Are “Mad Vlad” and “General Armageddon” Plotting to Nuke the Dam above Kherson?

After weeks of fighting in the Western lands above the city of Kherson, which was Putin’s first and biggest prize at the start of his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces are continually beaten back toward the city that was home to 284,000 people. Soon Putin’s loss of the city and the whole region around it will be a defeat that will be nearly impossible for Putin to play down at home because of the prize it was seen as being early in Putin’s invasion in what was thought to be a sure sign of his success at the start of the war. He cannot let such loss of face happen, but the Ukrainian forces have continually eroded his troops, which have changed in recent months from being an offensive force, pushing past Kherson deeper into Ukraine, to being stuck in defensive positions, trying to hold the city and other areas Russian has taken.

As Russia’s military has struggled to hold back the Ukrainian forces, it has evacuated more than 10,000 civilians and many of its own soldiers and officers from the Western side of the Dnipro River to the lowlands on the eastern side. Russia has cleared out some bridges west of the Dnipro. A winning army wouldn’t do that because it cuts off supply lines to advancing troops. These bridges were near Russia’s forward positions. Clearly the intent was to cut off paths of pursuit after the Russian army retreats from those regions. Other bridges that would allow Russia to retreat across the Dnipro have been taken out by Ukrainians, including the road atop the Kakhovka Dam, just a few miles upriver from Kherson where Ukraine strategically struck the top surface of the dam with missiles to make it difficult to cross, a precarious thing to do because it requires precision to avoid weakening the dam’s substructure. It did this more effectively again last weekend, using US HIMARS. Clearly Ukraine cut off Russian supply routes by taking out those bridges, while Russia did its best to keep supplies coming with small ferries and patches, but it has failed.

It takes many days to evacuate the people who have remained in the city of Kherson after Russia conquered it, so Russia continues fighting on the Western highlands to hold the city while it complains strenuously about Ukrainians bombing the one flight path the Russians had left over the dam.

When the city is evacuated, the Russian soldiers will suddenly give way in the Western highlands in a rapid retreat toward Kherson in the night. That may look something like the following scenario:

The Russian troops flee toward the remaining dam and start crossing the river, but the Ukrainians have realized what was happening by daybreak and are pursuing them. Suddenly a dirty bomb upwind of the Russian troops explodes sending up a cloud of highly radioactive dust that sweeps over the western edge of the city just as the Russians are leaving that area, drifting across the area right after the retreating Russians exit. The Russians have prepared for the possibility of such an explosion, after spending weeks warning the world that the Ukrainians were planning something like this, so they are wearing protective gear. They continue to flee toward the dam above the city as the cloud makes the region behind them impassible to the pursuing Ukrainian troops.

State television claims throughout Russia all morning that the Russian troops had to flee because Ukraine tried to wipe them out with a dirty bomb. Due to Russia’s good intelligence and preparation, their own troops have been saved, but are evacuating across the dam toward the eastern side of the river or across whatever routes remain open to them. Ukrainians who wish to pursue them now need to get enough protective gear into that area to make the pursuit through the irradiated territory. That gives the last of the Russian troops time to complete their crossing of the Dnipro River over the damaged dam, which has been mined with explosives. Russians have claimed the Ukrainians planned to blow up the dam with missiles, while the Ukrainians have claimed the Russians, which control all access to the dam have mined it to blow it out of the water and flood Kherson.

The Russian soldiers make it across the dam without incident, and they have already begun evacuating the eastern lowlands of the river, opposite of Kherson. After obtaining enough protective gear, the Ukrainian troops pursue the Russians. The Ukrainians plan to launch missiles and fire mortars and tank shells across the river into the eastern area, but it appears the Russian have already cleared out of the region. So, the Ukrainians start crossing the dam and now occupy both the Kherson side of the river and the lower lands on the eastern side.

Suddenly a hypersonic missile plunges into the base of the dam on the reservoir side. Its tactical nuclear warhead and all the mines along the dam blow up simultaneously, instantly clearing the entire dam out of the river’s channel. The combination of nuclear and conventional explosions is amplified by a broad steam explosion as water all along the dam instantly instantly evaporates in the nuclear flash. The combined force piles a huge wave of water back upstream from the dam.

A tsunami rushes forward to backfill the cavity created by the tactical nuke and other explosive forces all along the dam and floods down the river as a piled wall of water 30-50 feet high. Normally, when a dam is blown out with conventional bombs, most of the thick reinforced concrete base remains, and water pours over and through cracks and around broken pieces; but the dam is completely gone so the full height of the reservoir rushes through at once in a true wall of water.

The water sweeps like the ancient parted Red Sea over the top of the Ukrainian soldiers and their tanks and all the equipment they have assembled, particularly in the area they have on the low eastern side of the river. A thousand soldiers and many munitions are wiped out, and the city of Kherson is made uninhabitable for years to come by all the radioactive material that washes over it and settles in the flood waters, and the infrastructure and buildings are badly damaged by enormous rush of water.

Russian diplomats announce that — because Ukraine chose to use a dirty bomb, as Russia had warned the world Ukraine was planning to do, and because the West interfered in its plans with HIMARS — Russia was left with no choice but to do as it had always warned and finally use a tactical nuke to take out the dam. Putin, while fleeing the city and losing ground, has achieved what he can claim in Russia is a tactical victory because he has isolated Crimea from Ukraine, and has destroyed a significant part of Ukraine’s army in the region, leaving Crimea more defensible, as was his goal.

The possible truth behind the plot

As Russia and Ukraine currently accuse each other of plotting mass-casualty false-flag events, I found an interesting article a couple of weeks ago that made me concerned Putin’s has in mind a grand tactical nuke program, just as he has been threatening for weeks. I’ve been working on this article ever since, watching to see how things proceed to see if they fit what I am concerned about, and they fit as having increasing likelihood every day:

Putin plans to blow up the dam mentioned in the article with a small nuke if Western strengthening of Ukraine in the region through arms shipments enables Ukraine to reclaim Kherson from which it can possibly advance into Crimea, which Putin has labelled as being Russian territory. That is why Putin made it Russian other recently taken areas Russian territory, too, so that use of a nuke to defend the territory is permitted under Russia’s written nuclear doctrine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian forces of planning to blow up a large dam and hydroelectric plant located in an area of Russian-controlled southern Ukraine….

Zelensky said his country has evidence that Russia has planted mines at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and could be preparing to blow it up, warning that such an attack could flood the critical city of Kherson and cause cooling issues at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant….

“If Russian terrorists blow up this dam, more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, will be in the zone of rapid flooding. Hundreds, hundreds of thousands of people may be affected.”

The Hill

Nines would do only a partially effective job, leaving large blocks of material choking the flow of water, including most likely the entire thick base of the dam.

Another article I came across that same day said Russia could be about to withdraw its troops from another part of Ukraine.

Defense analysts say the evacuation of civilians from the occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine could be setting the scene for another Russian withdrawal.

Putting those two together, a plot emerged in my mind: I can see the possibility that Putin’s withdrawal will be accompanied with him doing exactly what Zelenky’s intelligence says he has been preparing explosives to do. Putin, himself, recently said that it is not necessary to blow up a large city with a nuclear bomb — that the West proved blowing up a small city as happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is enough because it lets the enemy know you can keep doing this all day long if that is how they want to proceed. Such limited nuclear force, he said has proven in the past to be capable, not of starting nuclear war but of ending one. If such force is used tactically, it’s effectiveness can be greatly enhanced — meaning by chasing the right target to amplify the damage from a small nuke.

Putin’s deranged Hiroshima threat

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has alarmed Western leaders by referencing the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a conversation with French president Emmanuel Macron, diplomatic sources have said….

Putin expressed the view that the bombings – which triggered the Japanese surrender and the end of the Second World War – demonstrated that ‘you don’t need to attack the major cities in order to win’….

The reported remarks come amid growing concern that the Russian leader could be prepared to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, where Russian forces have suffered increasing setbacks in the conflict….

Macron was distinctly alarmed. It sounded like a very heavy hint that Putin might detonate a tactical nuclear weapon in the east of Ukraine, while leaving Kyiv intact. That appeared to be the thrust of his remarks….

During the final days of her time in Downing Street, Liz Truss became increasingly concerned that Putin might use a ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapon in Ukraine – to the extent that she became fixated with the weather forecast in case the wind blew a radioactive cloud over the UK….

Officials had warned that Putin might ‘go nuclear’ after Ukrainian forces attacked the road bridge connecting Russia and Crimea, something the Russian president had said would ‘cross a red line’ and prompt ‘judgment day’.

Putin warned that if Western forces endangered the ‘integrity’ of Russian territory then ‘we will certainly use all the means at our disposal’, adding: ‘This is not a bluff.’

Daily Mail

We heard him give those warnings in his own videos. Put all of that together, and one can easily see how the Kakhovka Dam would could be used to create the largest catastrophe for Ukraine and the most military advantage for Russia as it retreats, making it the prime tactical target.

The revelation about the Hiroshima/Nagasaki comments came as Putin warned the residents of the Ukrainian city of Kherson to leave or face being forcibly deported to Russian-held territory.

Putin said: ‘Those who still live in Kherson should certainly be removed from the area of the most dangerous hostilities. Civilians should not suffer from shelling, from attacks, counter-attacks or something like that.’

In light of all of the above, the final words are a bit haunting. Even Ukrainian officials have warned the retreat may be set up as a trap for Ukraine. I think Putin is trying to maximize the military damage and scorched-earth damage while mitigating human casualties as much as he can because he knows the world will be enraged by any use of nuclear bombs, even small tactical ones, but will be especially outraged if there are enormous civilian casualties. He wants to look like he’s done all he can to protect civilians, as if he has some kind of humanitarian side, and for now he needs to make it sound like his only concern is that Ukraine might hurt civilian by shelling the city.

This all raises a horrific possibility regarding the withdrawal. Loss of the dam and reservoir, not only cuts off the final path for pursuit across the river, but leaves the whole region flooded and impassible for days and likely coated with radioactive isotopes that could make it uninhabitable for years. It leaves whatever is left of Kherson after the nuclear tsunami sweeps over it without a significant power source and without the reservoir that supplies its water, which would also make it relatively uninhabitable for the next few years, should radioactive waste wash on by and not be a problem due to the flooding. It also risks causing the explosion of the nuclear power plant far upstream that derives its cooling water from the reservoir — the very plant that Russia has repeatedly put at risk.

Zelensky told European leaders the Kakhovka Reservoir, which was created by the hydroelectric plant’s construction, supplies water to cool the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest.

By using that plant as a giant human shield from which to launch his attacks on Ukrainians in the region, Putin has shown he is willing to take that risk.

Numerous articles since those two above have quoted Russia’s top general and other voices of Moscow claiming Ukraine intends to use a dirty bomb, which is a conventional bomb packed with highly radioactive material. When the bomb explodes it blows radioactive dust into the air and contaminates a large swath downwind with a spread of radioactive dust that could require years of cleanup. Such a bomb is used where the user does not have enough high-grade material to make an actual nuclear explosive or doesn’t have the technology for a true nuclear bomb or just wants to leave an area uninhabitable, such as the higher ground above Kherson that would not be flooded.

Russia’s repeated claims that the Ukrainians have such a bomb may be nothing more than prepping the ground for the time when Russia deploys its own devise to reinforce a false-flag claim that Ukraine blew up the bomb to force a Russian retreat, giving Putin face-saving cover for the retreat as necessary to protect his troops and grounds (poor as they would be) that such an attack necessitated Russia’s larger tactical nuclear response.

Clearly, if Russia could maintain control over Kherson, it would like to avoid all of this; but if it can’t scorched-earth policies have always been part of Putin’s playbook, and he has certainly shown himself to be more threatening with his nukes that his tiny counterpart whom Trump named “Rocket Man.”

The grounds for Putinuke’s claims are already being laid:

If a missile can be seen to have flown into the dam from a Russian launch position or if the radiation is traceable to a Russia source, then Russia will want to use the argument that it had no choice due to Ukraine’s deployment of a dirty bomb. You can see multiple pathways being laid for the fog of war to claim Ukraine did this to itself to get the US more directly involved.

I find Russias claims that Ukraine would wipe out its own troops or its own people or just one of its prize industrial cities to get the West more directly involved totally unbelievable already. Ukraine is already winning the war bit by bit and pushing Russia back with considerable assistance from the West. No nation would choose to render huge areas uninhabitable and force rebuilding at extraordinary costs and loss of economic strength when it is already managing to push Russians out of that territory quite successfully. What makes it even more unlikely is that, if Ukraine were found out to have used a dirty bomb, considered a weapon of mass destruction, it would cause an immediate cessation of Western support. That is too much to risk.

Yet, that seems to be the desperate argument Russia is already laying out like a spreading fog. Maybe all that matters is that Putin can convince his own people such an act was made necessary by Ukraine.

Desperate measures are taken by the party that is desperate

You can see that as early as mid-October, the situation for the Russian forces is Kherson was desperate and see how the Russians like to blame Ukrainians for all damages their weapons cause in Ukraine, as if the only right response for any nation in a situation being invaded is to lay down its weapons and not fire on Russian positions inside that nation’s land — as if the Ukrainians have no right to defend themselves at whatever cost it takes when Russian forces fire from within civilian areas, just like the US would do if Russia invaded this land. The Russians speak of the winning Ukrainian offensive as the evil in the land that is hurting the people:

Of course, knowing it will completely destroy the area if it has to retreat from its prize, Russia wants to avoid being seen as creating a civilian massacre with nuclear weapons, so it is already evacuating all people out of the area it knows it will destroy if it is forced to surrender that region.

Up to 60,000 civilians are expected to be evacuated in the next few days from the western part of the Kherson region, on the right-hand side of the Dnipro River, to the eastern bank of the river with residents told then to travel to other Russia-occupied regions.

CNBC

That was back in October 21st and was expected to take about a week, so one can expect the evacuation is now complete.

Residents were told to leave Kherson after Russian-installed officials warned them that Ukraine is preparing to launch a large-scale offensive. Ukraine has decried the evacuations, likening them to deportations and telling residents not to comply.

If Ukraine were planning some kind of nuclear event as Russia keeps claiming, it would not be telling its own citizens to stay in harm’s way. If the goal really were, as Russia claims, to get the West more directly involved in Crimea, Ukraine would not need to slaughter its own people to accomplish that by telling them to stay in harm’s way. Just successfully blaming the Russians for the dirty bomb or the tactical nuke and the resultant desertion of Kherson would be enough. Belief in Russia’s claim requires belief in an enormous depth of evil in Ukraine, versus simply taking Putin at his earlier word through his various mouthpieces that Russia might resort to nuclear force if the West enabled Ukraine to some unspecified margin of victory.

Besides, as the video above clearly shows on Russian state television, it is the Russians that are feeling heavy losses in the region and struggling to justify those losses to their own people. Ukraine is not the one that needs a desperate excuse for taking what would be a truly desperate and all-out evil action if it happens, given that Ukraine is encouraging its own people not to evacuate to Russia. Russia state television clearly shows the Ukrainians are already winning in the region and Russia is already evacuating the region to face what they feel may be inevitable defeat in Kherson. So, the desperate party here is obvious.

Russia, of course, wants to do all it can in laying propaganda to keep billing itself as the defender of the people, even as it readies the area for its own nuclear strike, should Russia have to retreat. Ask yourself why, if Ukraine is so successful that it manages to drive Russia completely out of Kherson using conventional force from Western weapons as it is now doing, it would risk an action that could completely turn the West against it?

Given the unguarded comments from Russian officials, analysts believe Russia is setting the scene now for an imminent withdrawal from a chunk of the whole Kherson region.

“Russian authorities are likely setting information conditions to justify planned Russian retreats and significant territorial losses in Kherson,” analysts at the Institute for the Study of War think tank said Wednesday.

It said the recent statements by Russian officials “are likely attempts to set information conditions for a full Russian retreat across the Dnipro River, which would cede Kherson City and other significant territory in Kherson Oblast [province] to advancing Ukrainian troops.”

Retreat from Kherson will be difficult for Putin to survive politically at home unless he can turn it into some kind of scorched-earth victory and claim it was a necessary tactical defense to establish a firm line of defense between Ukraine and “the Russian territory of Crimea.” Putin needs to make the retreat look like an intentional trap for Ukraine’s military forces without civilian slaughter so he can try to spin it as a brilliant win for Russia as well.

Another withdrawal for Russia would mark a further humiliation for Moscow; previous retreats by Russian forces from Kyiv, the outpost Snake Island or Kharkiv — or “tactical withdrawals” as Russia has characterized them — have made even the most pro-Kremlin figures in Russia critical of the country’s military officials and strategy.

The most recent humiliation for Moscow came when Ukraine flagged in the summer that it would launch a counteroffensive in the south, leading Russia to redeploy forces there, only for it to launch a massive surprise counterattack in the northeast of the country, allowing it to recapture a swathe of territory.

Russia is losing more and more ground. It is desperate, and it is Russia, itself, that has warned repeatedly it will go nuclear if it is pressed to losses by Western interference with military equipment that forces it to lose areas it claims as its territories.

“Russian military leaders have evidently learned from previous informational and operational failures during the recent Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv [in northeastern Ukraine] and are therefore likely attempting to mitigate the informational and operational consequences of failing to defend against another successful Ukrainian advance,” the analysts noted….

There are now concerns that Russia has plans to cover a retreat with a false-flag attack on the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, up river from Kherson city, with the ISW think tank noting that “the Russian military may believe that breaching the dam could cover their retreat from the right bank of the Dnipro River and prevent or delay Ukrainian advances across the river.”

Blowing up the dam partially with mines would not create anywhere near the devastation that blowing it completely clear of the channel with a small nuke would cause, and Putin has said small nukes are enough to end a war.

Russian authorities likely intend these warnings about a purported Ukrainian strike on the Kakhovka HPP to set information conditions for Russian forces to damage the dam and blame Ukraine for the subsequent damage and loss of life, all while using the resulting floods to cover their own retreat further south into Kherson Oblast.

Put that together with Russia’s constant threats to use tactical nukes if its situation is desperate, videos on Russia’s state TV of its own commanders saying its situation is desperate and the fact that only Russia is known to have tactical nukes, and it should be clear to anyone, if the dam is removed by a nuclear bomb or missile, who did it, and this article should help explain why, which it can be more effective at if it comes out before the event.

Russia is preparing the way with propaganda that will give Putin some arguments to defend his actions or defend against claims that Russia did this; but, already, all arrows point to Russia as the one with by far the most motive, the greatest reason to create a line of demarcation, the need to make the retreat look like a planned and major victory at home, and the only party with the known means of making a tactical nuclear strike.

Empty arguments

Without the Russian nuclear strike, some of arguments in the articles wouldn’t add up. Some of the authors appear to think Russia is making these claims just because Putin’s going to withdraw his troops. However, if all he intends is to withdraw his troops, why would he care about leaving civilians behind? Those would be Ukrainian civilians, and they are less likely to be bombarded by Ukrainian fire if Russia leaves that part of the city, not more likely. Ukraine is interested in getting Russia out, not in attacking civilians in its own cities. It clearly has far more than enough to deal with in using all it has against Russian forces.

It is going to take time for Russia to get its troops and equipment across the Dnipro River with its bridges blown out or damaged, and time to evacuate citizens. It wants to get the civilians evacuated first, them move its military across and then start leaving the region entirely so the Ukrainian army will pour into the city to chase the Russians. THEN RUSSIA WILL BLOW UP THE DAM, sending a torrent over the Ukrainian army like the Red Sea closing over Egypt’s army in the Book of Exodus. That, I think anyway is Putin’s plot.

That is how Putinuke plans to make his exodus. Since he knows he is leaving the city for good, his scorched-earth mentality becomes a flooded-earth mentality to accomplish the same kind of damage of leaving the entire region uninhabitable if he can’t have it — buildings destroyed, the major energy supply destroyed beyond repair, floods impossible to control with the dam all winter for years to come, abundant water supply wiped out, whether from the reservoir or just water plants that are badly damaged by the flooding and have no power because even emergency power got damaged or destroyed by the torrent of water.

As the former KGB Director of Disinformation in Europe, Putin knows how to carefully prepare the soil to to receive the big lie. You can’t just throw the lie out there at the last minute. So, he’s prepping for it. Right now he’s covering for the lie by laying stories that Ukraine is going to nuke itself, which is completely absurd. If Ukraine wanted to go nuclear, it would start blowing up dams that effect only Russia, not its own in one of its prime industrial port cities, wiping out numerous smaller towns for years as well.

Russians have talked about evacuating parts of Ukraine and have talked about freezing “the enemy” into submission. If they bomb the dam, they will not only freeze them out due to lack of heating energy, but also due to all the flood water freezing over, making the city all the more uninhabitable.

Putin’s statements to Macron that a small nuclear attack would be sufficient and his comparison to Hiroshima and Nagasaki for justification show some serious deviant intent and deranged moral equivalence, which is why that phone conversation stunned Macron:

To equate the Allied destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end a world war against fascism in which about 60 million people had died after six years, with the maniacal dreams of today’s Russian fuhrer is to delve into the mind of a dictator who is starting to recognise that he might lose the war he so stupidly started.

Daily Mail

Just how mad is Vlad? As mad as “Armageddon”?

After writing all of the above, I decided to sit on it and maybe not even publish it. It sat in my drafts folder for almost two weeks, and then today an article came out that confirmed much of what I was thinking about Putin’s possible desperate moves at this point and the obvious concerns I said he would have to counter. It said something that looks like it could be this very thing has just begun.

The following comes from the very pro-Russian Zero Hedge:

Russia Orders Troops To Leave Kherson, But Zelensky’s Office Cautions Over “Staged” Retreat

In a huge development being hailed as a victory for the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the overall commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, has announced a major withdrawal of his troops from Kherson.

Zero Hedge

Remember, this is the guy nicknamed “General Armageddon,” who is billed as Russia’s most savage general, suddenly calling for a major retreat only days after being installed in this position. He’s not a guy who would be quickly showing himself to be a coward or a loser in retreat. That is probably why Zelensky warns this retreat looks “staged” — too good and too sudden to be true. Indeed it does, as even ZH writes about it as a “hailed victory” and as if surprised by such an action.

We will save the lives of our soldiers and fighting capacity of our units. Keeping them on the right (western) bank is futile [of the Dnieper River]. Some of them can be used on other fronts,” Surovikin said.

Save them from what? Just the Ukrainians? Is General Armageddon already admitting he cannot defeat the Ukrainians? If not here, then where can he? Perhaps he has much greater harm’s way he must remove them from than just what they are receiving from Ukraine’s army. No doubt he wouldn’t be retreating if he could hold the ground unless he sees a possible larger tactical victory in store for Russia. If he could readily hold Kherson, he would; but he can’t, though he also can’t let it happen as a “major victory” hailed by Ukraine when he just replaced another general who was removed for lesser failures.

This moment was somewhat expected, given pro-Kremlin officials have for weeks been overseeing a very public evacuation of civilians and the Russia-installed administration from the city.

Expected perhaps, but not with such obvious surrender of this particular situation by the top general. Yet, not so expected as to keep all the trolls in the ZH comment basement from howling about it after weeks of saying it would never happen! It could be expected in the sense that it led me to all my own writing in the parts of the article above that saw this day coming, even though I didn’t publish it because I needed more reason to think Putin might actually take such desperately sinister action.

The Washington Post and others are pointing out that this appears to be a “full withdrawal” from a strategic Black Sea city which Russia had controlled going back to March 2nd.

As I said, there is no way for Putin to absorb such a momentous loss without making something of it on the way out, and there is no way “General Armageddon” would take such a loss without a larger plan to turn it into a tactical retreat because, as the part of the article I started a few weeks ago said, this would be a massive loss, which ZH confirms in this article today.

Russia’s defense minister said Wednesday that Russian troops were retreating east of the Dnieper River in what appeared to be a full withdrawal from the city of Kherson, the one regional capital Russia had captured since its February invasion

Exactly the scenario I laid out. Russia would do nothing to the dam that Ukraine says it has laid mines along until it has made a full withdrawal to the eastern side of the river, but that is lowland, so it must withdraw even further before blowing up the dam. It’s final withdrawal from the western side began today as announced.

The move is a major setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had declared the annexation of the Kherson region.

And that fact is being acknowledged in the pro-Russian Zero Hedge. It certainly will be major if he doesn’t already have a way to try to sell it to his people as a major tactical victory with a little surprise ending that he hopes will make him look as shrewd as he is famed to be.

Indeed Kherson’s strategic importance can’t be underestimated, given the oblast borders Crimea and has served as a Russian “land bridge” and key logistics channel throughout the invasion. The collapse of Russian lines across the southern region could deprive Moscow forces of this key land corridor while putting Crimea within direct reach of Ukrainian artillery and missiles.

So, it is awfully important land to be yielding, which means Russia has to extract something for the move, such as flooding the area and covering it with nuclear radiation, creating a broad and defensible line of demarkation between Crimea, which he has always said he will not give up, and the rest of Ukraine. A wipe-out of a lot of Ukrainian troops would also ease the pain of retreat. So, is he really just going to draw them into more machine-gun fire inside the city by saying he’s leaving? That would seem lame to those who want to see something much grander at a time when their morale is flagging.

Crimea’s main fresh water supply could also be put in peril, as it comes from this neighboring region….

That might be a price Putinuke — I call him that because he is the one guy who has threatened with nukes more than any man on earth — is willing to bear since this means removing the dam will, as I speculated in my original writing, also assure that part of Ukraine also looses its abundant water supply. The Ukrainians can still pump from the river, of course, but we all know rivers become far more useful for year-round water supply when large reservoirs are created within them. That is sometimes the main reason for creating a reservoir.

A senior adviser to Ukraine’s president said on Wednesday it was too early to talk about a Russian troop pullout from the southern city of Kherson.

“Until the Ukrainian flag is flying over Kherson, it makes no sense to talk about a Russian withdrawal,” Mykhailo Podolyak said in a statement to Reuters.

This clearly means flying the Ukrainian flag over Kherson is not possible yet, or the Ukes would be doing that to achieve that sign of victory. That fits my scenario entirely where the city has been undergoing evacuation for weeks across the very limited routes, and now the forward troops that have held the Ukrainians back to create that time will move to rapid retreat, leaving the Ukrainian troops to carefully infill the city, suspecting Russians will be ready to fire on them only to find the Russians, at some point in this process, are gone.

Once Ukrainian soldiers have decided the city is safe, and the Ukrainian forces have fully moved in is when the dam will be blown.

For now, the Ukrainians see today as huge victory, as they are likely meant to:

But some Ukrainian officials and national media reporters are already hailing it as an “absolute Ukrainian triumph.” At the same time, the “difficult decision” on Kherson was broadcast over Russian state media in a top level defense ministry meeting…

It may all be a trap, which would explain why even the meeting looks a little “staged” — a sort of reverse Trojan horse, where the enemy is drawn inside the empty horse and then the horse is destroyed from the outside in a biblical-scale catastrophe. That would certainly be the kind of diabolical military strategy one could expect from a guy named “General Armageddon.” Here he is selling the retreat to his own colleagues and the Russian people, with all parties making the retreat sound like a noble necessity … and, if you ask me, their dialogue also sounds more than just a little “staged” … like a poorly dubbed B movie:

Now, I said General Armageddon replaced someone who had been removed for his failures, so that Amrageddon would not this quickly admit defeat. ZH describes it a little differently, but their Russian bias may be causing them to take things at face value in Russia’s best interest:

The Russian side has of late suffered a string of major morale blows, with the latest being Wednesday’s separate announcement of the death of the Russian-installed top administrative official over Ukraine’s Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov.

Not that part, which just sets the stage for solid Putinprop (my term for Russian propaganda), but the next paragraph:

Russian state media confirmed earlier in the day he was killed in a car crash. As CNN details, based on local sources, “Stremousov was killed in an accident on the highway between Kherson and Armyansk in Crimea, the Russian state media company Vesti (VGTRK) reported, citing the region’s health minister.” He was 45 years old.

Maybe, but that seems as convenient as the old Soviet way of getting rid of those who failed. Was the crash due to …

  • drinking too much vodka while driving,
  • driving a car made in Russia,
  • just an unfortunate accident that happened just in time to allow General Armageddon to take his place immediately after the Crimean bridge was blown up?
  • Sudden unexpected heart failure in a 45-year old, later found out to involve poison?

Was it, in other words, the all-too-frequent event that seems to happen to all who speak out against Putin or who meet the dictator’s disapproval, such as …

  • taking an unexpected walk out of a high window
  • swimming off the side of a boat without knowing how to swim and not wearing a life jacket,
  • taking a short trip down multiple flights of stairs,
  • suddenly becoming mentally ill and needing to be institutionalized for your own protection?

All things that happened recently to Putin’s detractors, in addition to the familiar strange poisonings of the past. Pretty standard KGB really.

General Surovikin in the Wednesday televised briefing also said that Ukrainian missile strikes on the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric plant and dam could cause catastrophe for area civilians, per state media:

Are we sure the next ones will be Ukrainian missile strikes? Why would Ukraine want to stop Russia’s exit at this point? It was one thing when it was a matter of cutting off supply routes, but you just told them you are going to completely clear out of the city. I should think they would be glad to expedite your passage:

There will be an additional threat to the civilian population and a complete isolation of the group of our troops on the right bank of the Dnepr. Under these conditions, the most rational option is to establish defense along the barrier line of the Dnepr River,” he said

The very area I wrote a couple of weeks ago. The general would like to retreat to the barrier line of the Dniper, which separates the region from Crimea. For the moment that leaves his troops on the western side (“right” side as one traveling with the current would call it) isolated. Not for long, though, if they have the fog of a dirty bomb to give them cover for their own retreat, as surely these generals, expressing such concern for their troops, would not just abandon them to die.

Perhaps the Russian forces will fire for a few days from eastern side of the river once everyone has crossed to give the Ukrainians plenty of time to backfill the other side or more time for further retreat on the easter side. Perhaps, they’ve already made the eastern side of the river (the “right” side) into a Potemkin village, setting up fake military installation as was done during WWII to trick the Germans but in a modern enough way to look convincing as you evacuate further. (In which case, Gen. Armageddon might have been inspired by Grigory Potemkin, the Russian general who founded Kherson in the 18th century, who erected phony portable settlements along the banks of the Dnipro River in order to impress the Russian Empress and foreign guests, and whose remains General Surovikin just had removed from the city for some odd reason.) That, too, would explain why Zelenksy said the whole thing looked a little “staged.”

… adding that the intensive discharge of water through the dam of the Kiev hydroelectric power plant and hydroelectric power plant downstream, which Ukraine has been carrying out since October 10, was also a cause for concern about the possible flooding of both banks of the Dnepr River.

How would Ukraine manage that when Russia controls the dam enough to be accused of laying mines along beside it? Maybe there is some other “intensive discharge of water” Armageddon has in mind that will, if it happens as described in the first sections of my article, most certainly flood both banks of the Dnipro. The worst side will be the eastern lowlands, so Russia will have to be clear of that region, too, before it takes the ultimate step of blowing up the dam.

Some 40,000 Russian troops are now urgently relocating to the opposite side of the Dnieper River…

That appears to be the same number I quoted from many days back, so likely that is mostly completed, but Russia may want Ukraine to believe it still has that number to go so that it won’t realize how quickly the front line can fall back and retreat since the bulk of the retreat has been fully accomplished.

This is being hailed in Ukraine and the West as the single biggest loss for Russia since the over eight-month long war began.

It certainly is that, but it may also be a strategic retreat (making use of necessity) that is a “staged” trap because Putin cannot take that loss, nor can General Armageddon, without getting something for it. In which case, it doesn’t quite appear Ukraine has fully understood the trap:

However, a statement from the Ukrainian presidency’s office suggests the fighting is still raging, and that this could be a “staged” retreat meant to soften Ukrainian resolve at a decisive moment…

Fighting one’s way back may be necessary to keep from being overrun in retreat. In fact, as soon as I published this, the following news came out about how Russia did exactly as I speculated above in order to delay Ukraine while its forward forces made their sudden retreat, so I came back to edit it in:

Ukrainian-appointed Kherson regional official, Serhii Khlan, told reporters that Russian forces had blown up five bridges to slow Kyiv’s forces.

AP

I think trap Ukraine is concerned about could be something far more intense than just an effort to “soften Ukrainian resolve” to pursue Russia as it wilts back onto the eastern bank. They may want to be pursued but with enough space between themselves and the Ukrainian to reach the eastern side of the
Dnipro River.

Something appears amiss all right, and maybe Ukraine has understood all there is too it, or maybe what they are seeing is just further staging to obfuscate the full intention of the plan in a feint that makes it look like the Russian forces are merely fading back for continued battle. I mean, would someone named “Armageddon” be as simple as this, or would he have a greater holocaust behind the staged situation that lives up to his reputation?

Indeed some pundits are asking: why would the Russian defense ministry issue such a public, somewhat humiliating statement announcing such a significant retreat of forces on television in the way that it did?

Zero Hedge

Why, indeed? Unless humiliating defeat is what they want you to believe because it’s what you’d like to believe, which makes it a lie that can be sold. One might not simply say “in the way that it did” but “in the staged way that it did” because the people speaking the parts are not trained actors, so they sound a little stilted — a little like they’re speaking from a memorized script.

The fresh Ukrainian statement from the presidency’s office strongly suggests Kyiv is still very much wary of a trap.

I think they are wise to be so. I thought my own scenario might be a little far fetched so I withheld it to see what more developed, but now even Ukraine smells a setup. The question is do they fully realize how devious and disastrous the trap might be? And that is why I decided to publish this now. Maybe it will make its way to someone who can make sure Ukraine has, at least, thought about this. I suppose they have thought about it, but that also makes this seem like a very reasonable thing to now publish. So, either way….

Has Putin just been using the potency of his nukes to bluff as a nuclear terrorist to try to keep the West from deeper engagement, or is he “Mad Vlad the Invader,” who always knew he would go nuclear if pressed to this kind of humiliating defeat, which even ZH is describing as unmistakably humiliating, now prepping the propaganda for actual deployment of his nukes in an explosion even smaller than Hiroshima, but still quite effective if he pulls it off? There is SOME reason, at this point, that he put General Armageddon in charge of the war that dare not be called war.

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