is another of these important villages. They're pushing towards Chasevyar. There's talk that large russian reinforcements are being sent to the Zaporozhev front lines with the view to starting a further counterattack there. This is the area where the Ukrainians had launched their big counterattack in the summer. And now the Russians are going back on the offensive in that area. There's Morse reports that the Russians are pushing hard towards Lehman and the Oskol river line, that they're advancing around a kilometer a day, which know it's progress, maybe not very rapid progress. So all of this is happening and of course in order to fill up the news, because this is what I think this is all about.


You get the bus. So one 3510, whatever it is, russian fighter jets have all been shot down. We've had today another missile strike on Crimea, on Sebastopol, on Ferdossia, which is one of the ports, Sevastopol, it's one of the places where ships are repaired. Stories that a russian landing ship has been damaged or sunk in this attack. Rumors circulating of f 16 fighter jets either already operating and in the air and shooting down all these russian fighters or more plausibly, being delivered to Ukraine. Either they have been delivered or they're about to be delivered and they're going to be entering service in April or they're already in service. And again, you could see all of these attempts to create lots of stories, lots of chatter about all kinds of things that are going on, which to my mind, it's clearly intended to take away attention from what is really going on on the battlefields. Let me just quickly say all of these reports that we've given about Amarinka, about Adevka, about what's going on in Lehmanth, this is all based on concrete, reliable, corroborated information. When it comes to the fighter jets that have allegedly been shot down, there is evidence, proof, if you like, of one Suhoi 34 fighter bomber having crashed.


That could have been as a result of ukrainian military action. There's some suggestions that it was shot down by mistake by Russia's own air defenses. Russian commentators who seem to be close to the air force are coming forward and saying that none of the other claims about russian fighter bombers and fighters having shot down are true. I don't know for a fact that that is the case, but I think it's quite plausible. And as for this missile strike on Selvestopol, well, it's been done many times before. Every so often a missile gets through. One apparently did. It did do some damage. As we've seen already. It makes no difference to the outcome of the war. And about the f, we have been told is what we have been told many, many times that the west would supply these f 16s sometime around the turn of the year, but it would be still several months before they went into action. So a lot of buzz, a lot of chatter. But what the real news, the news that we can rely upon is the news from the front lines. And cumulative lead is very bad for Ukraine.


Yeah. Every time the Russians gain territory where they capture a significant village or city, you always get these types of distractions every single time, like clockwork. And so I agree with you. I think the fighter jet story, I think we can say that one fighter jet was lost, right?




That we can confirm.


Yes. We just don't know how. There's pictures of it. The Russians admit it. There's not any doubt about that. Both the pilot and the navigator are safe. Apparently they were able to parachute safely down, which, by the way, argues against the aircraft had been being shot down by enemy action. I mean, usually it was enemy action. One would expect it to have been taken by surprise and something. But anyway, I'm not going to place too much value on that. I'm just taking that from what others are saying.


How do these narratives spread? Because a lot of the reporting for the fighter jets, that it was three fighter jets and then five, and even Zelensky in his evening address said five fighter jets in one week and he was celebrating it. How does this stuff spread? Because a lot of the reports were through telegram channels. And it got me thinking that perhaps we are looking at a situation like what happened in, I believe, Dagestan with the israeli plane. And it was found out that the telegram channel was not pro russian, but was actually being run by Ukrainians and it was a psyop to damage Russia. I think what we're seeing here with a lot of these narratives and a lot of the people that are reporting on the fighter jets, like the Guardian and these other mainstream media networks coming out and saying russian telegram channels are saying that three fighter jets or five fighter jets were shot down. So that must mean that this is true. But I think we're seeing some information war taking place, and it happens right at the same exact time when the Russians capture a significant village or town.


I mean, you want a good, reliable source for russian information on the conflict on telegram, I would just say, just go to Slaviancrad one channel for me. Don't complicate things. Don't complicate things. There you'll get reliable good information every other channel. I'm not saying all of them. I'm just saying a lot of times you just don't know.


Yes, intel, slava, I think, is pretty reliable as well. Those two slavian grad covers the war in a much more in depth way, and they give an awful lot of military analysis and commentary of their own. But they're also a very good site aggregator. But no, I absolutely agree. There really is no need to go outside that now. Can I just say, there is absolutely no doubt at all that a lot of these so called pro russian or russian telegram channels that we read about are phony. They're fabrications probably created by Ukraine or perhaps by others unfriendly to Russia. Who's to say? But this is not new. It's happened many times over the course of this conflict. I remember, for example, way back in May when the Ukrainians first started launching counterattacks in the Bagma direction, there was a huge spread of stories about how the Ukrainians had made enormous advances, about how the Azov brigade was back in action and was pushing all ahead in advance of it. And there was about two weeks of virtual panic also, it seemed, on the russian, because this whole discord of voices was appearing across the russian telegram channels.


And it turned out that none of that was true, that all of these stories were wildly exaggerated and that many of the channels that were spreading these stories were, as you absolutely rightly said, invented. And then we had the pregoshian affair where we saw the whole thing happen all over again. And then you get reports, you could get the same chatter from these telegram channels appearing in western media that assume that these reports are true because they're being reported in that kind of way. Even though I want to stress, I've seen absolutely no corroboration at all of these other russian aircraft being shot down. And as I said, people who do seem to be in the know are categorically denying it. So you could see how this spreads. And just to say this is not an illegitimate action, you could criticize the Ukrainians for many things, but this kind of war propaganda is part of war. It always has been. You spread stories like this in order to create distress and worry on the other side, and they're just very good at it. The Russians are not good at this at all. The Ukrainians are, and give them credit for this.


But this is. It seems to me what they're doing. They've got to find some way to take the focus away from Marinka and what's happening on the battlefronts at a time when things are going very badly for them on the battlefronts. So they put together this story. They've got Zelensky on television bragging about it. We've got Yuri ignat talking about this. We've had reports from some of the ukrainian telegram channels about how they're able to move patriot missiles around from one part of the Ukraine to another in order to conduct ambushes, which, by the way, I understand is logistically impossible. You look at a patriot system, it's a huge complex. You can't just shuffle them around the country in that kind of way. That doesn't make any sense. You plant stories that the F 16s are already in action, and then you create all kinds of hubbub about the fact that they're coming, they're not there, or maybe they are, and all of this. And as I said, you create the echo chamber and it has an effect. And as I said, give them credit. They do this well. And to reiterate again, many things that they do, they've done in this war one can strongly criticize them for, but not this.


This, it seems to me, is entirely a proper part of war. They do it well. The Russians don't.


Yeah, well, they do it well in the US and the US NATO. They do it well.


They do it very well.


Yeah, they're playing to their strong points.




Because everywhere else they're losing. So what they're doing is they're playing to the one part of this conflict where they have the upper hand, and that's in the information space.




Absolutely, I agree with you. And going back to the ship in Crema, that was a landing ship that was hit. So that doesn't factor into this conflict at all. If anything, it was Ukraine wasting, from what I understand, it was a scout missile, though I'm not 100% certain on that. But it's basically Ukraine wasting missiles that it doesn't really have in its inventory in order to distract away from Marinka to gain a pr and win.




That's a proper way to phrase it.


It was a landing ship that Ukraine damaged and sank before the Russians raised it, brought it to be repaired. It's in a repair dock. That makes it a vulnerable target. So they launched lots of scalps and missiles towards Sevastopol, of which they have only a finite number. By the way, the russian chief of the general staff, Gerasimov, who's the overall commander, said that they'd received around 200 of these things, and they've already launched most of them now, but they've launched more of them at this particular port. One got through, did more damage, and then you've got another story that you can plug the fact that they've managed to launch to damage a russian warship. I would point out, by the way, that if you exclude the Muskva, the cruiser that was sunk last year, in May last year so far, and it's a point people, by the way, never make. So far, Ukraine has failed to actually sink a single russian warship that is involved in combat operations.


They go around and argue that they've won the battle of the Black Sea.


Exactly. But you see, I mean, there are lots of warships navigating the Black Sea at any one time. The Ukrainians occasionally launch missiles at them, but they've never managed to hit a moving target except according to their reports. And most people use mine increasingly. Now, the maskvar, back in May last year, of course, the maskvar was an unusual target because it was the big one and an old one, as we discussed at the time, but it was also in a restricted space. So if we're talking about mobile moving targets, they've tried many times, but they've never succeeded. And of course, the submarines are also operating in the Black Sea. Of course, they can't scratch. So there you go.


Yeah. So let's go back to the f, finish out the video, because there is a lot of talk about the f think that there's only two paths to victory for the collective west, NATO and Ukraine. I think the one path to victory is regime change in Russia. So you have elections in March 2024, and obviously, I think we're going to see an uptick in the information war space to try and perhaps create some sort of palace intrigue and to get Putin out of office once again. Maybe missile strikes towards Kriba and stuff like this, shooting down fighter jets. Maybe they're hoping that some general or some commander somewhere will be upset with Putin and something will happen. I mean, this is the hope strategy, but that is the one pathway for Ukraine and NATO to win the other way that they could possibly win. And I only see two ways. I don't see any other way. The other way they could possibly win is to try and get NATO into the conflict. Now, my question to you with the f 16s, do the f 16s actually make a difference in this conflict? Because I remember Millie back in the day, he said, the f 16s, even if we deliver 50, 6100 f 16s, Russia has 1000 fighter jets more, it's not going to make a difference.


So my thinking on the f wholea f 16 issue is not so much the f 16s in combat, it's who's going to be piloting them and where are they going to take off from. And what does Russia do? Does Russia risk going after airfields in Romania and Poland and wherever else? And I think that's the big issue. I don't know. What are your thoughts there? Because everyone's focusing on the f 16s going into battle with the russian jets, and that's the big story. But I don't think that really makes a difference in the conflict.


No, it doesn't. I mean, this is a completely absurd notion. In fact, I say it's a completely absurd notion. A ukrainian commander has actually spoken about this. I mean, one of the signs, by the way, that things are getting really bad for Ukraine is that you're now getting increasing numbers of ukrainian military people, serving military people, coming out and speaking out and speaking out against the prevailing narratives in Ukraine. But one of them has actually said, look, the Russians have enormously advanced aircraft. They're getting more of them all the time. These f are going to be delivered to us are old fighter jets from the 1970s. Yes, they can be refurbished. Yes, they can be equipped with some more advanced missiles, but they will remain comprehensively outmatched. Now the point to remember is that Ukraine has actually received hundreds of fighter jets from the west over the last year. I mean, right at the beginning of the conflict, there was lots of talk, if you remember then, about Poland and the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Bulgaria refurbishing and sending to Ukraine all their old MiG twenty nine s. And the United States went, the Biden administration went through the motions of pretending that they were opposed to this.


And then, of course, they did supply them and they supplied all of them, apparently, pretty much so. Ukraine had its entire air force re equipped with MiG 29s from eastern Europe. And these are roughly the same vintage fighter jet as the f 16 from the, you know, the 1980s, early 1980s, late 1970s. And these MiG 29s have been annihilated even as we get all these reports about Ukraine shooting down all these advanced russian fighter jets. Again, the Russian Ministry of Defense has been churning out data about the number of ukrainian fighter jets it shoots down every week, and they regularly run at about five or six fighter jets. So these old soviet era fighter jets that the Russians are shooting down, fighter jets, as I said, sent to Ukraine from eastern Europe. Now, the F MiG 29s were designed in the 1970s for a completely different type of war to the one we see today. There was intended to be highly maneuverable aircraft that would engage in dog fights based on the experiences of the Vietnam war. Today, air war is conducted at very long ranges with aircraft operating with extremely powerful radars. They're able to launch missiles from distance ranges of hundreds of kilometers.


The missiles are then guided onto their targets. The f 16s are going to be no more effective as fighter jets than the MiG 29s were, and there are far fewer of them. So in and of themselves, they do not change anything in terms of the overall picture, however, there are questions because, as you rightly say, these f 16s, they're much more delicate equipment, apparently, than the meat 29s. They're not really adapted to operate from ukrainian runways. They need elaborate infrastructure to work properly. And the consensus seems to be that they can only operate from NATO bases. NATO bases, in other words, in places like Romania and Poland and such places. Now, if that is so, then NATO aircraft will be operating. NATO based aircraft will be operating to fight the Russians over Ukraine. The Russians have already said, have said very clearly that if that does happen, they will retaliate. We don't know what the form of that retaliation will be, but it would be a major escalation and it could be an attempt to try to goad the Russians into attacks on NATO bases in eastern Europe. It could be. It could be. That is the only rationale, logical rationale one could see for operating f 16s.


Right. What other options would Russia have?


Shoot them down?


They could just allow them.


Yeah, they could just allow them. Just allow them to come into ukrainian airspace and shoot them down there. And by the way, I think that is precisely what the Russians are going to do. I think that the Russians are not going to let themselves be goaded into attacking these bases. And of course, we're going to hear the usual complaints from all the usual people that this is a sign of Russia being weak and allowing NATO to cross red lines and do all of these things. Whereas, in fact, from a russian perspective, it is the entirely proper and correct thing to do because you can still shoot down these f 16s whilst they're in the air, which is what the Russians principally do. The f 16s are not a substitute for the aircraft that Ukraine has already lost. They're limited range, they're old aircraft anyway. You can shoot them down. Now, of course, NATO might try to re equip with more and more f 16s. They might start installing more and more, start bringing in NATO pilots as well. It's possible that NATO might try and escalate in that kind of way, but my own view is that this is a more logical approach for the Russians to take rather than to launch missile strikes on Romania and Poland and Bulgaria and risk an uncontrolled escalation.


In that kind of way, they're winning the war, they're making steady, incremental advances. They've got control of the skies over Ukraine. The f. Any replacement f 16s are not going to contest it, so just carry on doing what they're doing. That seems to me the most logical way. And if the f 16 start to get shot down in increasing numbers, then, of course, the point comes when people in Congress who are already balking on providing Ukraine with more funding might come along and say, well, this isn't working. Well, let's stop. And the military industrial complex might say the same. We don't want to see more and more of our principal export fighter because the f 16 is the fighter that the United States exports most. We don't want to see more of these fighter jets shot down. It's not good for public relations, for our marketing.


Yeah, I mean, the fear is that if Russia doesn't do anything, then perhaps NATO is going to be emboldened to say, okay, well, whatever they shoot down, we'll just give them more and more f, we'll just send more NATO pilots to fight Russia because they're going to say, well, Russia didn't enforce their red line, so that gives us a clear pathway to just escalate more and more. I mean, that's going to be the argument that you're going to hear from a lot of analysts who are going to say that Russia is weak or they're not enforcing their red lines, and this is going to embolden NATO to continue to send more and more aircraft towards Russia. More and more f, it's 40 in six months. They're going to send another 100 and then another hundred. It's just not just going to continue on and on. But I don't know how realistic is that, though?


I don't think it's realistic at all. And I want to say straight away, I mean, we've had people making this criticism of russian tactics right from the start. And look where it's brought us, though. I mean, the west has indeed escalated. They've escalated repeatedly. And what have they done? They've given Ukraine most of their tanks, nearly all, apparently, of their soldierfeld howitzers. They're out of artillery ammunition. They're short on missiles. It's actually this policy, the restraint that the Russians have exercised up to now has enabled them to become stronger because, you see, they adapt to every one of these NATO escalations. They increase their effectiveness all the time. Their air defense system improves. Their air force improves, their artillery improve. And all that it leads to is that the west is drawing down more and more on its own precious reserves of equipment and ammunition. And this is starting to create something of a sense of crisis in the west itself. So this tactic, this strategy has actually played out well for the Russians both on the battlefronts and geopolitically. Why should they change it?


Yeah, I agree. All right. We will leave it there. Thedoran we are on Rumble, Odyssey, Bitchute, Telegram, Rockfin and Twitter X. And go to the Duran shop. Use the code Christmas 20 and get 20% off all merchandise. Take care.