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Old 03-06-2022, 12:14 PM   #2
68RR
Lifer
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,471
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Morning Update:
Disclaimer: I'm not a professional intel analyst, I'm not in Europe. I'm just a military historian and writer living in rural Oregon. These are my observations on the most important developments in Ukraine over the weekend.
1. Russian ground forces spent the day largely trying to consolidate and resupply again. There were no major Russian ground operations around Kyiv, Kharkiv or west of Kherson in the South. Supplying the front line units has been very difficult for the Russians, due to their own logistical deficiencies, but also because the Ukrainians are launching attacks against their resupply columns and blowing bridges in their rear areas.
2. Russian losses continue to be extremely heavy. In fact, their air losses are unsustainable--they're losing between 7-10 fixed & rotary wing aircraft a day. To date, the Russians have lost about 100 aircraft and drones in less than two weeks of fighting. There is no way for the Russians to quickly replace these losses, nor can they financially sustain them with a defense budget of $120 billion a year. The war is costing Russia well over $20 billion a day, and a Russian analyst for their FSB (Federal Security Service) leaked an assessment which states if the war drags into June, the Russian economy will be destroyed. Additionally, the Russians are losing roughly 1,000 men a day, killed in action, according to Ukrainian estimates. There's a small army of open source analysts in the West who are literally counting wrecked vehicles, identifying their type and geolocating them to pinpoint their GPS coordinates. They're in general agreement that Ukrainian estimates of Russian losses are pretty accurate.
3. Visa and Mastercard have unilaterally suspended operations in Russia effective last night. The Russian banks are scrambling to tie into alternative payment and credit systems, including a Chinese one, but this will take time and require new cards to be issued apparently. This is a very significant development, as it is an ongoing example of corporate activism that was not factored into the sanctions equation. Other companies pulling their operations include Airbus and Boeing, who have denied access to their on-line manuals and technical support to the Russians now. Public pressure is mounting on McDonalds to suspend operations in Russia.
4. Earlier this morning PST, eight Russian cruise missiles struck an important airfield in central Ukraine. President Zelensky announced that the attack totally destroyed the facility.
5. The safe passage corridors negotiated the other day have not worked, as the Russians continue to shell those routes, killing civilians as they flee. The effort to get people out of Mariupol in the South seems to have broken down entirely for the moment. The fact is, the war is turning increasingly brutal and violence toward civilians is increasing. Families are being shot at checkpoints, there are unconfirmed reports of Chechan and Russian troops raping and killing women. The Russians are using area weapons, including a short range, Cold-War era ballistic missile called the SS-21 Scarab (OTR-21 Tochka). The firepower arrayed against Ukraine's key cities is horrific. The Russians used such attacks to try and break the morale and will to resist in previous conflicts, including Syria. So far, it is stiffening resolve in Ukraine, but thousands of civilians have been deliberately targeted and killed.
6. The Ukrainians have announced they have had 20,000 foreign volunteers sign up to fight in their international brigade. This includes 3,000 Americans.
7. US Secretary of State Blinken was in Moldova and Poland this weekend. He met with the Ukrainian Sec. of State on the Polish border. Reports indicate that Blinken may be trying to broker a deal that would in fact get those 28 MiG-29s in Poland to Ukraine. Additionally, it was reported at 0630 PST that Blinken and members of the EU are now looking at banning Russian oil imports. This would have a catastrophic effect on the Russian economy, and cause another spike in global oil prices.
8. There is a report that the Belarussian Deputy Minister of Defense and chief of staff, Major General V. Gulevich has resigned in protest over the decision to send Belarussian troops into Ukraine. Additionally, his alleged resignation letter states that refusal to follow the orders to invade Ukraine has been widespread within the army, so much so that battalion assault groups cannot be formed.
9. The Russian Military of Defense summoned the Croatian military attache in Moscow to deliver a letter of protest to him over the fact that there are now 200 Croatian nationals fighting in Ukraine as volunteers against the Russians. The Croatian attache refused to even touch the letter and would not accept it.
10. As I've been typing this, another Russian SU-25 has been reported shot down. Videos are surfacing of Stinger-armed Ukrainians rushing to street corners to fire these missiles at low-flying helicopters and attack aircraft. The Ukrainians have captured several downed aircrew, including one wounded aviator who was photographed with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when his unit was deployed to the region previously. Of note--that particular Russian aviator was extremely overweight. Of the 300 Russians captured so far, a good many of them appear unfit and very overweight.
11. The footage emerging of the massive and growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is simply heartbreaking--and enraging. These are ordinary, average Europeans who were just living their best lives and have suddenly found their world torn apart. They are fleeing, as their grandparents and great grandparents did, from an absolutely horrific level of violence deliberately leveled against them. They are carrying their cats and dogs with them, a few possessions in a back pack or duffel, and making their way West. Over a million now. In Lvov, at the train station, a young Ukrainian woman sat down at a piano placed outside and played for the waves of men, women and children fleeing the war. The song? She played "What a Wonderful World" as flakes of snow fell, and families with nothing left sought safety in the west.
Watch that here: https://twitter.com/MichalM.../statu...46901697679363...
12. Today there are large protests in Russian cities against the war. The bravery it takes to oppose the Putin regime, risk prison and the violence inflicted on them by the Russian riot police is pure national redemption for them. Some video of this is here:
https://twitter.com/mikegal.../statu...57188774584324...
https://twitter.com/fbkinfo/status/1500478860236046336...
https://twitter.com/fbkinfo/status/1500469889064218625...
For an idea on how fearful the regime is about these demonstrations, take a look at the police (and police dogs) in Moscow: https://twitter.com/JamesAA.../statu...37354154180610...
So far today, there have been a reported 2,000+ protesters arrested, making almost 11,000 imprisoned since the wa
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