First off, whoever did this, you’re a genius!!!
Who. Did. This? pic.twitter.com/nbOGn7e1CX
— FakeJoeBiden (@fake_biden) March 5, 2022
I’m doing the update a bit early tonight as I want to go and rack out. Let’s start with my assessment of where things are now.
While predicting the outcomes of these things are always dicey – just ask the guy who said the war would be over by Christmas during the first year of the Thirty Years War – my professional take at this point is Putin won’t be able to take Ukraine, let alone hold it. All he’ll be able to do is destroy it. What I don’t know, what I don’t think anyone can know, is at what point does he decide to switch to full on destroy and how is he going to do it if or when he chooses to do so. Is he just going to rocket, missile, bomb, and mortar Ukraine into rubble, does he just use a few tactical nukes, or a combination of the two? And what I also don’t know is what is Biden’s threshold for switching from what we’re doing now, which is intended to be as low risk as possible to actually doing something higher risk, but more constructive to stop what Putin is doing? As we’ve discussed here, I don’t think the economic measures are going to make a dent in Putin’s decision making, just immiserate his citizenry. This thread does a good job of explaining why:
If you’re hoping that Western sanctions will topple the regime in Russia, here is a thread on why they won’t. 1/n
— Professor Olga Chyzh (@olga_chyzh) March 5, 2022
I think the question is, as I asked above, at what point do we do something else. What’s Present Biden’s, Secretaries Blinken’s and Austin’s, the leadership of our NATO allies, our EU allies not in NATO, and our other major allies and partners? I don’t know. I’m not sure they know yet.
There are three twitter threads I want to highlight up front and then we’ll move right on to the current DOD assessment.
The first is Professor Chyzh’s thread above. Do click across and read the whole thing.
The second is this one from Slava Malamud on the effects of 20 years of Putin and his propaganda on Russia. As Charles Pierces says: “Slava talk, you listen!”
This is extremely, mind-blowingly ludicrous and insane, but also important. It may blow your Western minds, but millions upon millions of Russians have internalized this worldview.
In fact, this requires a ? to explain what exactly many Russians feel they need to fight for… https://t.co/48p2H4IQQJ
— Slava Malamud ?? (@SlavaMalamud) March 6, 2022
And a complimentary thread to Slava Malamud’s from Kamil Galeev breaking down how Putin is taking Russia fully fascist:
Let's discuss what's happening in Russia. To put it simply, it's going full fascist. Authorities launched a propaganda campaign to gain popular support for their invasion of Ukraine and they're getting lots of it. You can see "Z" on these guys' clothes. What does it mean? ? pic.twitter.com/F2zjcpJCDZ
— Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) March 6, 2022
Here’s the DOD’s assessment. I’m going to post the first tweet and then copy and paste the rest of the thread into a quote box. Each bullet signifies a tweet.
A senior U.S. defense official just released an updated assessment of the war in Ukraine as of early Sunday evening in Washington. Basic updates:
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) March 6, 2022
- “We’ve observed limited changes on the ground over the past day. Russian forces continued efforts to advance and isolate Kyiv, Kharkhiv and Chernihiv across the north and east are being met with strong Ukrainian resistance.”
- “There does not appear to be any significant movement along the Russian axes. Leading elements remain outside these city centers. We cannot give specific distances today. “The convoy continues to be stalled.”
- “We assess that the Russians have now committed inside Ukraine somewhere near 95% of the combat power they had amassed along the border.”
- “We’ve observed fighting in the south near Kherson and Mykolaiv. We cannot independently verify reporting of Russian forces firing on protesters in Kherson.” “We have not observed an amphibious invasion in or near Odessa, nor do we assess that one is imminent. “We’ve observed continued ongoing fighting and efforts to encircle Mariupol. There continue to be reports of wide-spread utility outages (water and electricity).”
- “We cannot independently verify claims of ceasefire violations,” senior U.S. defense official adds.
- Senior U.S. defense official: “In the airspace, we continue to observe that the airspace over Ukraine is contested. Ukrainian air and missile defenses remain effective and in use. The Ukrainian military continues to fly aircraft and to employ air defense assets.”
- “We are aware of the Ukrainian military’s release of videos and numbers of Russian aircraft shot down,” senior U.S. defense official says. “We cannot independently verify those incidents, but neither are we in a position to refute them.”
- “Both sides have taken losses to both aircraft and missile defense inventories,” senior U.S. defense official says. “We are not going to speak to numbers. We assess that both sides still possess a majority of their air defense systems and capabilities.”
- “As of today, we assess that approximately 600 Russian missile launches have occurred since the invasion began,” senior U.S. defense official says.
- “We believe the Ukrainian people in most parts of the country still have means of communication, access to internet and the media,” senior U.S. defense official says.
- Pentagon says it cannot corroborate any reports of cluster munitions or thermobaric weapons in U.S., can’t say whether the Russians are calling up reserves, and can’t say whether any Russian naval infantry have been loaded on any “LSTs,” a kind of landing craft.
- Pentagon also will not corroborate Ukrainian reports that Ukrainian forces have shot down one Russian Su-25 fighter jet, two Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers, two Russian Su-30 SM planes, and four Russian helicopters today.
- Finally, Pentagon says it cannot corroborate reports that Russian dropped 1,000-pound bombs near Chernihiv.
- This update in text form came instead of background briefings. It is not online, but you’ve now seen what I’m seeing. Would anticipate backgrounders return tomorrow (Monday).
- Observation: Journalists will continue to ask the Pentagon for additional information. But they don’t have nearly the same visibility of this war that they do of the ones they are involved in directly.
- As always, getting a clear picture of what is happening on the ground requires layering numerous sources. Even then, there will be gaps in knowledge.
While the DOD may not be able to independently verify the use of 1,000 lbs bombs, here’s a Russian thousand pound bomb dropped on a Ukrainian civilian target:
This horrific 500-kg Russian bomb fell on a residential building in Chernihiv and didn’t explode. Many other did, killing innocent men, women and children. Help us protect our people from Russian barbarians! Help us close the sky. Provide us with combat aircraft. Do something! pic.twitter.com/3Re0jlaKEL
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 6, 2022
And here’s video of attacks on civilians trying to flee Irpin:
The Irpin Bridge shelling incident pic.twitter.com/UbJ6oUnZm1
— Illia Ponomarenko ?? (@IAPonomarenko) March 6, 2022
4 people including 2 children were brutally killed when they tried to evacuate through a green corridor from Irpin' today. Russian bestiality in action pic.twitter.com/iw14nYNf2u
— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) March 6, 2022
A green corridor is a term for a humanitarian corridor.
And reporting from the AP’s White House correspondent on the Russians using their declared ceasefire to allow the citizens of Mariupol to evacuate as a targeting opportunity:
LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian official says a second attempt to evacuate civilians from a besieged city has failed due to Russian shelling.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 6, 2022
Hey, DIA analysts, I’m pretty sure this grieving family and medical professional in Mariupol ARE NOT CRISIS ACTORS!!!
It's Forgiving Sunday today. So repeat after me: Dear Kirill, pls forgive us for your death at the age of 18 mnths. Pls, forgive us for allowing russians to shell your city #Mariupol. Pls, forgive us for not closing the sky over Ukraine yet #CloseTheSky #StopRussia #StopPutin pic.twitter.com/g58H27S4RK
— Kostiantyn Korobov (@Korobov_K) March 6, 2022
The Russians also managed to damage the gas pipeline running near Mariupol!
Donetsk-Mariupol gas pipeline was damaged by #Russian occupants. Now, more than 750,000 of people are left wthout any heat, while it's still often below 0°C outside.
Almost 1 mln of locals will face a humanitarian disaster and risk to freeze till death.
We need #NoFlyZone now.
— Inna Sovsun (@InnaSovsun) March 6, 2022
And here’s video of a Russia Su-25 being brought down:
A Russian Sukhoi Su-25 has been downed in Kharkiv.
National Guard air defense is working.
Note the witnesses’ reaction: pic.twitter.com/b3E5JfCbPv
— Illia Ponomarenko ?? (@IAPonomarenko) March 6, 2022
Reports are just coming in that targets in Odesa Oblast are being shelled!
⚡️Russian troops launch a missile strike near the village of Tuzla in Odesa Oblast targeting critical infrastructure, spokesman of Operational Headquarters of the Odesa Regional Military Administration Serhii Bratchuk said.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 7, 2022
Perhaps, one day, eventually our intelligence agencies will actually realize that most of the world is available for review on open sources…
Here’s a good thread from the former Russian Foreign Minister (1990-1996) who then served in the Duma and now, I would guess based on his social media, lives somewhere safely beyond Putin’s reach.
Lots of discussions about the threat of nuclear war from the Kremlin and whether Putin is rational. I share my thoughts in this thread.
To frame: I do not believe Russia would use nuclear weapons and I believe Putin is a rational actor.
— Andrei V Kozyrev (@andreivkozyrev) March 6, 2022
- First of all, I want to examine where the questioning of Putin’s rationality started. I think it began because most people, particularly in the West, view his decision to invade Ukraine as utterly irrational. I disagree. It’s horrific, but not irrational.
- To understand why the invasion was rational for Putin, we have to step into his shoes. Three beliefs came together at the same time in his calculus: 1. Ukraine’s condition as a country 2. Russian military’s condition 3. The West’s geopolitical condition
- 1. Ukraine’s condition. Putin spent the last 20 years believing that Ukraine is not a real nation and, at best, should be a satellite state. Maidan ended any hope of keeping Ukraine independent and pro-Kremlin. He thought the West was behind it.
- If Ukraine’s government cannot be kept independent and pro-Kremlin covertly, as he likely concluded, then he will overtly force it to be. He also started to believe his own propagandists that Ukraine is run by a Nazi-Bandera junta. Perfect pretext to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
- 2. Russian military. The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military. Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor you cannot report that to the President. So they reported lies to him instead. Potemkin military
- 3. The West. The Russian ruling elite believed its own propaganda that Pres. Biden is mentally inept. They also thought the EU was weak because of how toothless their sanctions were in 2014. And then the U.S. botched its withdrawal from Afghanistan, solidifying this narrative.
- If you believe all three of the above to be true and your goal is to restore the glory of the Russian Empire (whatever that means), then it is perfectly rational to invade Ukraine. He miscalculated on all three, but that doesn’t make him insane. Simply wrong and immoral.
- So, in my opinion, he is rational. Given that he is rational, I strongly believe he will not intentionally use nuclear weapons against the West. I say intentionally because indiscriminate shelling near a nuclear power plant can cause an unintentional nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
- I will take it a step further. The threat of nuclear war is another example of his rationality. The Kremlin knows it can try to extract concessions, whether from Ukraine or the West, by saber-rattling its last remaining card in the deck: nuclear weapons.
- The ultimate conclusion here is that the West should not agree to any unilateral concessions or limit its support of Ukraine too much for the fear of nuclear war.
Here’s a Ukrainian police element effectively using their RPGs.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 6, 2022
A lot more after the jump!
Here’s some more good news:
⚡️A Ukrainian counter-offensive operation liberates the city of Chuhuiv close to Kharkiv
— Illia Ponomarenko ?? (@IAPonomarenko) March 7, 2022
— Anonymous TV ?? (@YourAnonTV) February 26, 2022
There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. For the next hour we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to the outer limits.
These fine folks are going to stand out like a sore thumb!
— toomas hendrik ilves (@IlvesToomas) March 6, 2022
Here’s some relative’s of friends of Gin&Tonic’s (if I read his comment right) getting married.
This couple, Lesya and Valeriy, just got married next to the frontline in Kyiv. They are with the territorial defense. pic.twitter.com/S6Z8mGpxx9
— Paul Ronzheimer (@ronzheimer) March 6, 2022
The Russians continue to target radiological sites:
The Security Service of Ukraine: Invaders fired on the National Science Center at Kharkiv Institute of Physics &Technology with multiple-launch rocket systems. There is a nuclear installation "Source of Neutrons", in the active zone of which 37 nuclear fuel elements are installed
— Olga Tokariuk (@olgatokariuk) March 6, 2022
Give Israel money and weapons they said. They’ll be our only reliable, democratic ally in the region they said…
Ex @IsraelMFA DG Alon Liel: "Future generations will look at Israel's position during the war, which began with a mumbling attempt to shuffle between Putin & the West. Bennett's trip to Russia gave Putin the stamp of neutral Israel's approval– which we won't be able to shake." https://t.co/LbPe3xxgoh
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) March 6, 2022
This thread explains why:
Russian oligarchs bought property in London and Dubai and yachts in Italy etc, but that's not all they did with their money. Has anyone yet mentioned how much Russian money ended up in Israeli tech startups? https://t.co/KuGx6nI4bC
— İyad el-Baghdadi | إياد البغدادي (@iyad_elbaghdadi) March 3, 2022
If you haven’t seen it, this video is about 9 minutes long, it has translated subtitles, but it is well worth watching.
This, out of #Ukraine, is 100% one of the most incredible videos I have ever seen.
This Russian POW has the heart of a lion ? pic.twitter.com/KIx1rsN0CZ
— Jackie Singh ?? ?? (@hackingbutlegal) March 6, 2022
Bellingcat’s Christo Grozev put this out last night:
Last night, an alleged FSB whistle-blower letter was published that damned Russia's military performance in Ukraine and predicted a disaster for the RU in the next weeks and months. I wasn't sure if it was authentic – as Ukraine had previously leaked fake FSB letters as psy-ops.
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) March 5, 2022
I showed the letter to two actual (current or former) FSB contacts, and they had no doubt it was written by a colleague. They didn't agree with all of his conclusions, but that's a different story.
Here's the text, worth reading: https://t.co/KyRDX4VuDV
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) March 5, 2022
Since I can’t access Facebook or any other of Meta’s products (thank someone’s, anyone’s Deity!), I couldn’t pull the original letter, which is in Russian. However, this tweet thread has a translation done by the thread’s author (courtesy of commenter counterfactual):
?My translation of the analysis of the current situation in Russia by an active FSB analyst. Buckle up for a long thread and definitely please share far & wide. The full text is over 2000 words. This is a highly insightful look behind the curtain – covers many subjects.
— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) March 6, 2022
And I’ll leave it there for tonight.