Drums along the Dnipro

Ongoing clashes have been reported after Ukrainian landing party crossed the Dnipro River by the Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson. The bridge was destroyed during Russian withdrawals from Kherson city in Fall 2022 during Ukrainian counter offensive operations, making the only viable option to cross the Dnipro River either pontoon bridges or boats. Russians currently control the left bank of the River, while Ukrainian forces control the right bank, which is where Kherson city is situated.

Russian military Telegram channels have reported that Ukrainian forces have been able to establish a small presence along the river bank by the bridge. Telegram channel “Two Majors” has reported that “The enemy holds a small foothold on our bank for at least three days. The units of the Russian Armed Forces withdrew from the area, as the constant action of enemy artillery and SOF created a threat of encirclement of our forces. They retreated with combat, neighbouring units came to the rescue. As a result of the fighting, the Russian Armed Forces suffered losses. The channel later posted that “The area under the Antonovsky Bridge (about 150 meters) is also used by the enemy to supply and rotate groups that have settled in the “Hotel”, as well as in the “Dachas” area – in this area the enemy is using Polish-made mortars against the positions of our troops. According to the latest information, reinforcements continue to arrive to enemy units, the total number of manpower in the bridge area at the moment is up to 100 people.”

“For several days, artillery, including heavy flamethrower systems, attacked the enemy in this area, but, as colleagues rightly noted, only tactical aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces can solve this problem; ground forces do not present an effective solution,” the channel added.

Likewise, the popular Russian military Telegram “RVvoenkor” has reported that “The fighting at the Antonovsky Bridge does not stop: the Armed Forces of Ukraine are trying to create a bridgehead on our coast, the landing party is really looking forward to aviation support.”

“After the dam was blown up and the coastal territories of the Dnieper were flooded, our troops and the enemy left their flooded positions, but when the water began to leave, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were the first to climb onto our bank and occupy a small area near the bridge. It is also obvious that the enemy knew that inexperienced soldiers were placed on this sector of defense and then continued to try to build on success by gaining a foothold on our coast.”

Both channels have emphasized the need for close air support, reporting that ground forces are unable to reach the riverbank due to artillery and mortar fire.


Comment: Accounts of this Ukrainian crossing of the Dnipro at Kherson are all based on what’s put out on Russian social media. The Ukrainians haven’t said jack about it. At first, I thought this was no more than another reconnaissance in force or raid. But the presence of effective air defense and electronic warfare capabilities indicates this could develop into much more. The use of the bridge as cover is brilliant. What the Russians referred to as three tanks in the initial crossing is more likely to be some kind of mobile EW platform to counter Russian drones up close. 

The number of Ukrainian troops ferried across grew from around 50 to 100 rather quickly. That’s still not much, even if they have EW and mortar support with them on the left bank. Still, they have substantial air defense and artillery support on the right bank.

The timing for this crossing was perfect. The Dnipro flooding washed away Russian defensive positions and not a few of the Russians manning those defenses. The Ukrainians beat the Russians to the draw at occupying those positions. The Russians apparently still have fire control of the substantial bridge over the much smaller Konka River leading to Oleshky. But they not be in a position to blow that bridge. Beyond Oleshky, it’s not a difficult drive south to Crimea or east to Melitopol. If this develops into something more than a raid or diversion, all those Russian defensive lines to the east will be outflanked.

Today, Rybar gave an update on the situation. 

Yesterday, a Russian BMD-2 heading over the Konka Bridge towards the Antonovsky Bridge hits a mine north of Oleshky, Kherson. The Ukrainians had to get to this point in order to emplace that mine.
I doubt the Ukrainians have already established a pontoon bridge over the Dnipro, but who knows. Maybe that’s the main purpose of the nearby Ukrainian AD and EW assets.

Armed Forces attacks on the left bank of the Dnieper: battles near Antonovsky bridge – situation by the end of June 27, 2023 

In the area of ​​the Antonovsky bridge, clashes with units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, entrenched under the remains of the crossing near Dachi on the banks of the Dnieper, continue. Today, the aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces tried to strike at the shelters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on left bank of the river, but without success.  

The Armed Forces of Ukraine deployed S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Sadove and Pravdeyne to hunt for Russian combat aircraft. This complicated the work of front-line aviation in terms of targets in this area. Their search, detection and destruction by Lancet drones and FPV drones is also complicated: when approaching the contact area, operators lose the signal. This may be related to the activities of the departments electronic warfare. 

Also, from the Dnipropetrovsk region, the transfer of units of the 93rd brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Antonovsky bridge and the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station began on an emergency basis. The 93rd brigade was recovering from the fighting in the Bakhmut area. Pontoon crossings and engineering teams have already been spotted in Antonovka APU.  

The main forces should arrive in the coming days to carry out an operation to force the Dnieper River in the area of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric station and capture Novaya Kakhovka. Taking into account the existing bridgehead at the Antonovsky Bridge and the certain distraction of Russian troops to this area, the strike from Cossack’s side would be quite logical.

Further comment: If Rybar is right about the pending arrival of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, this could turn into a major axis of the Ukrainian summer counteroffensive. Maybe it was part of the original plan or maybe it was simply seizing the opportunity created when the Russian left bank defenses were washed away by the blowing of the Kakhovka Dam.


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65 Responses to Drums along the Dnipro

  1. billy roche says:

    TTG: You think Russian forces to the east of the Dniepro will be out flanked? Russian forces to the north east or south east? In either case its a wedge but the emphasis makes a big difference. If the drive ultimately is to cross the Dneipro and move northeast the UKM would “eat into” Luhanks. If Russian forces to the south east are the object the northern shore of the Azov sea might be involved. If the UKM is moving on Crimea, wouldn’t you Intel guys have observed the necessary build up of men and materials on the western side of the river? MI lets you know what you can do and should do b/f you do it; an interesting branch of svc. There’s an old joke about “its a long way to Tipperary”. Kherson to Sevastipol would be quite a walk.

    • TTG says:

      billy roche,

      If the Ukrainians are able to cross the Dnipro with even a small force, they can definitely flank the Russian defenses. But they first have to get past Oleshky or Nova Kakhovka. I don’t think they need tanks and IFVs. They’d be more mobile if they relied on “technical-type” light vehicles as long as they continue to have effective AD and EW support as well as plentiful recon and kamikaze drone support. Still, it’s not clear if they can pull this off or if that is their intention.

      Could our intel have foreseen this? Even if they did see the right massing of river crossing equipment, there’s no reason to release that info publicly. Plus, I’m pretty sure Kyiv keeps the details of at least some of their military planning close to the chest.

      The distances involved are not all that grand. A forced march from Kherson to the Perekop Isthmus is less than 24 hours. To Sevastopol is a lot further, but the Germans walked from the Bug River to Sevastopol and were largely supplied by horse drawn wagon along the way. Don’t sell light infantry short. One of our greatest strengths is that we can hump a ruck to the ends of the Earth.

      • billy roche says:

        I don’t sell the infantry short. In early spring ’69 at Ft Gordon, I chanced on a bunch of 11B training ( I think I was lost). Man, they were on the move. I was 72B and I knew I didn’t belong w/that crew. They were frightening. I think that’s what they were trained to be. I suspect a battalion of Lt. Infantry can get from “here to there” pretty fast and you better not get in their way. No doubt the UkM can move when the need to.

  2. elkern says:

    This new [potential] Front – and especially the timing – supports my contention that Ukraine blew the Kakhovka dam (or at least that Russia didn’t). The water previously sitting above the dam was a defensive weapon against any crossing of the lower Dnieper, available to either side. Conversely, either side would need/prefer to blow the dam before attempting to cross the Dnieper in force.

    The fact that Ukraine isn’t talking about this bridgehead makes me think that it’s a serious move, not just a feint. The wetlands around Dachi look *really* vulnerable to air power; sounds like Ukraine has countered that pretty well so far, which implies that they planned for it, which in turn implies that they had plenty of specialized equipment in place in advance.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be the main thrust of the current Ukrainian Counter-Offensive. It’s likely/possible that Russia put more work into building defenses further to the East (where most of the action has been recently), possibly neglecting layers of defense between Kherson & Crimea under the assumption that Ukraine wouldn’t chance a major crossing there.

    As usual, we’ll see (eventually).

    • TTG says:


      I agree with your comments except for your notion that Russia didn’t blow the dam. How would the Ukrainians have done it? It was designed to withstand nuclear weapons. Only a massive internal charge could have done it. but I do get your observation that the blown dam is militarily working to the Ukrainians’ favor.

      • jld says:

        “I do get your observation that the blown dam is militarily working to the Ukrainians’ favor.”

        Yeah! The Russians are so stooopid. 😀

        • TTG says:


          Wouldn’t be the first time in the course of this war.

        • leith says:

          jld –

          Not stupid, but a few are known to be overly vengeful. It’s the same reason why they have mined the reactors at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant with explosives.

          I knew a Russian emigre who once told me that there are some in Russia who would cut off their own nose just to spite their face.

          • TTG says:

            Reminds me of the old joke about the russian peasant’s prayer. “Lord, my neighbor has a goat and I have none. Please kill my neighbor’s goat.”

          • JamesT says:

            TTG and leith,

            I agree with you guys about the Russian character and I think there is a certain amount of it in China, and to me most interestingly in Hanoi but not Saigon.

            I would go so far as to posit a correlation between communism and jealousy of one’s neighbor’s success. I would not put the Cubans in this category however.

          • billy roche says:

            James T: I’ve heard it said that socialism and communism are just the economics of jealosy supported by the politics of repression. Not good company IMO.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        “Only a massive internal charge could have done it. ”

        I seem to remember the British “doing it” to the Germans with glorified 44 gallon drums and aircraft that had no right to be flying that low at night.

        What Barnes Wallis understood was that the charge doesn’t have to be “internal” to collapse a dam, nor does it have to be all that “massive”: it just has to be placed against the dam wall on the side that is holding back all the water.

        • leith says:

          Yeah Right –

          The Edersee and Mohne were gravity type dams unlike the Kakhovka dam. It took nine attack runs before the RAF breached the Edersee dam. The Mohne dam needed five. In addition to those two, there were three or four other German dams attacked by the RAF using Wallis’s backspinning bouncing bombs, none were successful. By the way, Wallis’s bombs were nine times the volume of 44 gallon drums. They held 6600 pounds of torpex explosive, much more powerful than TNT.

          The Kakhovka Dam was a barrage dam, an entirely different type of construction. And it had a massive base of concrete “hidden below the waterline. A colossal block of nearly-solid concrete, 20 m (66 ft) high and up to 40 m (130 ft) thick at the bottom, held back the water>” No way this happened other than from explosives deep within that base.

          • leith says:

            PS –



            Plus you have the precedents, Russia’s MO as the cops would call it. There are previous 2022 dam attacks by Russia last year when they were going after Ukrainian infrastructure. They attacked the Kyiv Dam with missiles (unsuccessfully) on 26 February 2022. Russian land forces destroyed the Oskil river dam by in July 2022. And then another missile attack on the Kryvyi Rih dam in September. Plus hundreds of years of history of Russia’s use of scorched earth tactics dating back to Peter I, then the Napoleonic invasion, and the Red Army during the Summer–Autumn Campaign of 1941.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            “No way this happened other than from explosives deep within that base.”

            Oh, really? And how exactly you do plant explosives “deep within” a base that is “A colossal block of nearly-solid concrete,”?

            Matter transporters, perhaps?

            Look, it wasn’t that long ago that there was no way – no way at all – that the Nord Stream pipelines could have been destroyed by anyone else but the Russians.

            Any thought to the contrary marked one as a Putin-apologist.

            Except. Except. Except.

            The Russians didn’t do it.

            Wake up to yourself, leith. That was a dam that the Russians controlled. They had control over it for a year. They could have blown it at any time during that period, and if they *were* going to blow it then the time would have been when they withdrew from Kherson city.

            Only they didn’t. They clearly wanted to keep control over that dam, even through the Ukrainians did take pot-shots at it with HIMARS.

            And then…. what? The Russians had an epiphany? They got drunk one night and said “Hey, I know, let’s press the big red button, it’ll be ever so much fun”.

            “Plus you have the precedents, Russia’s MO as the cops would call it.”

            Yeah, the orks are bestial, sure.

            ” They attacked the Kyiv Dam “… were they in control of that dam, leith? Did they have forces downstream of it?

            “Russian land forces destroyed the Oskil river dam by in July 2022. And then another missile attack on the Kryvyi Rih dam in September.”

            Again, what was the military advantage of doing so? Versus the military advantage of blowing up this particular dam?

            “Plus hundreds of years of history of Russia’s use of scorched earth tactics dating back to Peter I,”

            Again, the scorched earth tactics are used when the Russians WITHDRAW from an area.

            By your own logic these Russians would have destroyed that dam when they withdrew from Kherson city. Only – how odd – they didn’t.

            And – again, by your very own logic – you need to point to a reason for the Russians to blow that dam up NOW, just as they had a reason for going all scorched earth under Peter I, under Alexander I, under Stalin.

            The Russians weren’t retreating when the Kakhovka dam was breached. Far from it.

            Your arguments – rationalizations, really – for why Russia is always responsible are as shallow as that water crossing.

            Maybe we can blame the Russians for your mind-set as well.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            There are plenty of schematics of how the dam was constructed showing a passageway built into the base of the dam. There is also the turbine room of the HPP that could be packed with explosives. That appears to be where the breach first occurred. Explosives were placed over a period of time, probably weeks.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “There is also the turbine room of the HPP that could be packed with explosives. That appears to be where the breach first occurred.”

            Only…. it wasn’t.

            The floodgates went first, and their failure then overstressed other parts of the dam which subsequently failed.

            The floodgates being, of course, the very structure that Ukrainian commander Kovalchuk admitted had been previously targeted with HIMARS missiles.


            “The Ukrainians, he said, even conducted a test strike with a HIMARS launcher on one of the floodgates at the Nova Kakhovka dam, making three holes in the metal to see if the Dnieper’s water could be raised enough to stymie Russian crossings but not flood nearby villages.”

            Leith and you both appear to take it for granted that your speculations are self-evident truths, when they are anything but.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Those floodgates remain in place today after the dam’s destruction. Even when the Russians blew the roadway at the north end of the HPP as they retreated, the dam remained intact and working. The Russians were able to first drop the water level and then raise it to an overflowing condition before they blew it. Only an internal explosion could have destroyed the HPP in this manner. A single large explosion was recorded. Signal intercepts also implicate the Russians, although that could be faked. I guess a spontaneous collapse due to neglect and damage remains a remote, but very unlikely possibility. I do think it’s likely that the Russians wanted the flooding, but not the total destruction of the dam. Chalk that up to incompetence.

            Your efforts to shag this off as a Ukrainian strike reek of desperation. That’s the end of this until some new evidence appears.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Here you go, TTG, took all of five minutes to find satellite photos that clearly demonstrate that the floodgate below the bend in the road surface gave way first, with the turbine room still intact.


          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            That was the roadway blown by the Russians with an explosive laden vehicle. There’s an overhead photo of that car rigged with explosives floating around on the net.

          • leith says:

            Yeah Right –

            “nearly-solid” is not the same as solid. There was a gallery corridor in that concrete dam base. It had two purposes: inspection for cracks by hydro engineers – demolition by combat engineers.

            There were many military advantages in destroying or trying to destroy the Kyiv Dam, the Oskil Dam, and the Khryvi Rih Dam. Think about it. Decreased electric power for Ukrainian industry – hampered farm irrigation – scarce drinking water. Or flooding an area can make it easier to defend against armor and mechanized assaults.

            You are quite right that scorched earth tactics are typical of a retreat. But they can also be used in defense, especially of the defensive line is based on a river.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Yeah, I’ve seen the photo: the bomb-laden car with the roof conveniently removed so that you can see the explosives.

            You really believe that, do you?

            Remind me again why the Russians would use a car-bomb to exploded something that the control, because the explaination is certain to be ever-so amusing.

            Perhaps the Ukrainians had managed to kill all the Russian sappers, so they had to call in Jihadi contractors to do the job.

  3. leith says:

    TTG – Any ideas which Polish-made mortars are the ones the RU telegram channel “Two Majors” mentioned? Two candidates per Wiki are in Ukrainian service. Could be the 60mm LMP-2017 similar to the commando mortars used by the French Paras https://milmag.pl/en/first-display-of-lmp-2017/ ? Or maybe it’s the self propelled M120 RAK auto-loader https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M120_Rak ? My thinking is it is the LMP. But the M120 could have been mistaken for a tank.

    Regarding the 93rd Mech, even if Rybar is correct about them how would they get across the Dnipro? But 81 years ago General Chuikov was able to reinforce and resupply Stalingrad despite the Luftwaffe using just barges and ferries across the Volga. It’d be great if the Ukrainian engineers could do the same and maybe set up a couple of pontoon crossings for armor on both the Dnieper and Konka. Or do it further north while the Russian defenders are focused on Antonivka bridgehead. Might be much too marshy south of the bridgehead.

    But if it doesn’t happen with the 93rd, it’s still a good opportunity for Ukrainian SOF in those ATV four wheelers they used 15 months ago harassing Russian columns heading towards Kiev, or when they ran rampant in the offensive that retook Kharkiv Oblast last September.

    BTW that was an apt title. I still recall that ‘Drums along the Mohawk’ flic. One of John Ford’s finest based on past events, very loosely of course in hollywood custom. Lot of history there. Chiefs Joseph Brant and Segoyewatha actually did tear into that part of New York State. My bride was from a bit further west in the Finger Lakes country where she went to Red Jacket High School named after Segoyewatha.

    • TTG says:


      Given the Rybar mentions of tanks and Polish mortars, it could very well be the M120 Rak supporting the small force of Ukrainians on the left bank of the Dnipro. If the Ukrainians are maintaining a strong EW environment, they’d be be wise to have some decent fire support organic to the landing force. It’s still a guess, but a reasonable guess. If the Ukrainians can maintain sufficient AD and EW capabilities, I do think they can get one or more pontoon bridges across the river. Pontoon ferries could suffice in the meantime.

      As you probably know, I went to college in Troy, NY so I’m very familiar with the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers in that area. When I think of the Mohawk, I immediately recall a tavern in an old barn on the south bank of the Mohawk that we used to frequent. We reached it over a small iron truss bridge from the Saratoga side. The whole area was mostly woods as I remember. All the rafters and beams of the tavern were exposed and in the hayloft area, where we often hung out, there were often unattended beer taps close by. We’d buy a few pitchers and refill them at our leisure.

  4. ked says:

    Impressive Ukraine has yet to commit fresh units (’round 24 Brigades) to the counter offensive.

    • TTG says:


      They’re committed some of those brigades, but still hold more than half for another phase of their counteroffensive.

  5. Yeah, Right says:

    So are we still of the opinion that it was the Russians that blew that dam?

    Seems to me that if the Russians still had that dam then they could wash away any attempt at a crossing by simply opening the sluice gates and sending a surge of water downstream, then close the gates again once that is done.

    They could rinse and repeat that process as many times as needed IF they still had control of a functioning dam.

    But they don’t, so they can’t, because someone blew up that dam and denied them that ability.

    Must have been the Russians.
    Yeah, must have been.

    • Mark Logan says:

      Yeah Right,

      I’m open to the possibility the dam collapsed due to months of gross mismanagement. Seen enough dam engineers open to that possibility, and they make some decent arguments, such as the clay-gravel construction, the deterioration of the bridge deck just prior.

      There is also the issue of motive. Russia clearly wants to retain Crimea and that dam was key to Crimea’s economy. Pure bile and bloody mindedness? Perhaps, but then why leave it ambiguous? If the idea is intimidation, why no “…and there’s more of that where that came from!” There is no value in terrorism unless the victim knows who did it and why.

      We will have to wait for everybody to write their books, I reckon, but if the Zaporizhian reactor blows we will know.

  6. English Outsider says:

    Been reading Kofman and other analysts. As many as I can get hold of or have time to read, actually. The military analysis of this conflict, or at least that available to the general public, seems to vary according to which side the analyst wishes to win.

    And if it doesn’t so vary, the other side always suspects that it does.

    I constantly meet this problem in another field. I and many others don’t much like the EU as a way of organising Europe politically. But we also believe that the Eurozone is unstable, and that irrespective of whether we like it or not. But any examination of that problem put out can be dismissed with “Oh, they would say that, wouldn’t they. They have an axe to grind because they don’t like the EU”

    So here. Any examination of the military balance in this conflict, amateur or expert, is disabled by that suspicion of partisanship. And any conclusion one might come to as a result of examining what the experts say is a conclusion itself disabled by that suspicion of partisanship.

    There’s also the Psyops side. This is a conflict between the West and Russia. You don’t win a conflict by sitting around saying “On balance, doesn’t look as if we’ve got much of a chance.” The conflict’s lost from the start with that attitude. So it becomes almost a patriotic duty to say “Of course we’re going to win” and defeatism must be rejected.

    Also the moral side. You certainly don’t win a war, ever, by saying “Actually my side is seriously in the wrong.” So even an examination of the causes of the conflict become a no go area.

    Even so, and taking all those factors that impede factual analysis into account, the military force either side has at its disposal, in this theatre and given the balance of forces that exists right now, is such that what we look back on this conflict it will astound us that we ever thought a military victory for the West in this conflict was on the cards. Our chief weapon in this conflict was never the military weapon. It was the economic.

    That economic weapon has turned in our hands. It has damaged us more that Russia. The only hope of defeating Russia now lies in the hope that Russia itself will fall apart or become unstable.

    Evading the “Oh they would say that, wouldn’t they” dismissal, I don’t think that outcome is at all likely. Russia also has its defeatists and naysayers but as a nation it is solidly behind the Russian war effort. Therefore Russia will win and the we shall lose.

    Since we have consistently upped the stakes in this war we’re going to lose big.

    I wouldn’t expect the Lindsey Grahams and the Baerbocks and the Sunaks, nor yet the Biden team nor the Scholz team, to find that conclusion acceptable. Nor yet most of the general public in England or Germany. All are solidly behind the Western war effort, that solidity only tempered, particularly in Germany, by the fear it’ll be an expensive war effort. But I would expect, at this late stage in the game, some thought to be given to the position if we lose. Even if plan A is still the main plan, it’s irresponsible not to give at least some thought to a plan B.

    The compromises that might have been arrived at in early 2022 are no longer possible. Nor is the compromise we’re hoping for now. That is, that the Russians will absorb a certain amount of the Ukraine, roughly corresponding to the old Party of Regions area where that absorption will be acceptable to the majority of those living there, but that there will be a remnant Ukraine left that we can continue to arm and support.

    If the Russians don’t avoid that by neutralising remnant Ukraine they will have lost. As said, I don’t think Russians intend to lose so remnant Ukraine will be neutralised.

    That leaves Europe. The US is too big to mess with so I doubt it will be much affected. Or it need not be much affected. In the last resort a country the size of a continent that can fuel and therefore feed itself, and has adequate means of defence, need fear only maladministration or internal political instability. Europe has none of those advantages. It is vulnerable. It is the weak spot of the West, militarily and economically.

    Here, TTG, I can only express contempt. This continent is weak, vulnerable, and for a great many full of hate. Only able to attack the object of that hate by leveraging the financial and military power of the US.

    For those who believe it’s the Washington hawks dragging Europe behind them in this conflict are wrong. Without the European hawks seeking to use that US power this conflict would never have got under way. It was the deliberate wrecking of Minsk 2 by the Europeans that caused this war.

    And the Europeans seeking to damage Russia with sanctions – and simultaneously complaining it was the Russians causing that damage – were more than contemptible. They were laughable and the greater part of the world is now laughing at them.

    And what is the Plan A now for this bedraggled and contemptible continent? To further ring Russia with missile bases and “Rapid response” units mostly, one assumes, provided or coordinated by a benevolent Uncle Sam, and thus to pose a greater threat to its neighbour than before.

    They do urgently need to be considering a Plan B – some “New European Security Architecture” as the ever labile Macron used to call it – in case the neighbour has other ideas. They need to remember, before they roll out these grandiose plans, that gas pipes, and oil pipes, have taps at both ends.

    • leith says:

      @ English Outsider – “Without the European hawks seeking to use that US power this conflict would never have got under way.”

      Europeans perhaps, but you slippery sassenachs have been leading us around by a nose ring into war for well over a hundred years.

      • English Outsider says:

        Well Leith, WWI and II were special cases. There was no one else could save the day.

        This present affair, we were more Biden’s sidekick than players. Haven’t seen “I’m Irish” Joe show much gratitude for that. Gratitude’s not his thing in any case. He’d have to remember what he was being grateful for.

        So maybe we didn’t lead your President by the nose this time round. We did lead the Europeans by the nose for him, true. Very publicly and theatrically. Embarrassingly so, looking at such as Wallace and Ellwood.

        I doubt many Americans have heard of the latter. He’s a reservist Lieutenant Colonel in 77 Brigade, so an MP who knows what he’s about when it comes to information war. Nothing out of the way there. All MP’s are good at that. Looking at this and other debacles, it’s about all they are good at.

        In the event, as it proved, it was a waste of time leading the Euros by the nose against the Ruskies. Berlin/Brussels were dead set on going that way anyway. The Scholz/von der Leyen mini-Barbarossa II and all that, with some beat up old Panzers sent to their ancient stamping grounds to ram the point home. Never accuse our continental neighbours of being subtle.

        So we helped mostly with the optics. Doubt there’ll be much gratitude for that from those two doughty euro-warriors, either.


        What a grumpy reply! Wish it could have been more cheerful. But grumpy’s all there is, really, when one looks at the clown show in Westminster.

        • billy roche says:

          WW II happened b/c of how WW I ended. It ended that way b/c Wilson sided w/the empires of France, Britain, and Russia. WW I was and should have remained a bloody awful war b/t European empires. But then Britain and France w/h lost and the subjects in their colonial empires w/h been deprived of the prestige of living under their rule; pity. There was no need for America to “save the day” and in the end, America d/n. Wilson prolonged the contest resulting in another 20MM dead. Cheerio.

    • d74 says:

      On the whole, I agree. Brainless, spineless Europe(*) will lose if Russia wins or the West wins. And since UK is not in Europe, it will lose even more, which is no consolation. Its anti-Slav activism – the great game – is too reckless and beyond its truly calamitous means. 1904 is over.

      As usual, the French government hesitates, committing itself while not committing itself.

      Germany is an enigma. Everything suggests that it is on the road to economic suicide. It is making great efforts not to cut itself off economically from China, its biggest industrial customer, while not straying too far from US policy in the Pacific. A perilous exercise, open to blackmail on both sides.

      A massive Nato commitment to Ukraine would be the only solution, but it would require courage. And isn’t it too late? Yet Putin suggests that F16s taking off from Poland or Romania would not be a nucleus casus belli. Of course, serious countermeasures would be taken, but not nuclear ones. In any case, the F16s are part of an endless academic discussion: experience has shown that there are no miracle weapons that can save the Ukraine. They just prolong its agony.

      (*) Brainless and spineless Europe : Europe and its constituents have no rulers but office managers with a vague grasp of advertising, who judge everything by the amount of dough involved, with increasing difficulty.

    • billy roche says:

      Again you have consigned Ukraine to “remnant” Ukraine. Which, of course will have to be “neutralized somehow” to promote Russian security. Don’t ask the Ukrainians, Balts, Poles, Finns, Slovaks and Czechs about their security. As you have pointed out, it is their misfortune to live next to the giant and so they should accept their inferior balkanized existence. When the Russian says jump, they should only ask how high (was that the excuse for English dominance over Wales, Scotland, and Ireland? I think that final chapter has not been written). The Russians always had a choice. They could play nice and be genuinely friendly towards their Slavic brothers. That choice was presented to them in 1920 (you know, international brotherhood and all that), 1945 (a time to celebrate Slavic victory over Nazis … but things were not so new after all), and 1991, a chance for a new world order (peace, brotherhood, the dawning of “the age of aquarius”) which quickly returned to “mother”says. You have accepted Putin’s SMO instead of invasion, as his excuse to kill a nation of 44MM Nazis, and looked the other way when Russia supported rebellion in the Donbass and invaded Crimea. It seems you must be again reminded that Ukraine d/n invade Russia, Russia invaded Ukraine as her first move to restore her empire lost in 1918 and again in 1991. The war, w/all its horror, is the choice of Moscow. The psychology is easy to understand. Russians believe they must always remain, superior to the neighbors. But even the “lill people” have a voice. Ukrainians don’t expect British/French/German/Italian troops to show up in Kiev. But if White Russia becomes more aggressive expect the Poles, Slovaks, and Czechs to be mobilized. If there is any where left to put more NATO weapons the Finns and Balts will ask for them. It is “fish or cut bait time” in Eastern Europe and I’m telling you, Slavs and Balts will kiss Russian dupa no more.

      • English Outsider says:

        Bill – we see the war differently. I see it as a West versus Russia war, with the unfortunate Ukrainians providing both the casus belli and the proxy.

        Of course the security imperatives of the Balts and the East Europeans should be respected. The admission by Merkel and Hollande, also Poroshenko, that Minsk 2 was merely a dodge knocked the ground out from under our feet on that. OK, Washington and Westminster wanted this war as well. Very much. But Scholz and Macron were the only ones who could have averted it, and they did not.

        • CBridge says:

          Putin could’ve averted it. He can end it right now.

          • English Outsider says:

            Of course Putin can end the war right now! Withdraw and put himself on trial are the terms currently on the table. Also leave the Russians of the Donbass and Crimea at the mercy of the SBU. He could do that tomorrow.

            And get deposed and watch the RF break up the day after, if he wanted to live out the fantasies of the more hawkish in Washington, London and Berlin/Brussels. He could do all that.

            Or he could ensure that Ukraine ceases to be the spearpoint of Western aggression against his country.

            I expect it won’t take him and his fellow countrymen much time to work out which course of action they’ll adopt. Listening to Lavrov recently, sounds like they’ve worked it out already.

        • billy roche says:

          Our views will not be reconciled. You understand the war ignorant of 300 years of Russian repression. IMHO, it is a Russian driven effort for reborn dominance over her Slavic, Baltic, and Finnic neighbors. Western Europe is a recent, post 2010, participant. Schultz, Macron, Brussels, and Westminster are bystanders. The War has nothing to do with Neocons, the Maiden, the 2014 elections, or Minsk. The participants are Ukrainians, Balts, Slavs and Finns who wont be Russian bitches any longer. That boat has sailed and hard stroking by Putin will not bring Russia any closer. There was no reason for the S.U. b/y empire. That was re-established w/certainty by Stalin in ’45. In ’91 Russia c/h renounced her centuries old “dominion” over her neighbors but d/n. When she d/n I knew this fight would come. Any one w/an interest in Slavic affairs knew it was only a matter of time. The fight is Russian Slav over “the others”; nothing more than vicious, colonial imperialism.

          • English Outsider says:

            Look at this mess, Bill –


            Written from a strongly pro-Western perspective it still shows the scale of the problem. Like Russia, Ukraine became a hotbed of crime and corruption in the ’90’s. Unlike Russia, it never even started to haul itself out of the mess.

            Plenty of confirmation from other sources. There was even a CNN report on weapons theft and its extent. Confirmation from odd sources too – a British volunteer gave a video account of life in the Ukrainian armed forces. Remarked that as his convoy was going to the front two lorry loads of munitions just disappeared between one checkpoint and the next and were never seen again. He didn’t seem to find it out of the way,

            Odd fragments of information like that emerge and confirm the picture of brutal corruption and theft that I don’t think exists in most of Europe, or at least doesn’t much come to the surface.

            All the way up to the oligarchs. Kolomoisky throve in that half-world between straight gang violence and business and it’s pretty obvious Firtash did as well. Well, they all did. Reminiscent of the accounts one reads of Moscow in the ’90’s, when women were scared of walking down the street for fear of getting caught up in some gang fight or other.

            Eastern Ukraine after the Revolution of Dignity was all that and more. A brew of soldiers of fortune, local warlords, gangsters, smugglers, oligarchs, in amongst them passionate idealists and nationalists ready to stop at nothing. Losers like Girkin – what a chancer that man was, with his dreamy nonsense and military incompetence. I saw an interview with him once and he was nothing more than a bag of portentous hot air. Heroes enough too, both sides, in a world gone crazy.

            In amongst it all, people just trying to get along. Not too bothered about what flag was flying as long as they could just be left alone. I picked up that feeling from some very recent videos of survivors. Happy enough to say pro-Russian things, if they were that side of the lines. Equally happy to say pro-Kiev things, if the other. But underneath all that, just wanting it all to stop so they could get back to some sort of normality.

            Minsk II was the best chance of that, my view. Given the population mix, the only chance.

            Now? You don’t want such as Azov and Aidar getting in amongst the people of the Donbass. You really don’t. Therefore leave the mess to the Russians to sort out. And I’m sorry I upset you by discussing “remnant Ukraine”. But somehow, that’s going to have to be sorted out as well.

          • billy roche says:

            Irish/Americans are prone to blame the English for 800 years of oppression. You don’t have to look hard to find out that the first 400 years of that was b/c of those dastardly Normans (at least in S. Ireland). Why blame England for it all? B/c people don’t know any better. Ukraine d/n experience the Renaissance; they got the Mongols and learned about “buksheese”. Openly or covertly a practice throughout the world. Ukraine d/n experience Westphalia. Instead of a nation state they got war lords. Ukraine d/n experience the enlightenment. They got the Romanovs who kept them in slavery until after 1860. So you say Ukraine is a corrupt land? Unlike London, Washington, Moscow, Bejing etc? Ukraine is really corrupt and we had better let the Russians sort it out. There you go again… leave Ukraine to the Russian. I’m afraid not. If there is to be an elimination of Ukraine let them attend to it. Remnant states are sad. There may still be a remnant England in store. As to Minsk its very existence disregards how Russia, Ukraine, and by implication the Finns, Balts, and other Slavs were doing there. Here is the simple proposition you deny … despite Putin’s rhetoric, eastern Europeans do not and will no longer succumb to the “big” Russian. All of Putin’s crazy history/geography notwithstanding, the NATO/Russian activities post 2022 and Ukrainian corruption is not the issue. Independence is. Patrick Henry (a Brit by birth BTW) could have told you that.

        • billy roche says:

          Russia wanted this war. They “allowed” Ukrainians a respite as long as they d/n get too uppity. As soon as it was clear to Moscow that Kiev would no longer submit t’ was “war on”. Feb. 24, ’22 was about Russian Empire. If Ukrainians lose their independence but Western Europe gains a breather from Russian hegemony who cares? Certainly no one cares what Ukrainians want. They want what American money and blood purchased for western Europeans – independence. But let us ignore 1900, 1917, 1931, 1945, and 1991. Instead let’s talk about Minsk shall we. Yes Minsk, that’s the ticket!

          • English Outsider says:

            Bill – I think we do have to talk about Minsk 2 if we wish to apportion the blame for starting this war.

          • billy roche says:

            E.O. I think you are deliberately avoiding the historical foundation of the war. Why won’t you look there? Heard on the street in St Petersburg the other day … Ukrainian to Russian “I am a free man. I am not your unterslav any longer”. Russian in reply “You will always be subordinate to Russia. If you resist we will kill you. You were taught that lesson at least five times over the past 122 years. You will never be a free.” Ahhh, but let’s talk about a talk in Minsk 8 years ago. Yes, that’s what Slavic, Baltic, and Finnish freedom hinges on… Minsk. We all know the Russian will keep his word. Ask the next Estonian you bump into about that. The Baltic states each have a sizable Russian speaking population. Am I to believe that Putin would have renounced any designs on them forever. Could Zelinskyy be certain, after Luhanks, Donbass and Crimea were taken, Russia would have no interest in Kharkiv or Odessa? Let’s ignore 120 years of Ukrainian fighting for independence and concentrate on Merkle, Schultz and Zelinskyy at Minsnk. The die was thrown into the water in ’91. There will be no free Ukraine. There will be a restoration of the Russian Empire.

  7. Christian Chuba says:

    I thought this site was gone, glad to see you are active TTG.
    This is a daring and brave operation. But for it to amount to anything Ukraine will need a well protected bridge to move heavy equipment. I don’t see that happening as Russia can easily destroy it.

    I wish this damned war would end but unfortunately it will have to run its course.

    • Poppa Rollo says:

      Russia could target temporary bridges but they are too busy blowing up apartment buildings well behind the front lines. Come the winter look for cossack fighters jumping w/o parachutes into snow from low flying Russian planes. Makes for great theatre.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        Well, Poppa’s comment didn’t age well.

        The Russians fired an Iskander at the span of the Antonovsky Bridge that these Ukrainians were sheltering under, and the entire road section came down on their heads.

        Then Russian Marines armed with brooms landed behind them and swept up the remains.

        The Ukrainian “bridgehead” (how apt a word) is gone, gone, gone.

        • TTG says:

          Yeah, Right,

          The accurate hit of a Kinzhal missile dropping an Antonovsky bridge span was impressive. It makes me wonder why all the other bridges over the Dnipro are still intact.

          Apparently you missed or ignored the subsequent videos of the the Russians attempting a boat landing having their asses handed to them by drone attacks and then being finished off by Ukrainian troops on shore as well as the one showing the Russian mounted assault force getting clobbered by mines as they assaulted the bridgehead north of Oleshky. Still the Ukrainians do appear to be contained.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Iskander missile, not Kinzhal missile.

            I saw the video of one Russian tank hitting a mine as it attempted to cross the bridge at Oleshky. But one tank is hardly a “clobbering” of an entire Russian mounted assault force.

            I haven’t seen any video of the Russian Marines being “arse-handled” when they moved in to wipe up the remnants.

            A quick question: are the Ukrainians still on the east bank? Yes? Or no?

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            That single BMD that was hit by what appeared to be an off route mine was a few days ago. The clobbering was more recent and consisted of around half a dozen vehicles.

            You mean the left bank? Yes, several Russian accounts say they’re still there. Kyiv has said nothing.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I note that Freddie Kagan’s latest “Assessment” refers to “recent activity” by Ukrainian forces on the east bank near the Antonovsky Bridge.

            “Recent” is, of course, not the same word as “ongoing”, which is much the preferred word in those campaign assessments when referring to Ukrainian actions.

            Face it, TTG, those forces are toast.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            The latest from Kagan’s ISR mention’s Saldo’s claim that the Ukrainians are no longer on the left bank, but also quotes a Russian war blogger saying fighting on the Antonovsky Bridge is ongoing. That russian Telegram post was timestamped 3 july at 2:30.

            This video describes the actions as of 30 June. The last minute of the video is an ad for Atlas VPN. The clobbering of the Russian VDV armored assault is just an animation, but it tracks with the drone video I saw, but can’t find now.


            And here’s three other mentions of ongoing presence of Ukrainians on the left bank of the Dnipro.

            Ukrainian troops are being redeployed to the east bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region, the UK Ministry of Defence said. Fighting has intensified in the area near the destroyed Antonovskiy Bridge since 27 June. Russia has also “highly likely reallocated” some of its Dnipro Group of Forces (DGF) to the east bank to “reinforce the Zaporizhzhia sector”, it added. The MoD notes fighting around the bridge is “almost certainly complicated” by flooding and mud which followed the collapse of the Kakhovka dam early last month.
            2:43 AM · Jul 1, 2023

            Pro-Russian sources confirm that all attempts to dislodge the Ukrainian troops from the Antonovsky bridgehead failed. They also admit that the situation is becoming a serious concern.
            5:31 AM · Jul 2, 2023

            Kherson axis: Although parts of the bridge collapsed, the hideouts where the AFU has dug in remain untouched. The AFU even increased its presence and stabilized the eastern dacha’s. The road is completely remotely mined, RU forces barely can come close without taking damage.
            6:10 PM · Jul 3, 2023

  8. Whitewall says:

    I’m not sure this war will be allowed to run its course. In close order, yesterday MSN presented an article about the CIA director returns from Kiev. Not that unusual of course for him to visit, but write about it this close to Putin possibly dodging an assassination attempt after him arresting some top generals. Prizghosin supposedly installed safely next door in Belarus as a marked man when he may well be elsewhere in the world? Open conflict coming between the FSB and Russian military high command, while more oligarchs fly out of Russia during the ‘coup’. Now there are more stories showing up about failed delivery of promised military aid, while western expectations of more Ukrainian gains are being lessened.

    I sense the fear among those who actually run the world and this war revolves around not who wins or loses, but what if the Russian Federation herself turns against itself and in stead of breaking up orderly like it should, convulses into a full on implosion with everyone against everyone. China will take advantage as will some of the ‘stans’, and most important of all, who or what controls the nuclear arsenal?

    • leith says:

      WW –

      Not only China and the Stans will take advantage. Think of the 20 million Muslims living within Russian.

      • Whitewall says:

        Yes, I hadn’t considered that one.

        • billy roche says:

          From 1660 to 1960 the Russians have treated every neighbor, east and west, as lessors, subjects, and “l’ill” Russians. Czars and communist rode that horse well. If she totters the Persians, Turks, Chinese, and “stans”, on whom Russia has fed, will rtn for their day. No one has gone away; no one. Problem is neither have the Russian nukes.

  9. Poppa Rollo says:

    for Yeah, Right. If Russia were dominant they would not have blown the bridge, they would destroyed the special ops forces on the left bank. Face it. Russia is on the back foot and merely trying to prevent their defensive lines from being overrun.

    • billy roche says:

      PR: I don’t see the “back foot. I am 1000% pro Ukraine but the UM can do nothing in Donestk/Luhansk; Crimea is not on the horizon, and the continued push across the Dneipro is meeting stiff RM resistance. Putin is having a field day destroying Ukrainian infra structure and civilian housing. Sanctions? Overlying all is power and that means oil. The Russians and our “friends” the Saudis have agreed on lowering output to increase price per/barrel. It is put up or shut up time in eastern Europe for defense of independence and liberty.

      • Poppa Rollo says:

        BR. You want to see waves of UM infantry hurling themselves at RM strong points?
        Putin’s attacks on apartment buildings is piecemeal and effective only at stiffening Ukrainian resolve.

        • billy roche says:

          PR: re waves of UM hurling themselves …
          Of course not. I simply said I dont see the RM on its back foot.

  10. Christian Chuba says:

    “The Ukrainians haven’t said jack about it.” – TTG

    Do you watch youtube? (serious question, not sarcasm).
    My youtube feed is flooded w/Ukrainian and Ukrainian aligned commentators talking up the crossing at Kherson, such as Denys Davydov, Sky News, Crux, And more sites filled w/endless stories about Ukrainians ambushing and slaying vast numbers of Russians.

    The only youtube commentator I can tolerate is ‘Combat Veteran’. He is vehemently anti-Russian but consistently a realist when discussing the counter-offensive.

    The crossing is a daring operation but the terrain there is a nightmare making it hard for either side to advance. Russia just has to contain contain them and continue pounding them w/artillery. This will go nowhere and end up wasting lives.

    • TTG says:

      Christian Chuba,

      When I said that, I meant the Ukrainian government. Individuals on all manner of social media had plenty to say. I don’t have a YouTube, Twitter, Telegram or any other feed. I dig for my own information like wandering the stacks in a library. Not very efficient, but I’ll be damned if I’ll subject myself to those dreaded algorithms.

      I do agree with you in seeing a stalemate on the Antonovsky Bridge. I do think there’ll be more crossings.

    • Mark Logan says:


      Give Preston Stewart a look.

      My WAG is the Kherson ops are about fixing Russian assets there. Some of the Russian mil-bloggers lamented heavy losses of artillery there and around Bakhmut recently. I suspect a lot of this is about atriting Russian artillery at the moment. Get them to shoot so they can be hit, hopefully before the scoot.

      If they can reduce the Russian artillery to a dull, dull roar the door may be open. Seems like nearly every time the dismounted infantry is meeting up in the tree lines the Russians low morale is producing skedaddle or surrender. Everybody’s armor seems to be getting pelted, but it’s unlikely the Russians have enough Lancets and such to be effective against a lot of infantry in the bushes. They have to suppress that artillery first though.

      • billy roche says:

        Be kind to the tactically inexperienced pls. To get the Russians to shoot you must shoot first. When the Russian artillery responds you “see them” and kill them. You must believe you can fire faster, more accurately, and shoot and scoot quicker than the Russians. Do I have the idea? If I do, what makes the UM believe they are better at this than the RM? Doubtless both sides are playing the same “game”.

        • Poppa Rollo says:

          for BR, it is not necessary for UM arty to fire on RM arty. RM arty is used often to make up for the lack of effective RM armor.
          More Russian war bloggers are lamenting the near encirclement of Bakhmut by UM. Bakhmut is not some small hamlet in the middle of nowhere.
          Will RM fight for Bakhmut or will the ammo shortages force their retreat?

        • Mark Logan says:

          billy roche,
          Whatever gets them to use it will do. If their infantry needs support it is likely it will get it.

          HIMARs and JDAMs would be a good guess.

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