(Image by NEIVANMADE)
Ukraine has made another break from it’s forced Soviet past: it has moved to join the rest of Europe and the rest of the World War II allies that are not Russia in celebrating Victory in Europe Day on the 8th of May. I expect that there will also not be any celebration of Immortals Day tomorrow in Ukraine as well.
It is on May 8 that most nations of the world remember the greatness of the victory over the Nazis. The world admires all those who were protecting and protected life. Who threw down the Nazi flags on the liberated territory and who opened the gates of the concentration camps.…
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 8, 2023
Here is the full statement fro President Zelenskyy’s tweet:
It is on May 8 that most nations of the world remember the greatness of the victory over the Nazis. The world admires all those who were protecting and protected life. Who threw down the Nazi flags on the liberated territory and who opened the gates of the concentration camps. Who restored freedom to the nations, who destroyed and condemned Nazi evil. It is on May 8 that the world honors the memory of all those, whose lives were taken by that war. It is pure history, without ideological admixtures. And it is the history of our people, our allies, the entire free world. Today, we are returning it to our state. Today, I submitted a bill to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine proposing that May 8 be the Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in the Second World War of 1939-1945. Eternal memory to all those who died in the Second World War! Glory to each and every one who fought against Nazism and won! Glory to all our heroes of different times, to whom we equally owe our lives!
Today, Ukraine, like the rest of the civilized world, remembers the fallen soldiers of WWII.
We honor their service, bravery, and sacrifice.
Our mission is to defeat the modern day aggressor and restore peace in Europe. pic.twitter.com/3mNULkNNxY
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) May 8, 2023
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Ukrainians’ success in defense against Russian aggression is an antidote to other aggressions – address by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
8 May 2023 – 21:39
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
First of all, I would like to thank our warriors. Those who defend the Ukrainian sky and those who fight for Ukraine on the frontline.
Our defenders of the sky – the Air Force and other branches of troops involved in the defense against terrorists’ missiles and Shaheds – are doing a great job these days! They inspire not only us. Our partners see what Ukrainians are capable of, what the weapons we have been given are capable of in our hands, and how effective we are when we act together for the sake of our common security.
Ukrainians’ success in defense against Russian aggression is definitely an antidote to other aggressions. The world needs to see that a free nation is capable of defending freedom from invaders. If we can do it, then others can do it. If they act as boldly, as accurately, and in the same unity with other free nations. I am grateful to each of our warriors who provides Ukraine with this result! I am grateful to every partner who helps our warriors with the weapons they need to be effective!
Today I would like to especially celebrate the warriors of the 96th Kyiv air defense missile brigade. For this and the previous day, they have done an absolutely great job!
Of course, today, as always, I thank our troops who are fighting in the most fierce areas. Maryinka, Bakhmut, Avdiivka… I thank each and every one who defends Ukraine there for their grit and resilience! The occupiers have again received some new tasks from their leaders to advance somewhere by a certain date… Well, this only means that despite any dates, our heroes will, as always, destroy the occupier.
Today, I held a meeting of the Staff. The commanders of operational directions, the Commander-in-Chief and the heads of intelligence delivered reports. By the way, Budanov’s and Lytvynenko’s reports were particularly thorough and relevant, and we will take certain steps based on them – steps that will strengthen our defense.
There were also reports on the training of our new units and the supply of ammunition. I held a meeting with the Minister for Strategic Industries on ammunition. There is good news in this regard. Of course, now is not the time to make them public.
I also held several security meetings with government officials. The head of government, the First Deputy Prime Minister, the Interior Minister, and other ministers.
The first meeting concerned demining in Ukraine. As of now, more than 170,000 square kilometers of our territory are contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance. In general, this is estimated in terms of time rather badly – they say it will take decades to deal with such a threat. We have to do it much faster. We are also preparing a special system of actions that will help us demine the new territory faster after de-occupation. We are also actively working with partners to increase our capabilities. In terms of equipment, training of sappers and pyrotechnicians. We will cooperate with everyone in the world who has the experience, who has the technology, who has the financial capacity to support us to make Ukraine clear of Russian mines again.
Another security meeting I held today concerned the development of a fundamental new security concept for Ukraine. We will comprehensively answer all security issues of the country. At the legislative level, at the level of government decisions, in specific practical issues. From border protection to new security conditions for schools, from the infrastructural foundations of economic security to a real opportunity to guarantee our people the kind of protection against terror that the most advanced countries in the world have. All this will be presented. All this will be implemented.
Today, on May 8, when the world remembers the words “Never again!”, we in Ukraine give meaning to these words. Not only to remember, but also to protect. Not only to value life, but also to do everything to ensure that everyone who threatens life, everyone who brings aggression, everyone who resorts to terror against other nations, every such evil loses.
I thank everyone who helps us protect lives! Glory to all our warriors who are now fighting for Ukraine!
May the victory over the current evil of ruscism be the best honor to the memory of those who fought and defeated Nazism!
Glory to Ukraine!
Last night, 35 of 35 russian drones were shot down!
30 of them targeted Kyiv.
On this Day of Remembrance &Victory over Nazism in WWII, today’s Nazis – ruscists – are destroying peaceful cities. The empire of which they dream will fade into obscurity. Just like its predecessors. pic.twitter.com/easqvc8W17
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) May 8, 2023
A few more from Kyiv’s Kyoto Park. 📸 pic.twitter.com/lMJ20vS5EI
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) May 8, 2023
📷Ukrainian troops standing near a trench overlooking #Bakhmut.#UkraineRussiaWar pic.twitter.com/K43IR8Bfq3
— MilitaryLand.net (@Militarylandnet) May 5, 2023
This is a long tweet thread in Ukrainian by a Soldier in the 93rd Mechanized Brigade. I’m going to copy and paste the machine translation of the thread into a quote box below the initial tweet in the thread. I will also post the four tweets that have still images or video immediately after the machine translation in the quote box.
Пишу тільки зараз, бо планомірно розгрібали наслідки цієї історії.
Квітень. В Бахмуті на той момент вже не було безпечних місць і надійних укриттів, їх нівелювала важка артилерія росіян. Піони і Тюльпани стирали до основ все те, що мало хоч якийсь цілісний вигляд. pic.twitter.com/K0QVUXd3mu
— твій друг Стус (@slovyanskasil) May 8, 2023
- About the past.
I am writing only now, because the consequences of this story were systematically raked up. April. There were no safe places and reliable shelters in Bakhmut at that time, they were leveled by the heavy artillery of the Russians. Peonies and Tulips erased everything that had at least some coherent appearance.
- The territory controlled by us was getting smaller and smaller, the Russians understood and saw this perfectly, making full use of their advantage in art. Moving around the city became more and more difficult, and there was more and more work.
- April 6. Our crew left the night shift and had to go to the base to get some sleep, but for some reason they didn’t want to go at all. Three times I refused to go home and decided that I would rather sleep at the place of the flights. Then the peonies woke up and the desire to go home disappeared completely.
- Our area was covered for three hours, and at the end of the shelling, one of the comrades, who was at the base, came out and said that they were overwhelmed. We broke away and ran to them.
- Running to the spot, they saw a stacked building in front of them. They ran into the basement. The commander has already been caught. Two more boys got out on their own, they were the luckiest. Two of them were under the rubble, on top of which were floor slabs.
- You yourself understand that we are not a dsns and from the available means we had a jack, a crowbar and a holy faith in the best. I will not tell in detail how everything happened, I will only say that the boys have a very serious guardian angel.
7. It all came down to a case that so often decides our destinies. At the moment they hit the building, they were all sitting at the same table, a place near the passage where the slabs did not lay flat. No one would have dug up the place where I would have slept.
8. It was the only option, among thousands of possible worst options, in which everyone remained alive. The boys have serious injuries, fractures, but the most important thing is life.
After that, we got everything that survived and continued to work in threes.
9. The boys were successfully evacuated, and now everything is fine with them. Personal belongings, equipment and work items were lost. Also, as a result of the shelling, 3 cars were damaged, which we took out, but which need to be repaired. You can get help with this here: https://send.monobank.ua/jar/8TwS1t4Ckt
10. A week after the heavy fighting, those who remained alive were taken out for rehabilitation. They began to lick their wounds and prepare for the new company, which has already started. Thus ended the third return to Bakhmut, truly the most difficult 3 months in our lives. The war continues, so there will be more…
11. PS who is interested in what exactly flies in Bakhmut.
The next day, they found the following cracks. We thought for a long time what kind of waffle it was and soon found it. Active-reactive mine 240mm 3f2. In the people – a tulip of yojana. This is the Russian projectile hunger.
P.S кому цікаво, що саме літає в Бахмуті.
На наступний день знайшли ось такі преколи. Довго думали, що це за вунлервафля така і невдовзі знайшли. Активно-реактивна міна 240мм 3ф2. В народі – йоьаний тюльпан. Ось такий російський снарядний голод. pic.twitter.com/xMLgoHqYGP
— твій друг Стус (@slovyanskasil) May 8, 2023
Video of a Ukrainian M777 artillery strike on a Wagner machine gun position in a building in Bakhmut located by Ukrainian SSO. https://t.co/ZcDzqtpeIy pic.twitter.com/J5nMMRecYy
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 8, 2023
Bakhmut is still burning:
In #Bakhmut, we are currently supporting our troops with reconnaissance and artillery spotting. Here is a fresh look at the city destroyed by the Russian occupiers.
Video by our @Ostapenko_91. pic.twitter.com/sXYH7NxZfU
— Sons of Thunder (@SynyHromu) May 8, 2023
Bakhmut has been under fierce assault for several days now. Russia uses everything it has, including incendiary weapons. Attacks will intensify to try and show something before Victory Day parade.
This is what is left of the city. pic.twitter.com/LXvf9Bjhuv
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) May 8, 2023
A Finnish Defense Force Reserve officer has posted a very interesting open source geospatial analysis of the fortifications the Russians have built in Zaporizhzhia in anticipation of Ukraine’s spring/summer campaign. First tweet from the thread followed by the rest from the Thread Reader App:
1/ Thread: Analysis of Russian defensive network and field fortifications on Kopani-Robotyne-Tokmak sector of the Zaporizhzhia front. This analysis was done using Sentinel Hub EO imagery and commercially available very high-resolution satellite imagery by Airbus DS Pléiades Neo. pic.twitter.com/6DQJLgEKvk
— Pasi Paroinen (@Inkvisiit) May 8, 2023
2/ Russian defenses have been constructed along dominant heights and ridgelines. Defenses have been established at depth of 25-30km from Russian forward line of friendly troops (FLOT) all the way to the city of Tokmak.3/ There are several distinct layers or defensive zones. Zone 1: first 3-4km from the RuFLOT is the forward security zone consisting of individual squad or platoon outposts and individual company strongpoints.4/ Zone 2: first defensive line, 2-3km deep. Company trenches and strongpoints arranged along key terrain features in continuous line. This zone has seen recent additions and is constantly being improved. Villages of Kopani and Robotyne form the linchpins of this position.5/ Zone 3: 4-5km deep zone with reserve- and possible decoy positions. This zone is also where majority of the local Russian artillery and mechanized reserves will be maneuvering behind the first defense line. Multiple shelter areas for vehicles and equipment observed.6/ Zone 4: Prepared main defensive line. Massive multilayered trench lines with anti-tank ditches and dragons’ teeth obstacles. Extensive minefields are likely. These fortifications form nearly uniformly continuous defensive belt across the front. Built 3-4km deep.7/ Zone 5: Reserve and fallback positions behind the main defensive line (zone 3). Zone 6: Town of Tokmak and the surrounding AT-ditch and strongpoints form the last fallback and reserve position on this sector, prepared for all-around defense.8/ I have complied a collection of samples of different field fortification types and examples from across this sector. Note that the high resolution Pléiades Neo images are from 13thMAR 23 so they are quite old at this point. Many fortifications were under construction.9/ 1: Forwardmost Russian platoon (+) strongpoint 600m wide. 2: 1,20km company (-) trench line. 3: 500m wide trench in tree line + additional trenches under construction. 4: Two squad or section outposts guarding a gap between positions.10/ 5: Company trench system 1600m wide under construction. 6: Anti-tank ditch at the northern edge of Robotyne + small squad strongpoints. 7: Trenches, dugouts, and AT-ditches west of Robotyne. 8: Trenches under construction, northern edge of Kopani.11/ 9: Reserve trench under construction south of Robotyne. 10: Trenches and dugouts being constructed on heights overlooking Rivne. 11: Two 300m wide platoon strongpoints under construction. 12. 300m wide platoon strongpoint between Solodka Balka and Novoprokopivka.12/ 13: Around Solodka Balka, 11km behind the RuFLOT, a multilayered main defensive line is being constructed. It comprises of AT-ditches, dragons teeth obstacles, minefields, and multiple consecutive trench lines at average depth of 2-3km.13/ Notice the large number of dugouts and vehicle firing positions being constructed. These positions have been completed since then. Trenches in the sample pictures 13a and 13b are roughly 3km in width and could serve as battalion strongpoint.14/ 14-15: as can be seen from this sentinel image, the Russian trench lines and fortifications continue on both sides of Solodka Balka strongpoint with multiple fallback positions and reserve trenches. Russians can deploy multiple battalions of infantry along this defensive belt15/ Finally before Tokmak, there is a second robust reserve line 6-7km behind Solodka Balka. Tokmak is also surrounded by circular AT-ditch and multiple separate strongpoints. Village of Ocheretuvate is also being fortified for all-around defense.15/ Finally before Tokmak, there is a second robust reserve line 6-7km behind Solodka Balka. Tokmak is also surrounded by circular AT-ditch and multiple separate strongpoints. Village of Ocheretuvate is also being fortified for all-around defense.16/ But that’s enough for today. You can find more about the Russian fortifications on our map at: scribblemaps.com/maps/view/The-…
(From the sidebar click “Russian defence lines”)17/ Finally we would like to thank @wihurinrahasto for funding our research and enabling us to purchase commercial satellite imagery. This analysis would not have been possible without them. This thread will be followed by tactical-operational analysis at later date.
The Ukrainian senior leadership is doing a good job setting, or, perhaps, resetting expectations for the predicted offensive. From The New York Times:
Ukraine is feeling immense short-term pressures from its Western backers, as the United States and its allies treat the counteroffensive as a critical test of whether the weapons, training and ammunition they have rushed to the country in recent months can translate into significant gains.
If the Ukrainians fall short of expectations, they risk an erosion of Western support. It is a source of anxiety for top officials in Kyiv, who know that beyond battlefield muscle and ingenuity, victory may ultimately come down to a test of wills between the Kremlin and the West — and which side can muster more political, economic and industrial staying power, possibly for years.
As a result, there is a sense in Ukraine that its war effort faces a ticking clock.
“In countries that are our partners, our friends, the expectation of the counteroffensive is overestimated, overheated, I would say,” Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said in an interview this past week in Kyiv, the capital. “That is my main concern.”
Much more at the link!
From The Washington Post:
The planned counterattack — made possible by donated Western weapons and training — could mark the most consequential phase of the war, as Ukraine seeks to snatch back significant territory and prove it is worthy of continued support.
Offensive military operations typically require overwhelming advantage, and with Russian forces dug into heavily fortified defenses all across the 900-mile-long front, it is hard to gauge how far Ukraine will get.
The buildup ahead of the assault — the details of which remain secret — has left Ukrainian officials grappling with a difficult question: What outcome will be enough to impress the West, especially Washington?
Some fear that if the Ukrainians fall short, Kyiv may lose international military assistance or face new pressure to engage with Moscow at a negotiating table — not on the battlefield. Such talks would almost certainly involve Russian demands for a negotiated surrender of sovereign territory, which Ukraine has called unacceptable.
“I believe that the more victories we have on the battlefield, frankly, the more people will believe in us, which means we will get more help,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview Monday with The Washington Post in his heavily fortified headquarters building.
The pressure comes in part from Ukraine’s past battlefield wins — first repelling Russia’s attempt to capture Kyiv and later dislodging the invaders from strongholds in surprise attacks in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions.
“We inspired everywhere because the perception was that we will fall during 72 hours,” Reznikov said. But the track record means Ukraine’s partners now have a “joint expectation that it would be successful again,” he said.
Western partners have told him, he said, that they now need a “next example of a success because we need to show it to our people. … But I cannot tell you what the scale of this success would be. Ten kilometers, 30 kilometers, 100 kilometers, 200 kilometers?”
Much more at the link!
The new Czech president, Petr Pavel, also had some strategic insight to share. The Guardian has the details:
The Czech president, Petr Pavel, a decorated retired general who was previously Nato’s principal military adviser, has privately warned Ukraine’s leadership against the disaster of a rushed counteroffensive.
In recent meetings in Kyiv with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, Pavel cautioned that they no longer had the element of surprise that aided successful assaults on the eastern city of Kharkiv and southern region of Kherson last year.
The war hero, who was chair of the Nato military committee until 2018 and decorated by the Czech and French governments for rescuing French troops besieged by the Serbs during the Bosnian war in 1993, said there was recognition in Kyiv that gaps remained in Ukraine’s capacity for a successful offensive against Russian forces.
He said Zelenskiy had asked him and his Slovak counterpart, Zuzana Čaputová, for their nations each to arm a Ukrainian mechanised brigade before the long-anticipated counter-assault.
“Apparently, they still have a feeling that they do not have everything to start successfully an operation,” Pavel said.
With preparations still being made, Pavel, who was elected in January, said he had appealed to Shmyhal during meetings last week not to be “pushed into a faster pace before they are fully prepared”.
“Because it might be a temptation to push them, for some, to demonstrate some results,” Pavel said in an interview during a visit to London for King Charles’s coronation. “It will be extremely harmful to Ukraine if this counteroffensive fails, because they will not have another chance, at least not this year.”
Ukraine would inevitably face “terrible losses” no matter the strength of its forces, he said, and it could not afford for the assault to fail. “Because it’s extremely demanding in terms of putting together personnel equipment, ammunition logistics, fuel financing. It will simply be one chance this year, so it has to be successful.”
Pavel said Kyiv should not “underestimate the Russians because they have enough manpower, they still have enough equipment, even though it is older, probably in lower numbers, but still, they have a large amount of artillery barrels, they have a lot of ammunition.”
He added: “They are not so incapable in terms of defence. And of course, being in defence makes it easier for them because Ukraine will have suffered terrible losses, even if they are well prepared. So attacking an enemy like Russia will be difficult and Russians will not be caught by surprise for the second time.”
Much more at the link!
Finally, for tonight, a report on Ukrainians and their cows. More seriously, this is an excellent explainer of just how hard it is for people to flee the danger of finding themselves in the middle of a war zone. From The New York Times:
OLEKSANDRO-SHULTYNE, Ukraine — The bombardment began at night. Rockets rained down. On one street, every house blew up, scattering bricks and debris.
At dawn, medics stationed in the village ventured out of a cellar, looking for human casualties. Instead, they saw four older villagers, all apparently unhurt, leading a cow wounded by shrapnel. The medics decided to treat the animal.
“We are used to human doses and didn’t know how much painkiller to inject, but figured out approximately,” said Volodymyr, a combat medic in the Ukrainian Army, who asked to be identified only by his first name in keeping with military rules. “After that, we extracted all the shrapnel we could find and treated the wounds.”
In Oleksandro-Shultyne, some residents stayed behind because they did not want to abandon their farm animals.Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times
Home farming is widespread in Ukraine. In frontline villages where most residents have fled because of the war, those who stayed behind often did so because they didn’t want to abandon dairy cows, animals so prized that they are often considered to be almost family members.
Cows are included in religious celebrations. Their milk provides a source of income. Visitors would struggle to find a cow in any Ukrainian village whose family hadn’t given it a name. The animal also holds a special significance in a country with agonizing memories of the Holodomor, the famine engineered by Joseph Stalin 90 years ago, said Olena Braichenko, the founder of Yizhakultura, an independent project about the gastronomic culture of Ukraine.
Medics stationed in frontline villages were looking for human casualties.Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times
Separation can be heartbreaking. Tetyana, a 53-year-old woman who fled a village near Bakhmut last May, left three cows behind. “It has been almost a year. Sometimes I think I let it go, but then I remember my cows and cry,” she said by telephone from the Zhytomyr region, where she now lives. Like others interviewed for this article, she asked that her full name not be used for safety reasons.
“I ran around to the neighbors asking to take my cows, but no one wanted them,” she recalled. “I ran to the butchers, asking to cut their throats as I couldn’t do it myself, but they refused.”
“I just left them tethered, she added. “I understood I couldn’t let them go as they would destroy other people’s gardens.” Her village, Vasiukivka, remains occupied by Russians, and Tetyana has no idea what became of the animals.
The medics who treated the wounded cow in Oleksandro-Shultyne named her Buryonka, or Brownie. Buryonka had a concussion and multiple shrapnel injuries. For two days, she could barely stand. The medics treated her with antibiotics, and on the third day, she finally stood up.
She and four other cows whose barns had burned were brought to the yard of an abandoned house where the medics look after wounded soldiers. Now the cows are in their care, too. That allowed several families to evacuate, knowing their livestock was in good hands.
Buryonka is still very weak but is giving milk again. Her owner fled to a nearby village but still returns to milk Buryonka and the four other cows, giving some to the soldiers and other residents while keeping some for herself.
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
A new video from Patron’s official TikTok:
The machine translation of the caption is:
An M777 did that? Gotta be firing Excaliburs.
Adam L Silverman
Gin & Tonic
The Patron caption is a more active verb, approximately “[let us] remember.”
Incidentally, late last night someone asked about the similarities between Ukrainian and Polish (the languages.) Ukrainian and Polish, despite using different alphabets, are notably more similar than Ukrainian and Russian.
@Gin & Tonic: that was me, and thank you! Did Ukrainian ever use roman letters or was it always written in Cyrillic (?)
Linguistics is fascinating. Just look at cheese: fromage, queso, formaggio, kaese, etc. So much fun!
Gin & Tonic
@Manyakitty: Ukrainian has always used the Cyrillic alphabet.
@Gin & Tonic: do you know which language is older? I feel a rabbit hole coming on. (at least I entertain myself 😁)
@ Adam or anyone else, is what Pasi Paroinen described a competently designed network of defense fortifications?
We won’t know how well they have been constructed, how dedicated/skilled the defenders manning the fortifications are, & how well supported by artillery fire they are, until the Ukrainian offensive starts.
Gin & Tonic
@Manyakitty: Linguistic rabbit holes are good
Both derive from Proto-Slavic, but somewhere between 500-800 CE they diverged into West, South and East Slavic. East Slavic was Byzantine (Cyril and Methodius were Greek, basically.) So the language of the Christianization of Kyivan Rus was the Byzantine Old Church Slavonic, the alphabet of which is more similar to Greek. (In a long-ago stage of life I could read OCS.) Rus, then Ukraine, being “eastern” meant its language derived from there. Poland, being Roman Catholic, always used the Latin alphabet
@Gin & Tonic: so cool. Also, your response answered most of my immediate questions.
I regret never taking historical linguistics in grad school. The one professor who taught it suffered a head injury and ended up retiring early so the opportunity disappeared. Tragic on so many levels.
This…makes my blood boil. If they “fall short” it would likely be down, at least in large part, due to “Western support” not being anywhere near what it ought to be and what Ukraine has been asking for over the last year+. The idea that Western governments might look at a below-expectation counteroffensive and shrug and go “Welp, they suck, no more weapons” instead of “Welp, WE suck, give them more weapons” is aggravating.
Bah. I know nothing is that simple but still. Makes me grumpypants.
Thank you as always, Adam.
@Gin & Tonic: I have always like the look of the Cyrillic alphabet, though I admit when I’m trying to machine-translate something from Ukrainian, I have my own made up names for the characters that are not present in English.
д – house
ь – baby b
п – flat N
And so on :P
Gin & Tonic
@Manyakitty: My comment sucks; it’s really disjointed. I’m having a cocktail, watching the Knicks game and typing on my phone, that’s my excuse. Your question deserves a more comprehensive response.
Drawing lines on paper and adding in hatching is easy.
The close ups of Crimean trenches and defenses, are garbage. The trenches are too wide, the shoring is too thin, no drains, grenade pits or dugouts. The “dragons teeth” are just concrete pyramids set on the ground, not buried into it. No firing pits, no communication trenches.
The UA trench clearing vids, show that in contested areas, Ruzzian “trenches” are just holes and pits.
I don’t have a high opinion of Ruzzian defense works.
@YY_Sima Qian: Static defenses can be bypassed. I think the key will be whether the Russians have effective mobile reserves for counterattack. They probably wish they could have the formations back that they squandered in the Vulhedar attacks.
The tactical capabilities of their air force will be another critical factor. And a really big question is: will Russian ground forces fight for more than a few hours or days?
Gin & Tonic
@Alison Rose: The ь is the hard one, because it’s more a diacritical mark than a character. But д is just d, from the Greek delta.
@Gin & Tonic: hey, for a casual response to an oddly specific question on a blog post, while you’re otherwise distracted, you made sense to me. Also, too, I appreciate it. If you ever want to get into what John Scalzi calls the “neepery” of the history and dispersion of languages, please come sit by me. It’s extremely my thing.
Also, I’m interested in learning Ukrainian, but that seems daunting.
@Gin & Tonic: Is there a difference in pronunciation between the i with one dot and the one with two?
Gin & Tonic
@Alison Rose: Yes. The one-dot one is basically “ee” while the two-dot one is “yee.”
Adam L Silverman
@YY_Sima Qian: I’ve got to get cleaned up and go to bed, so I’ll provide my answer tomorrow if that’s okay.
Chris O wiki on the Ruzzian Defense Industry
I made a pro-Ukraine announcement before church, so then in the prayers the tankie in our midst asked for prayers about the upcoming celebration of the victory over Germany, on MAY 9. My husband had to restrain me from getting up and shouting “It’s MAY 8 for us, asshole!”
Gin & Tonic
@zhena gogolia: Hubby needs to stay in his lane. Just saying.
@Geminid: One crucial factor is the benefit of taking the initiative, and using it to offset the advantages of defense over offense.
Once the offensive begins, the Russian actions will be purely reactive, since (as you point out) they are very unlikely to be able to maneuver a reserve for a riposte. So much depends on the choice and phasing of Ukrainian operations, which they have had a great deal of time to think through.
Just comparing the 2023 campaign to 2022, it is already clear that the Russians shot their bolt much earlier this year, and the UA will have the initiative correspondingly sooner—late May, rather than late August. What they do with it is anybody’s guess, but I’m pretty sure that the conversation about the future of the war will be in a very different and more definite place in August than it is now.
@Gin & Tonic: Yeah. It would have been an exciting church service.
@zhena gogolia: I would pay good money to see it.
@Carlo Graziani: a cheering section full of jackals!
Adam L Silverman
@zhena gogolia: Immortals Day. Ugh!
@Jay: That thread is great.
One of the things that it highlights is how far the current Russian defense industry has fallen since Soviet days, when the Military-Industrial Commision (VPK) operated to ensure that armaments and other military supply had top priority for resource allocation, beggaring civilian-focused industry, and effectively supporting the terrifying combat power at the disposal of the Soviets. The contrast with the problems in getting the resources and manpower together to eke out a few more missiles today is nearly comical. In a bona-fide war emergency, the Russians simply have to scrape by, not having any real option to ramp up anything in a manner commensurate to the crisis.
It also creates a bit of clarity on the export-control evasion problem. Yes, some key Western electronics parts are making it to Russia from the West. But this is a fucking war emergency, and the Russians are sucking that supply into starving, hard-pressed industries through a thin straw obviously unequal to urgent requirements by a very large factor. This is a bit of perspective that is often lost when folks focus on the failure of the export control regime to prevent all exports. It turns out that all-or-nothing is not the right framework to understand export controls to Russia, after all.
@Adam L Silverman: A watery tart distributing swords! Oops, I’ve crossed the movie streams there. But really, all I could think of when I saw photos of the British Coronation extravaganza and saw the lady in the blue-green dress holding a sword upright was that they had a watery tart distributing swords …
Apologies for silliness, I find I need that escape valve, what with the horrific domestic shootings, and the tension and sorrow regarding Ukraine.
Listened to a few free lecture from this series by John McWhorter on Great Course. It was fascinating. Still want to eventually listen to all of them. Learning about the evolution and spread of the Polynesian and African languages was engrossing.
@Carlo Graziani: Another unknown is the strength of Ukrainian special forces and partisans in the areas between the current battle front and the Sea of Azov. They won’t show their hand until the offensive begins.
. A Russian is self-assured simply because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe in the possibility of knowing anything fully.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
@Freemark: I’ll definitely look that up. Have you watched “The History of the English Language”? I can’t remember the host, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
@Adam L Silverman: Thanks! Looking forward to it!
Please reply at your leisure, I don’t want to add to your stress.
Anonymous At Work
I thought a lot about what Damien asked you and your response since you posted. I wanted to ask whether UA was keeping quiet about its plans in part because they could be planning to take territory that Washington would consider “dangerous,” aka Crimea or Belgorod.
I always thought that the Zaporizhzhia NPP and the Crimean bottleneck were the two next major goals for UA but reading about what lays between UA and those targets is daunting for a military worried about over-extending and running out of personnel.
This analysis you offer has been helpful in understanding what I cannot do and what, limited, I can do.
@Geminid: Whether static defenses can be bypassed depends on whether there are gaps (or weakened areas) in the defensive lines, & that’s not something the high level maps created by think tanks & other OSINT sources can tell.
I think the war so far has shown that, although Ukraine is mostly flat, most of the contestation have been focused at static defenses around road & rail junctions. The terrain is broken up by rivers, streams & ravines, hedgerows, & of course mine fields. The only instances I can recall a defensive concentration being successfully bypassed was at Mariupol & Lyman.
I don’t think the RuAF has had an impact at the tactical or operational level at any point in the war to date.
@Jay: I thought you might bring that up. I don’t disagree, but it is difficult to assess how representative these snippet are, a challenge throughout the war.
At the end of the day, even if the Russian fortifications & defenders largely perform as intended, what they will achieve is making the Ukrainian breakthrough(s) slow in developing & costly to realize. However, the Ukrainian armed forces do not need to achieve rapid breakthroughs if the Russians do not have enough reserves (or reorient reserves fast enough) to contain such breakthroughs. & the Russians still has the disadvantage of operating on exterior lines.
Mike in DC
How large is the window of opportunity, weather/season-wise, for Ukraine to launch an offensive this year? My assumption is “between mid-May and late September” is the effective operational window, and an assumption that you want at least 30 days of good weather and ground conditions to be optimally effective. That would mean that they’d have to start sometime in the next 100 days.
Is that the one on Great Courses/Wondrium?
@Freemark: it’s been a long day lol. Got the title a little bit wrong, it’s the Adventure of English with Melvyn Bragg. Here’s a link to the series on YouTube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLez3PPtnpncRpf__w_8XWEca2EDv25h3e
so far, I havn’t seen any Ruzzian “defenses”, I would want to fight from. They are basically holes.
2 layers of 6′ timbers, with 8″ of sandbags between and on top, will stop a 105mm direct hit. The “best” I have seen of Ruzzian trenches is twigs supporting a tarp to keep the water off.
The Crimean ones I have seen are a joke. The base should be 18″ not 3 feet. The shores need to be at a minimum 3″x6″, otherwise a 60mm mortar hit will collapse the trench. They need to zig zag, so that an arty strike doesn’t cascade down the trench, not be in a straight line. There need to be dugouts, (proper shelters) at every zig, and a firing position at every zag.
There needs to be zig zag “communication” trenches connecting the zero line to the second line, because the first line is supposed to be a trip wire, minimally staffed, until there is an attack. The reinforcements come forward. There should be “listening posts” forward, with “scrapes” back to the lines, so that the guys out there, can “trip wire” an assault, and still make it back.
All the things I see missing.
I see lot’s of “holes”.
@Jay: Thanks for clarifying! You are right that communication trenches appear to be missing between the different lines of defense, at least in the area that Paroinen analyzed. A lot of the trenches are straight, & even those that zigzag don’t do so enough.
somebody got a lot of money to build shite,……
There’s been something that’s been bothering me about the alleged drone attack on the Kremlin. And so, when I saw a diary over at dKos arguing that it wasn’t merely false-flag, but actually just plain false, I finally figured I should ask.
The RU authorities say that the drones were destroyed by “radar and electronic means” IIRC. How does that work? How do you destroy a drone by “electronic means” that causes an explosion like we saw in the tapes? I have to say. And we never saw any debris, nor pics of the damage to the roof of the Kremlin. I gotta say, I’m starting to think it was just a plain old fake attack.
Why am I barking up the wrong tree?
Looks like Ukraine is getting more air defense:
@Sebastian: Like many, I’ve worried based on Justin Bronk’s (and others’) prognostications about UA running out of air defense missiles. B/c they’re running low on Soviet-era missiles, and Patriots/others are in small quantities, plainly speaking. If these Hawk missiles can be supplied in quantity, it might help. Esp. since so much of what RU is throwing at UA is …. well, from the same era as these Hawks *grin*.
there was some charring on the copper roof tiles,
but yeah, it was fake as shit, Hollywood would have done better,
unless it was NAFO.
Drone “guns” either overwhelm the radio signals controlling the drone, or boost a signal strong enough to burn out the signal receivers.
The “explosion” was fake as shite as well, more like a garbage bag with gas or propane, than a modern explosive.
double post again
@Jay: and the way the Russians were so unforthcoming about any details, left me with a real sense of “who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes”?
From the replies in this tweet, I learned that Hawks are available in abundance (ammo and launchers) and are being phased out in most armies. This might be just what the doctor ordered!
Not an explosion expert but to me, that looked like a flammable liquid explosion. IOW, for visual effect, not damage.
not everything in Ruzzia is shit,……..
some of it is piss.
The Pale Scot
Supposedly the dragons teeth and the prefab bunkers are using substandard cement, the teeth are already eroding and the portable pillboxes can be penetrated by rifle fire.
How could it otherwise? Of course the guys mixing the cement are using too much sand, so as to sell the surplus or they were drunk.
(Porque no los dos?’
@The Pale Scot: I’d read a thread some months ago, that made a credible argument that the “portable cylindrical concrete bunkers” were repurposed septic tanks *grin*. So yeah, pretty much toast if actually shot at with anything nontrivial.
@The Pale Scot:
like an iceberg, 80% of a dragons tooth, has to be buried underground.
The prefab “bunkers” are 6 inches thick. Won’t even slow down a 50 cal.
another double post
I read that DailyKos post too. But couldn’t parse it carefully enough to figure if it was credible. Flags that didn’t wave; reflections in a window. And something about PhotoShop… Curious to see if the speculation has legs.
@way2blue: The lack of *any* credible independent reporting (that is to say, foreign reporters taken on tours of the damage, the wreckage, etc) speaks volumes, to me.
@Jay: “Get me Kash Patel”. Gold.
Dear Fine commentariat, (from which I get so much)
I am only awake to type this because of a Pro-Ukrainian Hollywood propaganda film, dated 1943!!!
Nominated for 6 Academy Awards…a host of big stars…I never heard of this movie before and started watching on a lark..
The North Star
Nazi’s are draining the blood from Ukrainian children to make plasma for front line German Soldiers…Yikes…seeing the children roll off the hospital table, all pale and collapsing, drained of blood…(not a joke!)
Well!…very distressing…and yet currently topical…sigh
the Russians torch the village to prevent Germans from having it…Last lines
Marina Pavlova: Gone. (the village in flames)
Sophia Pavlova, Rodion’s wife: There’ll be another some day.
Marina Pavlova: Yes. It will be different for us. Wars don’t leave people as they were. All people will learn this and come to see that wars do not have to be. We’ll make this the last war. We’ll make a free world for all men. The earth belongs to us, the people, if we fight for it. And we will fight for it!
German’s in the middle of the movie say, or words to this effect…(this was all too shocking to me to remember perfectly)…well we’ve killed a fat girl and made her boyfriend blind…(true enough as the children struggle on the ground…..the Germans laugh)…our night’s work is done.
plus les choses changent plus elles restent les mêmes
Maybe I can go back to sleep now
@The Pale Scot:
This level of corruption is reminding me of the Qing Army during the Sino-Japanese War of 1895. Needless to say, the Qing Empire lost badly, & bad to cede Taiwan as a result.
I am feeling that this was is chipping away at all of the connections Ukraine and many of it’s people had with Russia and the old Soviet Union. Like when all is said and done, the relationship will forever be severed and Ukraine won’t have that yoke of the relationship that shadowed them holding them back.
Weak, Sad, Poop. [/Wonkette]
@Another Scott: No VDV gear, IFVs, MBTs, or tactical AD in the parade. Really shows much losses the Russians have suffered. Downright embarrassing when compared even to the 2022 parade, let alone 2021.
Might as well have held a parade w/ WW II era equipment for nostalgia’s sake.
BRING ON THE PATRON ARMY!!!
@Jay: Just a quick thank you to Jay for this explanation of trenches, and everyone else for the technical & geopolitical info that gets shared here. And many thanks as ever to Adam, for expertise and for the major contribution of this series of posts. So invaluable. I’m sure I’m not the only jackal who lacks war & military expertise, and so deeply grateful for the explanations.