Russia and Ukraine Current Events

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukrainian defense officials explicitly requested Western heavy artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles, and multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) ahead of a protracted war. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Denys Sharapov and Land Force Command Logistics Commander Volodymyr Karpenko stated that Ukrainian forces need hundreds of artillery systems, including infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, as Ukrainian forces have suffered 30% to 50% equipment losses in active combat.[5] Sharapov and Karpenko noted that Ukrainian forces need Predator drones and loitering munitions to accurately strike Russian forces. Sharapov and Karpenko also asked for long-range precision weapons such as MLRS to defend the entire 2,500 km frontline in Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials stated that Russian forces have already committed about 330,000 servicemen to their invasion of Ukraine without conducting partial or full-scale mobilization in Russia. Ukrainian General Staff Main Operations Deputy Chief Oleksiy Gromov stated that Russian forces grouped 150,000 servicemen into battalion tactical groups (BTGs) and other formations and involved additional 70,000 troops from air and sea elements, with the remaining personnel staffing non-combat support units.[6] Gromov noted that Russian forces committed more than 80,000 servicemen of the mobilized reserve, up to 7,000 reservists of the Russian Combat Army Reserve (BARS-2021), up to 18,000 members of the Russian National Guard (Rosguardia), and up to 8,000 troops from private military companies. Gromov did not specify if Ukrainian officials included information about forcibly mobilized servicemen in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) in these numbers.

Gromov added that Russian forces are not conducting offensive operations at night. The UK Defense Ministry also stated that Russian forces are operating in “increasingly ad hoc and severely undermanned groupings” in Donbas that typically advance by foot.


To put the 330,000 number in context:
Article:
British intelligence estimates that Russian losses in the first three months of the war were up to 20,000, while Ukrainian officials said Russian losses were nearing 30,000.
The WaPo then quotes Michael Kofman, director of Russia studies at CNA:
Article:
A reasonable estimate, based on limited information, would place Russian troops killed in action at somewhere 7,000−15,000, with the more likely figure close to 10,000. This would yield 40,000−50,000 total casualties.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces continued offensive operations to drive north toward Lysychansk and reached the southern outskirts of the city on June 23. Ukrainian sources confirmed on June 23 that Russian troops captured Rai-Oleksandrivka and Luskotivka on June 22, which will allow Russian forces to launch further advances toward Lysychansk without having to complete an opposed river crossing from within Severodonetsk.

 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukrainian officials ordered a controlled withdrawal of troops from Severodonetsk on June 24. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai announced that Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from “broken positions” in Severodonetsk to prevent further personnel losses and maintain a stronger defense elsewhere.[1] Severodonetsk Regional Military Administration Head Roman Vlasenko stated that several Ukrainian units remain in Severodonetsk as of June 24, but Ukrainian forces will complete the full withdrawal in “a few days.”
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces conducted an abnormally large series of missile strikes against Ukrainian rear areas on June 25.[7] The Ukrainian Airforce Command reported that Russian forces fired over 50 ground-, air-, and sea-based missiles at Ukraine and targeted areas in Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Khmelmytskyi, Chernihiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.[8] The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that six Russian Tu-22M3 bombers departed from the Shaykova airbase in Belarus and launched 12 Kh-22 cruise missiles at land targets in Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv Oblasts, which is the first such launch from Belarus.[9] The Ukrainian Airforce Command noted that Russian forces used sea-based Kalibr missiles against targets in western Ukraine, X-22 and ground-based Iskander and Tochka-U missiles against targets in northern Ukraine, and ONYX missiles and Bastion complexes against targets in southern Ukraine.[10] Ukrainian air defense reportedly shot down many of the missiles, which were likely intended to target critical support infrastructure in areas of Ukraine where there is no direct combat.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
Article:
MOSCOW/KYIV, Feb 17 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday there was now every indication Russia was planning to invade Ukraine in the next few days and was preparing a pretext to justify it, after Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow rebels traded fire in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin accused Biden of stoking tension and released a strongly worded letter which accused Washington of ignoring its security demands and threatened unspecified "military-technical measures". Moscow also ejected the number two official from the U.S. embassy.


Things are heating up in the Ukraine situation.

The last Ukraine thread got closed down for devolving into political arguments. Please keep this thread restricted to discussion of current events.

Belated thanks for starting this thread. Mine is a very late contribution due to being swamped professionally for four months by the title theme itself. I will not get into the nitty-gritty with this post but rather remain at the level of meta-analysis. The reason is neither confidentiality nor a disinclination to deal in the specifics which I fully realize is the general MO at Metabunk (and which I both applaud, fully support and professionally involve in). As has become clear in the preceding discussions on this thread, the "current events" in Russia and Ukraine are inextricably intertwined with broader and deeper global socio-political dynamics and issues. Hence the following brief meta-analysis.

I have spent the bulk of my professional career of (thus far) twenty years observing and analyzing conflicts as well as performing risk analysis and quality assurance for foreign service, international development and defense operations and establishments. My work has taken me to the Mideast, Asia, Africa and L. America with a focus on post-conflict societies and fragile states. I've also lived and worked in Afghanistan for four eventful and educational years. I am also the lucky survivor of two devastating terror attacks on my compound by ideological fanatics. The latter attack was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life, saved by a heroic guard who died in his gunshot wounds.

It is with this personal background that I offer the following subjective analysis while claiming no privileged access to truth nor offering specific pieces of objective evidence in support of my argument, for doing so would bloat the analysis into a veritable dissertation which I have no time nor motivation to put together at this point. A higher level of analysis may also help us avoid getting mired into vitriolic political debates since we may be able to better see eye-to-eye on a broader level.

***

Are we facing an outbreak of another great war sparked by an 'incident' in Eastern Europe? Are we witnessing the re-enactment of the initial stages of WWI a mere century ago?

These questions are on the mind of many, and I do not claim to know the truth as wars tend to be extremely unpredictable. However, some of the root causes of both historical world wars remain as unaddressed today as they have ever been. Mankind hasn’t really learnt its lessons. Hence the perennial resurgence of escalating tensions after periods of post-war lull. Until these root causes are properly addressed.

The five greatest and most persistent threats to global peace, prosperity and survival as a species are as acute as ever before. Nationalism -- herein defined as the illogical and often unconsciously espoused ideology of exalting the interest of one's own country and people above the interest of the whole world and to be distinguished from healthy and sane patriotism -- features in these causes prominently. Each of the following causes is conducive to escalating political tensions and armed aggression between or within nations:

(1) Nationalism amongst powerful countries. Bratty power rivalry between great global and regional powers while exerting political, economic or military dominance over smaller nations. Both the power rivalry as well as the exertion of dominance over smaller nations may escalate into violent confrontations at the hands of leaders with lesser moral inhibitions to use force to advance their agendas.

(2) Nationalism of every country. Fixation of some 190 nation-states on short-term economic growth while using the world's limited natural and human resources in blind competition. This fixation manifests in a global anarchy of nation-states, climate change and inevitable tensions over limited resources which can flare up in violence.

(3) Materialist and individualist attachment to comfort and personal ambitions at the expense of seeing -- let alone addressing -- wars, conflicts and injustices elsewhere. This attachment manifests in bubble mentality and isolationism (rich countries and the bulk of their populations). It also fuels climate change.

(4) Ideologies and attitudes denigrating those that disagree or those that are different. These denigrating and prejudicial modes of thought boost a strong sense of superiority and privilege, manifesting as violence in the hands of those that view 'the other' as a grave or existential threat. Violent manifestations of prejudice usually stem from a fanatical ideological commitment incited by means of various types of propaganda or thought manipulation targeting impressionable audiences (apparent in all countries; closely connected to threat no. 5).

(5) Authoritarian leaders and cultural traditions. These authoritarian policies and traditions result in a strong attachment to power, manifesting as violent elimination of perceived threats against the powers-that-be if the threat is deemed grave or existential. They also manifest as violent revolts and insurgencies against the perceived authoritarian leader or system. They also manifest non-violently in human rights abuses; political, social or economic oppression and inequality; inequitable distribution of wealth; propaganda and media control; preservation of ignorance and a blind obedience to received prejudice-breeding ideology or tradition (more acute in poorer countries; closely connected to threat no. 4);

The first two threats are actually manifestations of one and the same root cause, namely unbridled nationalism. Depending on the country and the regime in power, nationalism ranges from apathetic and fearful isolationism to belligerent and militant imperialism. And yet it is a universal ideology rather than restricted to some countries. In plainer terms, there are four main threats to world peace: nationalism, materialist self-absorption, prejudice and tyranny.

Even if the global majority of people subscribes to these ways of thought and action in a more moderate and non-violent manner, they inevitably give rise to violent conflicts in the hands of the few that lack such inhibitions. Ultimately, each of these foregoing threats is merely a variant of short-term self-interest, either on a personal or a group level.

Rather than taking ownership, it is always more convenient to find scapegoats. It is easier to assign all blame to one or two of the five above-mentioned threats. Namely, those threats that do not imply my own (or my favoured countries's/world actors') role in this mess, and our own need to change and grow. Similarly, we hold on to one or two of these ‘threats’ with dear life as sacred principles and bulwarks of our own survival, unaware that my ‘innocent’ assumptions and preoccupations could also fall into a threat category.

So here we are then, stuck in the cycle of blame games and mutual fault-finding. Some will exclusively blame religious fanaticism, backward social norms and oppressive regimes as the pre-eminent threat to all civilization. Others will blame Western 'imperialism' and self-interested meddling for all ills. Ideological zealots of every hue and colour will blame the ideological zealots of their opposing camps, et cetera ad infinitum. And yet, everyone is partially right. And everyone is partially wrong.

Mankind is dangerously poised to learn the hard way the greatest lesson of its history. That the greatness of a superpower can never be demonstrated by a rooster-like display of military and economic might. That the power of political conviction or faith is never proven by hateful demonization of the dissenter and the infidel. And that 'civilization' cannot be vindicated by a culture of materialistic self-indulgence, narcissistic self-promotion and childish condescension towards "the backward", "the barbaric" and "the medieval". Our stubbornness in these fixations guarantees it’s going to get uglier before it gets prettier.

And yet, a whirling maelstrom of ideas seems to underpin all historical struggle, where the greatest ideas will, hoperfully, ultimately prevail through a partially gore-soaked process of natural selection.

Ideas that, rather than splitting us into old or new tribes and pandering to our primitive passions, unite us and inspire all of us to always reach new heights in both thought and action.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces conducted a massive missile strike against the Schevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv on June 26, likely to coincide with the ongoing summit of G7 leaders.[1] This is the first such major strike on Kyiv since late April and is likely a direct response to Western leaders discussing aid to Ukraine at the ongoing G7 summit, much like the previous strikes on April 29 during UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Kyiv.[2] Ukrainian government sources reported that Russian forces targeted infrastructure in the Shevchenkivskyi district using X101 missiles fired from Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers over the Caspian Sea and noted the Russian attack was an attempt to “show off” their capabilities.[3] Open-source Twitter account GeoConfirmed stated that the strikes targeted the general vicinity of the Artem State Joint-Stock Holding Company, a manufacturer of air-to-air missiles, automated air-guided missile training and maintenance systems, anti-tank guided missiles, and aircraft equipment.[4] GeoConfirmed noted that Russian forces likely fired the missiles from the maximum possible range, which would have interfered with GPS and radar correlation and resulted in the strike hitting civilian infrastructure, and additionally hypothesized some of the missiles may have been fired from Russian-occupied southern Ukraine.[5]


Russian progress from 2 months of war
20220627_115841.pngLuhansk Battle Map Draft June 26,2022.png
 
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Mauro

Active Member
A rough sketch showing which kind of ground-based weapons Ukrainians could have used on Snake Island:

1656583867751.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces retreated from the Snake Island on June 30 following a Ukrainian missile and artillery campaign. The Russian Defense Ministry spun the retreat as “a step of goodwill.”[1] The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the Kremlin does not interfere with United Nations (UN) efforts to organize a humanitarian corridor for agricultural export from Ukraine but did not acknowledge the Ukrainian artillery and missile campaign that had actually caused the retreat. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command had announced elements of that campaign on June 21.[2] The Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that Russian forces defeated all Ukrainian drone and missile attacks leading up to their retreat despite considerable evidence to the contrary.[3]

The Russian defeat on the Snake Island will alleviate some pressure off the Ukrainian coast by removing Russian air defense and anti-shipping missile systems from the island. The retreat itself will not end the sea blockade, however, as Russian forces have access to land-based anti-ship systems in Crimea and western Kherson Oblast that can still target Ukrainian cargo as well as the use of the remaining ships of the Black Sea Fleet.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
The Kremlin proposed an amendment to federal laws on Russian Armed Forces supply matters to the Russian State Duma on June 30, that would introduce “special measures in the economic sphere” obliging Russian businesses (regardless of ownership) to supply Russian special military and counterterrorist operations.[1] The amendment would prohibit Russian businesses from refusing to accept state orders for special military operations and allow the Kremlin to change employee contracts and work conditions, such as forcing workers to work during the night or federal holidays. The Kremlin noted in the amendment’s description that the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine exposed supply shortages, specifically materials needed to repair military equipment, and stated that Russian officials need to “concentrate their efforts in certain sectors of the economy."

This is somewhat similar to the American Defense Production Act, though AFAIK that can't be used to affect employee contracts.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces entered Lysychansk and advanced within the city on July 2, likely after Ukrainian forces conducted a controlled withdrawal from the city. Kremlin-sponsored outlet RIA Novosti claimed that Russian forces seized Lysychansk, but it is unclear if Russian forces fully cleared and secured the city.[8] Geolocated footage showed Russian forces hanging a red banner in Lysychansk‘s city center and walking around the city’s northern neighborhood.[9] Chechen units also advanced to the southeastern part of Lysychansk, with geolocated footage showing them outside the Lysychansk City Council building.[10] The footage in both areas shows Russian forces freely walking around the city and taking group photos, suggesting that Ukrainian defenders had already withdrawn. Ukrainian officials did not announce a withdrawal from Lysychansk, but the Ukrainian General Staff notably did not discuss any Ukrainian defensive activity around Lysychansk.
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.

Mendel

Senior Member.
FSB and Wagner are recruiting from prisons
That's only news inasmuch as Wagner is allowed to do it? and naming FSB seens suspect, why would they do that? the FSB isn't going to Ukraine, are they?

Compare:
Article:
FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2022, 09:27

Source: General Staff of the Armed Forces

Quote: "Because of the urgent need to replenish units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and other illegally created armed terrorist groups, work is ongoing among prisoners in the correctional facilities of the Rostov region in Russia. The convicts are being offered the chance to join the occupying forces in exchange for an amnesty. The Russian Armed forces will accept everyone, even those who have no experience in military service."


Zelensky said he'd allow prisoners with combat experience to be released to help defend Ukraine and "compensate their guilt."
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that Russian forces have captured Luhansk Oblast on July 3, after seizing Lysychansk and settlements on the Luhansk Oblast administrative border.

Ukrainian forces likely used US-provided HIMARS rocket artillery systems to strike a Russian ammunition depot at the Melitopol airfield on July 3. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported that Ukrainian forces launched two strikes on one of the four Russian depots in Melitopol.[5] Russian Telegram channel Rybar released footage of a large cloud of smoke over the city, and Russian-appointed Melitopol Governor Yevhen Balytskyi falsely claimed that Ukrainian forces aimed to strike residential buildings, but instead hit areas around the airfield.[6]

 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated on July 5 that the Russian military operation in Ukraine will continue until Russia achieves its goals of protecting civilians from “genocide,” “denazifying” and demilitarizing Ukraine, and obliging Ukraine to be permanently neutral between Russia and NATO—almost exactly restating the goals Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in his February 24 speech justifying the war.

[...]

Occupation authorities are continuing measures to integrate Ukrainian economic assets into the Russian trade economy. The Russian-backed head of the Zaporizhia occupation administration, Yevheny Balytskyi, stated that occupation authorities in Zaporizhia Oblast have agreed to export Ukrainian grain to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. Balytskyi claimed that the administration will export over 150,000 tons of grain to Iran alone.[34] Both ISW and the Critical Threats Project have sought, but not found, confirmation of these reports from Iran, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia.

Russian authorities continued to consolidate control of Ukrainian energy assets. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on July 5 that Russian authorities intend to restaff the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) with Russian employees, likely mostly from Rosenergoatom. The Ukrainian Resistance Center claimed that Russian authorities intend to disconnect the NPP from the Ukrainian power grid by the end of September, which indicates that Russian authorities intend to fully divert Ukrainian energy to the Russian Federation.

I see no confirmation of the last item from the IAEA.

It's obviously unclear what Russia is going to focus on next. ISW has added a new map to their report showing Donetsk oblast (with Izyum just off the top), but who knows.
Donetsk Battle Map Draft July 5,2022.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command notably stated that Russian forces conducted a massive missile strike with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on ground targets in Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts.[26] The use of anti-aircraft missiles in such a manner is inefficient, as such missiles carry small payloads and are optimized for destroying fragile aircraft in flight rather than ground targets. The reported Russian use of S-300 missiles in a ground attack role is also notable because of reports and indications that the Russians are having difficulty defending against Ukrainian manned air operations and missile strikes in the Southern Axis area. The decision to use S-300 missiles in this role in these circumstances may indicate that Russia is running out of surface-to-surface missiles or that it is running low on parts needed for the missiles’ air-to-air guidance or communications systems.

Russian military leadership continued to intensify recruitment measures to support force generation efforts on July 10. Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that private military companies (PMCs) are escalating recruitment drives to compensate for personnel losses among conventional forces fighting in Ukraine.[27] The GUR noted that PMCs are actively recruiting prisoners due to a lack of other volunteers, which is consistent with previous reporting that the Wagner Group PMC has been recruiting prisoners from the IK-7 Yablonevka and IK-6 Obukhovo penal colonies in St. Petersburg.[28] The GUR claimed that PMCs are recruiting prisoners irrespective of the nature of their crimes in exchange for full amnesty after serving time on the frontline.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is likely continuing to grant Russian forces access to Belarusian airspace to demonstrate at least nominal support to Russian President Vladimir Putin without risking direct military involvement of Belarusian Armed Forces in operations in Ukraine. Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff Oleksiy Gromov previously reported on July 7 that the Belarusian government transferred use of the Pribytki airfield in Gomel Oblast to Russia.[1] Independent Belarusian monitoring organization The Hajun Project similarly reported on July 11 that a Russian Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft flew into Belarusian airspace for the first time since April 4.[2] The Hajun Project noted that the Belarusian government introduced new airspace restrictions along the border with Ukraine where the AWACS aircraft patrolled between July 10 and 11.[3] Taken together, these data points likely indicate that Lukashenko is attempting to provide support to Putin's war in Ukraine short of direct Belarusian military intervention in an effort to respond to the pressure Putin is likely putting on him. As ISW has previously assessed, the likelihood of direct Belarusian involvement in the war in Ukraine remains low due to the effect that might have on the stability and even survival of Lukashenko’s regime.[4]
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I've been in two minds on whether to include this item, because I'm not sure if it's actually true.
Article:
The Ukrainian Main Military Directorate (GUR) reported that Russian forces established an ammunition depot at the Kherson City Drama Theater between July 11 and July 12.[21] Russian forces are likely continuing to move ammunition depots to historic landmarks in an attempt to defend equipment and manpower from Ukrainian strikes. [..] Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov also reported that Russian forces began hiding military equipment in residential buildings [..]

The last report is important because it changes the status of these buildings with respect to the rules of war:
Article:
Civilian objects are protected against attack, unless and for such time as they are military objectives.

Loss of protection of civilian objects must be read together with the basic rule that only military objectives may be attacked. It follows that when a civilian object is used in such a way that it loses its civilian character and qualifies as a military objective, it is liable to attack.

The issue of how to classify an object in case of doubt is not entirely clear.

In the light of the foregoing, it is clear that, in case of doubt, a careful assessment has to be made under the conditions and restraints governing a particular situation as to whether there are sufficient indications to warrant an attack. It cannot automatically be assumed that any object that appears dubious may be subject to lawful attack.

It remains to be seen whether Fedorov's report turns out to be true, or whether it is simply a propaganda effort directed at justifying Ukraine accidentally (or intentionally?) destroying residential buildings in Melitopol.

Regarding the Kherson drama theatre:
Like civilian objects, cultural heritage is protected against attack unless used for military purposes. The rules of war restrict cultural heritage from being used like this:
Article:
The use of property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people for purposes which are likely to expose it to destruction or damage is prohibited, unless imperatively required by military necessity.
Article:
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) states that using cultural property, historical monuments, places of worship and other buildings which represent the cultural or spiritual heritage of a people “in order to gain a military advantage” is a prohibited method of warfare.

Download.jpeg.jpgAs mentioned when I discussed the destruction of the Sviatohirsk Lavra before, a protected cultural heritage site should be marked with a blue shield.I've looked at photos of the Mykola Kulish Theatre, and did not see this shield. If the building was not marked, then the Russian military using it is unfortunate, but probably not a crime.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukrainian HIMARS strikes against Russian ammunition depots, logistics elements, and command and control are likely degrading Russian artillery campaigns. Ukrainian officials confirmed that American-supplied HIMARS arrived in Ukraine on June 23.[5] Ukrainian operators have been using the HIMARS to strike multiple Russian targets – notably ammunition depots – since June 25.[6] The destruction of these ammunition depots has likely degraded Russian forces’ ability to sustain high volumes of artillery fire along front lines. Detected heat anomalies from NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) remotely sensed data decreased significantly in Donbas starting around July 10.

Ukraine’s destruction of Russian ammunition depots using HIMARS is likely one of several factors that reduced the quantity of observed heat anomalies in Donbas between July 10-15. The reduced number of observed heat anomalies also corresponds in part to the assessed Russian operational pause from July 6 – July 15.[7] The number of observed heat anomalies began increasing on July 15 – the day ISW assessed that Russian forces began emerging from their operational pause.[8] The intensity of Russian artillery attacks along the Slovyansk-Bakhmut axis in the coming days may clarify the degree to which the reduction in intensity was due to the operational pause or the result of Ukrainian attacks.
 

obiwanbenobi

Active Member
Things getting interesting in Chechnya... I've not been following this topic closely the past few weeks and didn't know there was any unrest in Chechnya at all.


From:

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-23


"Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov seemingly confirmed that Colonel General Sergey Kuzovlev has replaced Army General Aleksandr Dvornikov as acting commander of Russia’s Southern Military District (SMD).[3] Kadyrov stated that Kuzovlev, to whom he explicitly referred as acting commander of the SMD, visited Chechnya on July 23 in order to inspect Kadyrov’s “Akhmat” battalions.[4] Kuzovlev had previously served as chief of staff of the SMD and commanded the Russian grouping in Syria from November 2020 to February 2021.[5] Kuzovlev’s visit and inspection of Kadyrov’s forces, which comes two days after Kadyrov announced that these battalions will not be immediately deploying into Ukraine, may support other hints that Kadyrov is facing mounting domestic pressure.[6] The anti-Kadyrov Sheikh Mansour battalion reportedly announced an insurgency against Kadyrov’s regime on July 21, and Kadyrov may want to hold the newly formed Akhmat battalions in Chechnya to handle any local unrest.[7]"
 

Mauro

Active Member
Things getting interesting in Chechnya...

Russians forces are stretched thin because most of them have been sent to Ukraine. So it's possible there may be resurgences of hostilities in all the places where the Russian army/contractors weres sent to 'stabilize' the situation, not only Chechenya but also Syria and Lybia, for instance.
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
A radio interview i heard regards Odessa, missiles & grain trade deal with a Russian spokesperson was of interest, sorry i cant find it ATM will keep looking.

In essence he said Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. AFRF targeted the warehouse as suspected hide UK weapons so a legit target under grain deal. He was very blunt or typical Russian in that AFRF would continue to honor grain deal but will also target Ukraine strategic military assets if they put it hide it next to grain. At end of the convo he also said this maybe telling this war will go on for a few more months.. this maybe be hint giveaway to conflict end game.

Was on ABC radio Australia yesterday but likely a syndicated piece from EU or BBC, again sorry i was in car travelling and cant find copy or source ATM
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
A radio interview i heard regards Odessa, missiles & grain trade deal with a Russian spokesperson was of interest, sorry i cant find it ATM will keep looking.

In essence he said Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. AFRF targeted the warehouse as suspected hide UK weapons so a legit target under grain deal. He was very blunt or typical Russian in that AFRF would continue to honor grain deal but will also target Ukraine strategic military assets if they put it hide it next to grain. At end of the convo he also said this maybe telling this war will go on for a few more months.. this maybe be hint giveaway to conflict end game.

Was on ABC radio Australia yesterday but likely a syndicated piece from EU or BBC, again sorry i was in car travelling and cant find copy or source ATM

Best i can find is this extract it was a BBC news hour interview the full pod cast eludes me ATM


https://techynewszone.com/russia-comes-up-with-a-pretext-for-its-strike-on-the-port-of-odessa/

Later Eugene Popov, member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, admitted in a conversation with BBC Newshour that the strike on the port of Odessa was carried out by Russian missiles: he claimed that missile systems had been the target of the strike, that Harpoon missiles would have been destroyed in the port.

“We didn’t violate the Istanbul agreement. We just destroyed Ukraine’s military infrastructure – and we will do it again,” Popov said.
Content from External Source
 

CaptainCourgette

Active Member
Well thats an improvement I suppose, Russia's first response was to deny they had nothing to do with the attack on the Odessa Port
"Besides, in the contact we made with Russia, the Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they were inspecting the issue very closely and in detail. The fact that such an incident took place right after the deal we made yesterday regarding the grain shipment really worried us. We are disturbed by this too. However, we continue to fulfill our responsibilities under the grain deal we brokered between Russia and Ukraine, and we also expressed in our meetings that we favor continuation of both parties’ cooperation in a calm and patient manner.”
https://www.msb.gov.tr/en-US/Slide/2372022-81365
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukrainian forces are continuing efforts to disrupt Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) that support Russian forces on the right bank of the Dnipro River. Ukrainian forces struck the bridge on the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) dam again on August 13, reportedly rendering the bridge unusable by heavy vehicles.[1] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command had previously reported on August 10 that the Kakhovka HPP dam bridge was unfit for use.[2] The Kakhovka bridge was the only road bridge Russian forces could use following Ukrainian forces’ successful efforts to put the Antonivsky road bridge out of commission. The UK Defense Ministry has claimed that Russian forces now have no bridges usable to bring heavy equipment or supplies over the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast and must rely mainly on the pontoon ferry they have established near the Antonivsky road bridge.[3] ISW cannot confirm at this time whether Russian forces can use the Antonivsky rail bridge to resupply forces on the right bank of the Dnipro River.

Russian forces cannot support mechanized operations at scale without a reliable GLOC. Bringing ammunition, fuel, and heavy equipment sufficient for offensive or even large-scale defensive operations across pontoon ferries or by air is impractical if not impossible. If Ukrainian forces have disrupted all three bridges and can prevent the Russians from restoring any of them to usability for a protracted period then Russian forces on the west bank of the Dnipro will likely lose the ability to defend themselves against even limited Ukrainian counterattacks.

Ukrainian Mykolaiv Oblast Head Vitaly Kim reported that unspecified Russian military command elements left upper Kherson Oblast and relocated to the left bank of the Dnipro River, suggesting that the Russian military leadership is concerned about being trapped on the wrong side of the river.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Is Ukraine losing?
By what metric? War isn't really binary victory conditions.

Are they any closer to retaking Crimea than in 2021? Not at all. Are they as close to losing any cities outside of the already occupied areas than in February? Not at all.

Who has more guns/tanks/planes/missiles/etc? Russia. Who has *better*? Ukraine in most categories.

Is Russia losing ground? Not significantly. Are they gaining any sustainable ground? Also no.


This is, unfortunately, one of the worst kind of wars now. Russia's first push failed almost utterly, but what's left now is a black hole into which each side will dump resources until one side runs out of fuel, bullets, or bodies for the meat grinder.

A lot (a majority from my reading but not all) of analysts think Russian will run out first, but only so much comes out of the fog of war for public consumption and what does is always passed through agenda filters on the way out so resolving the reality is very difficult. And even if those analysts are right and Ukraine will prevail the war of attrition, there's really no winners in that kind of war, the only countries that can be said to have won World War I are the ones who joined late and didn't have time to feed two whole generations to the grinder.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Is Ukraine losing?
It's a draw, with Russia having secured some gains.

Ukraine is trying to besiege Kherson, and when there are no more Russians west of the Dnipro river, Ukraine will have done very well. But that's not a done deal yet.
 

obiwanbenobi

Active Member
Is Ukraine losing?

my opinion is that they are winning in being able to hold off Russia as much as they have. sadly they are losing a lot of soldiers but so is Russia (which i am also sad about just in case you think i'm biased).

if the west does not desert Ukraine it has a much vaster amount of resources than Russia does (do the allies math on sizes of economies and populations), but the hard part is getting soldiers willing to continue to fight and die that long as it will take to train the soldiers and to get everything to the front lines. Russia is also having a hard time getting troops to fight.
 

Mauro

Active Member
Things are going quite bad for Russia... their entire north-east front has collapsed (and the worst has yet to come).

1662891904086.png

https://twitter.com/Aviation_Intel
Russian forces are withdrawing from Kharkiv Oblast and elsewhere en masse with Ukrainian forces retaking territory across the eastern frontline.
Ukrainian troops have raised the flag over critical cities of Izyum, Lyman, and Kupiansk after nearly a week of gains with a mix of mechanized, special forces, and motorized troops punching through and overrunning Russian positions.
Estimates vary, but it’s believed Ukraine may have pushed as far as 70 kilometers into Russian-held territory. Ukrainian troops have likely undone much of Russia’s gains in the east since its second phase began in April.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...e-ukraines-kharkiv-offensive-in-stunning-rout


Slava Ukraine!
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Things are going quite bad for Russia... their entire north-east front has collapsed (and the worst has yet to come).
Kharkiv oblast is mostly liberated.

Comparing Sep 11 to Sep 4:
Ukraine


Kharkiv


Kherson


Article:
The current counter-offensive will not end the war. The campaign in northeast Ukraine will eventually culminate, allowing the Russians to re-establish a tenable defensive line and possibly even conduct localized counterattacks. Ukraine will have to launch subsequent counter-offensive operations, likely several, to finish the liberation of Russian-occupied territory. The war remains likely to stretch into 2023.

Ukraine has turned the tide of this war in its favor. Kyiv will likely increasingly dictate the location and nature of the major fighting, and Russia will find itself increasingly responding inadequately to growing Ukrainian physical and psychological pressure in successive military campaigns unless Moscow finds some way to regain the initiative.

Russian forces conducted a wave of precision strikes against Ukrainian energy infrastructure on September 11 causing widespread power outages.[12] The attacks are likely meant to let Moscow claim that it is launching a new phase of offensive operations even as it loses on the ground, and possibly also to punish Ukraine for shutting down the ZNPP despite Russia’s desire to keep it operating.



Is anyone aware why the Ukrainian army seems to respect the border to Russia?
 

Mauro

Active Member
Is anyone aware why the Ukrainian army seems to respect the border to Russia?

A good question.

In effect they are not 'respecting' it, there have allegedly been many special forces raids inside Russia proper, and counter-battery fire. And with the recent advances Belgorod is now in Ukraine's artillery range. I think Ukrainians could actually have the capability to invade Russia nearby the border, but this would have little/no military benefits while risking to trigger a 'patriotic' reaction in Russia or even the use of tactical nukes. Instead, Ukrainians are strangling the Russian army: the conquest of Kupiansk has severed an extremely important supply route for the troops deployed in the south and south-east. Russian army is tied to railways, its logistics is poor and they cannot go much further than 50-100km form railroads without straining their supply: after the loss of the Kupiansk railroad node they only have one railroad which can feed their efforts in Donbass, the railroad which goes from Urazovo to Troitske and then up to Luhansk:

1662986020924.png

Ukrainians (the grey zone on the left of the map) are very near that railroad, I would not discount a penetration for a few km in Russia to get that railroad under control, but being so near it makes more sense to keep the railroad under fire control from artillery or HiMars. If Ukrainians can control the last railroad the whole Russian front from Lysychansk to Popasna to Luhanks is cut off from supplies and risks a collapse just as happened in Izyum:
1662986726135.png


And things are even worse for Russians in Kherson. Their supply lines pass through the Dniepr river which they could cross only through 3 bridges over a length of ~80km. In a repeat of Snake Island, but on a much bigger scale, the Russians did not evacuate their positions when it appeared clear they were untenable (in the case of Snake Island it was the sinking of the Moskva, in the case of Kherson it was the HiMars strikes on the bridges). They instead doubled down and reinforced their positions, effectively putting their troops in a trap. At the moment there are 20-30k Russian troops stuck in a ~50 x 100km area beyond the Dniepr, without meaningful supplies and costantly battered by Ukranians, without even the possibility to retreat.

The horrible blunder Russians made in trying to reinforce Kherson has not only doomed the troops sent there, but has also thinned Russian lines on other fronts. For some inexplicable reason they decided to leave little defences just where an Ukrainian counterattack could hurt most, in the Kupiansk direction... really astonishing.

LT;DR Russia has lost the war. They lost ~10% of their army in the last week and they're going to lose more near Kherson in the next few days. Of what is left, 50% are already in a bad supply status and the rest is wholly dependent on the Kerch bridge, which could be brought down any day if only Ukraine had a dozen ATACMS. Ukraine is bound to get back not only all the territory it lost since February 24 but also Donetsk and Luhansk and probably Crimea. Putin is a goner (no way anyone could survive so big an humiliating defeat). Unless he uses nuclear weapons, I think it's improbable, but even nukes could not be enough to save the Russian army at this point and I really doubt they would save Putin and Russia in any case.

[all the maps taken from https://liveuamap.com/]
 

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Hevach

Senior Member.
There have been several helicopter strikes in Belgorod going back to the early parts of the war. But no ground crossings even now.

I can see two reasons for that:

First, Ukraine's goal isn't escalation or expansion of their territory, but retaking and protecting what was already theirs. They don't want to play chicken with a nuclear power, and as a big part of the former USSR's nuclear strategy and a former/sleeper nuclear power themselves, they know how that game theory works and don't want to trigger "use em or lose em" by threatening a strategic asset.

Secondly, there's likely some ground rules regarding the continued flow of international weapons aid (at least partially growing out of nobody else wanting them to play chicken with a nuclear power). Incoming forces and logistics targets over the border might be fair game, like the fuel and ammo dumps hit earlier this year, but occupying Belgorod would probably be a bridge too far for a lot of international support.

Basically, they don't really stand to gain much and could lose a lot in blood, treasure, and good will by changing the terms of the war.
 
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DavidB66

Senior Member
I can see two reasons for that:
I agree with those two, but there may be a third. There are already ultra-nationalist 'hawks' in Russia who think Putin is being too weak, and want stronger action against Ukraine, including wider conscription of the Russian population into the armed forces. At the moment Putin doesn't seem keen on this, but if Ukraine overtly attacked targets in Russia itself, this might give him the motive or pretext for it, which Ukraine surely doesn't want.

An alternative strategy for Ukraine would be to support the opposition to Lukashenko in Belarus, maybe including carefully targeted attacks on Russian depots and transport links there, with help from Belarussian partisans.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
I agree with those two, but there may be a third. There are already ultra-nationalist 'hawks' in Russia who think Putin is being too weak, and want stronger action against Ukraine, including wider conscription of the Russian population into the armed forces. At the moment Putin doesn't seem keen on this, but if Ukraine overtly attacked targets in Russia itself, this might give him the motive or pretext for it, which Ukraine surely doesn't want.

An alternative strategy for Ukraine would be to support the opposition to Lukashenko in Belarus, maybe including carefully targeted attacks on Russian depots and transport links there, with help from Belarussian partisans.

Yup. My understanding is that whilst this remains, to the Russians, a "special military operation", he's bound by certain rules about things from conscription/mobilisation all the way up to use of their nuclear weapons. Were the Ukraine to "invade" Russia, Putin could ramp it up to a state of "war", which Zelenskyy wants to avoid.

Contrary opinions on this matter are available, e.g. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZUi6fcnsBw
, where a Beninese pundit is interviewed by a Nigerian-based news station (Channels Television, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channels_TV , I can't say I'm familiar with them at all, but they don't sound like they're completely detached from reality or anything). "Interesting perspective", delivered with a tone of voice that implied to me that she didn't necessarily agree with him, was one of the interviewer's responses to the assertions that Ukraine should invade Russian territory. It does seem like a situation where the pundit didn't have much skin in the game, even the grain supply issue doesn't seem to apply to Benin, they're not big importers at all.
 
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