Tales of the River Bank

Kherson direction: Activity of the APU on the left bank, the situation as of 18.00 on October 17, 2023.

Last night, at least four groups of then AFU 35th and 36th Marine Brigade from the Katran strike group landed at the railway bridge on Oleshkynsky Island and tried to advance to Pishchanivka and Oleshky. As a result of artillery fire on enemy movement areas, eight people were injured. The advance of the Marines was suspended, and the wounded were transferred to the shore for evacuation.

In the afternoon, two assault groups of the AFU 35th and 36th Marine Brigades, after regrouping, continued their attack along the railway bridge. As a result of the breakthrough, with the support of artillery and FPV drones, the Marines were able to occupy the village of Poima. There, enemy units took up a perimeter defense, and after reinforcements arrived, they reached the northern outskirts of Pishchanivka. According to some reports, several houses on the northern outskirts were occupied by Ukrainian formations.

The tactical success of the assault detachments of the 36th brigade creates the preconditions for a more active entry of the Katran strike group into battles in the Kherson direction . This is indirectly confirmed by the movement of counter-battery weapons to the contact line, such as the Cobra and AN/TPQ-36 radars, as well as Bukovel electronic warfare stations, which, as a rule, are kept at a distance because of their value.

And the question arises: how was such a breakthrough allowed to reach two populated areas? We wrote for several months that there is a bridgehead of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the island zone and in some areas of the left bank of the Dnieper, but no measures were taken. I would like to believe that the threat will now be taken more seriously.

Looking at the actions of the APU, there are clearly consistent attempts to expand the bridgehead before the offensive. Today’s attack on the airfield in Berdyansk is one of the preparatory stages. The use of ATACMS increases the threat level for aviation even in the deep rear, which may force the command to pull it further away from the line of contact. This will increase the period from departure to the involvement of the Russian Air Force to support ground forces, which is beneficial for the AFU in the south. Given that the Berdyansk airfield is out of action for a while, the next target is likely to be Dzhankoy and other bases in the Crimea. They are one of the main obstacles to conducting a full-scale operation on the Dnieper. 


Comment: It’s now been a week since the Russian warblogger Rybar wrote this. There were comments at the time that he was exaggerating things in order to report about the Russians heroically throwing the Ukes back in the river in a few days. Given that he mentioned two groups attacking which usually means two platoons, I figured it was a raid or a reconnaissance in force that would retreat back to the river bank if not back across the river in two or so days.

But here it is nine days later and not only are Ukrainian Marines still appear to be fighting in the villages of Poima and Pishchanivka. Not only that, but another landing took place a few kilometers up the river and Ukrainian Marines have taken Krynky. The crossings are still limited, but they are persistent and slowly expanding. I think the immediate goal on this front is to keep the Russians closely engaged so they can be chewed up by Ukrainian artillery and drones. The Russians are also forced to keep sufficient forces here rather than further west. This could expand into another front of the counteroffensive, but it’s far too early to call it that.

I know how some of you go apoplectic at the mention of ISW, but they offer a good discussion of recent Ukrainian actions and Russian troop movements on this front.

Ukrainian forces continued larger-than-usual ground operations on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast on October 20 and established a confirmed presence in a settlement on the east bank. Geolocated footage published on October 19 indicates that Ukrainian forces advanced into northeastern Krynky (27km east from Kherson City and 2km from the Dnipro River). Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces are establishing a foothold near Krynky and continue to maintain their presence near the Antonivsky roadway and railway bridges. A prominent Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces temporarily advanced further into Krynky up to the Kozachi Laheri-Krynky-Korsunka road before Russian airstrikes pushed Ukrainian troops back to the northern outskirts of the settlement. Another Russian milblogger claimed that fighting is ongoing near Pishchanivka (14km east from Kherson City and 4km from the Dnipro River) and that a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group is operating on the southern outskirts of the settlement. The prominent Russian milblogger suggested that Russian forces only maintained positions on the southern outskirts of Pishchanivka as of the afternoon of October 18, and the Ukrainian General Staff reported on October 19 that Russian aviation struck Pishchanivka, implying that Ukrainian forces were still operating in the settlement. ISW has not observed any other visual confirmation of Ukrainian forces maintaining positions in east bank settlements other than Krynky, however.

Russian and Ukrainian sources continue to indicate that the Russian units defending the east bank of Kherson Oblast are relatively less combat effective than other Russian forces elsewhere on the front. A Ukrainian military observer stated that the Russian Dnepr Grouping of Forces is primarily comprised of elements of the 49th Combined Arms Army (Southern Military District) and likely elements of the newly created 18th Combined Arms Army. The majority of the 49th Combined Arms Army (CAA) has been deployed to east bank Kherson Oblast since Russian forces withdrew from the west (right) bank, and elements of the 49th CAA’s 205th Motorized Rifle Regiment have since suffered significant casualties. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (UK MoD) reported on August 21 that the Russian military was likely forming the new 18th CAA from other units currently operating in Kherson Oblast, and it is unlikely that the new units of the 18th CAA are entirely comprised of fresh forces or staffed to doctrinal end strength. The deployment of the 18th CAA to Kherson Oblast is reminiscent of the rushed deployment of the newly created 25th CAA to the Kupyansk and Lyman directions in early September 2023, and the 18th CAA likely faces similar issues with a lack of personnel, equipment, and proper training. A Russian milblogger claimed that elements of the 26th Motorized Rifle Regiment, reportedly of 70th Motorized Rifle Division of the 18th CAA, are defending against Ukrainian activities near Krynky. Another Russian milblogger claimed that elements of the 1st Battalion of the 177th Naval Infantry Regiment (Caspian Flotilla) are operating near the Antonivsky railway bridge. Elements of the 177th Naval Infantry Regiment have been defending in western Zaporizhia Oblast since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and have likely suffered significant casualties.


Note: The title comes from a short feature I watched almost religiously as a child. It appeared on the local Hap Richards Show along with a lot of vintage Popeye cartoons. This show came from the other side of the pond, but I closely identified with both the small stream and the animals. The British mannerisms and accents never phased me. That was good TV.


This entry was posted in fauna, Flora, The Military Art, TTG, Ukraine Crisis. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Tales of the River Bank

  1. mcohen says:

    Pishchanivika.the battle of blood river.

  2. F&L says:

    Late breaking military tech news. The Israelis are using cartoon TV hero Sponge Bob to save their bacon. I bring this to the attention of the world because in addition to thousands of children already murdered, the lives of children’s favorite Cartoon Heroes are about to be thrown into the charnel houses.
    SpongeBob: https://g.co/kgs/9ybfs3

    Sponge bombs’ are Israel’s new secret weapon to block Hamas tunnels
    The Israel Defense Forces’ novel chemical device produces a foam explosion that can seal off gaps and tunnel entrances.
    Israel will use novel “sponge bombs” as it fights through the network of Hamas tunnels under Gaza.
    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been testing the chemical bombs, which contain no explosives but are used to seal off gaps or tunnel entrances from which fighters may emerge.
    The IDF has not commented on the use of the so-called “sponge bombs”, which create a sudden explosion of foam that rapidly expands and then hardens.

    • TTG says:


      I read of that yesterday. Reminds me of those aerosol cans of expanding insulating foam.

      • F&L says:

        The story is likely also simultaneously a euphemistic misdirection and hint regarding Chemical weapons. But you can’t tell the kiddies.

    • Fred says:


      Have they figured out which hotel/estate in Qatar the head of Hamas is living in? Do they plan on waiting a decade (more) to take him out like was done with Bin Laden? Qatar is hardly Pakistan and it shouldn’t be that hard to send a message.

      • Stefan says:

        And Bibi is leading the charge into Gaza? I cant wait to see that video!

      • Christian J Chuba says:

        Decapitation of diplomats and civil servants is counter-productive. We did it in Afghanistan. It did not win the war, even after 20 yrs of trying.

      • F&L says:

        I heard – no – read on Telegram channels that his location is unknown, from which I deduce, with caution, that
        1- he’s really disappeared (magic, but n9t necessarily)
        2- he’s dead and it hasn’t been ascertained certainly that he is, or the people who do know are his killers and therefore can’t say they know he’s dead because of the obvious rejoinder “really, pal, is that so? So then let’s us you and me have a discussion, a serious one, about how it is you know that ..”
        3 – Fred, I’ve lost track of time and my train of thought .. oh no ..
        4- Where was I?

  3. Whitewall says:

    ISW has never bothered me. Neither has Daily Kos, as long as the subject is presented as good discussion and an effort to give accurate analysis. The amount of regurgitated headlines with fanciful stories attached to them is almost cartoonish if the problem wasn’t so serious. Russia was supposed to have already won this front of what now appears to be a widening war between the civilized world and the anti civilized world. Interesting times.

  4. English Outsider says:

    On the forays across the Dnieper. I don’t think the Russians care too much now where the Kiev forces come to get killed.

    They did care at the start of the SMO and were reluctant to kill any more than was needed to prevent an incursion into the Donbass. But they now recognise that this is not a Ukraine/Russia match but a Russia/NATO match and to defeat NATO they have perforce to kill the NATO proxies.

    That they were proxies was not only underlined by the crucial ISR assistance. That, and the technical assistance and tactical direction was often unobtrusive and to an extent escaped public attention. It was, however, very publicly underlined by the supply of NATO or NATO obtained equipment. On that, I suppose the biggest blunder European NATO made was to send in masses of specifically German equipment and particularly Panzers. That even got protests in the Bundestag. Some in Germany, not many, understood that sending Panzers over to their old stamping grounds would amount to blowing on old embers.

    Putting captured Russian tanks on display in Berlin and elsewhere was also foolish. All that, together with the fact that some of our proxies were associated with the Nazi collaborators of WWII, was shockingly bad tactics. And the Merkel admission that she had been fooling the Russians over Minsk 2 in order to give the Kiev forces time to rebuild, an admission scarcely noticed in the West, was a PR and diplomatic error of the first order. A bombshell. It meant Germany had been intentionally assisting anti-Russian ultra-nationalists for years. It put Berlin squarely in the front line against Moscow.

    That specifically German input was not noticed much in the States. It was important.
    Beating up on fellow Slavs wasn’t something the Russians enjoyed doing. Beating up on the old fascist enemy – no problems. For the average Russian soldier, it really puts a spring in his step knowing he’s completing the job Granddaddy started. NATO unleashing the White Tiger in such an obvious way was plain dumb.

    It now does have some military significance though. The ultra-nationalist units are very different from the old Right Sector Street fighters. They’re NATO trained and many battle hardened by the eight preceding years of war. I doubt they’re at the same level of professional competence or as well officered as the US marines or other Western professional forces but they’re good, many experienced, and are said to be fanatical.

    They’re the ones the Russians don’t at all mind killing. Gossip, and it’s only gossip, has it that these units are used more as barrier troops or fire brigade units and were never fully committed. We heard mention of Aidar units around Bakhmut and of several reconstituted Azov units up round that area as well. We don’t hear that much about what they’re doing now, or at least I don’t. I’m wondering if one of the reasons the Russians have slow-walked this war so much is that they’re waiting for the time when those units do have to be fully committed.

    That brings it back to those suicidal Dnieper crossings we’re seeing. What troops are being committed there? If they have any ultra-nationalist component no doubt the Russians will be only too pleased they’re coming over to be killed.

    • F&L says:

      This is an improvement on your usual offerings and when the Israelis go ahead with gassing Palestinians with nerve gas invented by Third Reich chemists under the express supervision of US military forces Putin will rightly smile graciously as the world says “Thank you, you wise man, they are rotten Nazis after all, please accept our apologies for saying it was only propaganda.”

      But what about the Kerch bridge? It’s gone anytime Nato & the Ukrainians decide to take it out. Where’s the land corridor then? No it doesn’t remain because the highway can be shelled to the west’s heart’s content whenever the satellites tell them traffic is passing along an area where the shells and missiles will be directed to land and explode. That can be done from a distance practically at will. And the remaining two crossing areas from the mainland to the Crimean peninsula can be sequentially drenched with fire similarly for any forces attempting supply that way. That leaves them with supply by boat and airlift only and anytime they want to that’s the new situation. Please understand that I don’t like it at all, I’m just trying to stay within the bounds of the real.

      Consider additionally that the Gaza genocide, assuming it continues which looks probable with inclusion of chemical weapons use, will condition world opinion and especially political and military opinion toward, not against, WMD level megadeath. It’s a message to everyone, care of Uncle Sam and the lunatic Netanyahu.

      • English Outsider says:

        If I dare say it on this site of all sites, F&L, don’t worry too much about the military stuff. The sanctions war lost, all is lost. Washington and the Europoodles bet the farm on that sanctions war but it was never on. Looks like we’ve lost the information war too, most places outside the Golden Billion. We are witnessing what the military gents my side of the Atlantic term an utter balls-up.

        It’s not a real war anyway, nor anything like one. The Americans can’t do much in the way of any sort of expeditionary force but they have an immensely powerful air force and a lot of naval stuff. They can’t use it. Not in Ukraine. As for the Russians, they’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to deploying what they could deploy if it got serious. They’re not even running a wartime economy.

        This is a minor police operation that’s ballooned because the Western politicians can’t find the off-ramp. That’s all. Except for the unfortunate Ukrainians we’re still stuffing into the mincer in quantity and what one suspects is by now many more Russian deaths than the BBC/Mediazone surveys have so far identified.

        Still leaves the question of what happens afterwards.

        You should be OK over your way, with any luck. Your problems are internal, not external. Europe’s not as secure when if comes to food, raw materials and fuel.

        The UK media is still as raucous as it was, more so now in fact, when it comes to keeping the proxy war fever going but I’m definitely picking up some notion of what HMG’s true aims for afterwards are. They match with those set out by Stoltenberg and Scholz: Festung Europa Mark 2,

        Rapid response forces. Increased expenditure on defence that we certainly intend to get a fair chunk of. A revivified European NATO. Missile bases here there and everywhere. And to justify it all the old sinister threat just the other side of the new Iron Curtain. Festung Europa rides again and this time round HMG rides with it. It’ll be like Christmas for the UK military, which has never liked being called the Benjamin Button of militaries, and like Christmas for what’s left of UK defence industry.

        It’ll suit the Germans too. They used to have the best military in the world a while back and no reason why they shouldn’t have the same again. Deutschland, erwache! Grossbritannien, erwache! NATO, erwache! Uncle Sam can bankroll the enterprise when needed. For the Euros that’s what Uncle Sam’s there for.

        Washington’ll see it a little differently. For Washington the Euros are another set of proxies and Europe a convenient battle ground. But both the Europoodles and Uncle Sam, HMG tagging along eagerly, have a future something like that in mind for Europe.

        What I’ve been saying for a year and more now, F&L, is that I don’t think any of that will work. Europe’s declining economically and its politics is so screwed up you wouldn’t believe. And if the Russians had a mind to it, they could put a spoke in the wheel simply by turning off a few taps.

        • F&L says:

          You’re very possibly right, I hope you are. It’s a war directed by asylum inmates here. In your land, I’d rather not say but suggest rereading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and coming to grips with the reality of the demonic Vampire coup which overthrew your ruling families after real estate agent Jonathan Harker purchased London properties for the evil Count’s fiendish zombies and Dracula himself. It struck Germany very hard in the thirties and it looks like it’s reached the rulers of Israel at least 30 yrs ago if not 3,000.

    • fredw says:

      English Outsider
      “the Merkel admission that she had been fooling the Russians over Minsk 2 in order to give the Kiev forces time to rebuild” My understanding at the time, which I thought was the common understanding, was that the Minsk negotiations were never taken seriously as a solution by the Russians or by anyone else. The purpose was simply to find a formulation that would enable both sides to hold in place without losing too much face. The Russians could have overrun the whole country then, but they didn’t want to deal with what would have followed. The Ukrainians would never admit it, but they had no reason to want to re-incorporate the most hostile part of their political system. Which also happened to be a major economic drain on whoever controlled it. The aftermath turned out about as I had expected. Nobody took any steps toward implementing the Minsk provisions.

      Building up Ukraine’s military was an obvious fool’s fantasy. We perfectly understood that the steps we took left them still with no ability to defend themselves. Recall the estimates, both government and outsider, in February 2022. Except they did defend themselves. We were no less surprised than the Russians. It looks to me that most of the initial hesitation about supplies and technology was about Ukraine proving that it could survive. Otherwise anything we gave them would turn into Russian assets. Which is what we expected at that time.

      So any notion of a plan to turn Ukraine into an existential threat to Russia is pure fantasy. There were no steps to be taken that offered any such outcome. We “knew” how hopeless any such effort would be. So we gave them training and enough support to (we thought) discourage the Russians. The goal was just to enable them to maintain the situation. That was about it until they shocked everybody with their overperformance.

      • English Outsider says:

        Oh, Mutti’s the most accomplished politician going. Wouldn’t have stayed in power that long otherwise, treating us to that seraphic, slightly shy smile while trampling over the bodies to get to the top. And stay there.

        Her famous Minsk 2 statement was probably only a response to the witch hunt in Germany that followed the Russian invasion. Anyone who’d even seemed to cooperate with Russia before the invasion was suspect. And Mutti’d done a lot of cooperating.

        So she ran for cover by claiming she’d pushed Minsk 2 just as a ruse. Though at almost the same time as she claimed that, she’d been saying something quite different. She’d been saying we ought to negotiate with the Russians. Mutti’ll say whatever’s needed to get her out of a hole. Might be true, might not be. Doesn’t matter. As said, she’s a most accomplished politician.

        Trouble is, Hollande and Poroshenko said the same thing about Minsk 2. Poroshenko almost certainly was telling the truth. He’d never seen Minsk 2 as more than a way of getting out of the Debaltsevo trap. But Hollande was also probably just running for cover. So you can’t look for any truth there either.

        So what was all the fuss about? Well, Minsk 2 was a very serious treaty. A cross my heart and hope to die sort of treaty. Suggested by the most powerful politician going, Mutti. Mrs Europe herself. Guaranteed by the two major European powers. Rammed through by Mutti. Deposited at the UNSC and unanimously approved. Gold standard.

        And then the silly woman turns round and says the whole thing was just a scruffy ruse from the beginning. Maybe so, as you suggest, but you just don’t say that sort of thing. Not out loud.

        A ruse, incidentally, continued by Scholz right up to the last moment. It blew German and by extension European diplomatic credibility right out of the water. That’s why the Europoodles now have to stand in line if they want to talk to Putin. Neither Scholz nor Macron get to have heart to heart talks with Putin any more. Why bother? They’re revealed as bullshit artists as far as the Russians are concerned.

        As for Putin, he was shooting a line if he was pretending to be disillusioned by that cavalier European take on Minsk 2. As if he hadn’t seen NATO training the Kiev forces in rotation for the previous eight years. Or those massive fortifications going up. Or all the arms being poured into Ukraine for years. Or the refusal of France and Germany to push for a start on implementing the treaty. None of that was compatible with Minsk 2 and he’d have known it.

        For all that Putin was justified in seeing the Merkel statement as a sort of betrayal. I think those were the only two people on either side who could talk to each other privately, face to face. Merkel’s Russian is apparently not brilliant but it’s certainly adequate. Putin has a marked accent but is fluent in German. We don’t know what was said between the two of them in those long and frequent private conversations, no interpreters or note takers present. But we can be sure Merkel never treated him to that seraphic smile and said to him “Hey, Volodya, we’re taking you for a mug on Minsk 2.”

        But then she stated publicly that she had. And since Putin himself had invested a lot of his own credibility in getting Minsk 2 implemented, and since many powerful Russians are saying he screwed up by going down that path in any case, you may be sure he was not pleased. No one likes having it announced publicly he was taken for a mug.


        “Was für einen Saustahl hat die Merkel uns hinterlassen”, a friend in Germany said to me a while back. She was referring to a certain lack of maintenance of German infrastructure that she’d noticed. They don’t like scruffy, the Germans I know. But of all the problems Mrs Merkel left behind the failure to carry through Minsk 2 will be the most serious. Got a feeling it’ll determine the future of the entire damned continent.

        • TTG says:


          Refusing to concede control of the Ukrainian borders to Kyiv was also incompatible with Minsk 2. The Kremlin didn’t want to see full implementation anymore than Kyiv did. Putin wanted another frozen conflict.

          • English Outsider says:

            TTG – if this can be taken at face value then I believe he’d have settled for something like that even after February 2022.



            Might I add a footnote to the above?

            The assertion above that the sanctions war was more important than the military war looks dogmatic, particularly now that the military war has dragged on for so long. Some time ago I collected some references that to my mind show that the Western leaders were indeed placing their hopes on the sanctions war:-

            This was the reasoning behind the sanctions war, set out by Bruno Le Maire at an early stage in that war (machine translation):-

            “I will be very clear with you, Marc FAUVELLE, it is Russia that will suffer, not Europe. Europe will perhaps actually have a little more inflation, because perhaps gas prices will increase a little, but it is Russia which will suffer, it is the Russian economy which will suffer. And it is the Russian financial system that will collapse before our eyes. Europe, the only consequence it can have in the coming weeks is a small increase in prices, depending on the increase in energy prices.”

            (Interview with Mr. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, to France Info on March 1, 2022, on economic sanctions against Russia after its attack on Ukraine and the economic repercussions for France)


            From the same source:-

            “Yes, the sanctions are effective. Economic and financial sanctions are even extremely effective. And I do not want to leave any ambiguity about European determination on this subject. We are going to wage total economic and financial war on Russia…”

            “The economic and financial balance of power is totally in favor of the European Union, which is in the process of discovering its economic power…”

            Also the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, at the very start of the sanctions war, stated that the sanctions had been tailored to harm the RF as much as possible while inflicting as little damage as possible on the European economy.

            On the face of it this looks plain foolish. The EU is dependent on supplies from Russia. How could it threaten or harm Russia by refusing to accept supplies from it? Even if that, and the financial sanctions, had devastated the Russian economy it must have devastated its own. Especially had the Russians retaliated by cutting off all supplies to Europe. It would not have taken long in that case for the European economy to go into recession.

            But it does make sense, though only if the devastation of the Russian economy had been immediate. A brief period of shortage of Russian supplies, or of no Russian supplies at all, could have been weathered by the European economy, that brief period coming to an end when Russia had been defeated. As a long term strategy the sanctions war could not work for Europe. But as a means of obtaining a quick kill it would have. As said in the interview the sanctions “must strike quickly and they must strike hard.”

            (“We will have a G7 meeting this afternoon on the subject, and I have also called a meeting of European finance ministers tomorrow, to ensure the proper execution of these sanctions. They must strike quickly, they must strike hard, and as you have already said, we can see the effects. The ruble collapsed by 30%. Russian foreign exchange reserves are melting like snow in the sun, and Vladimir PUTIN’s famous war chest is already reduced to almost nothing. We see the collapse of the market, we also see the increase in inflation.

            ” We are going to see lines of Russians looking to get cash in banks. And then the central bank had no choice but to increase interest rates from 10 to 20%, which means that companies will not be able to borrow, except at very high rates, to invest. and to develop the economy. We will therefore cause the collapse of the Russian economy. they must hit hard, and we see the effects, as you have already said.”)

            That the West was expecting, indeed thought it was witnessing, a quick kill was shown by President Biden’s Warsaw speech at the same time. The rouble down to 200, financial chaos in Russia, increasing shortages. This was the quick kill in action, the West striking quickly and hard.

            “As a result of these unprecedented sanctions, the ruble almost is immediately reduced to rubble. The Russian economy — (applause) — that’s true, by the way. It takes about 200 rubles to equal one dollar.

            “The economy is on track to be cut in half in the coming years. It was ranked — Russia’s economy was ranked the 11th biggest economy in the world before this evasion [sic] — invasion. It will soon not even rank among the top 20 in the world. (Applause.)

            “Taken together, these economic sanctions are a new kind of economic statecraft with the power to inflict damage that rivals military might.”)


            And the benefits of that quick kill of the Russian economy also laid out in the two sources cited:-

            “My message to the rest of Europe, this new battle for freedom has already made a few things crystal clear. First, Europe must end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. And we, the United States will help. [Applause]

            “That’s why just yesterday in Brussels I announced the plan with the president of the European Commission to get Europe through the immediate energy crisis. Over the long-term, as a matter of economic security and national security and for the survivability of the planet, we all need to move as quickly as possible to clean, renewable energy.”

            That completing the Trump/Grenell drive to detach Germany from Russian suppliers. Also, it was hoped, to supply Germany LNG instead. Also further impetus for Net Zero.

            .And for the Europeans?

            “What this Ukrainian crisis shows, and what the European response shows, is that Europe cannot be content with being an economic and financial power, even if it is effective, it must also become a military power.

            “And the paradox of this whole situation is that it is the violence of Vladimir PUTIN which will finally create European strategic independence..”

            That bringing the EU further along the path of becoming the United States of Europe, with appropriate independent military power. Placing Europe in the position of being able to “Project the power of Continent”, the dream of European integrationists for decades. Also boosting European defence industry production.

            Also getting rid of a decidedly inconvenient Russian President:-

            (President Biden) “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power..”

            That period marked the high tide of Western hopes. So many goals. So many results hoped for from the sanctions war against Russia.

            And the military defeat of Russia in Ukraine was another result that would have been surely automatic. For with Putin gone, the Russian economy in tatters, and the RF itself suffering the consequences of the hoped for destabilisation, it is scarcely likely that Russia would have had the requisite resources and will to fight a 700,000 strong and part NATO trained and equipped Ukrainian fighting force.

            But the quick kill did not succeed. It soon became apparent to all that the sanctions war had failed. With that failure any prospect of Ukrainian military victory vanished.

          • TTG says:


            We put all our hope in the sanctions because we had no faith that Ukraine could militarily stop the Russian invasion. We were wrong on both counts.

    • leith says:

      English Outsider –

      Aidar is now the 24th Assault Battalion. Yes, they’re were near Bakhmut two months ago but not as barrier troops:

      Not clear to me where the remnants of Azov are. Probably rebuilding. But I read somewhere that several hundred are still imprisoned or on trial in in the RF.

      For barrier troops you must have been thinking of the Kremlin’s use of Chechen Kadyrovites as blocking units executing retreating Russkie Soldiers. Just three weeks ago a member of Russian Duma, Gennady Semigin, openly praised Kadyrovite units role as barrier troops in Ukraine. OMON Special MPs have also been reported as an anti-retreat unit.



      • TTG says:


        The 3rd Separate Assault Brigade has Azov lineage along with a lot of Azov veterans.

        • drifter says:

          Leith underwent a momentary lapse. But it’s interesting to get something quasi-official saying Azov is bigger than just the line combat units.

  5. F&L says:

    I mentioned to commentor TonyL on an earlier thread that I thought the Maine massacre in Lewiston is likely a Murder Incorporated (or US Domestic Phoenix Program) op designed to keep the Gaza genocide off the top masts of world and especially American media. (Just the massacre of the 18 elementary school kids in Uvalde Texas guarded by 367 police was a message to stop coming over the border). Now I’m almost certain but not quite. It will be interesting to see how the monstrosity called Joe Biden gets reelected if it turns out his Navy supervised nerve gassing. We’ll see. How? By censorship and a bit more of Lewiston, how else. I now adjust my groin guard for TTG’s upcoming swift kick in ..

    Israel-Palestine war: Israel plans to flood Hamas tunnels with nerve gas, source says
    Delayed ground invasion part of campaign to keep element of surprise in multi-pronged attack, source tells Middle East Eye.

  6. elkern says:

    “He drives like a Guinea Pig possessed”! Living near Massachusetts, I am likely to have plenty of reason to repeat this quote from that lovely Riverbank clip. I don’t recall ever seeing this show in my youth, but I really like it. Sadly, the bucolic pace wouldn’t work these days – it wouldn’t sell enough corn syrup.

    IMO, the Kherson “front” isn’t a serious threat to Russian control of the area, unless/until Ukraine can really keep Russian Air Forces out of the skies anywhere near there. Ukraine can supply light forces on the left bank with small boats, but they would need to rebuild (and then protect) at least one good road bridge to deliver (and then supply) forces large enough to attack Crimea or otherwise make any real difference in the war.

  7. babelthuap says:

    What is the definition of civilized? If it’s no voting, one political party, no free speech and religious persecution Ukraine is moving up the leaderboard fast. US isn’t far behind. We do have to get conscription ramped up again but I think we check that box in a few years.

    • TTG says:


      I don’t think execution for what could be considered cowardice in the face of the enemy is far fetched at all. Deserters in time of war are often shot.

      • leith says:

        TTG –

        Entire units who haven’t “been properly trained, haven’t been properly equipped, and certainly are not being properly led,” retreating under devastating fire is not cowardice. Perhaps it would be if they were defending their homeland?

        Troops with “drunken commanders and a lack of ammunition, artillery, food and water” should not be branded as spineless or candy-assed if they refuse orders. IMHO the real coward is a commander that stays safe in a bunker in the rear while sending his troops on virtual suicide missions.

        • TTG says:


          I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they fragged their commanders and surrendered en masse. I was just pointing out that execution for cowardice in the face of the enemy is not an unusual military occurrence. I have several friends who were former Soviet or WTO soldiers who crossed the border and came to our side. They are not cowards. One took out two border guards on the way.

  8. Christian J Chuba says:

    Apologizing in advance because I didn’t have the patience to wade through the details because only one detail matters … does Ukraine have an intact bridge ? ? ?

    If the answer is no then Ukraine is on the wrong bank of the river. Russia doesn’t have to eliminate Ukrainian troops just shell them at their leisure. Without a bridge there are no APVs, no tanks, and no artillery to sustain them, only ammo that you can carry on boats. Russia had the good sense to abandon their position at Kherson because they realized they were on the wrong side of the river.

    If Ukraine has an intact bridge then yes, it is a significant development.

  9. leith says:

    Elkern is right that without bridges there will be no major offensive mounted on the left bank. And there won’t be much air defense available there either. Especially since the Kremlin just attacked the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant in western Ukraine with a drone. Any available Ukrainian air defense assets will now be protecting the nuclear power plants at Khmelnitsky, Rivne and Yushnoukrainsk. But if things go to sh!t-city for Putin further east then those footholds on the left bank could turn into bridgeheads.

    Why the Krynky foothold? That area was devastated when the Russkies blew up the dam. Not much there but hundreds of wrecked and derelict greenhouses because of the flooding. But it is only ten miles from Nova Kakhovka. And Krynky protects the left flank of the Kozachi-Laheri lodgement.

    PS TTG – Here’s more video of another river bank. This one is near Krynky. ‘Pike Fishing on the Dnipro River’ the title says, but it looks more likely it’s on a small slough or maybe a branch of the Konka.

    • F&L says:

      Sorry leith, this link should have gone with my earlier one on the Oleg Tsarev assassin’s attempt. Ru translation. But it might go a small way toward clarification of the question of “why are they there if no bridge?” Are they hit squads expecting helicopter or submarine rides home after covert raids? You’d think not at first impulse and say no, those assassins must have been home grown on Crimea or landed ashore somewhere far to the south of the Kherson area bridgehead. If however, other teams are ashore and in various other locations, then maybe we’ll see.

      Rogov named the reasons for the assassination attempt on Oleg Tsarev.
      Rogov: For Ukraine, Oleg Tsarev was and remains a dangerous enemy

  10. F&L says:

    This hit on Oleg Tsarev is significant imo. Why – because .it was .Within Crimea itself where you’d expect he’d be secure and because he is or has been a moderately significant figure in the RF’s struggle. It’s certainly a morale downer. Could this be related to the Kherson bridgehead paradox of Christian J Chuba and others as to WTF are they even on the left bank without a working bridge? I sure don’t know.

    Tonight, in Yalta, on the territory of a sanatorium, there was a completely armed attempt on the life of Oleg Tsarev, a participant in the Russian Spring . According to available information, he was shot 2 times. The condition is serious. Oleg is hospitalized.
    In connection with the news of the serious injury of Oleg Anatolyevich Tsarev, we wish him personally strength of body and spirit, perseverance and a speedy recovery!
    He is a true patriot of Great Russia. We consider his contribution to the creation of Novorossiya invaluable.
    We express our hope that Oleg Tsarev will once again return to duty to defend our country.
    However, those who ordered the assassination attempts on Russian patriots remain unknown and unpunished.
    It is obvious that a real hunt has been launched for the prominent heroes of the “Russian Spring” and figures of the Russian patriotic movement.
    At the same time, not a single case of the liquidation of a prominent political or media figure of the Kyiv regime is known.
    What is this – powerlessness disguised as “kindness” or…?
    Russian Strelkov movement

  11. F&L says:

    My bad. Now there’s info that Okeg Tsarev was stabbed by a drinking companion at his dacha. Apologies.

    Politics O. Tsarev was cut by his drinking companion at the Crimean dacha. Several stab wounds.
    Everyone, of course, decided to take advantage of this together.
    Now they will disperse the topic of the sabotage detachment. Everyday life. Not a terrorist attack. Still in the hospital, alive. But the knife attacks were serious, internal organs were damaged.

  12. elkern says:

    I (still) don’t buy the allegation that “the Ruskies blew up the [Kakhovka] dam”.

    That dam was a crucial economic asset to the parts of Ukraine which Russia holds (and expects to annex). Losing the dam dried up the canal which provided water to Crimea, and without water for cooling, the ZNPP can’t produce electricity.

    The dam was also a great defensive asset – for both sides. If either side tried to move large forces across the lower Dniepr, the other could wipe them out by blowing the dam (or maybe even just releasing a large flow – which only the Russians could have done, because they controlled the controls for dam). So, if either side was about to make a big move across the Dniepr there, they would have good reason to blow the dam *before* attacking; besides removing a threat, it would wash away a bunch of defenses.

    The dam collapsed just before the start of the big Ukrainian counter-offensive – a time when Russia was consolidating its defenses, not moving [offensive] forces into that region. So the timing does *not* support the “Russia Done It” theory at all; tactically, they would have preferred to keep the dam whole, as a defense against possible Ukrainian moves across the lower Dniepr.

    So, the timing of the collapse is far more consistent with the idea that Ukraine blew the dam in preparation for offensive moves there.

    TTG’s alternative explanation – that the dam collapsed on its own due to lack of maintenance caused by Russian incompetence – is also plausible, but the claim that Russia blew the dam on purpose just doesn’t, uh, hold water…

    • leith says:

      Elkern –

      Sound thinking, until you consider:
      – that the dam was built in the cold war to withstand a nuclear strike;
      – that the damage to the enormous concrete foundation could only have been caused by an internal blast;
      – that neither the Ukrainian Army nor the Air Force had any weapons (nor donated Western weapons) capable of that level of destruction;
      – and that there was a planned Ukrainian river crossing last summer.

      But I do appreciate the sardonic humor in the last words of your final paragraph. 🙂

    • Christian J Chuba says:

      ‘Big Sergei’ had an argument that I found convincing. He pointed out that since Russia controlled the dam, all they had to do was open the flood gates. That blowing up the dam is a one way ticket and takes away the ability to control the flooding. I don’t think Russia did it.

      Ukraine had economic (hurt Russian areas) and political (accuse Russia) but as best as I can tell, there were no military benefits for either side. True, it washed away some Russian minefields but Ukraine didn’t advance in those areas.

      • TTG says:

        Christian J Chuba,

        It made no sense for anyone to destroy that dam to the extent it was destroyed. But the operative fact as acknowledged by Big Sergei is that the Russians controlled the dam. Wouln’t have been the first time they screwed up in this war.

        • Fred says:


          Please remind me in case I’m wrong, but didn’t the Russians control the Kirch Straits bridge when it was blown up the first time?

          • TTG says:


            Are you suggesting the Ukrainians snuck explosives inside the dam without the Russians discovering them?

      • F&L says:

        If “Russia” did it it might have been the work of moles within their ranks. It’s worth keeping that in mind. Very complex situation. You and others are right that it’s very hard to make any sense out of it for the claims that either Ru or Ukraine did in the dam. That’s why my thoughts turned immediately to: either the US or UK. It’s very complicated.

      • leith says:

        Christian J Chuba –

        Regarding the your comment that there were no military benefits to either side: There is a sound military reason for defenders to flood the land in front of them or on their flanks. Hydraulic warfare, the deliberate flooding of an area is a scorched earth tactic as old as war itself. The Soviets used it on the same river against the Wehrmacht’s Field Marshall von Rundstedt in 1941 to slow down his advance. The Chinese blew up dikes and levees on the Yellow River in 1938 this saving their wartime capita Chongqing from a Japanese offensive. During 1944 in Italy the Germans turned the Liri, Garigliano and Rapido river valleys into quagmires to protect their Winter Line. The Dutch used it in the 16th Century to try (some say unsuccessfully) to slow Spanish invaders. The defenders of Kyiv saved their city from by releasing water from dams on the Irpin, Zdvyzh, and Teteriv Rivers in February/March 2022, making the approach impassable for mechanized forces. Please note it was defenders using these tactics, not those on the offensive.

        Regarding the flood gates: Eight months before the dam was destriyed when Russian troops retreated over the dam they set charges to destroy the bridge deck and they also destroyed some of the flood gates. Then in February 2023 they opened the rest of the flood gates trying to flood the area below the dam to prevent a crossover by Ukrainian troops. The flood gates were never closed after that due to machinery issues.

        BTW – Unoccupied Ukraine also got hurt – economic hurt, lack of safe drinking water, and environmentally by Russian destruction of the dam.

    • elkern says:

      (note: my prior comment was meant as a Reply to Leith’s comment above at October 26, 2023 at 7:03 pm, where he wrote “…Ruskies blew up the dam…”)

  13. F&L says:

    See map above text. If true it’s interesting and btw US Marines just arrived in the area pictures. Did you hear the chatter about Netanyahu arming 7 missiles with nukes and placing them on standby? And IRGC having 18 dirty radiologic bombs on missiles? If Nutty did that it can only be because he knows he is deep in the xyzq. If.
    At the top of Mount Amba Suir, there was a military base for the Israeli forces from which they were based as an observation post in the Red Sea, and it was successfully destroyed by the Houthis.

    • TTG says:


      Bibi is an idiot if he doesn’t think his shit’s weak. He knows he has to destroy Hamas, but that means implementing the final solution to the Gazan Palestinians and suffer the consequences or launch the IDF into a subterranean war and suffer the consequences.

      • Fred says:


        You mean the Gazans are human shields, active supports of Hamas, or just that there is only a binary choice in this matter?

        • TTG says:


          They’re human shields to Hamas and collateral damage to Israel.

          • Fred says:


            I agree. I’m beginning to think Bibi faces a problem analogous to what Caesar faced at Alesia. If memory serves Vercingetorix, when supplies ran low, forced the civilians of the city into the no-mans-land between the city and the legions fortifications. Caesar left them to starve. The leader of Hamas, apparently safe and sound in Qatar, and Bibi, are hardly comparable to either of the ancients, but perhaps history is repeating itself as farce (not to the victims of bad leadership, that’s just tragedy.) this time around.

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