It’s been a long week, I’m fried, so tonight’s update is just going to be pretty basic.
Let’s start with President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier this evening. As always the transcript follows the jump (emphasis mine).
Unbreakable people of the bravest country!
The 65th day of our defense is coming to an end. We are beating the occupiers in all directions where they are trying to advance.
The situation in the Kharkiv region is tough. But our military, our intelligence, have important tactical success.
In Donbas, the occupiers are doing everything to destroy any life in this area. Constant brutal bombings, constant Russian strikes at infrastructure and residential areas show that Russia wants to make this area uninhabited. Therefore, the defense of our land, the protection of our people is literally a struggle for life. For Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Popasna, Kramatorsk, Slovyansk, Marinka and all other cities and communities of Donbas, which Russian troops want to turn into ruins, absolutely everything is being decided in this war.
Only if Ukraine withstands will they live. If the Russian invaders succeed in realizing their plans, at least in part, they will still have enough artillery and aircraft to destroy the entire Donbas. Just as they destroyed Mariupol.
The city, which was one of the most developed in the region, is simply a Russian concentration camp in the middle of ruins. And the order of the occupiers in that part of Mariupol which they unfortunately still control differs insignificantly from what the Nazis did in the occupied territory of Eastern Europe.
But the Russian troops manage to be even more cynical than the Nazis 80 years ago. At that time, the invaders did not say that it was the Mariupol residents and the defenders of the city who shelled and killed themselves.
I am grateful to the United States, President Biden and Congress for an analogue of the famous Lend-Lease program, which will be very helpful in the fight against Russia, against the Russian invaders. Which helped a lot in the fight against the Nazis during World War II.
I am sure that now the Lend-Lease will help Ukraine and the whole free world beat the ideological successors of the Nazis, who started a war against us on our land. Lend-Lease and other programs in support of Ukraine are concrete proof that freedom is still able to defend itself against tyranny.
Today, the Government of Ukraine considered the issue of eliminating the deficit in the fuel market. Queues and rising prices at gas stations are seen in many regions of our country. The occupiers are deliberately destroying the infrastructure for the production, supply and storage of fuel. Russia has also blocked our ports, so there are no immediate solutions to replenish the deficit. But government officials promise that within a week, maximum two, a system of fuel supply to Ukraine will be provided that will be able to prevent a deficit.
This is a difficult task after the Russian missile strike at the Kremenchuk refinery. But government officials along with fuel suppliers, traders and networks must fulfill this task no matter how difficult it may be. I’m sure they will. We must take from the European Union as much fuel as our citizens need now.
Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ukraine Melinda Simmons returned to Kyiv today.
Currently, 27 foreign diplomatic missions operate in the capital of our country. And this is an extremely important gesture of support for Ukraine, for which we are grateful to all of them.
Such gestures, together with strong defensive, financial and political support from the free world, mean that the need to end the war is becoming more and more obvious to Russia. The defeat of the occupiers is unalterable.
In the temporarily occupied areas of the Kherson region, collaborators say that they are allegedly preparing for the transition to the “ruble zone”. Any attempt to transfer our territory to Russia’s administrative, monetary, or any other system will mean only one thing: Russia itself will suffer from that. Our responses, sanctions and other reactions of the free world to Russia’s aggressive actions will not be delayed.
The dismantlement of debris in Kyiv, where Russian missiles hit yesterday during the visit of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, continues. Unfortunately, such a deliberate and brutal humiliation of the United Nations by Russia was left without a powerful response.
Today it became known that a journalist, an employee of Radio Liberty Vera Hyrych was killed by a Russian missile hitting a residential building in Kyiv. She became the 23rd media representative whose life was cut short as a result of the Russian invasion since February 24. My condolences to all relatives and friends. Eternal memory to all the victims of this war!
Today in the White Hall of Heroes of Ukraine in the Mariyinsky Palace, I presented awards to our defenders and members of the families of fallen warriors. The Order of the Golden Star was awarded to the Heroes of Ukraine: Lieutenant Colonel Serhiy Burkovsky, Captain Vitaliy Hural, Senior Lieutenant Dmytro Dozirchy, Lieutenant Colonel Oleksandr Zuhravy, Colonel Dmytro Kashchenko, Major Oleksandr Kukurba, Captain Oleh Pasichnyk, Lieutenant Colonel Vyacheslav Tsyhankov, Colonel of the Medical Service Oleksandr Sliesarenko, Lieutenant Colonel Leonid Khoda, Colonel Denys Chayuk and Lieutenant General Serhiy Nayev.
Also, three servicemen were posthumously awarded the Order of the Golden Star. I had the honor to hand them over to the relatives of our heroes – Sergeant Volodymyr Balyuk, Master Sergeant Oleksandr Tsyupak, Major Pavlo Sbytov.
It is thanks to our heroes, thanks to all those who stood up for our state, that we can live, can be with our families in our homes.
Glory to all our heroes!
Glory to Ukraine!
The operational update regarding the russian invasion on 18.00 on April 29, 2022
The sixty-fifth 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.
russian enemy continues to carry out offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to defeat the Joint Forces, establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and maintain the land route with the occupied Crimea.
In the Volyn and Polissya areas, certain units of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus continue to carry out tasks to strengthen the section of the Ukrainian-belarusian border in the Brest and Gomel regions. An inspection of the readiness of the aviation component of the regular forces and means of the air defense system of the republic of belarus was noted.
The threat of missile and bomb strikes on the objects of Ukraine from the territory of the republic of belarus remains.
In the Siversky direction, russian enemy, by keeping the appropriate set of troops, is trying to prevent the movement of reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the Siversky direction to the Eastern Operational Zone. In the areas of the Bryansk and Kursk regions bordering Ukraine, russian enemy deployed part of the units to restore combat capability.
In the future, it is possible that the enemy will demonstrate and provoke in the areas adjacent to the state border of Ukraine. In particular, there is a possibility of shelling of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine and infrastructure in the border areas.
In the Slobozhansky direction, russian enemy group of the 6th Combined Arms Army, the coastal troops of the Baltic and Northern Fleets is focusing on maintaining positions in the area north and southeast of Kharkiv, trying to deploy additional artillery units.
In the Izium direction, russian enemy is operating with units of the 1st Tank Army, the 20th Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District, the 35th Combined Arms Army, the 68th Army Corps of the Eastern Military District and the Airborne Troops. The russian enemy’s main efforts are focused on conducting reconnaissance and inflicting fire damage on units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
To ensure additional transfer of troops in the Izyum direction, russian occupiers provide additional pontoon-bridge crossings across the Siversky Donets River.
In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, enemy units are trying to launch an offensive in the Lyman, Severodonetsk, and Popasna directions. russian enemy continues to try to establish full control over the settlements of Rubizhne and Popasna and is preparing to advance on Severodonetsk. russian enemy continues artillery shelling of our troops.
In the Kurakhiv direction, the occupiers’ groups were reinforced by additional artillery units from the 1st Army Corps.
In the Mariupol direction, russian enemy continued to launch air strikes on Mariupol. It focused its main efforts on blocking the units of Ukrainian troops in the area of the Azovstal plant, and also transferred some units from the Mariupol to the Kurakhiv direction.
russian enemy continues to launch air and missile strikes to destroy civilian infrastructure and disrupt the logistics of our troops. In order to clarify the position of the units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine, russian enemy conducted air reconnaissance using the Orlan-10 UAV. It continues to lose this reconnaissance equipment.
In the South Buh and Bessarabian directions, russian enemy is trying to fight with the available forces in order to improve its tactical position. Continues to regroup, increases the system of fire damage, improves the engineering equipment of positions.
As part of the increase in the system of logistics of the troops, russian occupiers deployed assembly points for damaged vehicles and points for repair and restoration of equipment.
In the transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, russian federation continues to disseminate information through pro-kremlin media about the threat to the population of the region from Ukraine. In particular, there are reports of another case of Ukrainian UAVs being used over ammunition depots.
Defenders of Ukraine hold certain defensive lines, destroy the enemy, continue to move deep into the occupied territories and liberate settlements.
We believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Let’s win together!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here’s today’s updated assessment from the British Ministry of Defense.
And here’s their map for today:
As you can see there is even less contested space in that horse shoe shaped area between Izium and Luhansk than there was yesterday.
Here’s the transcript from today’s background briefing by the DOD (emphasis mine):
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay, good morning, everybody. Thanks for hanging in with me and happy Friday to you all.
We’ll — we’ll go through some operational stuff first — not a whole lot of changes — and then I’ll — I’ll shift from that to — to the security assistance and — and the training piece. Again, not a whole lot of updates from yesterday, and then we’ll get to your questions.
So here we are on day 64. We’ve observed more than 1,950, now, missile launches. I would tell you that the — the — the preponderance of strikes still are in the JFO and Mariupol, and I would add that in Mariupol, what we’re seeing, a predominance of the ordinance being dropped is dumb ordinance, not precision-guided, and — and we think that that speaks to challenges that the Russians are having with PGM replenishment.
We have also observed, as you guys have all seen, you know, some increasing strike activities in central Ukraine, including Kyiv, as — as well as Western Ukraine, including Odesa and the Odesa area. Again, I — I want to be careful here. We — we don’t have perfect visibility into Russian targeting and — and the Russian mindset as to everything they’re doing. But in general, what we think they’re trying to do is get at the ability of the Ukrainians to — to replenish their own stores and to reinforce themselves.
So for instance, we’re seeing at — at least attempted attacks on — on electrical power facilities, perhaps because the Russians believe if they can knock out some electricity, they can affect the ability of trains, for instance, to move. So it — it’s — it’s not a perfect picture. For instance, in Kyiv, some of the strikes in Kyiv we believe were meant for — for military production capabilities. Now, I know that there’s reports that they hit residential areas. We have no reason to doubt that they did, but we don’t believe at 100 percent certain that they meant to hit residential areas. In other words, they could have been misses.
The — the strikes around Odesa are a little bit more difficult to discern exactly what they’re doing there. We still don’t see any — any amphibious move on Odesa, or any ground move on Odesa. Again, it could be of a piece — could be of a piece of their efforts to try to pin down Ukrainian forces in the area between Odesa and Mykolaiv so that they can’t come to the assistance of their colleagues further in the east in the Donbas area. We — we’re not 100 percent sure. I don’t want to own their thought process; I’m just trying to give you what we — what we kind of think.
Now, in the Donbas area, again, still fighting over in — in various different locations. We believe that essentially what they’re doing is — is continuing to set conditions for a sustained and larger and longer offensive; that I am not suggesting that offensive hasn’t begun. Of course, they’ve begun. There is fighting there. But we still think that it is of a piece of their trying to set the proper conditions for — for sustained offensive operations.
They have made some — the Russians now have made some incremental, uneven and slow advances to the southeast and southwest of Izyum. They appear to be advancing toward towards Sloviansk and a place called Barvinkoe. They continue to use — and this is, again, we’ve talked about this before, given what we expected them to do in the Donbas and — and the importance of long-range fires, but what we see them doing is using artillery and some airstrikes in advance of their ground movements. And so their ground movements are fairly plodding because A, the artillery and airstrikes that they are launching against Ukrainian positions are not having the effect that they want them to have. The Ukrainians are still able to resist a number — and — and B, they’re still a little wary of getting out ahead of their supply lines. They don’t want to make the same mistakes that they’ve made in Kyiv, and so we think they’re — they’re making this sort of plodding, uneven progress, but it is very doctrinal in its approach: launch airstrikes, artillery strikes in advance of — of ground movements, and then only — only then, when you think you’ve softened up the Ukrainian lines do you start to move your ground units. But they’re running straight into stiff Ukrainian resistance. So that’s why we think this progress has been slow and uneven still over the last 24 hours.
We also assess that because of this slow and uneven progress, again, without perfect knowledge of every aspect of the Russian plan, we do believe and assess that they are behind schedule in what they were trying to accomplish in the Donbas. We still believe that — that they want to — that — that they want to press the Ukrainians from three — from three directions: from the east, where they already have Russian forces in the — the — the eastern part of the Donbas region and have had for eight years; from the north, we just talked about that coming out of Izyum; and then from the south coming out of Mariupol. I do not have today a — a number of how many troops have left Mariupol and are moving north. I — I know I’m going to get asked that question. I’m trying to get ahead of you here. I don’t have that number, but we still assess that they are moving forces, trying to move north out of Mariupol and so that they can approach the Ukrainian Armed Forces from that southerly direction. But again, we would assess that their progress in doing so has been slow and uneven, and certainly not decisive in any — in any event.
Today, we believe that they — they still have 92 operational BTGs in Ukraine, but that doesn’t mean, as I said yesterday, that these are all — BTGs are full-up rounds. Yes, they’re operational. They’re capable of — of conducting combat operations, but as I said yesterday, we believe they have suffered attrition. They have suffered losses. Not all these BTGs are — are at 100 percent capability, and we also assess that part of this is not — is — is obviously, the — the fighting that’s going on, but also because, you know, they — they were fairly rushed in reinforcing some of these units into the east. You know, we — we talked a couple of weeks ago about how they are moving troops out of Kyiv and Chernihiv and — and they were to move them to the east to Velykyi and to Belgorod and refit them and resupply them. And that happened, but it happened at a fairly clipped — a fairly-fast clip, and — and so we don’t assess that every BTG that was put back in was put back in even at full strength. So just something to — to note.
They, again, they’re trying to overcome, you know, some of those challenges they had. We’ve said that before, but it is absolutely not clear that they have solved all their problems, and so we would not assess that — that they — that they — that they have everything in place that they need to be fully-successful. That’s it. Of course, they have a numeric advantage and they are concentrating more force in a smaller geographic area, so we have to take that into account. And again, the Ukrainians are putting up a strong resistance throughout the — throughout the area.
There’s absolutely nothing to update in the maritime environment. I’m not even going to go through all the details with you, cause there’s really nothing changed from yesterday. So I’m not going to waste your time with that.
And on security assistance, still a — still a little bit more than 60 percent now of the howitzers have transferred to — into Ukrainian military hands. That’s not a change from yesterday, it’s about 60 percent, but there’s been no numeric changes from yesterday.
Let’s see. Got about — you know, the — the — the 155 artillery rounds continue to — to flow into Ukraine, even over the last 24 hours, and more and more are getting into the region for further shipment into Ukraine, but that — that — they are arriving in there.
In the next 24 hours, more than a dozen flights are expected from the continental United States and — and that will include howitzers, more 155 rounds, some of those Phoenix Ghost UAVs, and — and even some of the radars that we talked about. So the — that’s on PDA-8, and like I said, more than a dozen flights expected in the next 24 hours.
In — let’s see — see if I can find anything else interesting in here. I would say in the last 24 hour, there have been almost 20 deliveries via airlift from seven different nations that have been received in the region at multiple locations, with — with everything from mines to — to small caliber rounds and rockets, 122 millimeter rockets, helmets, body armor, 155 — I’m sorry, that’s from the United States — but so lots of things coming in from other nations as well.
On the training side, we’ve got that second class of more than 50 Ukrainian military. They’re — they’re now, I think, in day three of their training outside Ukraine. There’s additional howitzer training for more additional Ukrainians, almost 100 more getting howitzer training at — at a different location outside Ukraine.
The — there are about 15 Ukrainians that are now in day two of a week-long course on the Q-64, and about 60 of them are — commenced training yesterday. As I said on the M113, that — that’ll be broken up, that’s a the five day thing. You’ve got about three days that are dedicated to maintaining that — that piece of gear and two days dedicated to learning how to drive it. So that’s about a five day thing and it began yesterday.
And I think I’ll stop there and we’ll take questions. Let’s see. Lita, you’re on.
Q: Hi, thanks. One quick question on the American who was apparently killed in Ukraine, Joseph Cancel Willy (sic) — or Willy Joseph. Do you have anything more on him or — and I know you had very little visibility into Americans that may have gone over there to fight but is — is there anything you are gleaning on — on that?
And then just a broader question on the training, is the U.S. helping to facilitate the movement of the Ukrainian soldiers to training? And just give us a — sort of a — a better picture of — I know you don’t want to say where it’s happening but sort of how this is being sort of constructed?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah, so on the — on the — on the individual killed, Lita, we don’t have any information on — on him, we — we — we just don’t. We have — we have no way of tracking individual Americans that decide to — to go fight in Ukraine.
I — let me just say what I — you know, our — our — our thoughts and — and — and prayers go out to his family. We understand from press reporting that — you know, that he — that he was married and — and had a — a — a young child, and that’s — that’s just horrible — horrible news for any family to get. And — and the — and the Department of Defense sends its deepest condolences to all his family and — and loved ones.
We — we continue to urge Americans not to go to Ukraine. It is an active war zone. This is not the place and it’s not the time for Americans to travel to Ukraine, no matter how altruistic they may be. Now, what we would encourage Americans to do is contribute to any number of non-governmental and non-profit organizations that are trying to contribute to humanitarian assistance there — Red Cross is a great example. If you want to help Ukraine as a private citizen, that’s the best way to do that.
On your other question, without getting into too many specific details — and I’m not going to if pressed — I’m just not going to go there, guys — but yes, we have, in — in many cases, helped with the transportation of Ukrainian soldiers to training sites, not helping them get out of Ukraine.
So I do not want to leave you with the impression that we’re going into Ukraine and we’re flying — we’re transporting Ukrainian soldiers out of the country. That is not happening. But once they are out of the country, in the past, in certain circumstances, we have helped get them to their training locations and we will assist in — in getting them from those training locations back to a position where they can reenter Ukraine.
We are not — not transporting soldiers from inside Ukraine out of Ukraine. We — as the President said, there’s not going to be any U.S. forces fighting in Ukraine, and so we are not — we are not participating in that, but we are helping with their — with — with some of the transportation to get them to — to training locations.
But again, let me just stress, that transportation starts and ends outside of Ukraine. Does that answer your question?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah. Okay, Phil Stewart?
Q: Hey. There was a German magazine report saying that U.S. special forces were inside Ukraine training Ukrainians on urban warfare techniques. Just double-checking, are there any — has there been any change to the disposition, the idea that U.S. forces are allowed or not allowed to go into Ukraine to do training?
Q: We can’t hear anything, by the way.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Can you guys hear me now?
Q: Now we can.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Hello?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: — what the hell happened there. Phil, did you get my answer?
Q: No, no, no, no. I thought maybe the question was, like, you know, a — a shocker and the systems went down.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No, it wasn’t a shocker. I guess the system screwed up. What I was saying is there are no U.S. forces training in Ukraine.
Q: Thanks so much.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay. Eric Schmitt?
Q: Two questions. You said in your introductory comments that the Russians are behind schedule in what they’re trying to achieve in the Donbas. How far behind schedule are they, in your estimate? And what had the Pentagon — what have they thought they would have been able to achieve by this point? Then I’ve got a — one more question.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I’d say, just in general, we’d assess, cause it’s different on every line of — of approach, Eric, but I think you’re — be fine if you said that we believe they’re at least several days behind where they wanted to be. But again, it varies on the line, whether it’s from the north or the south.
And we — we believe that they — they — they meant to be much further along, in terms of a total encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the east, and they have not been able to link north with south. In fact, they’re nowhere close to linking north with south as the Ukrainians continue to fight back.
Much more of the Q&A at the link!
For those wondering, this is the Marine vet who was killed fighting in Ukraine:
JUST IN: American killed while fighting in Ukraine. https://t.co/h7mYwjuQLP pic.twitter.com/3tVc5Sd7BR
— ABC News (@ABC) April 29, 2022
So several interesting bits of information in the DOD backgrounder today. I think the most interesting for me is the assessment that the Russians aren’t moving quickly because they aren’t able to in the east and, as a result are behind what the US has assessed as the Russian’s timetable or schedule for conducting the Donbas campaign. This last answer in the Q&A I highlighted is to me the real key takeaway: the Russians are nowhere close to actually encircling the Ukrainian Joint Force Operation. That is very good news!
Another oil depot went up in flames in Russia early in the morning:
There’s a fire at an oil depot in Russian-occupied territory in Donetsk. https://t.co/pwYtAuVHKl pic.twitter.com/7GUaGteWkQ
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 29, 2022
Such a shame…
Russian forces are also getting into deadly fights with each other. From Ukrayinsky Pravda:
Russian troops from Buryatia [a republic in the Far East of the Russian Federation] and from Chechnya [or the Chechen Republic – also part of the Russian Federation] exchanged fire in the Russian-occupied village of Kyselivka, in the Kherson Region.
Source: Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, on Telegram
According to Ukrainian Intelligence: “Soldiers of the Russian Federation from Chechnya and Buryatia shot at one another in the occupied Kyselivka (Chornobaivka municipal territorial community, Kherson Region).
Over 50 soldiers on each side took part in last night’s shoot-out. The exact number of casualties and fatalities is currently unknown.
One of the reasons for this ethnic conflict is the reluctance of the Buryat soldiers to conduct offensive operations and their perception of the “inequality” of their circumstances compared to those of the Chechen soldiers. The latter are never on the frontline – they always remain in the rear as “barricading detachments.” Their task is to ensure the units of [Russian] occupying forces maintain active military action. That is, to open fire on those [Russian troops] who are trying to retreat.”
Details: Ukrainian intelligence believes that the conflict may have been caused by Buryat soldiers’ dissatisfaction with the distribution of property looted from Ukrainians. It seems that all the booty was taken by the Kadyrovites [the Chechen troops], so the Buryat troops decided to initiate a redistribution.
The Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine also reported a similar conflict between commanders and privates in the occupied village of Fedorivka in Zaporizhzhia. Supposedly, lower ranked soldiers feel cheated because they were promised to take part in hostilities similar to the 2014 Russian occupation of Crimea – without resistance.
More at the link!
Speaking of tensions amongst the Russians, from The Washington Post:
In the two months since Russia invaded Ukraine, the silence — and even acquiescence — of the Russian elite has started to fray.
Even as opinion polls report overwhelming public support for the military campaign, amid pervasive state propaganda and new laws outlawing criticism of the war, cracks are starting to show. The dividing lines among factions of the Russian economic elite are becoming more marked, and some of the tycoons — especially those who made their fortunes before President Vladimir Putin came to power — have begun, tentatively, to speak.
For many, the most immediate focus has been their own woes. Sweeping sanctions imposed by the West have brought down a new iron curtain on the Russian economy, freezing tens of billions of dollars of many of the tycoons’ assets along the way.
“In one day, they destroyed what was built over many years. It’s a catastrophe,” said one businessman who was summoned along with many of the country’s other richest men to meet Putin on the day of the invasion.
In interviews, several Russian billionaires, senior bankers, a senior official and former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, described how they and others had been blindsided by their increasingly isolated president and feel largely impotent to influence him because his inner circle is dominated by a handful of hard-line security officials.
The complaints aired in public so far are mostly muted and focused primarily on the government’s proposed economic response to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West. No one has directly criticized Putin.
Much more at the link!
Pope Francis reached out to Putin three times asking to allow the ship with a Vatican flag to evacuate civilians trapped in Mariupol's Azovstal steel mill, but all three times his requests were rejected, according to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggerohttps://t.co/DobXFvU8SH
— Olga Tokariuk (@olgatokariuk) April 29, 2022
Volunteer Halyna Odnoroh: a resident of #Mariupol and his dog Zhuzha have walked on foot to Zaporizhzhia for five days. They walked under shellings & amongst mines. That's what "a russian green corridor" looks like #SaveMariupol #Azovstal pic.twitter.com/9UE0IyLEhV
— Olena Halushka (@OlenaHalushka) April 29, 2022
14-year-old athlete Alina Perehudova and her mother died in Mariupol as a result of shelling by Russian occupation forces, the local city council reported.
At her age, the girl already achieved considerable success in weightlifting (national gold) & had high hopes for the future pic.twitter.com/DnC6GoLQ1Y
— Hromadske Int. (@Hromadske) April 29, 2022
⚡️Mariupol Couple made a video- an appeal in sign language,The couple still remain tere-Their apartment burned down they are forced to live in the basement. They want to leave for Zaporizhzhia, they don’t know how to do it – they don’t hear anything are cut off from information. pic.twitter.com/sgxlcBp0XS
— Lyalya Ukraine (@lyalyaHorsky) April 29, 2022
russians damaged the centralized water supply system in #Mykolayiv. It's impossible to repair it now as the shellings of the area would never stop. The humanitarian situation there is complicated, people are forced to collect rain water or water from ponds
Photos: Ukraine Now pic.twitter.com/AdfpUa574E
— Olena Halushka (@OlenaHalushka) April 29, 2022
⚡️Mayor: Russian forces begin mass abduction of people in occupied Melitopol.
According to Ivan Fedorov, two weeks ago, Russian occupiers began illegally conscripting men of military age. But recently, Russians have started to kidnap them from checkpoints en masse, he said.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 29, 2022
this is vira hyrych, a ukrainian journalist. she was killed by yesterday night‘s russian airstrike at her own kyiv apartment pic.twitter.com/ahyoOAHtNa
— maksym.eristavi ???️? (@MaximEristavi) April 29, 2022
Russian state backed media is still running father to extreme than Putin:
Russian TV keeps threatening nuclear strikes against Western nations, desperately trying to deter them from continuing to help Ukraine. On a side note, this is the first state TV host who doesn't seem to be eager to die for the Motherland, arguing with a trigger-happy lawmaker. pic.twitter.com/PBvBP5V1lk
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) April 28, 2022
Military expert on state TV talks about "filtration camps" for POWs, with just one facility "set up to accept 100,000." With such large numbers, they're obviously talking not just about POWs, but Ukrainians at large who don't welcome Putin's invasion. How many camps are there? pic.twitter.com/X8IE7ob2oD
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) April 30, 2022
One day earlier: https://t.co/ULgPPcWxxK
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) April 30, 2022
While it doesn’t appear they were targeted, the Russians did target the railways in western Ukraine on the same day that Secretaries Austin and Blinken traveled to and from Kyiv by train.
Professor Jason Stanley, who is a specialist on fascism as a political philosophy, has a long read on Russia, genocide, and Ukraine at Project Syndicate:
EW HAVEN – The crime of genocide involves a proven attempt to destroy, “in whole or in part,” a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group – to erase all traces of it, culturally and physically. This objective is pursued through methods including mass murder, rape, kidnapping, and involuntary abortion and sterilization. While children may be re-educated to adopt an entirely new identity, their old culture will have been systematically erased from books and other media, the goal being to deny that their ancestors ever existed at all. When we think of genocide, we of course mourn the victims. Beyond the unspeakable physical violence, the erasure of identities – the rendering of entire peoples into myth – is deeply tragic. But this phenomenon can be fully understood only by looking at it from the perpetrators’ perspective, too. Genocide has played an instrumental role in many countries’ national histories. And sometimes it is the result of a people’s conscious and willing decision to identify themselves – to define the very essence of their nationhood – in terms of the elimination of another group. I want to hold up an empathetic mirror to some of genocide’s worst perpetrators. I want to speak about the lasting harms done to the peoplehood – the sense of community and group identity – of those who commit genocide specifically as an expression of their own nationality. I want to focus on the special status of such legacies.
Rationalizing the Irrational
What can lead a people to tie their national identity to the explicit genocide of another people? By definition, genocidal rhetoric singles out a specific social group and justifies its eradication. An “antagonistic ideological social group” is a cohort whose self-definition involves a strongly negative collective response to another group. Genocidal speech creates the most extreme kind of antagonistic ideological social group, nurturing this negative emotional attunement in a specific way. By advancing false narratives about history, it defines the targeted group’s essence as an existential threat. A “genocidal antagonistic ideological social group” is thus one whose identity is based on the notion that its own existence is imperiled by that of another group.
Justifying enthusiastic, open genocide is a complicated process, and these highly abstract concepts are central to understanding it. But examples can make the abstract concrete. On April 3, 2022, the official Russian press agency RIA Novosti published an article titled, “What Should Russia Do with Ukraine?” The historian Timothy Snyder has aptly described this text as “Russia’s Genocide Handbook,” noting that it is “one of the most openly genocidal documents I have ever seen.” As a pre-eminent historian of mass killing, Snyder’s assessment carries weight. It indicates that we are dealing with one of the most explicit examples of genocidal speech that has ever been written. From the outset, Russian President Vladimir Putin has justified his war in Ukraine as a campaign of “denazification.” The handbook fleshes out this justification in disturbing detail. After describing Ukraine as “the enemy of Russia and a tool of the West used to destroy Russia,” it develops an elaborate argument to support this claim. Readers are told that the West has abandoned its traditional European values in favor of “Western totalitarianism, the imposed programs of civilizational degradation and disintegration, the mechanisms of subjugation under the superpower of the West and the United States.” Viewed in these terms, Russia is “the last authority in protecting and preserving those values of historical Europe (the Old World) that deserve to be preserved and that the West ultimately abandoned, losing the fight for itself.” In a 1935 speech, “Communism with the Mask Off,” Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels describes the threat of Bolshevism in similar terms, albeit with Jews as the target. “In its final consequences,” he warned, “it signifies the destruction of all the commercial, social, political, and cultural achievements of Western Europe, in favor of a deracinated and nomadic international cabal which has found its representation in Judaism.” Just as Goebbels portrayed the Nazis as the protectors of the West’s traditional values against a cosmopolitan, decadent ideology, so, too, does the current Russian leadership promote its vision of a timeless and indestructible Russkiy Mir.
Russia’s New Identity
“What Should Russia Do with Ukraine?” offers a pseudo-historical litany of the grave wrongs that Russia has suffered at the hands of the West. “Russia did everything possible to save the West,” it proclaims, but “the West decided to take revenge on Russia for the help that it had selflessly provided.” In this telling, Ukraine is the primary tool of Western treachery, and the country’s identification as an independent nation reflects the ascendancy of “Ukronazism.” This, we are told, is an especially bad version of Nazism: “Ukronazism poses a much bigger threat to the world and Russia than the Hitler version of German Nazism.” Ukrainian identity is an “anti-Russian construct that has no civilizational substance of its own.” Its central feature – the essential nature of the Ukrainian nation – is its antagonism toward Russia. Thus, “unlike, for example, Georgia or the Baltic States, history has proved it impossible for Ukraine to exist as a nation-state, and any attempts to ‘build’ such a nation-state naturally lead to Nazism.”
The document then describes all the practices that constitute “denazification” of Ukraine. They include “mass investigations” to uncover personal responsibility for “the spread of Nazi ideology” (Ukrainian sovereignty) and “support for the Nazi regime” (the duly elected Ukrainian government and its appointed officials). The punishments for these transgressions include forced labor, imprisonment, and death. Denazification also requires “the seizure of educational materials and the prohibition of educational programs at all levels that contain Nazi ideological guidelines” (anything mentioning Ukrainian identity). In focusing on Russia’s historical role vis-à-vis the West, the document offers a new conceptualization of Russian identity. Specifically, it defines Russians as a genocidal antagonistic ideological social group. To be Russian is to be committed to the total annihilation of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. The “denazification” of Ukraine is the purest expression of Russian identity. According to its logic, Russian identity is best exemplified in acts of brutal and violent revenge. To justify Russia’s actions in Ukraine requires changing what it means to be Russian, by inscribing genocide into the national identity. To be Russian is to revel in the eradication of Ukraine. The cost of this change will be borne by all who identify as Russian, forever.
Much, much, much more at the link!
The Wall Street Journal also has a deep dive on Russian disdain for Ukraine by Ukrainian journalist Yaroslov Trofimov:
As a young poet in the Soviet Union, Joseph Brodsky was persecuted by the authorities before escaping to the U.S. in 1972 and going on to win the Nobel Prize in literature. In Soviet-era Kyiv, Ukrainian intellectuals used to trade coveted samizdat reprints of Brodsky’s poems, reciting them at clandestine gatherings.
But the affection wasn’t mutual. At a reading in 1992, less than a year into Ukraine’s existence as an independent nation, Brodsky offered a new poem titled “To the Independence of Ukraine.” “Farewell khokhols,” he intoned, using a racial slur for Ukrainians. “We’ve lived together, now enough. Wish I could spit into the Dnipro river, perhaps it would now flow backwards.” Brodsky went on to predict that when the ungrateful Ukrainians were wheezing on their deathbeds, they would surely revert to reciting the verse of the classic Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, rather than the “lies” of their own national poet, Taras Shevchenko.
The idea that Ukrainians aren’t a real people and that Ukrainian nationhood is an artificial construct has long been mainstream in Russian culture, literature and politics—including among liberal luminaries like Brodsky, who died in 1996. President Vladimir Putin’s views on Ukraine, which he expounded in an essay last year that was read to Russian soldiers preparing for the invasion, are no outlier. They follow a lengthy tradition that helps to explain the continuing support for the war among Russia’s citizens.
This blind spot dates to the beginnings of the modern Ukrainian quest for sovereignty more than a century ago. “The Russian democrat ends where the Ukrainian question begins,” said Ukrainian writer and playwright Volodymyr Vynnychenko, who served as prime minister of the short-lived Ukrainian National Republic in 1917-18. It has become one of the best-known phrases in Ukrainian politics.
The tradition of Russian hostility to Ukrainian aspirations comes in two strands. One simply denies the existence of Ukrainians as a people distinct from Russians. That was the line adopted by the Russian Empire for much of the 19th century, when it banned books in Ukrainian and the very term Ukraine, calling the region “Little Russia” instead. Another strand holds that while Ukrainians do in fact have their own identity and speak their own language, at least half the territory of present-day Ukraine really belongs to Russia and was unfairly pried away by the Soviet Union’s founder Vladimir Lenin.
That was the view of the Russian novelist and former political prisoner Alexander Solzhenitsyn, another Nobel laureate, who was exiled by the Soviets in 1974 and returned to Russia in 1994. He initially expressed understanding of Ukrainian suffering. “We should prove the greatness of our nation not by the sheer size of our territory and the number of peoples in our care, but by the greatness of our actions,” he wrote in his 1968 classic, “The Gulag Archipelago,” describing encounters with Ukrainian political prisoners.
But after Ukraine’s independence turned from a distant and unlikely prospect to reality, Solzhenitsyn adopted a different tone, one that Mr. Putin replicated in his essay last year. In a 2006 interview with Moskovskiye Novosti newspaper, Solzhenitsyn argued that southern and eastern Ukraine, the Crimea and Donbas have never belonged to historical Ukraine, and that the country was being dragged into NATO against the will of the inhabitants of these areas. “Under all these conditions, Russia can under no circumstances dare to betray the multimillion Russian population of Ukraine, renounce our unity with them,” he said.
Much more at the link!
Your semi daily Patron:
Meet Patron, the Ukrainian dog clearing explosive devices to save his country https://t.co/JlFz3ciDcJ via @FacebookWatch
— ✨Holly Ledford?⬛??-I Stand With Ukraine?? (@MoonSeduction) April 30, 2022
Your semi daily Chef Jose Andres:
Today the @WCKitchen team visited 24 liberated villages north of Kyiv…taking 9 trucks with over 3,000 food bundles for families! So amazed by our Ukrainian Food Fighters making sure nobody is left behind…even in hard to reach areas like this! #ChefsForUkraine ?? pic.twitter.com/WnIENqohp1
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) April 29, 2022
Adam, as much as I think we all appreciate everything you do with these updates. Take a break for a day or two unless something dramatic comes up. We need you to hang around for a while.
Relative to the post, it is obvious to me that the US and the west in general is really deciding that Ukraine can kick Russia’s ass. A lot of the weaponry being offered requires training and it is pretty clear they think they have the time to do so.
Major Major Major Major
Ugh! Make the evil stop.
Jeeze, Adam, this update was so basic it was only like a junior-level political science class instead of the grad school caliber we’re used to! /s
I may have said this before, but I would pay good hard-earned money to get the chance to take a course from you and I think we all feel incredibly lucky that you’ve somehow decided that we’re worth just throwing out knowledge for free like paper towels after a hurricane.
Thank you. Sincerely.
This sort of thing is just crazy to me as an outside observer. That WSJ article is very good. No wonder the Ukrainians are fighting so hard. It’s absolutely existential for them.
Why does this remind me of WWI? Only instead of just having machine guns, the defenders have ATGMs.
Mike in NC
I read “The Gulag Archipelago” in college many years ago, but eventually decided that Solzenitsyn was just a fascist asshole.
the pollyanna from hell
Trauma leads to abuse. Abuse leads to abuse.
Agriculture leads to overpopulation. Overpopulation leads to war. War leads to misogyny. Misogyny leads to overpopulation.
Thousands of years of history presented Russians with a sense of victim-hood. Much of it self-administered. Thousands of years of history presented Russians with a sense of power amounting to hubris. Their self-identification as noble agents of genocide poisons my respect for my own ancestors, and for my Russian cultural and political heroes. I will find new heroes. Humanity will grow new heroes.
I’m going to call this one a diplomatically-motivated bald-faced lie. It’s either that, or the US is breaking a 70-year old tradition.
This war seems to really be slowing down. Who does that help more? Ukraine or Russia. I can see arguments both ways.
Adam, even your “basic” reviews are on par with, if not better than, what one can find in FP journals. As always, thank you!
That megalomaniacal grandiosity that the whole world owes Russia, and everyone who was ever part of the Russian empire longs to be re-absorbed… sounds horribly like a lot of US foreign policy aspirations once upon a time. No, the US didn’t want to absorb every other country, but we have a long history of trying to impose our cultural and, especially, economic systems everywhere we went. It’s like Russia is the US’ dark Id. I don’t know how much of that is a consequence of 50+ years of Cold War, when you could say we were one another’s shadow siblings in many ways.
If the shift toward giving Ukraine more advanced weaponry, and training Ukraine’s forces on it, is an indication that our foreign policy and defense people now think Ukraine could actually win this war, that is EXCELLENT.
And the ongoing sabotage attacks in Russia interest the hell out of me, because there are so many possibilities as to who is planning and carrying them out.
Thank you for these updates, Adam. I’m truly glad that some western countries are now supplying Ukraine with modern western armor and spg’s, we need more to contribute. Because, in the long run (and I do think this conflict will last months, if not years) donating old Soviet era vehicles will no longer be viable.
Once the war is decided, perhaps along with monetary aid, we could give Ukraine licensing agreements with technology transfer for western armor and airframes, so that they can build an defense industry of their own.
Lastly, I’m of the opinion that every sanction now in place stays until Putin is out of power and a true democracy is in place. I think Russia will attempt to link release of sanctions to any future peace deal, and if we agree to that, Russia will again wreak havoc elsewhere in the world, and I hope it’ll give China pause on conquering Taiwan. I really believe if we’re weak here, this tragedy would befall Taiwan too.
@Kent: Ukraine, no contest. Russia is running out of trained troops, trained officers, transport, and weapons. Ukraine has a widening supply pipeline of ever-increasing quality weapons with no bottom to it, and is currently playing defense at odds nearing 1:1 in a sea of mud. The timing is actually looking perfect.
Adam L Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: We’re not moving our embassy back to Kyiv because the Biden administration doesn’t want the embassy’s Marine guards in country while the war is ongoing.
Adam L Silverman
@Kent: Ukraine. It gives them time to get all th equipment that’s being sold or given or lent to them in country, get familiar with what is new to them, all while continuing to attrit the Russians while the latter are trying to get set for the Donbas campaign.
@Adam L Silverman: For clarity: I meant that I believe there are Special Forces trainers in-country, deniably, and have been for some time, simply because historically that’s how the US rolls.
Adam L Silverman
@CaseyL: The original neo-cons started as neo-Marxists and Trotskyites. Then basically just moved from extreme left to right of center to hard right depending on the neo-con. That’s why you see the similarities.
Adam L Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: Biden is not really into how the US has historically rolled when it comes to military matters.
Adam, I have a question that isn’t directly applicable to this thread, but is kinda-sorta-applicable. Failed (but did better than last time) French presidential candiate Marine Le Pen said that, if elected, she would pull France, not out of NATO, but out of the joint NATO military command structure.
To me this screams “we French are planning to be freeloaders!”. As far as I can see, this means “if Poland, or Estonia, or Lithuania is attacked, we will take our sweet time about whether we contribute to their defense, since we will not be part of the immediate response. However, if we are attacked, we invoke Article V, and everyone must come to our defense!”.
If I am right that this is freeloading, it seems to me that this type of freeloading has the potential to blow up NATO. I realize that Le Pen lost the election, but 40% and a large increase over the previous election is not exactly reassuring.
So, Adam, if inclined: are my concerns valid? I’d be totally happy if you just said “no, don’t worry!”
Weasel words in a good cause. “No U.S. forces training in Ukraine” can refer to not training U.S. troops on Ukrainian soil. The statement does not specifically deny that some U.S. cadres are giving training to Ukrainian forces in Ukraine. But it can be taken as a denial.
@Kent: Ukraine. Ukraine has what amounts to unlimited resupply ( even better, an unlimited supply with better equipment). The Russians are in a grinding war of attrition with a dwindling stock of replacements of both men and equipment. Every day the balance tips towards Ukraine.
@Andrya: Le Pen lost by an amount that would be a historical drubbing in the US (basically Reagan/Mondale numbers). Worry more about what the Americans will do if the fash wins again. It’s far more likely.
deleted. duplicate comment
Been thinking about the news from a few days ago that we haven’t built new Stinger missiles for 18 years and can’t make new Stinger missiles because key parts are now obsolete. Reengineering will take a while. We may have sent most of our inventory to Ukraine already. This pace of microelectronic obsolesce has been going on for more than 18 years. I’m surprised there are not ongoing programs to keep up since this problem has to span many systems. Maybe the Pentagon just figured by now they’d want all new tech by the time we went thru the stockpiles?
@kalakal: Additionally, Ukraine is getting artillery that will outrange Russian guns and have already demonstrated the ability to accurately target. Russia has burned through most of their precision guided weapons and also has not been able to establish air superiority. They’ve lost a significant portion of their operable armor and have no prospect for being able to manufacture more. At some point, they will have to capitulate before they lose the ability to defend their own territory.
The reporter just … accepted that? Without a follow up to clarify whether [SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL] meant that Americans were not training Ukrainians, as opposed to not undergoing training themselves?
Whatever. I’m fine with it as long as Americans aren’t engaging with Russians directly.
Adam L Silverman
@Andrya: I don’t think it’s a big worry. I’ll give a more detailed answer tomorrow. I’m getting ready to rack out.
It is ambiguous – two (at least) valid but different parsings.
Adam, thanks again for all the analysis and links that you bring to this site. I can’t find this kind of information anywhere else that I can think of. You’re doing a great service here.
Oh, here’s a nice bit of ju-jitsu. Per NYT:
“Oh, you don’t want your disloyal nuclear engineers and machine-learning experts? OK, we can find a home for them…”
I’m having trouble understanding Russia conscripting Ukrainian men into their military. Even if a close watch was kept, which I doubt given all their other problems as a military. How is that a good idea? Sure they can do some manual labor. But you’ve got men, with ever reason to want to murder everybody around them. And piles of weapons nearby. Even if you shipped them back to Russia, or wanted them to fight in another country, how does that work? And given Russia abuses its own troops, any Ukrainian is probably going through hell. Maybe they bide their time, but at some point there’s alot of dead Russians for every Ukrainian that survives.
@Stuart Frasier: I totally hope you are right.
@Kelly: You think obsolescence is bad in the military? Try being in the tech industry. We buy server that we plan to run for 5 years, or in reality more like 7 or 8 especially with the current supply chain issues. The parts for them from sheet metal to semiconductor based anything tend to go end of life within 3 years. Manufacturers want to retool their line to the latest most profitable new toy. At which point you either stockpile enough to get by, or start finding a functional equivalent. That works well enough for drives, not so well for CPUs and motherboards and pretty much anything else since there really is no equivalent that can be popped in on a mass scale.
US Military definitely stocks for the long run on weapons. Can’t exactly replace all of those explosive Stinger warheads just cause the microchips went obsolete and a new version came out.
Adam L Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: Worked really well with the NAZIs we brought over. These people have been marinating in, indoctrinated into, socialized to Putinism for the past twenty years. We have enough political-social-religious extremists of our own. We don’t need to import Putin’s. This would be a counterintelligence nightmare.
@Adam L Silverman: Come on, Adam. I know a lot of these people. They aren’t Nazis and they don’t think like Putin. I happen to know of a few who are looking for the exits because of the war. Dial it down a bit.
Tomorrow’s report from Ukraine’s General Staff includes a mention of the existence of Ukrainian reserves:
It’s not much information, of course.
They will probably put them to work doing things like drive trucks through combat zones in armored convoys in which they are unarmed.
Adam L Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: Der Spinner.
Thanks for ,,, always, Adan,. You are a good guy.
I would like to add my thanks to Adam.
Some days I can’t bring myself to read all the way through, but the updates have been first rate.
It is so important that Ukraine win this decisively. First for the Ukrainian people, and secondly as a demonstrable blow to the fascists and their coddlers in the so called ‘West’, for want of a better term. I am moderately hopeful that the recent reactionary spasms across Europe, the US and the UK can be beaten back by linking them to Putin and Russia. Apart from the obvious, it’s important to link this kind of politics to weakness as well as brutality.
But first we in Oz have to get rid of our own right wing do nothing hopeless government. Bring on 21st May. May a win here and the win in France together with victory for Ukraine presage a turn around for the democratic left.
@Urza: I’m a tech industry retiree. I was one of the guys fixing Y2K bugs. Rapid obsolescence has been a thing in microelectronics and software for a long time. It seems like by now it would be addressed routinely.
@Carlo Graziani: I love our Corvette Joe. ;-> And we have the Onion to thank for that. I just have a little old Volt myself, and no personal plug-in, but yeah., You want accerletion? Drive a car with electric power sometime.
@Andrya: This seems like a similar approach that they took to the EU.
Last election she supported Frexit and leaving the Euro, which alarmed industry and the elderly. So this time she supported staying in the EU but also wanted to end France’s responsibilities- eg paying into EU budget, French people have equal rights in other EU countries but not vice versa etc
If we offer visas to Russian scientists, will they be noble pro-democracy dissidents, or thuggish Putinist moles?
Surely some of each. In proportions that we cannot predict in advance.
It would be folly to put them straight to work for us, when the activity of the wicked ones would harm our interests. Let them cool their heels until we can separate the sheep from the goats.
Meanwhile, depriving Putin of their work seems like pure gain.
I presume these scientists are going to be put through some kind of State Department vetting process.
@Carlo Graziani: U.S. Special Forces trained their Ukrainian counterparts for years before they were withdrawn (presumably to Poland) days before Russia began this war. At this point, the capable Ukrainian forces need support but not neccesarily close training. The U.S. Special Forces probably are acting as quartermasters, keeping supplies flowing to their counterparts and perhaps forwarding intelligence. They can do this from Poland, and also train Ukrainians on the use of “Switchblade” drones, etc. there.
There was a little more Transnistria news in a Jerusalem Post article dated April 29, titled “Ukraine-Russia War: Russia uses Transnistria to smuggle ammunition-GUR.” The writer quoted an official in the Ukraine Intelligence Directorate, or GUR, as saying that Russia has used Transnistria to smuggle ammunition “for years.” Evidently a very large depot near the village of Cobasna has held ammuntion stocks since 1990, when Transnistria broke away from Moldova.
The GUR briefer said that recent explosians in the quasi-country were intended to force Transnisrian government consent for Russia to augment it’s current force of 1600 troops, and perhaps pressure pro-Europe Moldovan authorities. Also, the Transnistrian Defense Ministry has announced the mobilization of all men age 18-55. and Bulgaria has called for it’s citizens to leave both Transnistria and Moldova.
Adam, you put so much into these posts. If you have a chance, I’d really appreciate your analysis of two articles I read recently. I 100% get it if you don’t have time. While the interviewers are hardly neutral observers (and have their own axes to grind), the interviewees seem to be pretty credible. Both of the sites where these appear are pretty lefty, and often anti-American (lefty I can dig, anti-American not so much).
Thank you for what you’re doing here. These are the best summaries of what’s going on that I’ve seen anywhere.
First: Your posts are far and away the absolute best I’ve found online. The fact that they are not behind a paywall blows me away. Thank you, Adam Silverman and John Cole for this!
Second: I keep having this recurring thought that I have – so far – never seen addressed anywhere, or I’ve missed it. If I were Putin, and I wanted to staunch the hemorrhaging of Russian resources during this braindead invasion, they very first fucking thing I would want to do is neutralize or destroy Ukraine’s ability to transfer any resources (esp. weaponry) across its borders. Granted, this runs the risk of engaging directly with NATO members (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania – but esp. Poland), but it seems like a no-brainer to destroy as much infrastructure (main roads, railways, bridges) near the borders in the west of Ukraine as possible, perhaps hitting as close to the border as possible and working inwards towards the heart of Ukraine. I would be firing as many cruise missiles as I had at critical infrastructure in the west of Ukraine to keep anything from flowing across that border. SO WHY IS THIS NOT BEING DONE!?
Third: Am I the only one who thinks Putin has been holding back in western Ukraine? Doesn’t it make more sense to pound the living shit out of the west (supply lines from Poland), perhaps leveling Lviv, etc., while you SIMULTANEOUSLY advance from the south (Crimea) and east (Donbass)? I’ve been waiting for Putin to unleash holy hell on the west but all I’ve seen is erratic attacks seemingly without any strategy behind them other than possible intimidation of NATO (which ain’t workin’, Vlad).
Fourth: Putin must realize that time is not on his side as NATO materiel literally pours across the border. So, WHY THE FUCK is he not specifically targetting EVERYTHING that moves across that border once it is “safely” within Ukraine (like within 5 kilometers of the border)? I cannot fathom why those border checkpoints/chokepoints aren’t smoking hellscapes by now. I would turn all that western assistance into flaming piles of rubble.
It all feels like a surreal kabuki: let’s have a nice little war but let’s not actually try to win it.
@Lavocat: I’ve read that Ukraine is controlling it’s airspace more and more.. Russian bombers may not be able to effective bomb the roads leading from Poland. And trucks may be moving at night.
Short and medium range missiles can get through, but I’m not sure if Russia has enough and these would not be easily replaced.
A couple of days ago a commenter, Gin and Tonic, came on and told us he could not participate in the discussion in Adam’s threads anymore because we don’t see the war in Ukraine correctly. I replied things might be more complicated and maybe he should make an actual argument if he were going to say that. I did not know that Gin and Tonic has family in the war in Ukraine. I did no know any of that. A person attacked me in the thread for being atrocious and inhumane. I had no idea what was happening honestly, and said that did not attach to me.
The next day, you Adam, you called me out on the main page for my insensitivity to Gin and Tonic. I apologized in the threads because it is your house. I did not reach out to apologize to Gin and Tonic, because I don’t believe he was ever actually offended by me. I felt the commenter had a lot of feeling about the war and attacking me gave her the ability to ‘do something’, I guess. But now this does attach to me like a Scarlet Letter. Another commenter attacked me personally on that basis in a different part of Balloon Juice.
What angers me is that there is not a single unit in the United States military ahead of my son’s in line when people on these forums talk about “boots on the ground” in Ukraine. That is how people like you and Carlo are fond of talking about my son, like pieces in a game. My son is the very tip of the goddamn spear. But I am ‘intellectualizing’.
There are enough details in my posts that I am not really so anonymous. I believe what is happening here will damage my public reputation if I continue to comment. I appreciate the opportunity your forum gave me to work out some ideas about this war. Many of the commenters here have been kind to me.
So I have just made a ‘Goodbye Cruel World’ post. Those were famous at Kos twenty years ago. I never made one at Kos, but I identified with them. I never commented much on the internet because it makes me attached to a fake community that doesn’t attach to me.
What has happened is hard for me to comprehend emotionally. I have done a lot of writing here. Was it was all a sad sack manic dream? I don’t think so, but a choir of angry angels have been telling me my whole life I’m not making any kind of meaningful contribution. You hope for the world to answer differently, but here I can’t undo the knot that’s been tied, so I will just cut it out. Goodbye Balloon Juice!
@wetzel: I think you are overreacting. I’ve received plenty of criticism from people here and perservered. I problably am more emotionally detached than many others, though.
Your story of your son’s experience with Covid following his high school prom was received with interest by a researcher wondering about possible superspreader events in the Northeast, on yesterday’s Covid post. Your comments have had value.
Anyway, I wish your son a full recovery, and good luck to you in your fishing endeavours!
Putin is following your advice as well as he can. He does not do more, because he cannot.
He “pounds the living shit” out of things with old fashioned artillery. It has a range of maybe 20 miles.
Much further than that, he has to use planes or missiles. He’s running out of both.
Instead of welcoming more Russians into the country we should be expelling every single Russian national on American soil regardless of visa type. Let them suffer because of Putin’s warmongering.
@wetzel: Come on, stick around. I don’t think Adam called you out by nym in his post. I’ve had similar things happen to me here. Sometimes I take a few days off.
@wetzel: I don’t even think G&T was necessarily referring just to you.
@Carlo Graziani: Very smart.
@oldster: “If we offer visas to Russian scientists, will they be noble pro-democracy dissidents, or thuggish Putinist moles?”
The West is an open society. Infiltration is easy.
@Major Major Major Major:
Seconded. Please, for the luvva whatever.
Back to Ukraine, a report this morning said Russia was moving much slower than anyone had anticipated, partly because they didn’t want to get too far ahead of their supply lines. If this is so, I’m hoping there will be lots of small-scale operations that will weaken if not destroy those supply lines.
@Geminid: I think this is right. If the USAF wanted to do this, it would be by means of precision-guided munitions after taking control of the air. The Russians don’t appear to have a lot of the former, and have utterly failed at the latter, even in Eastern Ukraine.
That last continues to be a source of delight and amazement to me, given the sheer pre-war imbalance between the two Air Forces. I know that we’ve seen a similar story play out on the ground, but air war is different, and had the Russians been training properly and maintaining their gear to reasonable standards (and traditionally i.e. in Soviet days, the Air Force had much higher technical and training standards than the Ground Forces) they really ought to have established air supremacy in the first week or two of war.
It’s another data point for an update to a prior—the rot is really, really deep.
@Hellbastard: Get stuffed.
Gin & Tonic
You’re wrong, and you’re not listening.
Alison Rose ???
@wetzel: Well, personally I had no idea of any specific people Adam had been referring to. I only knew I’d seen a handful of comments along the lines of what he’d discussed. I definitely didn’t read it and think of your nym. Probably no one else did either.
Until you decided to write this comment.
@Cameron: “the best summaries of what’s going on” in fringe “news” outlets ? How are you vetting these outlets ? That is to say, in ideologically-fraught domains, it’s important to vet the outlets and their writers *before* you read their work — otherwise you’re just getting propaganda, which is always a mix of truth and fiction, designed to achieve an ideological purpose.
And that second link: even the headline should tell you it’s bullshit.
This is true. Training would not be the only role for covert in-country Special Forces, however. Tactical intelligence support would have value as high as weapons supply.
I’m not as willing to rule out the possibility as Adam is based on Biden’s supposed allergies to traditional US natsec methodology. If that’s a reference to Afghanistan-Exit, we’re well out of that self-justifying Forever War, which was serving the Pentagon something like the function that Syria serves Russia—a convenient officer training/medalling/credentialling ground, unlikely to ever get wound up without some kind of radical surgery, including a willingness to openly recognize the waste represented by its 20 years of sunk costs. The DOD institutional objections were correctly overruled, IMO. And if Biden’s supposed timidity is a reference to the fact that he’s behaved in public as a mindful custodian in charge of the world’s largest thermonuclear arsenal — and hence one of the people making potential literal life-or-death decisions for hundreds of millions — well, we’ve been back and forth over that. I’m glad he’s in charge of those decisions, and I wish more people who fantasize about “US all-in” tried to imagine what’s involved in making them.
That said, I also believe that Biden understands power, and its uses, very well. I don’t think that a cheap, fast force multiplier like covert special forces in-country when weapons were stuck in pipelines would have triggered any particular allergies.
Thanks for continuing to track the Transnistria story. Every day it seems a bit different, but none of these versions make much sense yet to me. Why Russia would want to reinforce Transnistria, rather than get it’s 2-BTG-equivalent of troops out of Transnistria and into Eastern Ukraine, where they might actually help them lose the war more slowly, is bewildering, unless there is a strategic back-stabbing party going on in the Big Map Table Room in the Kremlin basement.
Gin & Tonic
FYI, Angelina Jolie, a special envoy of the UNHCR, was spotted at a coffee shop in Lviv today.
Be gentle with each other. It has been a hard few years and give each other a little slack. We each have our own stories of trauma and difficulties from the past few years. You are not alone.
Always remember to say please and thank you. Ask questions instead of making statements. (I am still working on all of this) And remember who the real enemy is.
Thank you Adam and please continue.(I am practicing here)
I wish you all peace of mind, spirit and heart. (Okay I am crazy dreamer :) )
@Lobo: Took me years to get to the same kind of outlook.
And as we know, I don’t always stick the landing.
@Carlo Graziani: It sounds like the Russian troops in Transnistria are actually locals who’ve been given Russian passports. If so, Putin’s plan may not be to send Russian forces to a new front. They’d be creating ‘Russian’ troops in place.
Seems to match the rumor that Transnistria is calling up all 18-55 year old men.
” Ask questions instead of making statements. ”
And never, ever, issue commands.
@wetzel: Stick around, your comments are valued
@Chetan Murthy: My take was that by “best summaries” he was referring to Adam’s posts, and was just asking about the articles in question
ETA I agree with your opinion of the articles in question.
Gin & Tonic
Ukrainian TV is reporting that some civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal plant today, headed to Zaporizhzhya, not Russia.
@Gin & Tonic: Oh that is good news.
Since wetzel referenced my comment as a “personal attack” in his flounce message, I may as well link back to that so people can make up their own minds as to whether it was a personal attack or, as I intended and I believe it to be, a criticism of his approach to commenting here (recently, in a very specific context) and his own attacks on others. As I said in my very first sentence, I don’t think this nonsense is his only contribution here, but it is nonsense and (unless I’ve just been very unlucky in which of his comments I happened to notice) it has been escalating. And he clearly doesn’t bother to read the substance of any comment once he’s decided it is an attack, since I told him exactly what I was taking issue with. This latest outburst is just another example, since he still refuses to acknowledge that his behavior toward G&T and others was over the top— apparently he just apologized to Adam on general principle because it’s Adam’s rules, but still can’t resist getting in another dig at G&T.
I mostly lurk here because I’m more interested in reading than talking. But when people start frequently going off on long rants about how they are the only valid point of view and how they are the real victim here because others pushed back at them (in case anyone missed it, here is where he said G&T “deplatformed the entire forum and spat in our faces”, and accused debbie of inflicting emotional pain by saying this)… that makes reading way less appealing. I don’t want to have to rely on the pie filter (especially since I do most of my reading on a phone, where that’s not available). I really don’t think it’s out of line to ask people to slow their roll a bit, and if wetzel feels that telling everyone they have the wrong attitude about Ukraine and Putin is so much more important than any of the other things he’s written about here that he has to flounce out rather than actually acknowledge any error (or, even without acknowledging it, just stop digging)… that’s too bad.
Alison Rose ???
@Hob: That wasn’t even in the vicinity of an attack, IMO. You were thoughtful and considerate, and you were calling them in.
@Gin & Tonic: Good news. I’m curious how that happenef.
They’d been hinting at an evacuation attempt for a few days. Seems like there must have been some negotiation with Russia since it wasnt completely covert.
That or Ukraine has some serious special forces teams.
@Gin & Tonic: Thank you for a little good news. I have been watching Adam’s MOD maps every day hoping that little striped area gets closer to Mariupol. It never seems to move.
@Alison Rose ???:
Actually, the attacker was referred to as a “she,” so I’m sure it was me he referred to. The exchange was in the Update 61 thread. My post was no more vicious or cruel than Hob’s, but it was not well taken. I’ll leave it at that.
@Geminid: Please disregard #80. Testing a link for a more current thread but it doesn’t work.