If we successfully match the full $5,000, then MR. ANONYMOUS will fund the Quiltingfool quilt of Adam Silverman’s choice: “A thank-you from the commentariat, for his amazing work in educating us.”
I’m flattered. This – the quilt as a thank you – is a very unexpected and pleasant surprise. Everyone’s generosity here in regard to good causes is, of course, not a surprise.
Thank you to everyone, you are all most welcome for the updates. Though I know we’ll all be happy when there is no longer a reason to do them.
Thank you all to for your generosity in regard to Ukraine, as well as all the other good causes we hit you up for.
And thanks to Watergirl and Quiltingfool for putting this together.
Moving quickly on…
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier this evening. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Today, a new academic year began in our country, as it should be. Despite everything. More than six months of full-scale war. Extraordinary destruction caused by the occupiers. But the education of Ukrainian children continues.
It takes place in various formats, yet systematically and professionally everywhere. And I am grateful to all our educators who continue their work and guarantee with their attention to children that all young Ukrainians have an opportunity to become educated and live a decent modern life. More than 300,000 first-graders, almost 4 million pupils – this is the scale of September 1 this year.
So, in addition to many other conclusions, a very important political conclusion can be made today – about the resilience of our state, about the strength of our society. Our educational institutions are effective. Our state and local communities ensure the restoration of education even in those areas where schools were destroyed during the occupation.
Today I was in Irpin, Kyiv region. I saw the beginning of the work of such a restored school. 1,300 pupils will get their education there. The children went to the first grade, as is customary. I was happy to see them starting to study and to see the conditions it happens in. A good, comfortable, humanly warm school. And it will be the same on the entire territory of our state, which we will definitely oust the invaders from.
No matter what they destroyed, we will restore everything, we will rebuild everything. No matter how much they want to destroy Ukraine and anything Ukrainian, our children will still go to their schools and universities and get an education absolutely freely. National education. Humanistic education. Education built not on lies and propaganda spread by the terrorist state, but on real knowledge, openness to the world and the best human values.
Today, the IAEA mission arrived at Zaporizhzhia NPP. It’s good that it happened. The fact itself despite all the provocations by the Russian military and the cynical shelling of Enerhodar and the territory of the plant. Ukraine did everything to make this mission happen. But it is bad that the occupiers are trying to turn this IAEA mission – a really necessary one – into a fruitless tour of the plant. I believe that this will be prevented.
It is good that the IAEA representatives have an opportunity to draw objective conclusions about the risks that have arisen at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for the first time in history. Moreover, the risks that have arisen precisely because of the occupiers. The main thing is to have the will to draw objective conclusions. Constant shelling, the presence of Russian military and weapons at the plant, tormenting Ukrainian personnel and attempts to put the plant under the control of Rosatom representatives who are not at all capable of a responsible attitude towards such an object… These are the reasons for the risks.
We have clear evidence that Russia did a lot of cynical things to deceive the mission. In particular, with the help of intimidation of residents of Enerhodar. The occupiers forced people to lie to the IAEA representatives – to hand over some papers, sign something, say something.
When we met with Mr. Grossi and members of the mission in Kyiv, we agreed that the mission would be accompanied by journalists from Ukrainian and international media. Independent journalists. For the world to see the truth. To see what is really happening. Unfortunately, this wasn’t done. Although it was promised. Unfortunately, the occupiers did not let the journalists in, but organized a bunch of their propagandists. Unfortunately, the IAEA representatives did not protect the representatives of independent media.
We are hopeful that the mission will nevertheless draw objective conclusions from the circumstances at the plant. For more than three decades, 5 facilities have been under the control of our specialists – the Chornobyl plant and 4 operational nuclear power plants. The IAEA never had any claims regarding the activities of any of these facilities until Russia invaded our territory and brought its madness here.
When the Russian military finally leave the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, when they take away their weapons, ammunition, when they stop shelling Enerhodar and neighboring areas and cease their provocations, the Zaporizhzhia plant will be able to return to a completely safe functioning, which has always been the case under the control of Ukraine.
And the key thing that should happen is the demilitarization of the territory of the plant. This is exactly the goal of Ukrainian and international efforts. And it is bad that we have not yet heard the appropriate calls from the IAEA. Although we talked about it with Mr. Grossi at our meeting in Kyiv. This was the key – the key! – security point of our agreements. It was clearly stated: demilitarization and full control by Ukrainian nuclear specialists.
Today I had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark who arrived in Ukraine. I thanked him for the support, which is a very useful support, in particular in the field of defense. We discussed further steps to defend Ukraine and the entire united Europe, the sanction policy and the restoration of our state after hostilities.
I held the first conversation with the new Prime Minister of Israel Lapid. I emphasized the necessity of Israel’s accession to the sanctions on Russia, sanctions for all the evil brought by this war. The evil that should have never returned again.
I addressed the Polish people – September 1 is the anniversary of the beginning of World War II. I said an important thing in this address: just as that aggressor was defeated and convicted, this aggressor will inevitably be defeated and convicted as well. When the free world is united and the victim of aggression is not left alone, when no one signs disgraceful pacts with evil, the war ends with the victory of the forces of good.
I signed another decree on awarding our warriors. 155 combatants were awarded state awards, 22 of them posthumously. In total, since February 24, 28,042 Ukrainian warriors have received state awards. Those who heroically defend our state in all directions. Who ousted the enemy from the north, who are beating the occupiers in the east, who are destroying them in the south and, what is very important now, are working for the liberation of our Crimea.
And today I especially want to express gratitude to our defenders in the Kharkiv direction – the 92nd brigade, all warriors and сommanding officer of the brigade Fedosenko. Thanks for your bravery guys!
And also to our Air Forces. Yesterday, the anti-aircraft troops in the Donetsk region did a very good job – shot down another helicopter of the occupiers, already the 205th during the full-scale war, and two UAVs. In total, more than 800 Russian drones have already been destroyed. Today, our Air Forces did a good job against enemy missiles – thank you for the result!
I am grateful to everyone who defends Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!
The Ukrainian MOD has not, as of me typing this, posted an operational update for today.
Here is the British MOD’s assessment for today:
And here is their updated map for today:
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessment and map regarding the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant:
NUCLEAR ROULETTE: Video has emerged showing a UN and IAEA inspection team entering the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. RU occupiers of the facility have also reported that one of the plant’s six nuclear reactors has been ‘scrammed’ as a safety precaution pic.twitter.com/qRtzsC8ESW
— Chuck Pfarrer (@ChuckPfarrer) September 1, 2022
For those who have expressed frustration about the lack of Pfarrer’s, or anyone else’s, information about the Ukrainian military, its units, their locations, etc, this is why:
NOTE: Indications & Warnings is honoring a Ukrainian request to consider Operational Security in reporting. We will be posting a summary map of the Kherson area of operations as soon as it is prudent to do so. Thank you for your patience.
— Chuck Pfarrer (@ChuckPfarrer) September 1, 2022
Just because no one is reporting on the Ukrainian military’s orders of battle and movement and just because you don’t know them does not mean they don’t exist!
A family from Mariupol spoke about going through a filtration camp and being sent to Moscow.
The mother eventually got her children out, while the husband stayed in Russia.
— Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (@RFERL) September 1, 2022
Politico has taken a deep dive, if you’ll allow me to turn that phrase, into how Ukraine has effectively neutralized Russia’s Black Sea fleet:
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was once considered central to Vladimir Putin’s attempted conquest of Ukraine.
But that fleet and its accompanying air wing have been battered by innovative Ukrainian missile and drone attacks, turning the once-feared force into something of an afterthought in Europe’s largest war in seven decades.
When Putin launched his all-out invasion of Ukraine in February, the Crimea-based fleet was at the center of the action, launching Kalibr cruise missiles at military and civilian targets deep into the country, blocking access to the country’s ports, and threatening an amphibious landing on Odesa.
Since those early days, however, Kyiv has seized the initiative as missile strikes and mysterious explosions have wreaked havoc on the Russian fleet, sinking several vessels — including its flagship cruiser the Moskva — and devastating its Crimea-based air wing in a dramatic attack this month.
While the Black Sea Fleet has been strong enough to hold the small Ukrainian navy at bay, it has never been the pride of the Russian navy. The Northern Fleet, based in Severomorsk, is by far the Kremlin’s largest and most modern force, and had sent some of its own vessels to help just before the Russian invasion.
But the Crimea-based fleet was expected to play a large role in holding Ukrainian forces in the south to defend against an expected amphibious assault that never came, while shoring up the occupied peninsula. While Russian submarines do fire into Ukraine from time to time, the fleet hasn’t lived up to the expectations set at the start of the war and has settled into what amounts to a defensive crouch either in port or well offshore to avoid Ukrainian attack.
Since the spring, the Black Sea Fleet’s problems have added up, the result of poor leadership, aging equipment, and a hubris the Ukrainians have been only too happy to exploit.
The string of military disasters led to the firing of the fleet’s commander, Adm. Igor Osipov.
That resistance has been fierce. Ukraine’s domestically developed Neptune anti-ship missile, which sank the Moskva, and Harpoon missiles donated by Denmark that sank a Russian resupply ship this spring, have forced the fleet to stay well offshore, and out of the fight, for months.
Oleksandr Turchynov, the former acting president of Ukraine and former secretary of the country’s National Security and Defense Council who jump-started the Neptune project, told POLITICO that he was proud of the missile.
“An hour after the cruiser was hit, I exchanged pleasantries with Oleg Korostylev, the general designer of the Ukrainian design bureau Luch,” he said in an interview from the southern frontline, where he is deployed as an officer. Korostylev was key to the Neptune program’s development. “We congratulated each other on the fact that this is a very serious result.”
Turchynov said a Neptune missile also struck the frigate Admiral Essen in April. But Russia was able to shoot down the second missile targeting the ship because of the time between launches.
Ukraine took that as a lesson, firing two missiles simultaneously when attacking the Moskva. “They broke through the air defense and were able to sink the target,” Turchynov said.
Both on land and at sea, “Russian forces are much more vulnerable than they thought they were,” before the war, a senior Defense Department official told reporters this month. This person, like others quoted in this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the war.
Not only is the cruiser Moskva sitting at the bottom of the Black Sea, but days of Ukrainian drone and missile strikes on the Russian-occupied Snake Island in May and June damaged or destroyed several smaller landing and transport ships the Russians had docked on the strategic island 22 miles off Ukraine’s southwest coast. The strikes also took out several modern air defense and radar systems, essentially ending Russia’s dominance of the sea and air and returning a key piece of land to Kyiv’s control.
The battle for Snake Island showed that the Russian fleet had no answer to the Ukrainian attacks, and the Russian abandonment of the island left its ships at sea even more vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks.
“The losses to Russian amphibious ships are arguably more important than the Moskva,” said Rob Lee, senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who tracks the militaries of Russia and Ukraine. The losses impede Russia’s ability to move troops and equipment around Crimea by sea, and have made the Russians more hesitant to use the modern landing ships it transferred from the Northern and Baltic fleets just before the war.
The reluctance to actually use its ships as a fighting force means the fleet has been rendered virtually impotent and “hasn’t been a thing for several months” a second DoD official told POLITICO.
One Western diplomat agreed with that assessment, telling POLITICO “the Russian Black Sea Fleet is broken, and is now only used as a defensive force with occasional cruise missile strikes.” Keeping the fleet well out at sea “severely limits Russia’s campaign options” in southern Ukraine. The fleet itself — made up of small missile-laden corvettes and frigates, landing craft and six submarines — still has over 30 ships at sea or in port, but their effectiveness and ability to maneuver has been severely hampered after Moskva’s air defenses and the radar screen provided by Snake Island were eliminated.
The Russian fleet is “not really doing much,” the Western official said. “Snake Island gave them a bit more flexibility, and now they’ve been stripped of that. Losing it just reduces their tactical capabilities even more.”
The Black Sea Fleet’s aviation regiment, based at Saki air base in Crimea, was also hit hard this month in a night of airstrikes that wiped out about half of the unit’s aircraft, the Western official said, confirming other officials’ assessments.
Elsewhere, a drone is reported to have attacked the fleet’s headquarters in the port city of Sevastopol in July and again last week.
Much more at the link!
Euromaidan Press digs into Russia’s war against Ukrainian agriculture:
The road to the Iveria-Agro farm is littered with evidence of war. Destroyed homes, the shell of a burnt-out car, and walls pockmarked with bullet holes speak to the intensity of violence that overwhelmed the region this past spring.
Located in the village of Shevchenkove, near Brovary in the northeast of Kyiv Oblast, the farm –along with the rest of the area– came under Russian occupation in early March. The village was liberated by Ukrainian forces at the end of the month, with the remainder of Kyiv Oblast cleared of Russian forces by 2 April.
“The occupation, it was a nightmare,” recalled Oleksandr Fishchun, the owner and operator of Iveria-Agro farm. “I was nervous and tense all the time; I tried to call the locals here, but it was hard to connect.”
As most residents fled the Russian advance, it was not until the Russians were pushed out could locals like Fishchun begin to fully grasp the level of destruction brought by the war. The 1,500-hectare farm had been badly damaged and pillaged, emblematic of an experience shared by Ukrainian farmers across the north and east of the country. With the Russian war wreaking havoc on Ukraine’s agricultural industry, farms like Iveria-Agro are facing severe challenges to their very existence, forcing them into a situation with potential consequences for the globe.
Oleksandr Fishchun has been a farmer all his life. A graduate of Kyiv National Agrarian University, he bought the Iveria-Agro farm ten years ago and now works with his son and 16 other employees. They grow primarily winter wheat, grains, and sunflowers. Fishchun and his family fled Shechenkove before the Russians arrived on March 8th, but for the next three weeks, Russian forces would occupy the farm.
“From the very first moment, they began to damage the farm,” Fishchun explains. “They broke through our gate with an armored vehicle and drove over my son’s new car with a tank, just for fun.”
During their occupation of the farm, Russian forces stole the farm’s diesel supply and fertilizer, destroyed five tractors and trucks, and killed a local man who worked there as a security guard.
The farm had a large garage and workshop for repairing the farm’s various pieces of equipment. Upon retreating, the Russians destroyed this structure, along with one of their armored vehicles, with a missile to prevent Ukrainian forces from capturing the vehicle. The fields of the farm are now partially scattered with shell holes, fragments, and unexploded munitions. At least one Russian tank was destroyed in a winter wheat field by Ukrainian forces, its turret missing from the burnt-out hull.
Ihor Melnyk, one farmer in Balakliya (Kharkiv Oblast), owner of DP Ahroheofizyka, has fields that are active sites of fighting and heavily contaminated with explosives. His farm also lost all fertilizers and seeds to the Russian military.
“Without external help, without international help, it will be impossible to do this work,” Melnyk explained.
This situation for these two farmers is far from unique, according to Ivan Miroshynchenko, a member of the Agrarian Policy and Land Relations Committee, Vice President of the Ukrainian Grain Association, and former advisor to the Minister of the Agrarian Policy of Ukraine. Farms all across former or current battlefields have been subjected to similar destruction.
In recent weeks Russian forces have consistently fired missiles and incendiary weapons at wheat fields in an effort to burn the crops. These attacks, combined with the blockade of the Black Sea and the ports needed for export, are placing extreme pressure on Ukraine’s agriculture. Miroshynchenko estimates the combined losses of Ukrainian farmers to be between nine to ten billion dollars, an amount that will likely destroy the viability of many farms in the year to come while potentially increasing the chance of famine in nations reliant on Ukrainian agricultural exports.
Much more at the link!
At The Kyiv Independent, Illia Ponomarenko reports on Russia’s armored corps:
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is already going down in history as the biggest tank slaughter Europe has seen since World War II.
The Kremlin’s reckless and unsuccessful blitzkrieg on Kyiv resulted in the loss of over 1,000 tanks – within just a few weeks after Feb. 24.
By April, many battlefields in northern Ukraine had become tank cemeteries, with dozens of scorched machines eviscerated by Ukrainian anti-tank squads.
This is a heavy blow for Russia’s offensive component, even given its large military. Contrary to its propaganda, Russia’s infamously large stockpile of Soviet tanks is little more than a pile of scrap metal unfit to be used in battle.
However, we can not expect Russia to run critically low on tanks anytime soon.
Despite heavy losses, Russia still has enough machines to continue waging its war for years.
For Ukraine, this is yet another reason to do everything possible to avoid a protracted, multiyear war for which the Kremlin has many resources.
Russia’s war against Ukraine has demonstrated that all speculations on the end of the tank era have been somewhat premature.
Main battle tanks continue to serve their typical role: supporting the infantry, spearheading assaults, and exploiting breakthroughs, with mechanized infantry following them.
Driven by necessity, Ukraine’s military has expanded the role of tanks in combat. Due to a lack of field artillery, many Ukrainian crews practice indirect fire on targets out of the tank’s line of sight, howitzer-style.
Meanwhile, Russian forces still rely on tanks as a principal means of concentrated fire support, even during urban warfare.
The ubiquity of relatively inexpensive and handy anti-tank weapons, such as the now-legendary NLAWs, provided to Ukraine by the U.K. and employed by highly-mobile Ukrainian units to ambush Russian convoys, has dramatically challenged the tank’s decisive role, however.
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark A. Milley said in mid-June that the international community had provided Ukraine with 97,000 various anti-tank weapons.
According to Milley, this is “more antitank systems than there are tanks in the world.”
The West’s significant investment in Ukraine’s anti-armor capabilities has resulted in the spectacular failure of Russia’s plans for a swift toppling of Ukraine.
At the beginning of its full-scale invasion in Feb., Russia had around 3,330 operational tanks (2,840 with the ground forces, 330 with its naval infantry, and 160 with its airborne forces), according to the Military Balance 2021 database.
The database includes all tank types currently employed by Russia’s military, notably T-72s, T-80s, and T-90s, and their modifications.
According to Oryx, an online investigative project documenting equipment losses in Russia’s war, Russia has lost at least 994 tanks as of Sept. 1.
However, according to estimates by the Conflict Intelligence Team, an independent Russian online armed conflicts monitor, the Oryx database covers nearly 70% of the total equipment lost in combat by both sides, as it includes only fully-verified losses — not every single captured or destroyed vehicle is pictured and documented.
Based on these estimates, Russia has lost nearly 1,300 tanks – an impressive 40% of its total operational tank fleet.
Much more at the link!
For those champing at the bit to know more about Ukrainian soldiers, and for all that Ukraine’s MOD has been able to keep a lid on most of the information about where they are and what they’re doing, this Wall Street Journal reporting interviewing wounded Ukrainian military personnel is for you:
Ukrainian army units pushing toward Kherson in the south are retaking ground held for months by Russia’s invading troops amid extremely fierce fighting, according to Ukrainian soldiers taking part in the offensive.
Russian soldiers seemed well-equipped and were putting up stiff resistance, the Ukrainians said.
“They’re throwing everything against us,” said a 22-year-old Ukrainian soldier who said Russians were fighting with artillery, tanks, helicopters and mortars. “They have a lot of equipment but few men.”
Interviews with eight soldiers who took part in fighting—and were being treated for injuries at a hospital behind the front lines—offered the most detailed on-the-ground picture yet from an offensive that Ukraine hopes will help it seize the initiative in the conflict and show its Western backers, and its own people, that its military can take on Moscow’s army and win.
Ukrainian officials are saying little publicly about the offensive, citing the need for secrecy in military operations.
The Pentagon’s assessment, given at a briefing by its spokesman Wednesday, appeared to support the soldiers’ cautious optimism.
“We are aware of Ukrainian military operations that have made some forward movement, and in some cases in the Kherson region we are aware of Russian units falling back,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters.
The soldiers and medics at a hospital in southern Ukraine agreed to speak on condition that their identities and location wouldn’t be revealed. All took part in the offensive that began Monday with the aim of seizing the initiative in the war.
The attacks Monday at several points along the front lines came after weeks of softening up Russian forces with long-range rocket attacks.
Ukraine’s long-awaited thrust in the south is advancing into territory that the Russians occupied in the early days of their invasion, according to soldiers who took part in fighting. But it is a hard slog against a well-equipped enemy, they said.
Ivan, a 32-year-old private, said his unit’s task was simple: “Go in, f—them up, retake what’s ours.”
He said the offensive started well for his unit, which seized a village from the Russians in the early hours of fighting.
But that same day, Monday, he wound up in hospital with a concussion after a teammate fired a rocket launcher a few steps from where he stood.
“The guys are in a fighting mood,” said Ivan, a former construction worker from southwest Ukraine. “They’re moving forward.”
Some Russian troops are fleeing their positions, he said, abandoning equipment and booby-trapping the bodies of dead comrades they leave behind. Ivan showed footage that he said was sent to him by comrades on the front line, appearing to show dead Russian soldiers on the outskirts of a village that he said was seized by Ukrainian forces on Tuesday.
Ivan said Ukrainian forces had thrust toward Kherson, the regional capital, and were trying to clear villages along the way.
Russian military bloggers who are close to the country’s Defense Ministry have noted another Ukrainian advance, across the Inhulets River to the northeast of Kherson. The Russian Defense Ministry has described Ukraine’s offensive as a failure.
“We’re advancing in some areas and being battered in others,” said Pavlo, a 22-year-old soldier who was concussed in a battle on Tuesday and says he now hears a sound akin to a broken television in his head.
Much, much more at the link.
That’s enough for tonight!
Your daily Patron!
— Patron (@PatronDsns) September 1, 2022
I just ordered some!
Today I met @unicefchief Catherine Russel. We work together with @UNICEF_UA to tell children about mine danger. And today, I said: can I become an « ambassaDOG of goodwill”? And they laughed. Does it mean yes or what? 😅 pic.twitter.com/kXFuswbkVz
— Patron (@PatronDsns) September 1, 2022
And a new video from Patron’s official TikTok:
The caption translates as:
Happy first day of autumn, my dears! 🍁🍂 An Autumn lick for everyone! 👅 #dogPatron #PatronDSNS
It is definitely not Autumn here! 🥵