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June 08, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-137

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 13:07 UTC | Comments (268)

Open (Not Ukraine) Thread 2023-136

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

Posted by b at 13:06 UTC | Comments (50)

After Pardoning Regime Changer Roman Protasevich His Girlfriend Gets Released Too

On May 26 I commented the pardoning of Roman Protasevich in Belarus:

Closing The Case Of Regime Changer Roman Protasevich And His Ryanair Flight To Minsk

Moon of Alabama has followed the case throughout. Those interested in the details of the original incident can find them in our June 2 2021 post. For a wider political view of the 'color revolution' business in east Europe see this piece by Kit Klarenberg. Links to all MoA posts about the case are listed at the end of this piece.

A week after the incident, during a long TV interview, Protasevich spilled the beans about the whole regime operation. He also says that he has come to believe that one of his regime changer colleagues had sent the bomb threat email to get him arrested.

A few weeks later Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega were released and put under house arrest. A trial followed and, in early May of this year, he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

I though that the sentence, in light of his public turnabout, was quite harsh but others accused of the same regime change operations against Belarus had received up to 20 years prison time. Still, eight years is a long time for a young man who had clearly changed his mind. Sofia Sapega, who is a Russian citizen, had earlier received a 6 year sentence.

On May 22 Protasevich was unexpectedly pardoned:

All was fine with Protasevich but the fate of his (former?) partner, Sofia Sapega, was still up in air. I expressed hope that she would soon be released too:

Cont. reading: After Pardoning Regime Changer Roman Protasevich His Girlfriend Gets Released Too

Posted by b at 10:33 UTC | Comments (23)

June 07, 2023

No - Such Propaganda Delusions Will Not Win The War

I do not know what Washington Post columnist David Ignatius or the Biden administration officials he is talking to are smoking, but it must be extraordinary strong stuff:

Administration officials were encouraged by better-than-expected progress Monday, as Ukrainian units pushed through heavily mined areas to advance between five and 10 kilometers in some areas of the long front. That raised hopes that Ukrainian forces can keep thrusting toward Mariupol, Melitopol and other Russian-held places along the coast — severing the land bridge.

The 'thrust' was against a small Russian held salient in the front line near Velyka Novosilka at the center of this map.


Zooming in we see the current frontline as depicted by the Ukraine friendly LiveUAmap.

Cont. reading: No - Such Propaganda Delusions Will Not Win The War

Posted by b at 11:14 UTC | Comments (466)

June 06, 2023

New Nord Stream Cover-Up Story Is Based On Dubious 'Leak'

On April 10 some briefing slides for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff appeared on the internet. They seemed to be genuine. But later a second larger batch was claimed to have come into the hands of so called journalist. I had and still have strong doubts about that second round:

When media reported on the first batch of 'leaked' Pentagon briefing slides they also published pictures of the originals.

Then came a second round which conveniently was more about bashing Russia than on the releases itself. Those leaks were labeled as new or from a previously unknown source. Among those stories were: ...
We have pictures of the first stash of the files. The briefing slides seem real to me. The language is correct Pentagon lingo. The abbreviations used are typical. But some of the information therein, like the casualty numbers, is dubious. Do the Joint Chiefs of Staff really get briefed with Ukrainian defense ministry numbers that are know to be mere fantasies? The Pentagon and/or the CIA certainly have their own casualty estimates. Why not brief those?

We have seen no picture of any slide that the additional stories are based on. Why were those not published?

A plausible explanation is that the first release was a real leak but that someone is now pushing new 'leaks' to dedicated outlets that are only half true or mere propaganda.

Another 'exclusive' in today's Washington Post, allegedly based on the same leak, only increases my doubt about that alleged second stash of documents:

U.S. had intelligence of detailed Ukrainian plan to attack Nord Stream pipeline

Cont. reading: New Nord Stream Cover-Up Story Is Based On Dubious 'Leak'

Posted by b at 16:32 UTC | Comments (103)

Nova Kakhova Dam Breach - Updated (12:15 UTC)

Updated throughout (12:15 UTC)

A few hours ago an alleged explosion blew up the Nova Kakhova dam in Ukraine.


It was either that or structural damage from previous strikes.

Geoff Brumfiel @gbrumfiel - 6:31 UTC · Jun 6, 2023

The dam was already under enormous strain and damaged.
Then things got worse. On 2 June, it looks like a road over the dam failed. That could be indicative of a larger structural failure.

In consequence the huge reservoir behind the dam is now flooding lower level land south of Kherson (Xepcoh). The pictures show the before and after of potential flooding due to the breach:

Cont. reading: Nova Kakhova Dam Breach - Updated (12:15 UTC)

Posted by b at 8:24 UTC | Comments (425)

June 05, 2023

Ukraine Launches Its Counterattack

The long announced Ukrainian counter offensive has started. New Ukrainian units, never seen before, have come to the front. 

The attack was launched by Ukraine for political reasons under pressure from its 'western' sponsors. Militarily it is unlikely to become successful but it will eat away at whatever is left of Ukraine's military capabilities.

Attacks happened all around the front. In the north towards Belgograd, to the east and, with the most forces, towards the south. There was so far little to no success in any of the attacks.

The daily report by the Russian Ministry of Defense list as Ukrainian losses over the last 24 hours 910 soldiers, 16 tanks, 33 armored combat vehicles/infantry fighting vehicle and some 30 trucks.

So far only the most forward positions of Russian troops have been attacked. There are two to three well organized defense lines behind those. The Russians can fall back whenever needed and let the artillery and air force destroy their oncoming enemies.

As I wrote previously about any attacks in the direction of Tokmak and Melitopol:

Cont. reading: Ukraine Launches Its Counterattack

Posted by b at 13:04 UTC | Comments (356)

June 04, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-135

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 12:32 UTC | Comments (370)

The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-134

Last week's post on Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-134

Posted by b at 12:31 UTC | Comments (193)

June 03, 2023

The Ukrainian Military Is In Bad Shape

Erik Kramer and Paul Schneider are two former U.S. special operations soldiers who have been in Ukraine since 2022 to train Ukrainian troops.

At War on the Rocks they paint a dark picture of the state of the Ukrainian military. Their intent is to get money for more training, thus the real picture may be less dark than they describe. But even if one takes that into account it is still a sad state for an army that has been at war for more than a year. Some excerpts:

Based on our nine months of training with all services of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, to include the Ground Forces (Army), Border Guard Service, National Guard, Naval Infantry (Marines), Special Operations Forces, and Territorial Defense Forces, we have observed a series of common trends: lack of mission command, effective training, and combined arms operations; ad hoc logistics and maintenance; and improper use of special operations forces. These trends have undermined Ukraine’s resistance and could hinder the success of the ongoing offensive.

What ongoing offensive?

Under mission command, the German Auftragstaktik, the leader disseminates his intent ("to attack through the northern woods to take town x") and authority to subunits that is passed down with the mission to empower subordinates at all levels. Each subunits can make its plans to coordinate and execute the mission as best as possible. The contrast is an order command where every detail of execution is ordered from the top down. Both have advantages but to have a mixed system, as Ukraine currently has, is the worst of all places.

Cont. reading: The Ukrainian Military Is In Bad Shape

Posted by b at 17:01 UTC | Comments (289)