The only Russian force that seems to have retained a significant offensive ground capability are the Wagner private mercenaries.
Therefore, the loss of that capability for Russia should be the immediate objective of the Ukrainian forces backed by US intelligence targeting. Fires massed by the Fire Support Coordination Center should be very useful for that.
Once that objective is fulfilled, Ukrainian attention should be returned to the elimination of Russian forces west of the Dnipro. pl
They might not get the chance to deal with the Wagnerites. There’s trouble on the horizon.
Maybe all the equipment moving around and cryptic statements are a part of the maskirovka but it seems the Russians (and Belorussians ?) are preparing something big.
Possibly but Lukashenko would be stupid to do that.
Pat, why would Lukashenko be stupid to, presumably, open a front in Northern Ukraine?
Lukashenko’s army is in worse shape than Putin’s. They could outright refuse to fight. It’s also quite likely that the people of Belarus might rebel. Besides, Belarus has already sent a lot of their equipment and ammunition to Russia. They’re hollow.
That’s my opinion also. I wanted to see if Pat Lang had another reason. I too question the willingness/ability of Belarus soldiers to fight. They are a mix of Russians, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians. Lukashenko had a Ukrainian father. How committed is he “in his heart” to Ukraine’s destruction. A Belorussian front is too big a risk. Loss Ukraine, hell Putin could lose the better part of Belarus at the same time.
Bill & TTG –
Another reason Lukashenko would be stupid to open a front in Northern Ukraine might be the Pripyat Marshes that line their border. These is the largest wetland area of Europe. From wiki:
“Dense woods are interspersed with numerous marshes, moors, ponds and streams extending 480 kilometres (300 mi) west to east and 225 kilometres (140 mi) north to south. The marshes undergo substantial changes in size during the year, with melting snows in springtime and autumn rainfall causing extensive flooding as the river overflows.”
Updated airfield, new Russian conscripts arriving daily, already guilty of aiding and abetting the effort to force Ukraine to break under the Soviet machine, large chance of further Soviet aggression against formerly occupied countries, it looks like a great place to try out some of those tungsten ball bearings, just to soften up the regime for its demise.
He is not stupid but he might not have a choice.
Things are getting serious and his days of playing both sides against the middle are coming to an end.
Haven’t the Russians had many months and a lot more men and materiale to execute “something big”?
Well, I believe they started the operation expecting a quick takeover. They probably had a number of deals and assurances from pro Russian elements of Ukrainian society and government that led them to believe that they just have to show up and minimal resistance would be offered in the east and southeast.
This failed in most places (except in Kherson) and they have been scrambling and improvising ever since. As Lars said, once the project gets off the rails, it is hard, if not impossible, to put it back on.
On the other hand, Ukraine is under tremendous pressure as well and the winter is coming. A winter at war, without money, gas, oil and perhaps even electricity and water.
The Russians have started preparing the people for the possible loss of Kherson, but are trying to adapt and are not giving up.
It looks like two big offensives are in the cards. First the Ukrainian and then the Russian one.
The russians moved a castle to Belarus.The rooks are split between the khariv and kherson the Knight is gone but the other one is stuck in crimea
So it is time for the queen to e4.hmmmmmm e4.e4 e4 e4 what to do about e4
Something off the board.totally off board.
Whats that.Ah ha.burn the circuit board.
Yes a short circuit is needed.
It appears that the Putin Fan Club is looking for any glimmer of hope in a dismal swamp. There is plenty of reporting going on in this war, and very little indicate that Russia is prevailing. The reality is that they are in retreat on the battlefield and their domestic problems are multiplying rapidly.
As I have mentioned before, as a builder, I learned a long time ago that if a project gets off the rails, it is hard, if not impossible, to put it back. The Russian project went off a long time ago and getting worse every day. I am sure they can provide a lot of misery to the civilian population, but that also means that they are now not winning on the battlefield, in part due to wasting resources on non-military targets. What that will do is making it less likely that they can settle this politically and it will keep sanctions in place much longer. It will also motivate further military aid to Ukraine.
I agree that targeting the Wagner group is an important task. Not only will it have a military benefit, but also a psychological one. The rest of the Russian military is increasingly subpar and even their supposedly elite units failed rather spectacularly.
That Fan Club seems to think reducing Russia’s empirical ambitions is not desirable. I disagree. It is imperative. If it is not achieved, we will continue to have military problems in much of Europe. I think it should be made public every day that this effort is not aimed at the Russian people, not at the front, but their current government and like at the end of WWII, much can be done to create a different country.
You said with eloquence, what I have been muttering about since March.
The old Boyar class, which survived and even participated in, communism must let go. The Russian Empire NEVER helped the “bullack” in the field. How does not help the Russian man in the street today to consider himself master of neighboring Slavs. Ironically it holds him back.
Can anyone doubt the contributions to humanity Russian people can make if they got the “Russian Man’s Burden” off their backs? The world has never seen such a Russia. If Russia is to join as an honored member of the world, not the eastern or western world, it is imperative that this change in the Russian attitude must happen. I do not believe that Putin is capable of such change.
Well said. The Kremlin ruling class must at all costs maintain the notion of “existential threat” if Russia is not allowed to have all that they want. There will be no end to ‘all they want’ unless Putin and his security cronies are stopped and gradually deposed. They will need JFKs ‘a new generation’.
I think this is wishful thinking.
I remember the 2 salient concepts my Russian studies my college professor imparted to us:
1)The history of Russia is one of invasion and defeat. This is burned into the soul of all its people. And
2)The Russian mentality is a Byzantine mentality, whish is much different than the Western humanistic experience.
Can you expand on point 2 (the Byzantine Mentality) and what it means for how this plays out on the Russian home front?
Is the WSJ editorial page the “Fox News” of the print media?
Heather Cox Richardson – “Journalist and professor Bill Grueskin collected the headlines from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page for the past year. They read: “Durham Cracks the Russia Case,” “Durham Delivers on Russiagate,” “John Durham Shows How the FBI Lets Its Informants Mislead It,” and so on.”
“But that’s not how it panned out. Durham ultimately indicted three men. One pleaded guilty to altering an email in a different case; he got probation. Durham accused another of lying to the FBI; a jury acquitted him. Durham indicted a third, Igor Danchenko, for lying to the FBI; yesterday a jury acquitted him as well. Durham used the trial to rail against the FBI, but his inability to win a conviction after more than three years of work undermines the MAGA narrative that Durham was going to find the goods to pin a witch hunt on bad FBI agents and acquit Trump once and for all.”
The NYT: Iran Sends Drone Trainers to Crimea to Aid Russian Military
The trainers from Iran’s paramilitary wing have been deployed to help Russia overcome mechanical problems with the fleet.
(anyone want to bet that Israel doesn’t have operatives in Ukraine to counter these drones?)
General Surovikin spoke yesterday about the ongoing evacuation of civilians from the Kherson bridgehead (right bank) and also mentioned Russian intelligence on a planned Ukie attack on the Kakhovka HEP facility. Many folk seem to have interpreted this as a hint that there may be an attempt to blow the dam, presumably to cut off the Russian troops’ retreat. An article on the Russian Military Review blog today goes into more detail, suggesting the plan involves mines being floated down the Dnieper from Ukie held territory on the reservoir.
The mine story is not sourced and the specific mine alleged to be part of the plot has a whole 3kg charge – hardly enough to scratch the paint surely. Barnes Wallace’s bouncing bomb by comparison was 1,000 times this (wiki). Is Russia planning to blow the dam after (you would think) all Russian troops somehow manage to retreat to the left bank?
https://en.topwar.ru/203626-protivnik-gotovitsja-ispolzovat-miny-jarm-dlja-vozmozhnogo-spuska-po-techeniju-dnepra-s-celju-podryva-plotiny-kahovskoj-gjes.html (in English)
Barbara Ann –
You sussed out Surovikin’s ace-in-the-hole for when the Ukrainians retake the Dnipro River’s right bank: a false flag attack on the Nova Khakova dam will cause flooding on the right bank causing major damage. And Putin gets a fig leaf of deniability that some saps in the West will latch onto.
I worry that there may be similar plans to destroy the Zaporhizhzhiya nuclear plant if Ukraine starts a major counter-offensive on the left bank and gets close to Energhodar? So the hardcore in the Kremlin would get the nuke they’ve been pleading for. I don’t believe we would buy the lie. But some in NATO would balk at responding even if it was just a strike using conventional force.
Yeah, the ridiculous story of (presumably hundreds of) tiny mines being floated down river caught my eye, as I’ve seen similar fig leaf Kremlin propaganda before, notably in the couple of days preceding the invasion.
I expect some poor unfortunates will need to be left on the wrong side to make the story look convincing. A job for a mobiki rearguard? Hell, maybe they’ll blow the dam just to prevent the spectacle of a spontaneous mass amphibious ‘redeployment’ to the left bank.
The worst part of blowing up the dam would be loss of cooling for Zaparhizhzhia NPP if the Dnipro reservoir gets too low. Would that encompass a meltdown? Are there any nuclear engineers in this committee?
Or am I worrying for nothing? Will the reservoir get that low to disrupt the cooling?
Don’t know about the nuc plant cooling, but they can kiss the Crimean Canal goodbye if they blow that dam. Either they didn’t think of that or they’re talking pure trash.