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March 21, 2023

Ukraine SitRep - Avdiivka

Bakhmut is encircled. All roads in and out of it are under Russian artillery fire. Over the last three days fighting has largely stopped there. No one seems to know why the operation was halted.

There are unconfirmed claims that Ukraine is preparing a counterattack to free Bakhmut from its encirclement. That attack is supposed to go off as soon as the muddy ground has dried up a bit.

Meanwhile other encirclement has taken place in Avdiivka:

Avdiivka (Ukrainian: Авдіївка, IPA: [ɐu̯ˈd(j)ijiu̯kɐ]; is a city of regional significance in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. The city is located in the center of the oblast, just north of the city of Donetsk. The large Avdiivka Coke Plant is located in Avdiivka. The city had a pre-war population of 31,392 (2022 est.); in August 2022, its population was estimated at 2,500.

Avdiivka was within the claimed boundaries of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic, before Russia declared its annexation of the entire region in September 2022. During the war in Donbas, Avdiivka became a frontline city and saw a battle in 2017. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, heavy fighting led to Avdiivka being largely destroyed and most of its population having fled.

March 8, 2023

Source: LiveUAmap - bigger

Avdiivka is strongly fortified. Its coke plant is a strong-point. The Ukrainian army used the city to lob artillery into Donetsk city. But attempts to seize it were largely unsuccessful.

Two week ago the situation suddenly changed. The Russian airforce started to bomb Avdiivka with heavy glide bombs. At the same time an operations was launched to envelope the city from two directions.

Cont. reading: Ukraine SitRep - Avdiivka

Posted by b at 16:51 UTC | Comments (111)

March 20, 2023

Geopolitical Rumblings Leave U.S. Behind

Over the last month we have seen astonishing geopolitical developments.

In February China publicly lambasted U.S. hegemony, launched a global security initiative and offered a peace plan for Ukraine.

On March 10 China mediated an agreement which restored relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

On March 15 Moscow rolled out the red carpet for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Yesterday al-Assad and his wife Asma arrived in the UAE for talks with Sheikh Mohammed

Also yesterday Iran and Iraq signed a security cooperation agreement that will stop the CIA sponsored Kurdish activities against Iran.

Also yesterday King Salman of Saudi Arabia invited the President of Iran to a visit in Riyadh.

For the last 30 years the U.S. considered the Middle East as its backyard. Twenty years ago it illegally invaded Iraq and caused 100,000nds of death and decades of chaos. Now China, by peaceful means,  changed the balance in the Middle East within just one month.

Today China's President Xi arrived in Moscow for three days of talks with Russia's President Putin. An article by President Putin was published in the People's Daily while Russian media published a signed article by President Xi.

The U.S. is afraid that China's peace initiative for Ukraine will gain ground. It has openly come out against a cease-fire and peace talks. I had thought that was for Ukraine to decide?

It is likely that Putin will publicly endorse the Chinese peace plan while the U.S. is paranoid that peace might indeed happen. It may even want to sabotage the Saudi Iranian deal.

China's people are by the way the most happy in the world.

Xi and Putin are now running the multilateral global show. Biden and the hapless 'unilateral' people around him are left aside.

Posted by b at 10:21 UTC | Comments (349)

Casino Aficionados Will Have A Busy Day

Warren Buffet:

"Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked."
One large dealer was quoting Credit Suisse bonds at levels that were as much as 6.5 points higher than Friday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private activity in the over-the-counter market.
Holders of Credit Suisse Group AG bonds suffered a historic loss when a takeover by UBS Group AG wiped out about 16 billion Swiss francs ($17.3 billion) worth of risky notes.

The deal will trigger a “complete write-down” of the bank’s additional tier 1 bonds in order to increase core capital, Swiss financial regulator FINMA said in a statement on its website. Meanwhile, the bank’s shareholders are set to receive 3 billion francs.
Pacific Investment Management Co., Invesco Ltd. and BlueBay Funds Management Co. SA were among the many asset managers holding Credit Suisse AT1 notes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Their holdings may have changed or been sold entirely since their last regulatory filings.
AT1 bonds were introduced in Europe after the global financial crisis to serve as shock absorbers when banks start to fail. They are designed to impose permanent losses on bondholders or be converted into equity if a bank’s capital ratios fall below a predetermined level, effectively propping up its balance sheet and allowing it to stay in business.

HSBC Holdings Plc fell as much as 6.6% in Hong Kong trading, the biggest drop in nearly six months, with its newly issued AT1 bond declining more than 5 cents. Standard Chartered Plc slid as much as 5.6%.

The complete write-down of Credit Suisse’s AT1 debt as part of a Swiss bailout has investors in the $275 billion market scrambling to determine how much protection the notes offer in a crisis.

A $1 billion AT1 bond with a coupon of 4.5% was bid as low as 1 cent on the dollar, Tradeweb pricing showed.
Hong Kong plummeted 2.7 percent, with heavyweight HSBC off nearly six percent on worries about its exposure to risky bonds related to Credit Suisse. Standard Chartered also sank.

The losses came even as the city's de facto central bank said its banking sector had "insignificant" exposure to Credit Suisse.

Other regional bank shares were also hit, including Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, National Australia Bank and India's ICICI.
London, Frankfurt and Paris all fell in early Monday trade.

Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul and Mumbai were also in the red.

Shanghai rose after the Chinese central bank cut the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve, hoping to boost the country's economy.

Posted by b at 8:57 UTC | Comments (89)

March 19, 2023

'Modern Western Aircraft' - Ukraine Open Thread 2023-65

NY TimesMore MIG fighters will help Ukraine, but what Kyiv really wants are F-16s.

“To some extent, this will increase our combat capabilities,” [Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force,] said in an appearance on Ukrainian national television Friday morning. “But one should not forget that these are still Soviet and not modern Western aircraft.
The Ukrainian argument is that the F-16 is better than the MIG at shooting down cruise missiles because of its powerful radar and modern missiles, and could offer vastly more protection from Russian bombardment.


The initial production-standard F-16A flew for the first time on 7 August 1978 and its delivery was accepted by the USAF on 6 January 1979.
The AN/APG-68 [radar], an evolution of the APG-66, was introduced with the F-16C/D Block 25. The APG-68 has greater range and resolution, as well as 25 operating modes, including ground-mapping, Doppler beam-sharpening, ground moving target indication, sea target, and track while scan (TWS) for up to 10 targets. The Block 40/42's APG-68(V)1 model added [...] a high-PRF pulse-Doppler track mode to provide Interrupted Continuous Wave guidance for semi-active radar-homing (SARH) missiles like the AIM-7 Sparrow.

MiG- 29:

[T]he MiG-29, along with the larger Sukhoi Su-27, was developed to counter new U.S. fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The MiG-29 entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1983.
The latest upgraded aircraft offered the N010 Zhuk-M, which has a planar array antenna rather than a dish, improving range, and a much superior processing ability, with multiple-target engagement capability and compatibility with the Vympel R-77 [active radar homing beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile] (or RVV-AE).

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 14:56 UTC | Comments (286)

The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-64

Last week's post on Moon of Alabama:


Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-64

Posted by b at 14:30 UTC | Comments (104)

March 18, 2023

Backlash Of Sanction On Russia Must Not Lead To Sanctions On Everyone

More than a year ago I was wrong in predicting that the backlash from sanctions would push the 'west' to accept Russia's demands.

The Sanction Backlash Will Push The 'West' To Accept Russia's Demands - Mar 9, 2022

The Anglo-Saxons prevented that - at least so far.

But parts of my predictions were still correct:

The first [map] shows the countries which banned Russian airplanes from their airspace. Russia in turn denied its airspace to operators from those countries. It will cost quite a bit for U.S. and EU airlines as their flight times and cost to and from Asia, which typically fly through Russian airspace, will now increase. Carriers from Asian countries will now easily out-compete U.S. and European airlines on these routes.

That has indeed happened. U.S. carriers have lost much of their traffic to Asia to Asian airlines as their flight time on those routes are now shorter and their prices cheaper.

But instead of appealing to the U.S. government to take back the sanctions, which would be good for them and their customers, they ask to sanction the Asian carriers.

Banned From Russian Airspace, U.S. Airlines Look to Restrict Competitors

Unable to fly through Russian airspace because of the war in Ukraine, U.S. airlines are stepping up a lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill and at the White House to address what they say is a growing problem: They are losing business to foreign competitors who can take passengers between the United States and Asia faster and more cheaply.

Russia closed its airspace for U.S. and European carriers not because of the war in Ukraine but because the U.S. and its NATO proxies closed their airspace for Russian carriers. To mislead about that, as the opener of NYT piece does, is a disservice to the reader.

Flights on U.S. carriers from the U.S. to India, which previously crossed Siberia, now have to take other routes:

Airlines for America estimated the lost annual market share of U.S. carriers at a collective $2 billion per year.

But for passengers who chose the right airline the issue makes no difference:

Cont. reading: Backlash Of Sanction On Russia Must Not Lead To Sanctions On Everyone

Posted by b at 17:22 UTC | Comments (157)

March 17, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-63

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 15:19 UTC | Comments (407)

March 16, 2023

Open (Not Ukraine) Thread 2023-62

News & views (not related to the war in Ukraine) ...

Posted by b at 19:10 UTC | Comments (278)

The Just Won't Stop - NYT Pushes New False Claims By Debunked Anti-Russia Propagandist Clint Watts

This propaganda is way too obvious.

Russia’s Spring Offensive in Ukraine Could Include Cyberattacks, Microsoft Says - New York Times, Mar 16 2023
Moscow also appears to be stepping up influence operations to weaken European and U.S. support for sending more aid to the Ukrainian government.

A hacking group with ties to the Russian government appears to be preparing new cyberattacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure and government offices, Microsoft said in a report on Wednesday, suggesting that Russia’s long-anticipated spring offensive could include action in cyberspace, as well as on the ground.
For now Russia’s main influence campaign is concentrated in Europe, but it will shift to the United States “as the year gets closer to a presidential election debate going into fall,” said Clint Watts, the head of Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center.

Where, again, have I seen that name?

Latest Twitter Files show media, Dems relied on single source alleging 'Russian bot' activity: 'It was a scam' - Foxnews, Jan 28, 2023
Elon Musk says 'shame on MSNBC' for pushing misleading Russian bots narratives

Cont. reading: The Just Won't Stop - NYT Pushes New False Claims By Debunked Anti-Russia Propagandist Clint Watts

Posted by b at 9:46 UTC | Comments (222)

Ukraine - Effective Mortar Range And A Map

A gallery on the current homepage of the New York Times includes this picture:


The picture's caption says:

Casiv Yar The 71st Separate Hunting Brigade of the Air Assault Forces firing a mortar at a Russian target.

Tyler Hicks / The New York Times

Here is bigger version of the picture, slightly lightened, for more details.


That is a puny U.S. made M224 60 mm Lightweight Company Mortar System (LWCMS). It has an effective firing range of 70 to 3,490 meter.

This is the current map, based on 'western' sources, of the front line around Chasiv Yar.

Cont. reading: Ukraine - Effective Mortar Range And A Map

Posted by b at 9:17 UTC | Comments (139)