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May 23, 2024

Notice Of Absence

For medical reasons your host will be offline from Thursday to Sunday.

I have closed the comments to prevent vandalism while I am away.

I hope to be back at full capacity on Monday, May 27th. Should the procedure be extended, which is a possibility, I will likely be back on Wednesday, May 29.

See you soon ...

Posted by b at 7:26 UTC | Comments (0)

May 22, 2024

Ukraine: 'Shot Down' Drones Hit Targets

Reports of damage caused by Russian drones in Ukraine are regularly followed by reports which claim that all drones were shot down.

Via Strana (machine translations):

Russians hit Konotop and Shostka power facilities in Sumy region

08:22, today

Last night, Russian troops launched an air strike on the energy facilities of Konotop and Shostka in the Sumy region.

This is reported by the Sumy OVA. "The enemy launched an air strike, using a Shahed-type UAV, on the energy facilities of the cities of Shostka and Konotop," the report says.

Currently, work is underway to restore power supply, which was cut off due to an enemy strike.

Also in the OVA reported that over the Sumy region this night destroyed 7 enemy UAVs of the type "Shahed".

Ukrenergo reported that Sumy and the surrounding areas remain without electricity after the night attack of "Shahids".

---

Air forces destroyed all 24 Shaheds that attacked Ukraine

09:00, today

On the night of Wednesday, May 22, Russia attacked Ukraine with 24 strike UAVs of the Shahed-131/136 type. This is reported by the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

"As a result of the anti-aircraft battle, the Ukrainian Defense Forces managed to shoot down all 24 Shaheds," the report says.
Strike UAVs were destroyed in the Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Sumy and Odessa regions.

Recall that at night, Russian troops launched an air strike on the energy facilities of Konotop and Shostka in the Sumy region.
Sumy and surrounding areas remain without electricity after the night attack of "Shahids".

I will concede that debris of a shot down drone can still cause damage. But when the 'debris' of a 'shot down' drone is causing the intended damage when it hits its target was it really shot down?

Who do they think they are kidding with this?

Posted by b at 9:26 UTC | Comments (176)

May 21, 2024

A Kharkiv Encirclement As Dreamed Up By 'Sources'

Yesterday The Economist published about an alleged Russian plan to partially encircle Kharkiv:

Ukraine’s desperate struggle to defend Kharkiv (archived)

I find that this is unlikely to ever have been a Russian plan:

Retrieved military plans, details of which were shared with The Economist, suggest the Russians were probing to see if they could partially encircle Kharkiv and put pressure on the Ukrainian formations to the east of the Pechenihy reservoir. The operation was supposedly planned for May 15th-16th but was brought forward by nearly a week for unknown reasons.

According to the plans, the Russians had identified two axes of attack on either side of the reservoir. The push on the western axis was intended, over 72 hours, to bring Russian troops to within artillery range of Kharkiv city at the village of Borshchova. They were stopped by a rapidly redeployed grouping from the elite 92nd Brigade, which pushed them back a full 10km from their initial goal.
...
On the Vovchansk axis, further east, the Russian plan had been to fight past Anna’s father’s house on the reservoir, right down to the town of Pechenihy. The Russians initially made quick work of this operation, sweeping through an area that should have been prepared with minefields and serious engineering fortifications but wasn’t.

The piece includes this not very helpful map:

I have marked the LiveUAmap map of the Russian Kharkiv incursion with arrows from the border to the villages named in the Economist piece:

Cont. reading: A Kharkiv Encirclement As Dreamed Up By 'Sources'

Posted by b at 11:07 UTC | Comments (297)

May 20, 2024

Ukraine Open Thread 2024-145

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine.

The Economist wants us to know that Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential term expires on May 20th.

I am sure that Russia will act accordingly.

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 16:11 UTC | Comments (173)

ICC Prosecutor Asks For Arrest Warrants For Netanyahoo, Gallant And Others

Today the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim A.A. Khan KC, has filed applications for warrants of arrest before a pre-trial chamber of the court.

These concern both sides of the conflict in Palestine:

On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Yahya SINWAR (Head of the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) in the Gaza Strip), Mohammed Diab Ibrahim AL-MASRI, more commonly known as DEIF (Commander-in-Chief of the military wing of Hamas, known as the Al-Qassam Brigades), and Ismail HANIYEH (Head of Hamas Political Bureau) bear criminal responsibility for the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Israel and the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 7 October 2023: 
...

All three persons are already under threat of assassination by Israel. They do not travel and stay out of the public. Even if arrest warrants are granted against them they are unlikely to be concerned by that.

On the other side of the conflict that may well be a different issue:

On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Benjamin NETANYAHU, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yoav GALLANT, the Minister of Defence of Israel, bear criminal responsibility for  the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 8 October 2023:

  • Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the Statute;
  • Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health contrary to article 8(2)(a)(iii), or cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Wilful killing contrary to article 8(2)(a)(i), or Murder as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime contrary to articles 8(2)(b)(i), or 8(2)(e)(i);
  • Extermination and/or murder contrary to articles 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(a), including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity;
  • Persecution as a crime against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(h);
  • Other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(k).

Should the arrest warrants against Netanyahoo and Galant be granted they will have to end all travel to or through those many countries which are member states of the Rome statute. (The U.S., Israel, Russia and Sudan have signed the Rome statute but did not become member states.)

Member states are under obligation to fulfill arrest warrants should the ICC prosecutor have valid ones. There is also a stigma coming with the warrants that will prevent pro-Zionist politicians from Europe and elsewhere from meeting with Netanyahoo or other involved persons.

Posted by b at 13:06 UTC | Comments (218)

President And FM Of Iran Killed in Apparent Helicopter Accident

You all will have heard by now that the President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi as well as its Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have died in what looks like a helicopter accident:

Raisi was traveling in a US-made Bell 212. Low visibility and the impassibility of the area made search operations difficult, IRNA wrote.

Rescue teams finally managed to locate the crash site on Monday morning with the help of Turkish surveillance drones.

The wreckage was discovered in a wooded area on a mountain slope. The aircraft was severely damaged and charred, and there were no signs of survivors, the Iranian Red Crescent Society said.

Iran will have acquired the Bell 212 before the 1978-79 revolution. While at least 45 years old it had never had access to manufacturer level maintenance or regular replacement parts. It is likely that the helicopter was not equipped for pure instrument flights but required visibility to navigate.

The weather over the mountain range the helicopter was crossing was bad with video from the scene showing heavy fog.

Under such circumstances the flight should not have taken place. But with very important guests on board, who run on a tight schedule, the pilots may have felt a need to fly despite unfavorable weather condition.

I therefore see nothing that would suggest a conspiracy or foreign influence in the incident.

Raisi was on the conservative, and thereby more social, side of Iranian politics. Within the current framework in Iran his successor will likely by from the same political direction.

Iran's Supreme Leader has already announced new elections:

Khamenei.ir @khamenei_ir - 10:05 UTC · May 20, 2024

In accordance with Article 131 of the Constitution, Vice-President Mr. Mokhber will be the head of the Executive Branch & is obliged to cooperate with the heads of the Legislative & Judiciary Branches in facilitating the election of a new president within a maximum of 50 days.

There will be a bit of a rush to decide which personalities will be allowed as candidates for the next presidency.

Election campaigns in Iran are restricted to short periods. Voter turnout is usually low. While there might be surprises when a winner comes up the political system in Iran, established after the revolution, is quite stable and is likely to prevail.

Posted by b at 11:05 UTC | Comments (251)

May 19, 2024

Palestine Open Thread 2024-144

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine.

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 11:54 UTC | Comments (252)

Ukraine Open Thread 2024-143

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine.

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 11:53 UTC | Comments (199)

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2024-142

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

Ukraine:

Palestine:

Empire:

---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2024-142

Posted by b at 11:51 UTC | Comments (256)

May 18, 2024

Ukraine SitRep: Kharkiv Incursion Forensics - Attacks On Russia And Russian Revenge

On May 11 I had analyzed the Russian move towards Kharkiv and concluded that it was designed to create a 'sanitary zone' along the boarder, not to take Kharkiv:

Thus the Kharkiv offensive seems designed to create a buffer zone, maybe 6 miles / 10 kilometers deep, on Ukrainian land along the norther border with Russia. That it diverts Ukrainian forces from elsewhere and positions them in mostly open land for their eventual destruction is just a welcome side effect.

In a recent press conference President Putin of Russia confirmed this:

As far as the developments in the Kharkov sector are concerned, they are also to blame for these, because they shelled and, regrettably, continue to shell residential areas in border territories [of Russia], including Belgorod. Civilians are dying there, it’s clear for everyone. They fire missiles right at the city centre, at residential areas. I said publicly that if this continues, we will be forced to create a security zone, a sanitary zone. And this is what we are doing today.

As for [the seizure of] Kharkov, there are no such plans for now.

The Russian Kharkiv incursion is a direct consequence of Ukrainian attacks on Russian civilians.

Likewise is the recent Russian destruction of electrical power generation stations in Ukraine a direct consequence of Ukrainian attacks on Russia refining facilities. As the Russian daily report on its operation in Ukraine noted on May 8:

In response to the Kiev regime's attempt to damage Russian power facilities, the Russian Armed Forces launched a long-range high-precision group strike by sea- and air-based missiles, the Kinzhal aeroballistic hypersonic missile system, unmanned aerial vehicles at power facilities, as well as enterprises of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex.

The goal of the strike has been achieved. All the assigned targets have been engaged.

Ukraine has lost some eight gigawatt of generating power and had to start rolling blackouts:

Cont. reading: Ukraine SitRep: Kharkiv Incursion Forensics - Attacks On Russia And Russian Revenge

Posted by b at 15:03 UTC | Comments (289)