Today was a long tedious day. So we’re just going to run through the basics tonight to ease back in to posting.
I want to thank Carlo for his two guest posts that allowed me to (sort of) take two days off. Before anyone decides to ask in comments, I have not had a chance to read them and hope to get to them this weekend. So don’t ask me what I thought. My only thought is I’m appreciative he was ready to go so I didn’t have to worry about not posting during Yom Kippur.
Musk decided to triple down today. It was even more stupid than his stuff earlier in the week. I have socks that know more than he does.
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Today is the day of active diplomacy. We inform our partners about the latest manifestations of Russian terror. About missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia and other cities of Ukraine. About the use of Iranian drones against our people and infrastructure.
For some reason, Iran claims that there are no Iranian-made drones in Ukraine. People see them in the sky. We shoot them down. But we are told that there are allegedly no Iranian drones in Ukraine. Well, we’ll find ways to ensure that there aren’t any left indeed.
We also provide information about our movement on the frontline. Since October 1, more than half a thousand square kilometers of territory and dozens of settlements have been liberated from the Russian sham referendum and stabilized only in the Kherson region.
There are also successes in the eastern direction. The day will surely come when we will report on successes in the Zaporizhzhia region as well – in those areas that are still under the control of the occupiers. The day will come when we will also talk about the liberation of Crimea.
This perspective is obvious. It is also obvious that there is still some way to go. There is still a lot to endure, a lot to do. Both for Ukrainians and for our partners – all who value freedom and international law.
I’ve talked today with representatives of political, business and expert circles of Australia. I felt full support and interest in our victory. By the way, Australia is among the top 10 countries that provide us with defense aid. This is a very significant contribution to the protection of our state, the international legal order and humanity as such.
I’ve addressed the European leaders at the summit of the European Political Community held today in Prague. I called on them to do everything so that this new format of our cooperation in Europe, which unites different states: from Iceland to Azerbaijan, from Spain to Turkey, could become not just a gathering of politicians, but a gathering of peacemakers. Europe needs a community of those who know how to protect peace and put any terrorists in their place.
These days, the European Union is moving towards the introduction of the eighth package of sanctions against Russia. In particular, this package envisages limiting the sea transportation of Russian oil and creates a toolkit to limit the oil revenues of the terrorist state. This is good. But this is only the beginning.
We must ensure that the terrorist state does not receive any profit from the sale of oil and gas. So that not a single oil dollar and not a single gas euro could go to the continuation of the Russian war against Ukraine and the entire civilized world. I am confident that it will be ensured in due time.
And I thank all Europeans, all in the free world, who work for this result. Who promote the necessary political decisions and who create the necessary economic alternatives to Russian energy resources.
I will continue working in this direction tomorrow. I will address the participants of the meeting of the European Council.
Today in Kyiv I met with Samantha Power, head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). We discussed the existing and prospective programs of our cooperation, the implementation of our plan for the rapid reconstruction of Ukraine. The main focus of these programs is security. And we will soon introduce this new security approach to our civil infrastructure to the public.
I thanked Mrs. Power for allocating funds to prepare our infrastructure for the winter period, in particular heating.
I held a meeting today with IAEA Head Grossi, who arrived in Kyiv. It is clear that our negotiations primarily concerned the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant captured by Russian terrorists. But in fact, this topic is much broader. It concerns not only Ukraine and not only in the context of radiation safety.
Of course, any decisions of the current head of Russia regarding the Zaporizhzhia station and any attempts by Russia to transfer the station to its alleged ownership are worthless and, frankly speaking, stupid. This is a nuclear power plant. This is not some palace, Yukos or something else that the Russian leadership has already managed to steal.
Only Ukrainian specialists can guarantee that there will be no radiation incidents at the Zaporizhzhia station. And it was important to hear from Mr. Grossi that the international community will only contact Ukraine regarding the ZNPP, because it is Ukrainian property. Was, is and will be.
Now there are about five hundred occupiers at the station. And this is nothing but five hundred risks of disaster. The world understands this. And I am grateful for the support of everyone who is fighting for the return of full Ukrainian control over the station and for its complete demilitarization.
Another aspect of this topic is electricity itself. And if the Zaporizhzhia station is not working, we in Ukraine face certain difficulties. We are getting a situation where we do not have a surplus of electricity, which we can, in particular, export to EU countries.
This is a disadvantage for the people of the EU, who lose a reliable source of energy supply. This is a disadvantage for us, Ukrainians. We are honest about it. We say honestly that all of us in Europe must fight for our interests together – in complete unity.
I thank everyone who helps Ukraine!
I thank everyone who fights and works for our victory!
Glory to Ukraine!
Brig Gen Ryder, the Pentagon spokesperson, held an on the record briefing with Q&A today. None of his prepared remarks dealt with Ukraine, but I’ve copied and pasted the Q&A that does focus on Ukraine below:
Let me go one more on the phone here. And we’ll come back to the group. JJ Green, WTOP.
Q: General, thank you for the opportunity. Instability on the battlefield has been pretty consistent in this war in Ukraine that Russia is waging. But we’re starting to see a lot more inconsistency and pressure on the administration, the Putin administration in Moscow. And I’m just curious if — if this is of concern to the U.S. military because of Russia’s threats, and because of some of the actions that Russia has taken in terms of the Zaporizhzhia plan. And those threats, I’m referring to our threats of using possibly tactical nuclear weapons.
GEN. RYDER: OK, if I — if I can — apologize — break down your question. So, what I think you’re asking is concerns about instability in the Russian government. And then concerns about nuclear threats. Was that your question, JJ?
Q: That’s it.
GEN. RYDER: So, in regards to the Russian government, I’m not going to comment on that. That’s clearly something that’s in the purview of the Russian people. Our focus is on supporting Ukraine, as they defend their — their country. In terms of the — the nuclear threats. You know, we’ve talked about this. Many people in our government and in the international community, to include Secretary Austin, have highlighted the fact that this nuclear saber rattling is reckless and irresponsible. As I’ve mentioned before, at this stage, we do not have any information that would cause us to change our strategic deterrence posture. And we don’t assess that President Putin has made a decision to use nuclear weapons at this time. Again, we’re taking it very seriously. We’ll continue to monitor. But in the meantime, again, our focus is on supporting Ukraine.
Q: On India. How seriously Secretary of Defense of this building takes the remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on or with President Putin that almost eight months or war will be over? Basically, one of the longest wars in history between a superpower and a tiny nation. So, almost eight months, so Prime Minister Modi said that war will be over already toward President Putin.
GEN. RYDER: I’m not sure I understand what what’s the question.
Q: During the Prime Minister’s — during Modi’s meeting with President Putin. He told President Putin that war should be over. And how seriously you think you — this building or Secretary takes the remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I don’t want to comment specifically on the Prime Minister’s comments. What I will say is that, as evidenced recently by some of those discussions, and what we saw and in the public in terms of the response by international leaders to include in China, to President Putin is very indicative of the fact that Russia stands alone in this issue, and its aggression of Ukraine.
Q: The relation between military-to-military relations between the United States and India today.
GEN. RYDER: I think we have good relations. And I think as evidenced by secretaries, Austin’s, Secretary Austin’s engagements most recently, with both the Foreign Minister and with the Minister of Defense, it’s a relationship that we look forward to continuing to improve, and particularly focused on the interoperability between our two militaries. So, I think it’s moving in the in the right direction.
Q: I just wanted to ask you, with the Defense Contact Group coming up next week, can you say a little bit about where the discussion stands? And in terms of sending tanks to Ukraine, modern tanks, not just the old Soviet tanks, I understand there’s complications with sending the Abrams, but perhaps there’s a German tank that there might be discussions around sending said, can you just give us an update?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I don’t have any specifics today to provide clearly and we’ll put out a press release on this announcing a bit next week, we will conduct a Ukraine Defense Contact Group session on the margins of the NATO defense ministerial. In Brussels. We look forward to engaging with our allies and our partners to discuss support to Ukraine. I know there’ll be a variety of topics discussed to include security assistance. And so, after that, we may have more to provide. So, thank you.
All right. Let me go. Yes, sir.
Q: I had a question about cyber security. There were reports that pro Russia hacking group, Kill Net, compromised a U.S. Defense data center, and also websites run by governments in states like Colorado and Connecticut. Does the Pentagon have any assessment of what happened there? Is there a statement you can provide?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, I don’t have anything on that. But we’ll — we’ll take that question and we’ll get back to you.
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 assessments of the situations in Izium and Kherson:
ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR PLANT/ 06 OCT/ In a dangerous escalation, RU troops have fired several surface- to-surface missiles from the interior of the nuclear plant toward the nearby city of Zaporizhzhia. pic.twitter.com/6rdOg0TB3R
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) October 6, 2022
KHERSON/1315 UTC 6 OCT/ Offensive operations continue. UKR units in contact at the northern urban area of Snihurivka. UKR Air defense interdicts 3 Iranian Shaheed-136 UAVs before they could strike Mykolaiv. UKR conducts 350 fire missions and 7 Close Air Support (CAS) sorties. pic.twitter.com/cFdak9CXY3
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) October 6, 2022
Here’s the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksii Reznikov’s animated map of Ukraine’s offensive over the past month:
#UAarmy’s autumn offensive, day by day. While the "russian parliament" is intoxicated from the futile attempts at annexation, our soldiers continue moving forward.
This is the best answer to any and all "referenda", "decrees", "treaties" and pathetic speeches. pic.twitter.com/qLCBu0Vdns
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) October 5, 2022
— Illia Ponomarenko (@IAPonomarenko) October 5, 2022
Someone was asking the other night about anti-drone weapons. Here you go:
— Tomaburque (@tomaburque) October 5, 2022
For you energy enthusiasts out there:
US #LNG has now overtaken combined Russian pipe gas + LNG in supplies to Europe in September, @ICISOfficial data shows.
Norway remains the largest supplier of #natgas even with annual maintenance taking place. #TTF #ONGT
— Tom Marzec-Manser (@tmarzecmanser) October 6, 2022
If you haven’t seen it, I want to recommend this excellent piece by Timothy Snyder:
At first, no one could imagine that the Russo-Ukrainian war could begin. And yet it began. And now, no one can imagine how it will end. And yet end it will.
War is ultimately about politics. That Ukraine is winning on the battlefield matters because Ukraine is exerting pressure on Russian politics. Tyrants such as Putin exert a certain fascination, because they give the impression that they can do what they like. This is not true, of course; and their regimes are deceptively brittle. The war ends when Ukrainian military victories alter Russian political realities, a process which I believe has begun.
The Ukrainians, let’s face it, have turned out to be stunningly good warriors. They have carried out a series of defensive and now offensive operations that one would like to call “textbook,” but the truth is that those textbooks have not yet been written; and when they are written, the Ukrainian campaign will provide the examples. The have done so with admirable calm and sang-froid, even as their enemy perpetrates horrible crimes and openly campaigns for their destruction as a nation.
Right now, though, we have a certain difficulty seeing how Ukraine gets to victory, even as the Ukrainians advance. This is because many of our imaginations are trapped by a single and rather unlikely variant of how the war ends: with a nuclear detonation. I think we are drawn to this scenario, in part, because we seem to lack other variants, and it feels like an ending.
Using the mushroom cloud for narrative closure, though, generates anxiety and hinders clear thinking. Focusing on that scenario rather than on the more probable ones prevents us from seeing what is actually happening, and from preparing for the more likely possible futures. Indeed, we should never lose sight of how much a Ukrainian victory will improve the world we live in.
But how do we get there? The war could end in a number of ways. Here I would like to suggest just one plausible scenario that could emerge in the next few weeks and months. Of course there are others. It is important, though, to start directing our thoughts towards some of the more probable variants. The scenario that I will propose here is that a Russian conventional defeat in Ukraine is merging imperceptibly into a Russian power struggle, which in turn will require a Russian withdrawal from Ukraine. This is, historically speaking, a very familiar chain of events.
Before I lay this out, we will first have to clear away the nuclear static. Speaking of nuclear war in a broad, general way, we imagine that the Russo-Ukrainian War is all about us. We feel like the victims. We talk about our fears and anxieties. We write click-bait headlines about the end of the world. But this war is almost certainly not going to end with an exchange of nuclear weapons. States with nuclear weapons have been fighting and losing wars since 1945, without using them. Nuclear powers lose humiliating wars in places like Vietnam and Afghanistan and do not use nuclear weapons.
To be sure, there is a certain temptation to concede mentally to nuclear blackmail. Once the subject of nuclear war is raised, it seems overwhelmingly important, and we become depressed and obsessed. That is just where Putin is trying to lead us with his vague allusions to nuclear weapons. Once we take his cue, we imagine threats that Russia is not actually making. We start talking about a Ukrainian surrender, just to relieve the psychological pressure we feel.
This, though, is doing Putin’s work for him, bailing him out of a disaster of his own creation. He is losing the conventional war that he started. His hope is that references to nuclear weapons will deter the democracies from delivering weapons to Ukraine, and buy him enough time to get Russian reserves to the battlefield to slow the Ukrainian offensive. He’s probably wrong that this would work; but the rhetorical escalation is one of the few plays that he has left.
As I’ll explain in a moment, giving in to nuclear blackmail won’t end the conventional war in Ukraine. It would, however, make future nuclear war much more likely. Making concessions to a nuclear blackmailer teachers him that this sort of threat will get him what he wants, which guarantees further crisis scenarios down the line. It teaches other dictators, future potential blackmailers, that all they need is a nuclear weapon and some bluster to get what they want, which means more nuclear confrontations. It tends to convince everyone that the only way to defend themselves is to build nuclear weapons, which means global nuclear proliferation.
Insofar as there is some kind of nuclear threat, it is directed not against us, but against the Ukrainians. They have been resisting nuclear blackmail for seven months; and if they can do it, surely we can too. When prominent Russian political figures such as Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov talk about nuclear use, they mean in Ukraine. But this is also not how the war is going to end. Kadyrov also claims that he is sending his teenage sons to fight in Ukraine. So that they can be irradiated by Russian nuclear weapons?
Russia claims to be mobilizing hundreds of thousands of new troops. This is not going at all well, but even so: would Putin really take the political risk of a large-scale mobilization, send the Russian boys to Ukraine, and then detonate nuclear weapons nearby? Morale is a serious problem already. It appears that more than half a million Russian men have fled the country rather than be sent to Ukraine. It would not help the situation if Russians thought that they were being mobilized to a zone where nuclear weapons would be detonated. They will get no appropriate protective gear. Many mobilized soldiers lack the appropriate gear for a conventional war.
Russia has just declared that parts of eastern and southern Ukraine are Russia. This is of course ridiculous. But would Moscow really use nuclear weapons on lands that it claims are Russian, killing or irradiating the people it claims are Russian citizens, civilians and soldiers alike? It’s not impossible. But it’s very unlikely.
And even if it happened, it wouldn’t end the war, or at least not with a Russian victory. I have been reasoning thus far without even mentioning deterrence: the anticipation that use of a nuclear weapon would trigger powerful responses from other countries. The Americans have been given months to think about this, and I would imagine that their response to nuclear use by Russia has been calculated to be disabling for the Russian armed forces and humiliating for Putin personally. Another more indirect form of deterrence is the sure knowledge that the use of a nuclear weapon would lose Putin and Russia support around the world.
I also wonder whether Russia would take the risk of bringing nuclear weapons into or even near Ukraine, given Ukraine’s accurate long-range artillery, Russia’s leaky logistics, and the ability of the Ukrainians to get hold of weapons systems the Russians have brought into their country. It is hard to overstate the difficulty the Russians have in to keeping hold of their own stuff. Sure, the Russians might use a missile instead; but some of their missiles fall to earth and more are shot down. Russian planes tend to crash and to get shot down, to the point that Russian sorties are rare — and attract negative attention.
Much, much, much more at the link!
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A new video from Patron’s official TikTok:
The caption translates as:
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