Both Larch's succinct summary and my new video are essentially in unison.
Putin set the goals of the SMO. The demilitarization of an enormous military, stocked for eight years and restocked feverishly from the bases and warehouses of 30 countries in NATO, is going very well. The Ukies had 750,000 men in trenches and fortified positions and embedded in big cities, shielded by civilians everywhere from Kiev to the smallest settlement in Donbass.Ukraine had a significant air force and stout air defenses with BUKs and S-300s in large numbers.
The Russians have reduced this order of battle markedly. The navy of Ukraine is gone. It has no functioning naval bases. The Ukie air defenses have been reduced to mobile radars and a few extant S-300s. The most effective air defense they have is the tactic of massing MANPADS and receiving real time alerts from NATO of oncoming Russian jets and helos. This has not stopped the Russian aerospace forces, though it is a hampering defense that has to be recognized as a threat. The Ukie air force is 95% gone, only replenished from NATO with aircraft that stay in the battle for minutes before they are reduced to losses.
Over 500,000 Ukies are gone, dead and forever off the battlefield. Thousands of mercs have been killed or chased off the battlefield.
The entire junior officer echelon of Ukraine is gone. US and NATO officers are the tactical commanders, as communications in the battlefield document. American and British voices give the commands. Videos are available as proof.
Every strategic offensive launched by Kiev (and the NATO command running their military) has been destroyed. The only ground they have gained is ground ceded in order to draw the Ukies into the open or to reposition Russian forces to better lines of defense.
The Ukies have lost forever Mariupol, Kherson, Melitopol, all of Lugansk, 65% of Donetsk, their access to the sea (except with Russian permission at Odessa), the air space over most of Ukraine, and sovereign control over their utilities and transport systems which exist only as long as the Russians allow. Ukraine is under its 4th total mobilization. By winter's end it will have lost another 100,000 of their cannon fodder. Likely, too, they will have lost what they hold in Donetsk oblast.
The Russians have done this while exposing only 15% of their military. It is clear from signs in Chechnya, Kadyrov could gather 100,000 extra men who want to join the Chechen forces from the Caucuses and other brotherly muslim lands.
There are also ample signs that Syrians and some African fighters want to join Russia in the battle against the Hegemon. Another 100,000 foreigners could easily be brought to Ukraine, if needed.
So, Russia has enormous depth of reserves beyond its own manpower potential.
What the generals have done is send steel and explosives to demilitarize the Ukraine, not manpower. Artillery, bombs, rockets and missiles are fighting the war, saving Russian manpower while decimating Ukie force structure.
As I view the war, it is going very well for the mission Putin set.
Do I think it is optimal? If you take the SMO as a small part of a larger war (which it is in fact), this small war is going very well. Ukraine will be destroyed and NATO will have no proxy. NATO will have to send its own manpower. That stage of warfare will fracture the Alliance. The US will have to coerce a new proxy force to fight Russia out in the open sectors of Ukraine. They won't be in fortified positions. And they won't have civilians as shields.
If the US manages to spread the war into Poland and Belarus and Moldova, a few hypersonic missiles from Russia will quench the enthusiasm of those NATO countries, and Russia will join with Belarus in an overwhelming punishment of Poles and Baltics. If Kaliningrad is touched, the attackers will lose their capitals and HQs.
What the Russian military has not done does not indicate what it cannot do. The GS has a means to accomplish the goal of demilitarization and they are employing it. Strategically, the SMO is very successful. Pulling out of Izyum and Lyman are blips that don't even factor in the military scheme of things. Pawns on the board.
As was expected, today, once the facts begun to stream in, the scale of failure of all those VSU "offensives" became clear. There are purely military reasons for that and hysterics from Petraeus and amount of Ukie trolls in every platform are best indicators. I speak about it today: