Ukraine related news

A soldier prepares a tank with a mounted howitzer (Panzerhaubitze 2000) of the German armed forces Bundeswehr standing in a shed on the site of the Hindenburg barracks in Munster on February 14, 2022. 

“Ukrainian fighters defending the Azovstal steel plant, devastated Mariupol’s last Ukrainian holdout, plan to “stand till the end” as Russian fighters continue their second day of a ground assault on the plant.

The wife of Azov Regiment commander Denys Prokopenko said the fighters “won’t surrender. They only hope for a miracle.” 

She said she spoke to her husband on the phone Thursday, and he said he would love her forever. “I am going mad from this,” she said. “It seemed like words of goodbye.””

“Germany plans to send seven self-propelled howitzers in the coming weeks that can hit targets 25 miles away to Ukraine after it reversed a policy against supplying heavy artillery in battle, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Friday, according to report.

Germans will be training a group of Ukrainian soldiers, who have experience with Soviet-made howitzers, starting next week in Germany, Reuters reported.

The Netherlands also plans to send five howitzers. “

Comment: I expect that the Russians will not treat the soldiers in the Azovsteel plant according to the Law of War. IOW, they will execute them or send them to Putin’s gulag.

As for the SP guns I would have thought towed pieces would be preferable. Easier to maintain and more accurate. pl

For more on this story: Ukrainian fighters in Azovstal steel plant refuse to surrender, will ‘stand till the end’: commander’s wife

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51 Responses to Ukraine related news

  1. Klapper says:

    “I expect that the Russians will not treat the soldiers in the Azovsteel plant according to the Law of War.”

    You also said the Russians wouldn’t let civilians out of Avostal.

  2. Pat Lang says:

    Klapper
    Where did I say that? Show me the citation. You are a Russian IO type.

    • Klapper says:

      I’m not a Russian IO type. Anyway that claim was posted by TTG, not you, and is actually a quote from ISW (who turned out to be wrong):

      “Russian forces will likely attempt to starve out the remaining defenders of the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol and will not allow trapped civilians to evacuate but may conduct costly assaults on remaining Ukrainian defenders to claim a propaganda victory.”

      Apologies.

  3. Degringolade says:

    Colonel: I dunno……….

    I realize that Scott Ritter isn’t that well thought of around these parts. But he has some points in this seven minute talk about this kind of Arty.

    I still contend that the Ukies are nothing but brave, but I think Scott’s point that by sending them a mishmash of modern and semi-modern weapons, we are not really doing them any favors.

    If they do manage to arrive at the front unmolested in a timely manner, I think that the chances of their surviving counterbattery fire are not that good and should they manage that, the logistics of keeping them supplied with diesel and ammo is going to be problematic.

    I have no particular love of the Rooskies, but I am thinking that the deal is done. If Ukraine is going to keep fighting, it is going to be in the form of nasty UCW.

    Logistics wins conventional battle conducted with tanks and arty and infantry formations.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yp94NMaR60M

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Degringolade,
      More on counter battery fires.

      The article, being in an American publication, tries to do as much as it can to salvage some hope for the UKR army, but, as an anecdote, it really doesn’t read like things are going well for them.
      https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2022/0504/Russian-war-s-Phase-2-How-Ukraine-troops-adapt-giving-little-ground?cmpid=shared-twitter

    • TTG says:

      Degringolade,

      Ritter seems to think the Russian military is invincible, claiming their troops are better and their equipment is better. The evidence of the last 70 days doesn’t support that. He probably has a point about German engineering and German weapons. But the Gepards, although designed decades ago, are perfectly suited to the drone threat, especially when teamed with the shoulder fired SHORAD weapons already in use. The Ukrainians are already doing a pretty good job against Russian drones. If they do better, Russian artillery will be left blinded. Those M777s along with the needed ammunition is already arriving on the Kharkiv, Donbas and Kherson fronts. I doubt Ukrainian cannon cockers will have any problem employing these modern weapons. If anything, they’re quicker than the D-30s and D-20s they’re augmenting and far easier to use with their onboard FDC computers.

      The T-72s NATO is sending in are no great shakes, but the Ukrainians are familiar with them and they are certainly no worse than the T-72s used by the Russians. They’ve been maintained and their optics and target acquisition gear have been upgraded over the years. The last upgrade was in 2019.

      Ritter has no faith in NLAWs and Javelins. Evidence doesn’t support that view, either. The Ukrainians are having great success and sing high praises for these weapons. They want more. He claims the NLAWS are all expired. They were designed in 2002 with a 20 year shelf life. I’m sure there have been some dud rounds. There always are, but claiming they’re all expired is just flat bullshit.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Just listened to the Ritter video. Yes! That is exactly one of the points I’ve been trying to make. Logistics and mothballed gear and weapons and increasingly depleted ranks to man them. None of that, nor BS is helping anyone in UKR and it is just IO to help our politicians. The BS becomes self-reinforcing group think. It’s difficult to break out of the cycle once it’s been set in motion. That leads to increasingly limited options and a wider war becomes more likely.

      • cobo says:

        I’m not so sure about this line of arguement. I wouldn’t want to be under fire from WWII weapons, it’s not like their lethality goes away. And, I’ll bet I can still knock down a heliochopper with a red eye and even a fast mover trying to pull out of a bombing run

        • Degringolade says:

          Not disagreeing with what you are saying. What I am saying is that the weapons are an extension of the man using them.

          Wunderwaffen are seductive things. They can make a difference.

          What I am seeing is time and what appears to be the type of warfare that I feel the Russian are adopting. I thing that, while it is anathema to us here in the West, Russia has no real problem with attrition warfare.

          I think that the whole of the forces in the Ukraine are going to be subjected to a shit pot of artillery and an opponent that is willing to take a punch.

          I always remember reading about the Kursk salient in WWII and how the Allied generals thought that Russia was stupid to do it that way. Losses were incredible but the Russians won. But I think that we are looking at a Russian military that is just gonna keep raining pain regardless of how the opponent hits back

          I spent enough time on Hay Street and have a couple of bar fights under my belt. The only time I lost was when the Marine who was there getting trained just took everything I could dish out and kept coming anyway. I broke his jaw…I still lost.

          I think we should be considering the fact that the Russians might be that kind of opponent.

          • cobo says:

            Thank you for replying to my comment, Degringolade!

          • Mike B says:

            Rather than Stalin’s Russia, I feel that Putin’s Russia is not able to keep raining pain and persisting. Targets maybe. Will a general mobilization yield anything of value to Putin? More motivated and better trained troops? More/better equipment?

  4. morongobill says:

    I predict the Russians will treat them fairly including a proper firing squad.

  5. Mike G says:

    “Ukrainian fighters defending the Azovstal steel plant, devastated Mariupol’s last Ukrainian holdout, plan to “stand till the end” as Russian fighters continue their second day of a ground assault on the plant.”
    This reminds me of Leonidas and the 300 at Thermopylae. The Spartans were not nice people, and the Greek City States were slave owning, patriarchal, imperialistic, and very imperfect democracies. But had the aggressions of the armed barbaric hoards of Xerxes prevailed, the whole course of European history would have been different, the progress of hellenic philosohy and political discourse, of Judeao-Chriistian civilisation, through to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and modern times. I am unable to understand so many blogging on this site whose attitudes to the heroic defence of their land by the Ukrainians are so ambivalent and indeed hostile, and so favourable to the sad, deluded and cognitively dissonant peoples under the mendacious kleptocratic regime squatting like some foul beast in Moscow.

    • cobo says:

      Yeah baby, “come take them”

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Mike G

      The sad, deluded and cognitively dissonant peoples of Russia are told by their leader they are in an existential struggle. They are. Russia will either prevail in this conflict or perish.

      The sad, deluded and cognitively dissonant peoples of the West are largely unaware of the efforts of what Putin calls the “Empire of Lies” to destroy Russia. Some of those that are choose to root for their side. It is quite possible to support the Ukrainian cause and simultaneously sympathize with Russia.

      • Leith says:

        Barbara Ann – “It is quite possible to support the Ukrainian cause and simultaneously sympathize with Russia.”

        Those are exactly my feelings.

    • walrus says:

      Mike, like you I’m unable to understand the Russians either. l’d have reduced Ukraine to a pulp by now (/sarc).

      Do you want me to get out my violin and wax lyrical about the heroic defenders of Donbass since 2014?

      Oh, and you think there are no kleptocrats in Washington?

      There is enough dirt in this mess to cover America, Russia and Europe.

  6. Sakhr Y Faruqi says:

    Am curious. Larry Johnson, a regular contributor previously, has not appeared on this page since the Ukraine invasion even though he continues to post elsewhere.

    Did you ban him or did he decide not to post here recognizing your views and his own on Ukraine are diametrically opposed?

    • Pat Lang says:

      SakhrYFughi
      He insulted me because I would not accept his pro-Russian views and I am pleased that he is no longer posting.

      • zed784 says:

        At this point, those with sanity will just smile and accept you will accept what ever CNN says.

      • Condottiere says:

        I never agreed with any peacenick crap he posted about Iraq invasion or Afghanistan anyway.

        Larry Johnson. ok scroll down

  7. Condottiere says:

    I’ve seen videos on Telegram of Wagner Group handling of Ukrainian prisoners. One involved bludgeoning with sledgehammers, a pickax, and a decapitated head rolling across the floor. The other video had a guy on a table with eyes plucked out, head skinned, and hands dismembered. They were holding a metal pipe down his throat to keep his airway open while another slowly decapitated him with a box cutter. You could hear muffled screaming and gurgling through the pipe.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Condottiere

      Did you learn anything new by subjecting yourself to this viewing – I’m genuinely interested?

      • TTG says:

        Barbara Ann and Condottiere,

        There’s a lot of this stuff in translated transcriptions and recordings of Russian soldiers talking with each other and with their families. I don’t know why they would talk about that stuff with their families. I won’t sharing any of it.

      • Condottiere says:

        I would give no quarter to Wager Group members. None.

  8. walrus says:

    Towed artillery versus self propelled has been discussed on other forums.

    With respect, Col. Lang, some would comment that your observation is correct if you have air superiority, but the faster shoot and scoot possibilities of a self propelled gun are going to give it a longer life in the Ukrainian air environment.

    • Leith says:

      Walrus – I’ve always looked favorably on towed artillery for the same reasons as Col Lang. But these Panzerhaubitze 2000s seem to have much longer range specs. Does the M777 have a RAP round that can come close to matching this German howitzer’s range?

      • Jimmy_w says:

        Pzh2000 has a longer barrel than M777. America chose not to buy the longer range version of the M777 (or it’s competitor).
        Any RAP rounds M777 can fire, Pzh2k can, too. They both use NATO-spec ammo.

  9. Jimmy_w says:

    Eric’s CSMonitor article raises an interesting point, quite aside from relative in/effectiveness discussions:
    Ukraine is clearly engaging in positional warfare in the Donbas. They may not have a political choice in the matter. However, the question becomes, Would Russia lose faster in a maneuver war, or an attritional positional war.

    The question is relevant for several dimensions including nuclear escalation. In an attritional war, Russia will lose slowly and thus not as likely to escalate nuclear.

    On the other hand, a positional war is easier on a Russian logistic system (less dynamic and predictable throughput), and killing generals have less effect (predictable operation pace). Positional warfare also means that the attacker is less vulnerable to counterattack during culmination.

    Thoughts?

    • TTG says:

      Jimmy_w,

      Ukraine is playing defense in the Donbas using the advantage of well prepared defensive positions in depth along with a well coordinated mobile defense. Russia has chosen to batter those defenses head on rather than engaging in bold maneuvers with sufficiently concentrated masses of forces to sweep around those prepared defensive position and the mobile reserves supporting those defenses. Maneuver warfare by concentrated forces would eat up more fuel, but battering against prepared positions chews up more ammo, materiel and men. From a Russian standpoint, it’s the worst of strategies producing the least gain for the most cost.

    • Jimmy_w says:

      TTG,
      In a well-developed front such as WW1 Western Front, and apparently southern Donbas, the “choice” to maneuver rests with the Defense, not the Offense.

      You are assuming that Russian officers can’t read maps or don’t want to maneuver, when all of their training emphasizes maneuver. I am assuming that, after 8 years of skirmishes, that Russians don’t have the choice to maneuver around Ukrainian positions in south Donbas. That Russians are attacking for all of the decisive points.

      Someone earlier said, here, that the so-called Russian “cauldron” in Donbas is instead a target-rich opportunity to get surrounded in turn. If that is indeed the case, then Ukraine should transition from their positional defense into a fully mobile defense, to create breakthrough traps to entrap Russian exploitation columns. The Izyum axis certainly presents such an opportunity. This would culminate the Russians early, and give Ukraine an earlier opportunity to recover territory.

      Instead, Ukraine is trying to contain all Russian advances on all fronts. Aka fully positional defense strategy. Yes, there are local limited mobile defense company and below, but they are still contesting every inch.

      Which speaks to a few possibilities. Perhaps they cannot stand losing any territory, even if to lure regiments into fire sacks. Perhaps they are not confident of containing any significant breakthroughs. Perhaps the Ukrainian regular army does not have the logistics and vehicles to maneuver.

      • TTG says:

        Jimmy_w,

        The situation is not at all like WWI. The trenches of the Western Front extended from the Swiss border to the sea. There was no way to maneuver around it. The Ukrainian defenses in the Donbas were in depth along the line of contact (LOC). The Russians did not have to take on those defenses at all. They could have maneuvered along an axis generally from Kharkiv to Dnipro and cut the Donbas off from the rest of Ukraine. Then the defensive positions along the LOC could have been taken from the rear at their leisure. It would have been a repeat of the WWII blitzkrieg around the Maginot Line.

  10. jim ticehurst says:

    There are Videos online of Russias New Flagship..the 409 foot.. “Admiral Makarov”..
    On Fire today..Struck By Neptunes Again…off Snake Island..

    Also Reports that Italy Siezed V. Putins Yacht Today..

    I Agree With TTG When He Commented About How Much Damage Putin Could Do..to Ukraine…Like Take Out ALL Key Railroad Lines..Transporting Weapons in..and around Ukraine..Or Transporting Civilians Out…In One Big Final Campaign…Finish off the Steel Plant..Make it a Tomb..Like They did to That Theater
    and Civilians…Finish Off Odessa…

    I Dont think We have seen the Full Extremes..of what is to come..Unlimited..Rage..

    Putin spent His Childhood Fascinated By The Behaviour of Rats..Loved to Study Thier Behaviour..and How to Responded with Aggression..when Cornered..

    He is Cornered..He Knows Why..He will Respond Fully..And Very Soon..IMO
    JT

    • TTG says:

      jim ticehurst,

      Until we hear more, I’d chalk the sinking of the Makarov to wishful rumors.

      You paint a grim picture of Putin’s choices. Is he feeling his mortality and desperately trying to secure his place among the pantheon of great Russian leaders? Would he rather be know as the destroyer of worlds than the one who lost Ukraine? If he wins a truly phyrric victory in Ukraine, will he be satisfied to stop there? If he won a sweeping victory in Ukraine, will he be satisfied to stop there? For years, I believe Putin, Lavrov and others were nothing if not pragmatic and strategic thinkers. Lately, they seem to be on the express train to crazy town.

  11. Leith says:

    Regarding the Azovstal defenders: I’m of the opinion that Commander Prokopenko and many others will fight to the death. Else they face the same fate that Condottiere mentioned above. Or worse in Lefortovo prison in Moscow where confessions will be plucked out of them one tooth at a time and end up hanging on meat hooks. I suspect that the FSB is planning to inject a newer version of their Fentanyl based Kolokol-1 gas into the Azovstal tunnels. To capture them alive and parade them on Russian state TV in chains like Vercingetorix for the 9 May festivities. Putin should take a hint from Ceasar’s role at the Battle of Alesia and personally lead his troops into Azovstal.

    Off topic: Another Russian warship hit by Neptune? Unconfirmed for now. But OSINT twitter accounts are claiming multiple rescue ships and aircraft are in the area of the reported hit. https://news.yahoo.com/second-russian-warship-struck-ukraine-203251876.html

  12. joe90 says:

    So are we all agreed this is really NATO vs Russia and we expect NATO to do better than Napoleon and Hitler because of Russian low morale?

    • TTG says:

      joe90,

      NATO’s real strength is in its airpower. None of that airpower, nor any NATO ground or sea forces have engaged. If that happens, then it is truly a NATO vs Russia war.

      • joe90 says:

        Russia has air defence, NATO does not. What is hard for you to understand?

        • TTG says:

          joe90,

          Sure does. It just can’t stop the Ukrainian drones and missiles. Can’t stop a couple of helicopters blowing up a fuel depot in Belgorod, either.

          • joe90 says:

            Remember perfect is different from effective, in WW2 the Soviet Union lost more than one soldier but still defeated the Germans.

      • joe90 says:

        Does NATO have air defence, it is a simple question. Does NATO have air defence because Russia does.

  13. jim ticehurst says:

    I Think After This Matter…Of Hillary Clintons War with Russia..( A Real Putin Hater)Which you Can Spend Hours Reading About….Google…Hillary Clinton…Ukraine…That Putin will Follow up Forging His Alliances With China…And Iran..To Corner The Oil/Gas Supplys…Also…Its Growing season..Food Supplys Are Threatened..And Farmers Cant Get Much Needed Fertilizers..

    There is Much to Come…As The World Rides ..On The Crazy Train…From Hell..
    JT

  14. Deap says:

    And on the US cultural warfront, Tom Hanks son speaks for a lot of us: ” SJWs can just go pound rocks.”

    (If looks alone could kill, the interviewer’s aghast look in response to the Hanks kid’s statement could be fatal.)

    Scroll down for the short video – when Hanks is asked to apologize to marginalized communities for his alleged cultural appropriation offense. I think we have a new FJB buzz phrase – ……”go pound rocks” …. serviceable for many situations.

    https://redstate.com/bonchie/2022/05/06/tom-hanks-son-gives-absolutely-choice-answer-after-being-accused-of-cultural-appropriation-n561178

  15. KjHeart says:

    I am digging into some military math’s put out by Jomini of the West on Ukraine

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FR4n1iBWQAg-NDH?format=jpg&name=4096×4096

    I keep asking myself the Question – WHY has Ukraine been able to hold out as long as they have? Ukrainian resistance is impressive – even more impressive (to me) when I delve into the math presented by Jomini of the West. He sites Understanding War: History and Theory of Combat by TN Dupoy, US Army COL (ret) for the formula.

    Kj

    • Leith says:

      Kj – He made a lot of assumptions. Plus IMO he has overestmated the morale of Russian troops, 0.8 out of 1 he says. That sounds damned suspicious given the stories we are hearing about Russian soldiers deliberately disabling their vehicles so they would not have to participate in the next offensive. The Newsweek story below is just one of many citing that and other types of malingering and goldbricking.

      https://www.newsweek.com/more-russian-soldiers-sabotage-vehicles-avoid-going-ukraine-front-1704954

      • Leith says:

        Kj –

        PS – the Pentagon reported today that they have seen “anecdotal evidence of numerous Russian military officers in Ukraine disobeying orders from their commanders.”

        No specific examples given. It might be outright refusal. Or more likely just intentional delay or faking bad comm links etc to avoid court martial.

        But reportedly it is mid-level officers up to Battalion COs.

        • KjHeart says:

          Leith – thanks for your thoughts on this – I also felt that the Rooskie’s morale is not likely that good either…

          What interested me is that even with modest downgrades for things like ‘less robust morale’ and ‘less familiarity with the urban terrain’ it starts to shave off that appearance of overwhelming superiority in numbers and takes into account some of the mitigating factors.

          I would like to see some numbers added in for level of maintenance (or lack of maintenance) of vehicles and equipment.

          Remainder theorem math allows us to take the numbers of broken vehicles and equipment and get a pretty good estimate on just how significant it is. I know I am a math geek here – this is a workable formula that Jomini used. It is good that you see, what I see, that it could be further refined. Thanks.

          Kj

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