The last update I saw indicated that almost all of Ukraine is under air raid warnings, so Russia is continuing to bombard every part of Ukraine it can reach even as it has finally engaged in the east.
Here’s President Zelenskyy’s address to Ukraine from this evening. It has English subtitles and is followed by the transcript:
The 54th day of our defense against the Russian invasion is coming to an end. The Russian army is not slowing down the use of missiles against Ukraine. Although it should have realized that it will be extremely difficult for it to restore the missile arsenal given even already imposed sanctions. Without imports, they can’t even do that. And when all the loopholes used to circumvent sanctions are closed, and when even tougher sanctions are imposed, restoring Russia’s missile capabilities will be unrealistic. That is, Russian missile strikes lead to only one thing – missile self-demilitarization of the Russian Federation.
A similar process is taking place with other Russian weapons. Producing new artillery, aircraft, new helicopters and cruisers under sanctions will be a daunting task for Russia.
None of the missile strikes has changed the situation for Russia tangibly. And if you evaluate them all together, the conclusion will be – this is strategic nonsense.
Today’s strikes at Lviv, at the Dnipropetrovsk region and any other Russian strikes mean only one thing: we, the world and history will take from Russia much more than Russian missiles will take from Ukraine. Every lost life is an argument for Ukrainians and other free nations to perceive Russia exclusively as a threat generation after generation. And any infrastructure can be restored. And we will definitely do it.
In the east and south of our country, the occupiers are recently trying to attack in a little more thought-out manner than before. They are putting pressure, looking for a weak spot in the defense of our state to go there with the main forces…
Apparently, Russian generals, accustomed to neglecting any losses, have already killed so many Russian servicemen that even they have to be more careful, as there will be no one left to attack.
However, they should not hope this will help them. It is only a matter of time when the whole territory of our state will be liberated. It can now be stated that Russian troops have begun the battle for Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time. A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive.
No matter how many Russian soldiers are driven there, we will fight. We will defend ourselves. We will do it daily. We will not give up anything Ukrainian, and we do not need what’s not ours.
And I am grateful to all our fighters, to all our heroic cities in Donbas, to Mariupol, and also to the cities of the Kharkiv region which are holding on, defending the fate of the whole state, repelling the forces of invaders. Rubizhne, Popasna, Zolote, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Kramatorsk and all others that have been with Ukraine all these years and forever.
I spoke with the President of the Republic of Lithuania and friend of our country Gitanas Nausėda. I informed him about the situation in the combat zones and especially about the situation in Mariupol. We are coordinating our actions to increase Russia’s liability for the war.
I also spoke with the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and Croatia. About the threats created by Russia to free navigation in the Black Sea, about our cooperation at the level of the European Union, about the effective support for Ukraine and the development of solutions for the restoration of peace.
I held an important meeting today on the post-war reconstruction and development of Ukraine. We need to work out everything in detail already now to be fully prepared when the war is over.
We are developing a comprehensive plan that provides for the reconstruction of what’s destroyed, the modernization of state structures and the maximum acceleration of Ukraine’s development. It is not just about the amount of physical work – to build housing, restore businesses, attract new businesses that will work to rebuild infrastructure and renew economic relations in our country. It is also about rethinking how our country will develop in the future. What industries can be the basis of growth after the war. What solutions and resources are needed to increase the level of processing in Ukraine and stop selling raw materials, as it was before. Which cities will become the locomotives of economic and technological growth, pulling up the surrounding areas.
As of now – if you listen carefully to all the discussions that are taking place in our country at different levels about the post-war reconstruction – the main topic in them is actually about money. What financial package is needed to recover from the war? But I always emphasize that money is not the foundation for the country’s development. Ideas, people – that’s the foundation. And when there are ideas, when there are our people, you begin to see what money is needed for and in what amount.
We need to have a clear vision of this or that branch of our economy, the direction of development we expect from this or that city, the benefits this or that institution can bring to the state as a whole.
Of course, for small and medium-sized businesses we must provide the most comfortable and free environment. In terms of taxes and administrative relations. Of course, digitization is a top priority. Security is also a top priority for us. Defensive potential must be at a new level. Of course, judicial, anti-corruption and other important reforms need to be brought to fruition.
But all this must work for a concrete vision of what Ukraine will be like. What it will be like a year after the war, 5 years after the war, 10, 20 years after. What exactly will be important for our people. What exactly will be important for global business. How many jobs and in what industries will be available to Ukrainians.
Ukraine’s accession to the European Union is an integral part of this strategic vision. And in this context, today was a historic event – we are going through one of the stages before joining the EU. We provided answers to a questionnaire received from Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Josep Borrell, Head of European Diplomacy.
Each country that joined the European Union went through the same procedure with the questionnaire. The only difference is that it took them years, and we completed it in a little more than a week. We will provide the second part of the answers shortly. And we hope that Europe’s decision in response will be quick.
The status of a candidate for membership in the European Union will open for us unprecedented opportunities in our history for the restoration and modernization of Ukraine.
We are negotiating with countries at the bilateral level and with international financial institutions to support our country’s reconstruction program. Of course, we will involve global business as much as possible. But we are primarily interested in creating jobs and added value in Ukraine. Therefore, localization will continue to be an important process for us.
In the evening I signed a traditional decree on awarding our heroes. 192 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were awarded state awards, 24 of them posthumously.
Eternal memory to all who died for Ukraine!
Eternal glory to each of our defenders!
Glory to Ukraine!
Before I go to today’s Ukrainian MOD operational update, I want to post the most recent mapping released by the British Ministry of Defense:
As you can see, in comparison to the previous week’s worth of maps, there is a lot more Russian movement and a lot more attacks all over Ukraine. Everything in the center and west of Ukraine is aerial bombardment. In the east and south, it is a combination of aerial bombardment and land based attacks.
Here’s the announcement made by Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine:
This morning, an active phase of the Russian offensive set off almost along the entire front line, the occupiers tried to break through our defenses. Our military is defending, we are not surrendering our territories.
— Oleksiy Danilov (@OleksiyDanilov) April 18, 2022
- the Russian military was tasked to occupy the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions by Easter, thus making a gift to their Fuhrer. However, they will not succeed! residents of frontline areas or areas where hostilities are taking place should evacuate.
- one shouldn’t simplify the situation, underestimate the enemy, it is a mistake to believe that we have already won the war; putin does not cancel the task of destroying Ukraine as a state and eliminating our political leadership.
- we do not have confirmed info about Prigozhin’s stay in the Luhansk region, but they are in dire straits if “putin’s cook” is there; even professors of higher educational institutions are already being mobilized in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
- if the residents of the occupied territories are forced to fight, they must surrender to our military; it is possible that the Russian military will launch provocations on Easter, trying to accuse the Armed Forces of Ukraine of this.
The operational update regarding the russian invasion on 18.00 on April 18, 2022
The fifty-fourth day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues. A russian federation continues its full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.
The russian occupiers are launching missile and bomb strikes on industrial and civilian infrastructure.
The main efforts of the russian enemy are focused on establishing full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and maintaining the previously captured territory.
Signs of the beginning of the offensive operation in the Eastern Operational Zone are recorded. In the Slobozhansky and Donetsk operational districts, the russian aggressor intensified offensive and assault operations in some areas.
In order to strengthen the offensive capabilities, the russian invaders continue to form additional units in the Rostov region and in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. It is planned to use them to support the fighting of the main forces in the second echelon, protection of administrative buildings and important infrastructure in the occupied territories. According to available information, the approximate date of formation is April 24 this year.
Provocative actions and the use of enemy aircraft by the russian enemy in the border areas of the russian federation with Ukraine are not ruled out, including strikes on civilian targets.
No significant changes in the activities of russian enemy troops were noted in the Volyn, Polissya, and Siversky areas.
In the Slobozhansky direction, the russian enemy group, which includes separate units of the 6th Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District, the coastal troops of the Baltic and Northern Fleets, continues to partially block the city of Kharkiv and destroy residential areas with artillery fire.
In the Izyum direction, the russian aggressor operates in separate units of the 1st Tank Army, the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District, the 35th and 68th Combined Arms Armies of the Eastern Military District and the Airborne Forces. Attempts to advance in the Izyum-Slovyansk and Izyum-Barvinkove directions are expected to continue.
In the area close to the state border with Ukraine, in the Belgorod region, there is the deployment of helipads.
In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the russian occupying forces continue to focus their efforts on capturing the settlements of Lyman, Kreminna, Popasna and Rubizhne, as well as establishing full control over the city of Mariupol.
The russian enemy intensified offensive operations in the Siverodonetsk, Popasna, Kurakhiv and Zaporizhzhia areas.
To increase efforts, the enemy continues to concentrate additional tank and artillery units.
The battles for Mariupol continue. The russian enemy is storming the seaport.
In the South Buh area, some units of the russian occupiers continue to focus their main efforts on maintaining the occupied borders and shelling the positions of the Defence Forces. The russian enemy does not stop trying to establish full control over the territory of Kherson oblast.it is fighting in the area of the settlement of Oleksandrivka, and it has no success.
Enemy russian naval groups in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas continue to isolate the sea coast of Ukraine, as well as conducting reconnaissance.
The russian occupiers continue to cynically violate international humanitarian law, block initiatives to evacuate civilians from occupied settlements, refuse to coordinate humanitarian routes, and fire on areas near possible “green corridors.”
In the occupied territories, the russian enemy steals and exports to the russian federation equipment, machinery and products of local enterprises, bypasses agricultural fields.
The Defence Forces of Ukraine continue to hold certain borders, destroy the enemy and, in some areas, liberate the Ukrainian lands from the invaders.
We believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Let’s win together! Glory to Ukraine!
Much, much more after the jump:
Earlier today, Serhiy Volyna, the Commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade that is still fighting in Mariupol, released a letter to President Biden, Prime Minister Johnson, the President of Germany Frank Walter-Steinmeier, and, I think Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan (its the closest I can get spelling wise to what was written) asking for aid. Among others, it was posted by Alina Mykhailova, who is a Deputy on the Kyiv City Council.
You can see who it is addressed to here:
The commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade, Major Serhiy Volyna, has written a letter to Pope Francis asking him to help save the people of Mariupol.
Source: Volyna’s letter shared with Ukrainska Pravda
Text of the letter: “Your Holiness, Pope Francis!
I am not a Catholic, I am Orthodox. I believe in God and I know that light always overcomes darkness.
I have not seen your appeals to the world and I have not read all your recent statements; I have been fighting for more than 50 days, completely surrounded, and all I have time for is a fierce battle for every metre of this city that is surrounded by the enemy.
I am a warrior. I am an officer who took an oath of allegiance to his country. And I am ready to fight to the end. [I do so] Despite the overwhelming force of the enemy, despite the inhumane conditions on the battlefield, the constant artillery and rocket fire, the lack of water, food and medicine.
You have probably seen a lot in your life. But I am sure that you have never seen the things that are happening to Mariupol. Because this is what hell on earth looks like.
I have little time to describe all the horrors I see here every day. Women with children and babies are living in bunkers at the factory, they are hungry and cold. Every day they are living in the sights of enemy aircraft. The wounded die every day because there is no medicine, no water, no food.
I am turning to you for help. Because the time has come when prayers are not enough. Help save them. After the bombing of the drama theatre, no one has any trust in the Russian occupiers any more. Bring the truth to the world, evacuate people and save their lives from the hands of Satan, who wants to burn all living things.”
We remind you:
· Mariupol has been under siege since 1 March, and the Russians are constantly shelling it, trying to take full control of the city.
· President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that talks are underway to help Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol.
· He also said that the killing of Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol could put an end to peace talks with Russia.
· On 17 April, the General Staff announced that the Russian army was probably preparing for a naval landing operation in Mariupol.
· On 16 April, the Mariupol City Council released a video of the destruction of the city taken from a drone, and Reuters released a video of the area around the Ilyich Metallurgical Plant in an area controlled by the Russian army.
Here is an appeal for the organization of a humanitarian green corridor to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol made by Denis Prokopenko, the Commander of the Azov Regiment. It is translated into English in the subsequent tweets:
??I am commander of Azov regiment, Denis Prokopenko. I call to the leaders of the world. Right now, in Mariupol, at "Azovstal" steel factory hundreds of civilians are sheltering. Among them – people of all ages, women, children, families of Mariupol defenders.?? pic.twitter.com/7IG6cEJHud
— АЗОВ (@Polk_Azov) April 18, 2022
?? Russian forces, and their proxy from "lnr/dnr" know that, they know about civilians, and they keep their fire on the factory willingly. They use free fall bombs, rockets, bunker-buster bombs, all varieties of artillery, both ground and naval for indiscriminate attacks.??
— АЗОВ (@Polk_Azov) April 18, 2022
?? Therefore I urge the politicians of all civilized world to organize a proper "green corridor", ensure it's safety and provide immediate evacuation and protection of civilians, wounded soldiers, and bodies of dead soldiers, to bury them with honors.‼️
— АЗОВ (@Polk_Azov) April 18, 2022
LNR and DNR are shorthand for the Russian occupied and controlled Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic.
?? occupiers struck Metallurgical Combine #Azovstal with the heaviest aerial bombs.#Mariupol City Council:
"At least 1,000 civilians are in the underground shelters of the metallurgical plant. Mostly women with children and the elderly."
STOP THE GENOCIDE OF ??! pic.twitter.com/TBj0vEpORz
— Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – Ukrainian Parliament (@ua_parliament) April 18, 2022
Thousands of civilians, including women, children and elderly, remain in Mariupol under Russian bombardment. Many hide in bomb shelters along Ukrainian forces, their wounded and dead. People are short of food, water, and medicine, and need immediate safe evacuation.#SaveMariupol pic.twitter.com/QchWTfpafI
— MFA of Ukraine ?? (@MFA_Ukraine) April 18, 2022
The Azov Regiment and the 36th Separate Marine Brigade are still fighting despite the reality they are dealing with:
Video from the Azov Regiment reportedly showing its fighters ambushing Russian soldiers (more likely DNR) in Mariupol. I cropped the ending which shows Azov soldiers throwing additional grenades at the Russian/DNR soldiers. pic.twitter.com/OLXXC4zVZL
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 18, 2022
Despite its numerous issues during this war, the Russian military can still inflict a lot of damage with airstrikes, artillery, and armor. It is difficult to defend when these capabilities are used effectively on specific objectives. https://t.co/TaBxBGI4FE
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 18, 2022
Right now the Ukrainians need more of everything and they need it yesterday. I am not trying to dump on what the Biden administration has accomplished so far in terms of coordinating getting equipment and material to the Ukrainians. They have done an amazing job getting this stuff from the US, from our EU and NATO allies, and from our non-EU and non-NATO allies into the pipeline and delivered. Unfortunately, despite all the damage the Ukrainians have inflicted on the Russians, as Rob Lee states above, the Russians are still capable of inflicting a lot of damage on the Ukrainians.
Here’s today’s DOD background briefing from a senior defense official (SDO) (emphasis mine):
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Hey, good morning, everybody. I hope everybody had a good holiday weekend.
Sorry we’re starting a little bit late this morning but been — been a crowded day from — for — for me, Senior Defense Official, as before.
We’re on day four — 54 now. More than 660 missile launches since the start of the invasion. Not a whole lot of major changes to speak to since last time we talked on — on Thursday.
In terms of total battalion tactical groups that we would assess are inside Ukraine, they’re up to 76. So I know that’s one of the first questions that was going to get asked, was have we seen more reinforcements in the east, and the short answer is yes, they have added, since last time you and I talked, about 11 battalion tactical groups.
Now look, I don’t know where all them — all — all of them are, I can’t tell you they’re all in the Donbas, but all the Russian forces are in the east or in the south. That is where they — they’re — physically have ground forces. But exactly how those 11 are spread out, I couldn’t begin to tell you, but they have added to their capability inside Ukraine.
We have seen — well, let me just start geographically. So around Kharkiv, we do see continued bombing in the vicinity of Kharkiv as Russian forces continue to blockade the city. We have seen fighting to the south and the southeast of Izyum, as we did last week. So that — that is unchanged.
Our assessment in — is Mariupol is still contested, the Ukrainians continue to — to push back on Russian forces that are in the city, and certainly Mariupol remains under threat from the air, both from — from missile strikes as well as bombs from the air but even, you know, of course, artillery.
Again, in the JFO, the heaviest fighting is — is really — that we’ve seen is around Donetsk and a town called Popasna. This — this is — this is where there — there’s a focus on artillery and — and — and airstrikes. So there’s — there’s quite a bit of active fighting in — in those areas.
I would remind you that the Donbas has never not been without active fighting, even over the last eight years and certainly since this invasion, but that’s where we’re seeing that — that and — and fighting around Izyum. In terms of the Donbas areas, those are very active areas right now. Mykolaiv down in the south has been now subject for the last several days to bombardment. Things had been quiet there for a while but we have seen now some — some — some strikes there, airstrikes and artillery.
I know you — you may ask about the — the — the imagery and social media about the Moskva, on the — the — the ship burning. We’ve — we’ve seen that video, we can’t independently verify the — the — the — those images, but the — the images themselves comport with what we had assessed to be the damage done to this ship.
And then I know you’ve all seen the video of the — of the crew — the surviving crew of the Moskva. We — we can’t actually verify that that — that that — that that’s who they are or even the date that that video was — was taken. So we — we can’t tell you how many survivors there were or how many sailors fell casualty to — to the ship sinking. We just — we just don’t know.
In — in the air, we have — since — since the — we’ve seen that Russia — Russian long range aviation bombers have executed long range air launch cruise missile strikes on both Kyiv and Lviv over the last couple of days.
The — the — you know, we — we don’t know everything that was targeted or what the total damage was but our initial assessment is that they were going after — they were going after primarily military targets or what they believed to be military targets, whether that’s ammunition or — or — or hubs.
The Russians were — over the last 24 hours, were flying a little bit more than 200 sorties. So again, not totally all that different than what we’ve seen in the past. Again, heavy airstrikes in Mariupol.
In the maritime environment, we still assess that the Russian Navy is maintaining a standoff distance from Odesa, not getting very close in the wake of the Moskva’s sinking, and there’s — the — the — the Ukrainians have reported that they believe that Russia is making preparations to land Marines — Russian Marines in the vicinity of Mariupol. We can’t — we — we can’t confirm that independently but we’re certainly not in a position to — to dispute it. They do have some amphibious capability certainly in — in the Black Sea and in the — in — in the Sea of Azov. So it’s — it’s certainly within the — certainly within the realm of the possible there.
Let’s see if I’m — yeah, they could — they’ve — they’ve got — based on what we can see this morning, they’ve got at least one LST, a tank landing ship in the Sea of Azov, but they certainly have others in the Black Sea. So we’ll — we haven’t seen any movement on that, but it’s — the Ukrainians have been talking about that.
Just in terms of security assistance flow, based on the last $800 million that the president authorized, this was — that we just announced last week, already there have been four flights from the United States arriving into the theater just yesterday with a various amount of equipment.
I am not going to detail every flight for you and what’s on it. We’re just not going to — haven’t done that and we’re not going to start, but four flights have arrived in the region from the United States, and over the next 24 hours we believe that another one will arrive, so that will be five flights in almost as many days since that $800 — $800 million, sorry, was announced.
And I think that’s it. We’ll go to questions. Bob?
Q: Thank you. Regarding the Russians, Russians appear to have or at least claiming that they have accelerated, expanded their airstrikes across the country. Does it look like they are setting the stage for imminent renewal and expansion of the ground defensive in Donbas or is there a connection there or are you seeing that developing? Thank you.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I think, Bob, as most of the airstrike activity and artillery continues to be in the east focused on the Donbas, Mariupol in particular. We did see some strikes in Kyiv and Lviv over the last 24 hours or so, but they were I would say by exception, and we’re not seeing a lot of other airstrike activity elsewhere in Ukraine. Almost all the airstrike and artillery action is in the Donbas or in the south by Mariupol.
So it’s difficult to say that that’s some sort of sign that, you know, that there’s an imminence here. We still believe that the Russians are doing a fair amount of shaping. They’re still moving in command and control, artillery, other enablers into the Donbas. And as I’ve said since the last time we’ve talked, you know, they’ve increased their footprint by another 11 BTGs in Ukraine. Again, I don’t know where all of them are, but all of their troops are in the east or in the south.
The other thing to remembers is that they’ve got quite a bit of ground forces in and around Mariupol because they’re still fighting for Mariupol. And so, you know, should Mariupol fall to the Russians that would free up, you know, another almost a dozen battalion tactical groups to be used elsewhere in the east and in the south. That’s a big if because the Ukrainians are still fighting very, very hard for Mariupol, but that’s another source of manpower that they could use should it come to that.
The rest of the Q&A at the link! If you click across you’ll see that the SDO, in one of his answers, indicates that the US has agreed to begin training Ukrainian artillerists on American artillery. While he or she didn’t elaborate, I expect that Ukraine will select the artillerists to be trained, they’ll be pulled out of theater, and sent to train with the 56th Artillery Command, which is the theater army artillery for US Army Europe. Its colors were uncased last year and its first new commander is MG Steve Maranian. Full disclosure: I’ve known MG Maranian since he was a colonel and he was a student at USAWC. The Ukrainian artillerists will be in excellent hands!
As you can see from the senior defense official’s statements, the Russians are really trying to crack Mariupol. The longer the Azov Regiment and the 36th Separate Marine Brigade can hold on and keep drawing Russian forces into irregular urban combat that attrits the Russian forces, the better things will go for the Ukrainians in the Donbas campaign. As long as Russia has to divert forces – 12 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) – to try to finally take Mariupol, it cannot throw its full strength against the Ukrainian Joint Force Operation.
A smart strategy for the Ukrainians, and given that what they’ve done so far has been very smart so I expect they’re already doing this, is to try to carefully insert forces into other cities in the south and east that Russia is trying to occupy, partially occupy, and/or occupying and conducting the same irregular urban combat operations that the Azov Regiment and the 36th Separate Marine Brigade have been undertaking in Mariupol. This would further divert Russia’s attention and require them to use some of their forces to deal with these threats rather than having them available for the assault on the Joint Force Operation.
Before we move on, stop and think about this for a minute: at full strength, combined, the Azov Regiment and the 36th Separate Marine Brigade have approximately 1,000 to 1,200 Soldiers and Marines based on pre-reinvasion estimates of their troop strength. They’ve definitely lost personnel over the past fifty days. Each Russian battalion tactical group has between 600 and 800 personnel. If we go with the lower end of the estimate for the Russian BTGs because they’ve definitely lost some troop strength over the past fifty days, no more than 1,000 Ukrainian Soldiers and Marines are both holding off and tying up around 7,200 Russian soldiers. We’re talking MG Buford and his two battalions of Union cavalry plus Calef’s Battery holding up the Army of Northern Virginia’s entry into Gettysburg type of situation here. We can only hope that the Ukrainians are doing everything they can to bring up their equivalent of the Iron Brigade to backstop Mariupol’s defenders.
The Ukrainians also started counterattacking where they could yesterday:
⚡️ Governor says Ukrainian troops counterattack near Kharkiv.
They have liberated the villages of Bazaliivka and Lebyazhe and part of Kutuzivka and advanced in the village of Mala Rohan, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synehubov said on April 17.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 17, 2022
I’ve seen a reliable analyst/commenter make the argument that the Ukrainian counterattack yesterday in Kharkiv Oblast means that they can isolate the Russian BTGs and other units moving from northeast to south by cutting the roads and then picking the Russians apart. This makes sense, however, some of the mapping being relied on is from pseudonymous sources and those give me the hives. This isn’t a knock on Professor O’Brien, he’s very good and knows his business. But it is the reason I almost exclusively post the UK maps because I know where they come from. This is something we should and will definitely keep an eye on over the next few days, because if the sources that Professor O’Brien is relying on are correct despite being pseudonymous, then we’ll get reporting about the Ukrainian military having cut the roads that the Russians must rely on to move from north to east for the Donbas campaign. And subsequent reporting to that about the Ukrainians then targeting the Russian forces stacked up on roads they can’t transit.
A quick note on mapping and OSINT in general. While I may not know the names of the specific geospatial analysts working for British Military Intelligence, I know that British Military Intelligence and its geospatial analysis section are legitimate and do high quality work. What I don’t know is who any of these pseudonymous people on Twitter pumping out what they’re calling Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) 24/7 since the beginning of the war are. Quite often the imagery they post turns out to have come from other conflicts years in the past as was the case with the booby trapped teddy bear I referred to last night.
This means that somewhere between some and a lot of what is getting pumped out as OSINT is really Rumor Intel (RUMINT) or just completely made up. We don’t have an acronym for completely made up, but I suppose BS will do. Finally, OSINT is so much more than just imagery analysis, geospatial analysis, and mapping based on open sources. It is also collecting, sifting, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing reporting from a variety of legitimate open sources and then compiling it into useful, timely, and digestible informational deliverables to enhance situational awareness and decision making. A lot of the pseudonymous OSINT accounts focus on different types of imagery or maps of what is going on in Ukraine, and that’s fine, but its not the totality of OSINT.
Since I’m sure someone is going to ask in the comments, yes I am aware that Senior Chief (ret) Malcolm Nance has joined the Ukrainian International Legion. Good for him for having the courage of his convictions.
We’ll end with your semi-daily Chef Jose Andres:
This is what we do… Welcome to one of our @WCKitchen kitchens in Kyiv! Today we delivered these meals to hospitals…VIP is one of over 400 amazing WCK restaurant, catering & food truck partners serving 320,000 meals per day in Ukraine and border countries! #ChefsForUkraine ?? pic.twitter.com/bdPD5KzcLe
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) April 18, 2022