Today is a terrible milestone and an amazing one at the same time. Today is the 180th day of Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s re-invasion. Six month’s ago I wrote:
This appears to be a full scale invasion, not merely a reinforcement of the occupation of eastern Ukraine. Unlike 2014, the Ukrainians are far better prepared. They have far better capabilities. They have 8 years of combat experience in holding off further Russian incursions. I do not know, however, if they can withstand a full fledged Russian invasion that intends to take and hold Ukraine. I am in complete agreement with the assessment that without significantly more assistance, the Ukrainians need to adopt an Unconventional Warfare approach rather than meet the Russians head on. They need to draw the Russians into the cities and turn this into a three block at a time war. To do that, the Ukrainians will have to be willing to absorb significant casualties.
Putin seems to have decided to go all in. The discussion of whether he is physically and/or mentally ill are irrelevant at this point. I think it is far more likely that he has simply spent every day for the past 30 years being consumed by his belief that the fall of the Soviet Union and the diminution of Russia was solely the fault of the US and its lackeys in the EU and NATO. And that after forty years of stewing over this belief it has finally consumed him.
So now we wait. We wait to see what Putin does. We wait to see what the coming dawn in Ukraine brings. We wait to see what President Biden and our EU and NATO allies are willing to do and able to do in response.
If you’re the religious type, say a prayer for the Ukrainians tonight. If you’re not just keep good thoughts. This is going to get far, far, far worse before it gets better.
The positive signs I’m seeing are:
- The Ukrainians appear to be very motivated, for obvious reasons.
- Zelenskyy has risen to the occasion. As have the Klitschko brothers and other Ukrainian leaders, elites, and notables.
- The Ukrainian military is performing well so far.
- The Snake Island defenders and the retaking of the airport outside of Kyiv are going to be huge for military and civilian morale.
- As is the MiG 29 pilot or pilots flying sorties over Kyiv and now known as The Ghost of Kyiv.
- As of now, based on numbers from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the Ukrainians are inflicting almost 8 killed in action (KIA) on the Russians for every Ukrainian KIA. This too will be a big morale booster for the Ukrainians.
- Russian troops, including at least one whole unit, are surrendering. Again a major morale booster.
- Putin has committed only half of his forces so far. He still has plenty of reserves to throw at Ukraine.
- He has also been much more restrained than expected in use of AirPower, his missiles, and cyber warfare.
- I would very much like to know why he has held back.
I want to build out the killed in action line of analysis a bit. After the first day of fighting, the reporting was that the Ukrainians had killed 800 Russian Soldiers while suffering only 137 KIAs. By last night eastern time, the reporting was that the Ukrainians had killed an additional 2,000 Russian Soldiers bringing the total to 2,800. I have not seen an update to the Ukrainian KIA totals after the second day. I’ve also seen the numbers as 400 Russian KIA after the first day of fighting. Even if the lower number is the accurate one, and I don’t think it is, this would be 4 Russian Soldiers killed for just over every one Ukrainian Soldier killed. And while the Russians definitely have more Soldiers massed on Ukraine’s borders to throw at the Ukrainians, this is still a huge imbalance in favor of the Ukrainians. The reason I think the higher number may be more accurate is that the Russian Health Ministry has issued a nation wide mobilization of Russian doctors, nurses, and other medical person for a “mass medical emergency” event in Russia, but the orders make it clear this will be official travel. I think that this reporting is a good indicator that the Russian casualty numbers that Ukraine’s MOD is putting out are pretty close to accurate. And that Putin never expected this type of resistance from the Ukrainians or for it to be this effective. Comparative context here is important. The US lost 4,431 personnel in Iraq as of 19 JUL 2021. It is being reported that the Russians have lost almost 2/3rds of that in two days! Even if the number is half what is being reported, that is still an amazing number of KIAs in just two days.
As we hoped, the Ukrainians rose to the occasion. The defenses of Kyiv held, which prevented Putin from being able to seize the city, replace Ukraine’s leadership with his quislings, and fulfill the pseudo-historical destiny that Putin has concocted for himself and Russia. For the past six months, night and day, Ukraine has stood in the breach and held. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been pretty or pleasant. But right now Ukraine is the frontline in the defense of liberal democracy, self determination, self government, and liberty against those, like Putin, who would remake not just the international system, but all states and societies, into managed, illiberal sham democracies pitted against each other in a perpetual struggle of all against all.
We all owe Ukraine and the Ukrainians a debt of gratitude for not flinching in this grim duty that has been forced upon them. The Ukrainians heroic defense epitomizes Lincoln’s dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg:
“…we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
We are witnessing the only just war any of us will ever see in our lifetimes. We are watching everything that American leaders have pontificated about as our national ideals be defended by a state and a society that six months ago was still a transitional democracy with all the flaws and blemishes that result from that hard transition.
A great miracle is happening there.
President Zelenskyy’s address, video and English transcript after the jump (emphasis mine):
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
A report on the activity during the day.
I took part in the work of a special forum of veterans. And announced changes in state policy regarding the veteran community – we must create more opportunities for veterans. Without such changes, without this reform, it is simply impossible.
Veterans of the war for independence of Ukraine have become one of the most significant and respected groups in our society. With their specificity, with their needs, with their expectations, which must be responded to so that veterans can contribute not only to the defense of our state on the frontline, but also to the post-war development of Ukraine.
And not only the state must react, but also business, which is very important, employers, education.
We will create such a system of veteran policy and services for veterans, opportunities for their transition from military affairs to civilian life, which will be on a par with the strongest similar systems in the world. You can cite the example of the Israeli model, as well as the American one.
But our goal is for the Ukrainian experience of veteran policy to eventually become a new example for others in the world to follow.
I held a large meeting with representatives of the defense and security sector. Zaluzhny, Monastyrskyi, Danilov, Budanov and others were present. The key issues are, of course, the situation on the frontline, the security situation in big cities, as well as specific security measures due to the holidays and important political events this week – meetings, negotiations.
We are already fully prepared for the second summit of the Crimea Platform. This year’s summit will be even more powerful than last year, in terms of both the number of participants and the topics of discussion. We are significantly expanding the format of the Crimea Platform – tomorrow we will announce all the details.
And today the new diplomatic and security format “Kyiv Initiative” was founded. Ukraine’s European neighbors are already participating in its work. These are Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Baltic states. We will gradually involve other countries. In the “Kyiv Initiative” format, the work takes place at the level of foreign policy advisors to the heads of state. From the Ukrainian side, these are Andriy Sybiha and Andriy Yermak. And this format will allow us to strengthen cooperation in the region and joint protection of our interests, primarily security. This is a very promising line of our work in the Euro-Atlantic direction.
Today there is good infrastructural news – the railway branch connecting Ukraine and Moldova has been upgraded and launched. Moreover, we did it both on our territory and on the territory of Moldova – our “Ukrzaliznytsia” did it, well done. This route has been closed for almost 25 years, and now it is working for Ukraine again. This is an important transport direction. And the average volume of cargo per year can be about 10 million tons. I am grateful to our partners from Moldova.
Search operations at the site of the occupiers’ attack on a residential building in Kharkiv have ended. The building was destroyed by Russian shelling last Wednesday. Only today we managed to get the bodies of all the dead from under the rubble. This Russian strike alone claimed the lives of 19 people. One strike. And savages have not stopped such strikes at different parts of our country for 180 days.
The total number of various cruise missiles that Russia has used against us is approaching 3,500. It is simply impossible to count the strikes of Russian artillery – there are too many of them, they are too intense. And at the same time, the terrorist state does not stop playing around with international structures and once again has the audacity to convene the UN Security Council to discuss its own provocations, its own terror at the Zaporizhzhia NPP…
I am grateful to all European politicians who do not forget that the eighth sanctions package against Russia is needed. The longer the interval between sanctions packages is, the greater Russia’s audacity is. And I am grateful to all our friends, all friends of freedom in different countries of the world, who promote the need to recognize the objective reality and legally define Russia as a terrorist state. This decision will come sooner or later, and the only question is how many more lives Russia will manage to take away before the retaliatory strikes from the international community become truly tangible for those responsible for this terror.
And, dear Ukrainians, especially these days, when we celebrate the day of our flag and the day of our independence, if you are somewhere abroad, please remind about Ukraine there, be there with the Ukrainian flag and spread the truth about the crimes of the occupiers.
Let’s all stick together, no matter where we, Ukrainians, are!
Glory to all who protect the state!
Gratitude to everyone who fights for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here is today’s operational update from Ukraine’s MOD:
The operational update regarding the russian invasion on 06.00, on August 22, 2022
lory to Ukraine! The one hundred eighties (180) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
The enemy continues to focus its efforts on establishing full control over the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, maintaining the captured areas of Kherson and parts of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Mykolaiv oblasts, restoring the combat capability of units that have suffered losses, and preventing a possible counteroffensive of the Defense Forces.
There were no significant changes on the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky directions. The enemy shelled the areas of Katerynivka and Obody of the Sumy oblast with barrel artillery.
In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy fired from tanks, barrel and jet artillery in the vicinity of Svitlychne, Slatyne, Pytomnyk, Petrivka, Pischane, Husarivka, Mospanove, Krynychne, and Pryshyb.
In the Slovyansk direction, the enemy continued to fire near Dibrivne, Mazanivka, and Dolyna.
It tried to lead an offensive in the directions of Dovhenke – Dibrivne, Brazhkivka – Nova Dmytrivka, did not succeed, and withdrew.
In the Kramatorsk direction, shelling was recorded near Rozdolivka, Hryhorivka, Verkhnokamyanske, Dronivka, and Serebryanka. The enemy is trying to launch an offensive in the direction of Spirne – Vesele, hostilities continue.
In the direction of Bakhmut, the enemy inflicted damage from barrel artillery and MLRS in the areas of Soledar, Zaytseve and Bilohorivka settlements. He led an offensive in the directions of Vershyna – Kodema and Hladosove – Kodema, but was unsuccessful. On the directions Strapivka – Soledar, Pokrovske – Bakhmut, Travneve – Kodema, Semihirya – Zaytseve and Hladosove – Kurdyumivka, hostilities continue.
In the Avdiyivka direction, the enemy fired from barrel and rocket artillery near Opytne, Maryinka, Piskivy, Avdiyvka and Nevelske. Tried to conduct assault operations in the directions Spartak – Opytne, Novoselivka Druha – Krasnohorivka, Donetsk – Pervomaiske, Pisky – Nevelske, Lozove – Nevelske, but was unsuccessful.
On the Novopavlivsky direction, artillery fire was recorded near Vuhledar, Velyka Novosilka, and Pavlivka.
In the Zaporizhzhia direction, the occupiers carried out fire damage to the districts of Dorozhnyanka, Novosilka, and Mala Tokmachka. Airstrikes were carried out near the Mala Tokmachka and Olhivske. The enemy led an offensive in the direction of Makarivka – Vremivka, had no success, retreated.
In the Southern Buh direction, the enemy continued shelling the areas of Velike Artakove, Lozove, Tavriyske, Stepova Dolyna, Pervomaiske, Kiselivka, Chervona Dolyna, Potyomkine, Prybuzke, Parutyne, Polyana, Novooleksandrivka and Partyzanske settlements.
Carried out airstrikes near Zarichne, Bila Krynytsia and Andriyivka.
In the Mykolaiv direction, the occupiers carried out assaults in the area of the settlement of Blahodatne, with partial success.
The enemy’s naval group in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas focuses its main efforts on blocking civilian shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea and damaging military facilities and infrastructure elements deep in the territory of Ukraine.
Our missile and artillery units and aviation continue to successfully carry out fire missions in the designated directions. The enemy is experiencing an acute shortage of trained and motivated reinforcements for units that are systematically suffering losses.
We believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Together we will win!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here is today’s assessment from the British MOD:
And here is their updated map for today:
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s update map and analysis regarding the battle for Kherson:
KHERSON / 2000 UTC 22 AUG / UKR Partisans & SOF continue to operate in and around Kherson. Partisan units were able to coordinate a precision strike on the M-14 HWY bridge; this fire mission targeted a RU ammo convoy as it was crossing. pic.twitter.com/u7ibD8eFru
— Chuck Pfarrer (@ChuckPfarrer) August 22, 2022
Earlier today Russia’s FSB, the successor organization to the Soviet KGB, announced that it had identified the assassin/bomber of Daria Dugina. They stated she was a Ukrainian veteran of the Azov Regiment who, with her twelve year old daughter in tow, moved to Russia for several weeks, located herself in Dugina’s neighborhood, surveilled her, set the bomb, and then immediately fled to Estonia before the FBS could capture her.
Ukrainska Pravda has the details:
Soldiers of the Azov Special Operations Forces have reported that the claim about the regiment allegedly having something to do with the assassination of Daria Dugina, daughter of Alexander Dugin, the pro-Putin ideologist, is another low-quality fake from the FSB.
Source: Press-conference held by the Azovstal defenders; the National Guard of Ukraine
Quote: “The FSB are not working hard enough to justify their salaries. This fake is very funny.
I don’t know this woman. The documents provided by the opponents belong to a person who is not a soldier of the Azov Regiment. Our military uniform is MultiCam [camouflage pattern – ed.]. All our documents contain photos of us dressed in the MultiCam uniform.
You can check this piece of news right now. The woman in the news is dressed in the dress uniform of the National Guard of Ukraine. And it is stated on her official ID that she is the soldier of the 3057 military unit of the National Guard of Ukraine.
A separate Azov special forces squad belongs to the 3057 military unit of the National Guard of Ukraine, but not everyone who is in service in the 3057 military unit is an Azov soldier, and this woman is not an Azov soldier either.”
Details: According to the Ukrainian defender, the official ID exhibited by propagandists could have been found in some military unit in occupied Mariupol: “If we look carefully at what is written on her ID in pencil, we will see that the ID was altered because she got married”.
Quote: “This is this woman’s old ID which was just lying around somewhere in the archives at the 3057 military unit site in Mariupol. So Russians found this document and are now passing it off as a “Yarosh business card” [an Internet-meme ridiculing Russian propaganda which went viral in 2014 after a similar incident – ed.].
It isn’t serious. It is a low-quality, hastily made fake.”
Details: The Azov soldier revealed that he has found his own personal information in propagandist social media groups. According to Russian Telegram channels, he has already died.
Apart from that, it was reported at the briefing that there is not a single woman with the rank of colonel among the Azov soldiers.
Moreover, there is not a single female soldier in Azov.
German journalist Julian Ropcke sums this up perfectly:
So the FSB
– knew her house
– searched her car
– filmed her routes
and still let her kill Dugina and leave the country safely?!
What a great service this is … pic.twitter.com/FME7TaQDt3
— Julian Röpcke🇺🇦 (@JulianRoepcke) August 22, 2022
Bellingcat’s Christo Grozev aids in the debunking:
FSB's announced suspect in Dugina's assassination was entered into a Russian doxxing site for "Ukrainian nationalists" as a member of the Azov regiment back in April 2022. How did she get into Russia with that easily discoverable military footprint? pic.twitter.com/WWyCUbcMBN
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) August 22, 2022
As does Ukrainian journalist Olga Tokariuk:
They can't even forge the evidence properly. The ID card of a 'Ukrainian Azov regiment' woman, accused by Russian secret services of blowing up the car with Daria Dugina, is a cheap fake https://t.co/vDWNn2EVtd
— Olga Tokariuk (@olgatokariuk) August 22, 2022
The Russians, of course, have gone all in on threatening Estonia for allowing the assassin to cross the border and escape:
First Deputy Head of the International Committee of the #russian parliament Vladimir Dzhabarov:
“If Estonia refuses to extradite the criminal Natalya Vovk to Russia there are reasons for the Russian federation to take tough actions against the Estonia, which harbors a terrorist”
— Inna Sovsun (@InnaSovsun) August 22, 2022
At this point I’m now quite confident that my third possibility from last night is the correct one. One of the Russian security services did this with the intention of exploiting it for maximum domestic propaganda and international agitprop purposes. Whether Dugina or her father were the real targets doesn’t really matter.
I expect this will not be the only increasingly desperately destructive act that Russia will undertake this week. Ukraine holding the line through Ukrainian Independence Day on the 24th is going to push Putin and the siloviki to ramp up their efforts. It is going to be a long week.
I think that’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
Here’s a new video from Patron’s official TikTok:
Пишаюся 💙💛 #славаукраїні #славазсу #песпатрон #патрондснс
The caption translates as:
I am proud 💙💛 #glory to Ukraine, #glory to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, #dogpatron, #patronDSNS
The OCDs among us will note that the six-month mark would really be about Day 183, but 180 is significant, and close enough.
I’ve no doubt about it. To me, Zelenskyy’s “I need ammunition, not a ride!” was the moment that woke the West from a 30-year slumber, and a complete amnesia concerning our values of political liberty, what they mean, and what they are worth. To have them taught back to us in such an electrifying manner may have been the event that in retrospect saved us from our otherwise easily and widely predicted political decline. We’ll see, but I do feel in his debt.
Gin & Tonic
A great opening, Adam, and whether it’s six months or nearly six months, I thank you for your continued dedication to the cause of publishing the truth.
@Spanky: February is still playing its messy game.
Adam’s first post was on 2/23. So midnight will mark six months as we hit 8/23.
Maybe so. All power to the Ukrainians, and may this war end soonest, and with a victory for them.
Agree with your comments on the Ukrainians rising to the occasion.
In particular their influence/propaganda strategy has been amazing, which must have shocked the Russians given their previous success in that arena and which Ukraine has entirely done without assistance from the West.
Spent most of my day helping orient our new international students, including a few from Ukraine. Doing mundane things like taking them shopping for dorm room items, getting their phones set up and generally trying to be a friendly and welcoming presence. Hoping that they can finish their education in safety and return home soon.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
Adam, the opening to this post had me in tears. You expressed it beautifully, and all I can add is ГЕРОЯМ СЛАВА! I wish mediums were legit, because I would love to speak to my Great-Grandpa Nathan and his family, from Lviv, to tell them of the glory and valor and strength of their people.
If folks are able, there is a movement afoot for people to donate $24 on the 24th to the United24 platform, and if you can, make it a recurring monthly donation.
Adam, may I ask: In one of your updates last week, you’d mentioned that you planned to do a more in-depth look at Zelenskyy’s outreach to African countries. Obviously there has been, you know, some stuff happening, but I was wondering if that was still in the pipeline, because I would be very interested to read your thoughts on it.
Patron is the still the bestest pupper.
Thank you as always, Adam.
Emma from Miami
I am a baptized Catholic that never even got to her first communion, but I am convinced that Zelenskyy is one of those people born to a higher purpose. I think his presidential candidacy was performance art — and suddenly when it all goes to hell he grows into the person Ukraine — hell, all of us — needed.
There were reports about another earth-shattering (and specifically window-shattering) kaboom in the Sevastopol area today. Any details about that, Adam?
I don’t know where they have found the strength to endure this. So much devastation. I hope we will be as faithful for the rebuilding and healing once the war is won.
I expected Russia to own the air after the first week. Much of Ukraine’s ground campaign is successful because Russia did not dominate the air. I guess I believed incorrectly the Russian air force was close in effectiveness to our own.
@Gin & Tonic:
Well said. Seconded.
I have admired Zelensky since Trump tried to back him against the wall pushing for him to create corruption charges against Biden and his son. Zelensky walked a fine line with huge stakes and would not be easily intimidated.
At this point, in my infinitely less informed opinion than Adan’s, is that while Ukraine can’t force Russia out, continued stalemate will eventually force Russia’s elite to decide Putin’s more dangerous to them than to Ukraine. This is summer and they’re not getting anywhere, What happens in the fall rains?
J R in WV
Ukraine’s Defense Against Russia’s Re-invasion is Reaches the Six Month Mark
The is verb is an extra word not needed for this headline to be a correct sentence. Reaches is a perfectly good verb without an IS attached to it.
ETA: Glory to Ukraine !!! Grammar isn’t important compared to their bravery.
Adam L Silverman
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛: It’s on the list of things to get too.
Adam L Silverman
@lowtechcyclist: Been a bit busy. Didn’t see anything about that.
A particularly well timed strike on the Antonovsky bridge
Me too. In both the 1991 and 2003 Iraq wars, the US (and allies) prioritized air supremacy. The Russian air force had a huge numerical advantage so I expected them to do the same. Instead Ukraine kept flying planes.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@Adam L Silverman: Thanks. I’m sure it’s a rather long list. I appreciate all of the work you do here, so much.
Their air force is likely their best military arm but they still do not spend the money it looks like or say they do, they do not spend it well – too much goes to the pockets of the very wealthy smarmy dudes that own the companies that make stuff for the military rather than to actually making the stuff. The entire country is a scam for the very wealthy, like vlad. IOW you think it’s bad here, you ain’t seen nothing.
I remember going to sleep every night, thinking and worrying that in the morning I’d wake to find the Russians in Kyiv. Nesh gadol haya sham.
@Adam L Silverman:
Could you define the term “partisan” for the benefit of this lifelong civilian?
Adam, as always, thanks for doing this.
Like Adam, in the last two days I have progressed from “high probability the Dugina assassination was a false flag fsb operation” to “close to certainty the Dugina assassination was a false flag fsb operation”. My logic: if the fsb didn’t know who did it, they would not have announced “Natalya Vovk did it!” so quickly. If they’d thought it possible that UK did it, they would have held off a couple weeks to investigate. Announce the “culprit” after two days? They knew, because it was their operation.
I’m only disappointed that they didn’t mention that Ms. Vovk was wearing a bright red swastika tee shirt and a green wig.
Adam L Silverman
@J R in WV: Fixed.
Partisan: a member of an irregular, meaning not an official army unit, paramilitary, meaning badly armed, trained, organized, and supplied, group formed to fight secretly against an occupying force
@RaflW: Aside from what day is the actual anniversary, it’s been an amazing and incredible run of truly informative posts by Adam helping the rest of us understand what’s going on in Ukraine, and what it means. Thank you
Adam L Silverman
@Kelly: That I did see.
@Ruckus: Guessing their ability to do whatever the fvck they wanted over Syria lulled them into thinking Ukraine was…well…Syria II. As if.
Vlad’s Book of Miscalculations has to be even larger than Trump’s and I’ll bet he’s sorry to have not tried this gruesome adventure while Donny was still in the White House (nearly spelled that Shite House).
Adam L Silverman
@Amir Khalid: In this context it is a reference to those fighting a low intensity irregular war or guerrilla war against a hostile occupying force. Think the French or Polish or various Jewish underground fighters, like the Bielskys, in World War II.
@Adam L Silverman:
Adam L Silverman
@NutmegAgain: You’re most welcome.
@Anoniminous: This is a minor quibble, but not all partisans are badly trained and badly organized. The Yugoslav partisans in WW2 fought the German army with great success. If you read the Wikipedia article “World War II in Yugoslavia” you will see a series of maps on the right of the screen that show that, year by year, the Yugoslav partisans controlled more territory and the Wehrmacht controlled less. In Churchill’s “History of the Second World War” he says that when the allies invaded Italy, Hitler did not dare reinforce the German army in Italy from the German army in Yugoslavia, because in that case the Yugoslav partisans would have taken over the country.
@Amir Khalid: This puzzled me for a while until I recently began reading WWII histories. Members of the “Resistance” in Eastern Europe were referred to as partisans. So, basically, unofficial fighters on behalf of Ukraine in territories invaded and/or controlled by Russia. I see that Adam chimed in and I got it mostly right.
@NutmegAgain: Completely agree.
And while on personal, theological grounds I have a hard time with any just war notion, I will say that Ukrainian self defense (and by that I mean defending themselves back to pre-Crimean seizure, if possible) is the closest I’ve seen in 5+ decades of being alive.
Six months. Wow. An entire Friedman unit.
I’ll add my thanks to Adam for doing these reports. Otherwise I’d be reduced to reading the New York Times describe the next six months as the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time.
Which they will.
Russia is building a pontoon bridge next to the existing highway bridge at Kherson. As in immediately adjacent to it, perhaps thinking it will protect them from HIMARS. I suspect that won’t work as well as they’d like.
The National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia started off as a guerilla/partisan movement in 1941. In 1943 it had outgrown its ad-hoc character into a serious military force. By 1944 it had grown to 50 divisions (IIRC) with an air force and a navy. Not your standard partisan force, IOW.
Trivia: Sterling Hayden, the actor who played Brig. Gen. Jack D. “Precious Bodily Fluids” Ripper in Dr. Strangelove was in the OSS in World War II. His service included sailing with supplies from Italy to Yugoslav partisans and parachuting into fascist Croatia. He admired the Communist partisans he fought beside so much he joined the US Communist Party directly after the war. During the Red Scare he caved something he later deeply regretted, “I don’t think you have the foggiest notion of the contempt I have had for myself since the day I did that.”
@Anoniminous: Yes, it grew into a well organized army, but it was well organized from the beginning. However, it was partisan in the sense that it was not organized by a national government. I should have made that clear.
vlad and SFB are 2 peas in a pod. vlad runs a better con that SFB, but then he’s held a job where his victims died rather than wish they had or are too stupid to even be able to do that.
@coin operated: Thirded.
I think you are correct. I wonder how much stuff/humans will end up in the river or no longer whatever they were prior to attempting to cross. Ukraine has experience blowing up pontoon bridges with full loads of vehicles crossing, me thinks they will do an even better job this time.
Quite a somber message, with such a real truth about this being the only just war I have seen in my lifetime. Every day Ukraine shows us what it means to fight for liberty, that those words have meaning. Thank you for this truth. I am grateful for your work.
In the words of Vampire Weekend, “wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified.”
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@PeakVT: I look forward to seeing it get blowed up.
That line still resonates with me.
Thank you Adam.
I know much less, but from what little I know, I completely agree with your comparison to Gettysburg.
And I also completely agree with Zelenskyy that they will do our ways of helping veterans one better. And maybe we, the USA, will see and do more for ours.
May the day come as soon as possible when they have repelled the invasion and can primarily think of rebuilding.
ETA: more uninfromed opinion, but I’ll say I figured from the start the the assassination was not done by Ukrainian forces. Given how carefully they spend their missile resources, I cannot imagine they would bother with that particular person if they had the resources in Moscow to pull it off.
Yeah, the Russian Olympics set the stage for me in being not surprised by the logistical incompetence of the Russian military. It delivered clear messages to me about the limits of Putin’s power as well. All that money and political wrangling he poured into getting the pride of having the Olympics in Russia, and it was an absolute clusterfuck because his contractors skimmed money on every level and delivered less than half-assed results.
@Amir Khalid: Examples: the French Resistance, the Viet Cong, the Poles and Soviets in the Pripet Marshes. Almost always behind the lines where the invading army considers itself relatively safe.
ETA: Now I see Adam got here first. And I’m not quite so sure about the Viet Cong.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@frosty: What I love too is how, when asked about that line, he sort of demurs and downplays it. It’s very clear that he had no idea of the heroic icon he would become, and that he wants people to always remember that he’s not the main hero of this story–it’s the people fighting on the front lines every day. Often, when politicians try to come across as modest, it’s clearly a put-on, but with him, it feels incredibly genuine.
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛: I didn’t know about the follow-up to that line. Ironic that declining the role of hero can make a person even more of one.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@frosty: Yeah, particularly in the interview he did recently with Richard Engel, he’s almost…I wouldn’t say embarrassed by it, but just shrugs it off and is like “I was just saying what we needed etc etc”. There’s a humble nature to him that is sort of surprising from an American perspective, considering he was a massive celebrity before being elected, and then won the presidency in such a huge landslide.
I’ll nicely suggest that, in my experience, only a white person would say something like that.
@Marc: Ouch, fair cop. Maybe “this is the only just war we’ll be on the right side of, perhaps in our lifetimes”. For anybody who wasn’t alive during the Korean War, that’s probably true.
I was a tot during Vietnam, and that was a just war …. but we weren’t on the just side, ah well.
ETA: sorry, not wanting to start a flamewar about that. So I struck it thru.
@Marc: I would say the African National Congress’ war against the white supremacist South African government was a just war.
Historian Anne Applebaum rightly says that the allied cause in WW2 in Europe was only partially a just war: stomping Nazi Germany was just, what the USSR did to Poland, Czechoslovakia, et al was not.
Adam’s updates are my go-to for accurate, well-reported information and analysis. My gratitude and respect are ever-lasting. I can’t believe how lucky we are to have him here on BJ.
Actually, I can’t believe how lucky we are to have had the veritable parade of excellent, knowledgeable FPers on so many topics! I regularly read/visit quite a few news sites, but on topics our Front Pagers have posted about, it’s good to have that extra layer of context.
Grumpy Old Railroader
Examples of Partisans that failed: New World Indigenous Tribes. Until they figured out how to work the system in their favor to get gambling casinos where they now fleece their conquerors.
Grumpy Old Railroader
Heh. I was thinking along the lines of Viet Cong fighting off first the French and then the Americans
@Grumpy Old Railroader:
Most ‘partisan’ movements fail. We have a tendency to not remember them. The capacities of large states enable them to marshal huge amounts of resources, sustain large costs, and hire/recruit the necessary troops. Partisan movements frequently create divisions at the local level, especially when occupying powers can exploit differences or subject the population to pressures (read civilian casualties, although this can also stiffen partisan morale). Some examples from the past fifty years: Iraqi partisans against the U.S. and current government of Iraq, the Sunni partisans operating against Iran, Nepalese Maoist insurgents, Kashmiri partisans, anti-Junta forces in Myanmar, IRA in Northern Ireland, Basques in Spain, Red Brigade in Italy, Kurdish militants in Turkey, Moros rebels in Philippines. Depending on the perspective of the viewer, one person’s partisan rebel freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.
Villago Delenda Est
Zelenskyy is such an awesome, inspirational leader. He’s setting a gold standard here.
@Grumpy Old Railroader:
… or the afghans fighting off the british twice, the soviets, and the americans.
Villago Delenda Est
@frosty: The Viet Cong were as much nationalist as Communist. It was a popular revolt against a brutal, minority kakistocracy. Diem and his Catholic friends went out of their way to piss off the majority.
Grumpy Old Railroader
Tis a fact. Some friends and I were set to start a Procrastination Liberation Army but we never got around to getting started
Yes, Gin & Tonic says it best.
Also, here’s some prime UKR trolling:
The Pale Scot
It’s not numbers that matter, it’s air monitoring and control. Jets are 3-5 times as fast as the ones in the Battle of Britain, which was won by the Brits having first generation radar. Even subsonic jets are moving at 12 miles a minutes. Without air traffic control interceptors are useless. The UKR doesn’t have AWACS but they do have coordinated ground air control and spotters to give kind of realtime guidance. During the Saki airfield strike UKR SU-25s were filmed crossing the Dnipro back into UKR. I assume they were on a Wild Weasel (anti-SAM) mission. Pop up, acquire the SAM radars with their USA acquired anti radiation missiles, BOOM. Clear the path for what ever came behind. Without AWACS or HAWKEYES manned by highly trained crews, air war in the jet age is hit or miss. The orcs have this type aircraft, but they been hiding deep inside RU not able to impose control
@Amir Khalid: Let’s let Mr. Cohen help.
This is what gives me optimism for the future of Ukraine:
@mali mus I worked at a public university. Meeting international students is a great experience.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@BeautifulPlumage: I cackled.
Ukrainians are magnificent.
Thank you for keeping up with this, Adam.
Gin & Tonic
Grieving dad: https://twitter.com/mjluxmoore/status/1562036775970914306?s=21&t=HqRMYB7uot39YhLZAELdow
War not going well, have to rally the country. Gotta say, too, she looked good in her open casket after that explosion.
@Gin & Tonic: Excellent observation.
@The Pale Scot: A couple of factors that I’ve seen in analyses of the air war that help explain why prewar expectations (including mine) were so wildly off the mark:
(1) Training. This one is probably the most important “blinder”. It’s been well-understood for decades, since the various Arab-Israeli conflicts provided case studies, that an outnumbered, outgunned, outgeared Air Force whose pilots have vastly more combat training flight hours than its opponents will likely sweep those opponents from the skies. In the present case, we were all fixated on gear — the Russian Air Force was rated the world’s third most powerful, after the USAF and the USN Air Corps (!), but that was basically by a count of the aircraft types and capabilities. It turns out that their pilots had not been spending that many hours in actual aircraft or simulators. So when the air war began they were cast as “Arabs”, and the Ukrainians were cast as “Israelis”, to most people’s surprise.
(2) Air Doctrine: There was a recent War On The Rocks piece (I can’t find the link right now, sorry) that pointed out that the Russians have never really employed their offensive air forces in a manner comparable to that of Western air forces. Their doctrinal application of air force in offense is purely as “flying artillery” — they have not developed conceptions of air supremacy and the concomitant mix of aircraft, weapons, cooperative tactics, coordination with ground and air assets, etc. This fact is apparently often overlooked (I was unaware of it), and misleads many analysts to expectations of the Russian AF intentions and goals as mirrors of, say, those of a NATO AF. The fact of the matter is that the “flying artillery” model worked great in Georgia and Syria and Chechnya and Crimea, where, unlike in Ukraine, it was not opposed by a modern, Western-model air force, or SAM installations, or huge tracts of potential concealment for an abundant supply of MANPADS. Another “obvious-in-retrospect” lesson for the case study.
It’s a pity this wasn’t understood earlier. The supposed inevitability of the UKRAF’s getting shot out of the sky no later than late March was the probable reason that idea of transferring Warsaw Pact MIG-29s to Ukraine got shitcanned by the Biden administration. We now know that they were moving Heaven and Earth to set up a big fat pipe of effective weapons to Ukraine, knowing that it would take months, and were worried about shoring up political support. They wanted nothing to do with a big, showy weapons donation that seemed doomed to turn into a propaganda gift to the Russians. Had the people who understood the air war been able to make their case more effectively within DOD, the UKRAF’s upgrades that are occurring now might have begun in April or May instead.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@Gin & Tonic: Yeah, WTF? I mean…”died in a car bomb explosion” and “open casket” are not phrases you expect to see together. That feels suspish.
Gin & Tonic
My friend from Ternopil tells me the city is doing its best to empty hospitals before Independence Day, tomorrow.
Gin & Tonic
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛: A friend is publicly wondering whether this will be looked back on at some point as a Reichstag fire moment.
@Gin & Tonic: Have you located any open casket (purported) photos? The most I’ve been able to find is a statement in French source Le Monde that it was an open casket funeral (no pictures). The photos I have seen show a closed casket.
I realize that I need to avoid becoming an out-of-control conspiracy theorist, but I am not at all sure Darya Dugina actually died. I’ve been wondering if this was an “Operation Mincemeat” type situation, with the fsb substituting a young female corpse and then blowing up a car that didn’t contain any living human being. fsb fakes have been so outrageous that it’s hard to rule out anything.
Gin & Tonic
@Andrya: Slavs love them some conspiracy theories, and this one is certainly circulating.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@Andrya: There was a video clip on Twitter of the funeral that showed her dad at the casket. You can’t totally see her but you can a little bit.
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛: You know, it is weird how all the FSB’s work that comes to light is so third-rate. Here we have a perfect corpse that by rights ought to have been scraped into the casket with a putty knife. We have serial crime “solves” with hilarious, made-for-TV-comedy evidence. We have teams of underwear poisoning assassins who leave mobile phone traces that allow detailed reconstruction of their movements, org structure, and headquarter buildings, and who haplessly fall for social-engineering phone calls from their targets. We have really ineffective campaigns to create “secessionist” movements in the US through social media that recruit, like, 7 people at a likely cost of thousands of dollars per recruit (DOJ is bringing indictments regarding these now).
I mean, these are the heirs of the goddamned KGB. They used to be good at this stuff. In the 80s, they actually had millions of people in the West persuaded that it was perfectly reasonable for the USSR to have IRBMs in Europe, but evil for NATO to do the same thing. As recently as 2020 they were doing a pretty effective job at finding cracks in US society and applying enough leverage there to turn them into chasms. Now they seem like All B Team All The Time.
I wonder if there’s an A Team at work that we can’t see, or if they all fell out of windows after the war started.
Gin & Tonic
Somebody asked about Dugina in her casket. This is the clearest picture I’ve come across. This is supposedly someone whose car was left in tiny pieces across a hundred yards of road.
@Gin & Tonic: I was the one who asked. Thanks for the reply. Not only was the car shattered but it caught fire- a fire that overwhelmed the car. Even allowing for restoration by the mortician, the appearance of the body strikes me as inconsistent with the alleged means of death.
Probably we will never know exactly what happened, but something is off.