Finland Lost the Winter War

Military analysts observing the conflict in the Ukraine and the state of affairs there seem to two camps, one in which the Ukrainian forces are near victory, and one where the Russian forces are successfully, albeit glacially, grinding down the Ukrainian forces.

Well, we now have a report in The Washington Post, arguably the most bellicose of the mainstream US media, suggesting that the latter view may be more accurate.

Particularly tellingly, members of the military want on the record, by name, specifically 5th Separate Rifle Battalion commander Serhi Lapko and a platoon commander Vitaliy Khrus.

See as this is both a statement against interest, and a court martial offense, both of them have been taken into custody, this seems to be a significant data point.


Ukrainian forces have succeeded in thwarting Russian efforts to seize Kyiv and Kharkiv and have scored battlefield victories in the east. But the experience of Lapko and his group of volunteers offers a rare and more realistic portrait of the conflict and Ukraine’s struggle to halt the Russian advance in parts of Donbas. Ukraine, like Russia, has provided scant information about deaths, injuries or losses of military equipment. But after three months of war, this company of 120 men is down to 54 because of deaths, injuries and desertions.

The volunteers were civilians before Russia invaded on Feb. 24, and they never expected to be dispatched to one of the most dangerous front lines in eastern Ukraine. They quickly found themselves in the crosshairs of war, feeling abandoned by their military superiors and struggling to survive.


When they could take it no longer, Lapko and his top lieutenant, , retreated with members of their company this week to a hotel away from the front. There, both men spoke to The Washington Post on the record, knowing they could face a court-martial and time in military prison.


But Lapko and Khrus’s concerns were echoed recently by a platoon of the 115th Brigade 3rd Battalion, based nearby in the besieged city of Severodonetsk. In a video uploaded to Telegram on May 24, and confirmed as authentic by an aide to Haidai, volunteers said they will no longer fight because they lacked proper weapons, rear support and military leadership.

“We are being sent to certain death,” said a volunteer, reading from a prepared script, adding that a similar video was filmed by members of the 115th Brigade 1st Battalion. “We are not alone like this, we are many.”


Hours after The Post interviewed Lapko and Khrus, members of Ukraine’s military security service arrived at their hotel and detained some of their men, accusing them of desertion.

I think that this article is significant because the editors of the Post greenlit it. This is not the narrative that the paper is pushing on the Ukraine war.

It does appear to have some echos of the Finnish Soviet war of 1940 though. While the Finns inflicted 5 times their casualties on the Soviets, they lost that war, ceding more land had originally been demanded by Stalin.



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