Russia invades Ukraine - 4 - from 14 March 2023

Today’s been pretty chill.

Last week has had a few shaping operations, raids, long range bombing of critical logistics. But nothing significantly newsworthy.


Does this help?


Today’s Katz has French subtitles as well as English:

How the War Could Have Played out for Russia (English | Français SUB)

Warns that Ukraine could have responded by destroying Russian cities and civilians in the same way that Putin did to Ukraine. Concludes:

Thanks to the goodwill of Ukraine and its allies Belgorod isn’t being bombed the same way Mariupol was.

If you disregard Russian jets doing it.

But there isn’t enough goodwill in the world to save what Putin is destroying.

See you tomorrow!

According to a tweet on the Defense of Ukraine site, 4 squadrons of F-16 (48 aircraft) are .exactly what is needed.

Belgorod was and is significantly newsworthy.

As Arestovich said

now people need to make their mind and their attitudes to Russian opposition and that specific active part of it and that piece by piece is taking away Putin’s representative power or his claims that he is representing the citizens of Russian Federation

military aspect of it doesn’t really bother me too much I’m mostly concerned on the political side of it this is the probably going to be the biggest splash and If eventually on the territory of Russian Federation there’ll be zones free from Putin with their own Administration with their military regime and maybe eventually military detachments will start switching side as well this will be the start of the end of the regime literally.

the main factor here I’ll repeat myself again is political that there is political opposition’s regime that there are Russians who do not associate themselves with that tyrant.

they are actively fighting for the removal of Putin from power and they have enough forces to continue armed fight and they can create territories in Russian regions free from Putin’s Reign and that they fight in a civilized manner unlike Putin’s Orcs

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It’s got the potential to become the start of something noteworthy, but until something actually comes of it I’m considering it military strategic clickbait. It’ll likely just be an odd footnote in history.

It was a raid by a few dozen men less than 10km into Russia for a couple of days. It resulted in the redirection of some Russian forces from Ukraine. Any grand political flow on effects that happen within Russia are most likely a mirage, seeing what we want to see in the noise.

Love to be wrong.


According to an article in Le Figaro (FL part paywalled) an estimated $350 billion is held by western Banks.
On 1O May, the US Justice Dept transferred an estimated $5.4 million to Ukraine of assets frozen in the account of Konstantin Malofeev , founder of a TV chain close to Putin. Individual accounts need a Court order to be frozen.
Meanwhile, Russia has been confiscating some Ukraine properties in Crimea , including a Zelensky holiday home valued at around $600k.

Your wish will be granted :wink:

In other parts of the video Lt Col Alexey Arestovich of Ukrainian Military Intelligence discusses the military stuff you are more interested in and confirmed that nothing much happened on the various fronts that week.

But he knows as you should know that the war is about politics. His analysis is much more important than the stuff people tweet about. Take the time to watch the interview and explain what he got wrong and why you have a better understanding of the significance.

The war ending with the regime in place is obvious to most western analysts, not just you. But its a mirage for which they and you offer no evidence whatever.

Both sides of the war know it is a mirage. They both understand that the war ends when the regime ends and that the ultimate fate of the regime depends on Russians.

So both sides attach great importance to what just happened.

As Arestovich explained the regime blundered idiotically in making everybody aware of how important it is.

They actually announced a “Special Military Operation” in Belgorod!

Grand political flow on effects cannot be a mirage since they cannot be seen at all.

What we just saw is a symptom, not a cause of what will follow. It just happens to be a very visible one that has caught world attention and could not possibly be ignored in any account of what happened last week.

You chose to ignore it because you are blinded by a mirage.


Publicly, the US is not supportive. In an interview on CNN, John Kirby of US Defense Dept said that the US had made it clear that it doesn’t want an escalation of the devastation and violence which is happening to the Ukraine people to escalate.beyond Ukraine.
In referring to Ukraine defending its own soil, its own territory, he said the US had made it clear that the US does not encourage or agree to the use of US manufactured equipment to attack Russia (and that Ukraine had given assurances to that effect).

I’m not ignoring it, I just have become rather jaded about things over the course of the war. We’ve gone through many cycles of getting overly excited about the news of the day, only for things to have relatively minor or zero impact.

Russia has already brutally eliminated internal protests. There needs to be something substantial to shift that momentum. I’ll watch for it and will be happy to see it, but I won’t get overly excited before I see results.

But by all means, absorb the news as you like. That’s just my personal emotional journey with this stuff.


Russian Foreign Ministry summons US diplomats over Sullivan’s comments on Crimea strikes

From CNN’s Radina Gigova

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the White House press briefing on April 24.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the White House press briefing on April 24. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

The Russian Foreign Ministry called on senior US diplomats on Friday to express “strong protest” over US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s remarks about Ukrainian strikes on Crimea, after he said the US has not placed limitations on Kyiv to hit its territory.

The ministry called Sullivan’s remarks in an interview with CNN on Sunday “unacceptable.”

Sullivan also said that Washington will not enable Ukraine with Western systems to attack Russian territory, which includes Crimea.

A statement by the ministry said: “It was emphasized that the assurances of American officials that the United States does not encourage such attacks on Russia are hypocritical and false, given the direct material evidence of the use of weapons and equipment supplied for the needs of the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] by the Pentagon to prepare and carry out terrorist acts by Ukrainian militants.”

“The hostile actions of the United States, which has long been a party to the conflict, plunged Russian-American relations into a deep and dangerous crisis, fraught with unpredictable consequences,” the ministry added.

“It is time for Washington to learn that any form of aggression against Russia will continue to meet the strongest resistance.”

Some context: Diplomatic relations between Western allies of Kyiv and the Kremlin further deteriorated after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

CNN was unable to obtain comment from @bigallan concerning the “deep and dangerous crisis, fraught with unpredictable consequences”

Edit add: found it:

10 hr 43 min ago

US does not support attacks on Russian soil and has “made it very clear” to Ukraine, White House official says

From CNN’s DJ Judd

White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby appears on CNN on Thursday, May 25.

White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby appears on CNN on Thursday, May 25. CNN

US President Joe Biden’s administration has reiterated in conversations with Ukraine that it does not support attacks on Russian soil, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told CNN Thursday.

“We have again made it very clear to the Ukrainians what our expectations are about attacking Russia — we don’t want to encourage or enable that, we certainly don’t want any US-made equipment used to attack Russian soil,” Kirby told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“And we have gotten assurances from the Ukrainians that they will respect those wishes … we have been very clear that we want Ukraine to be able to defend its own soil, its own territory. They have been attacked. They have been invaded. They have a right to defend themselves," he continued. "But, we’ve also been clear, well, that we don’t want to see this war escalate beyond this, the devastation and the violence that is already visited on the Ukrainian people.”

The conversations with Ukraine didn’t involve “outlining consequences” but were “simply a reaffirmation," Kirby told CNN. He added that these discussions have happened “as recently as over just the last day or so.”

Some context: Kirby’s comments come on the heels of a CNN report that anti-Putin Russian fighters, fighting alongside Ukrainian armed forces, conducted a raid inside Russian territory.

In an interview with CNN’s Sam Kiley, one of the Russian nationals said the raid was conducted using American-manufactured equipment purchased on the open market. Kirby said Thursday that he could not confirm that.

He instead said the US is providing equipment “to be used to defend Ukrainian soil.”

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Far right extremists, some labelled neo Nazis, doing sorties from Ukraine occupied territory. Attacks on civilians and their infrastructure would be unlikely to seed a revolution from locations whose populations could include ethnic Russians from Ukraine.
For some, the aim is to remove Putin. Who would take his place and would that be conducive to Ukraine regaining all of its territory, the separist regions and Crimea, part of the annexed territory of Ukraine.

Somebody willing to seriously attempt martial law strikes me as more likely to replace Putin initially than anybody willing to accept defeat in Ukraine.

Yesterday’s papers in Australia highlighted Prigozhin’s remarks as described in this unpaywalled wapo article

The war ends when the regime ends, not just when Putin ends. Whoever tries to maintain the regime without Putin will have less support than Putin so yes, it will be conducive to ending the regime, which is how the war ends.

RIGA, Latvia — Fresh off his claim of victory in capturing the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, Russian mercenary boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin warned that Moscow’s brutal war could plunge Russia into turmoil similar to the 1917 revolution unless its detached, wealthy elites become more directly committed to the conflict.

In a lengthy interview with Konstantin Dolgov, a political operative and pro-war blogger, Prigozhin, the founder and leader of the Wagner mercenary group, also asserted that the war has backfired spectacularly by failing to “demilitarize” Ukraine, one of President Vladimir Putin’s stated aims of the invasion. He also called for totalitarian policies.

“We are in a situation where we can simply lose Russia,” Prigozhin said, using an expletive to hammer his point. “We must introduce martial law. We unfortunately … must announce new waves of mobilization; we must put everyone who is capable to work on increasing the production of ammunition,” he said. “Russia needs to live like North Korea for a few years, so to say, close the borders … and work hard.”

In the interview with Dolgov, Prigozhin professed to be guided by love for his motherland and loyalty to Putin. But he also delivered blistering criticism of the war, which the Kremlin calls a “special military operation.”

Instead of demilitarization, he said, the invasion turned “Ukraine’s army into one of the most powerful in the world” and Ukrainians into “a nation known to the entire world.”

“If they, figuratively speaking, had 500 tanks at the beginning of the special operation, now they have 5,000,” he said. “If they had 20,000 fighters who knew how to fight, now they have 400,000. How did we ‘demilitarize’ it? Now it turns out that we militarized it — hell knows how.”

Prigozhin this week again said that his fighters would leave Bakhmut, potentially in a bid to leave Shoigu responsible for holding the city, which Kyiv insists it will retake.

In the interview, he had special venom for the children of the elite and for the many wealthy Russians who have tried to avoid letting their lives be disrupted by the war. Prigozhin, however, did not comment on the fact that this effort to shield Russians has been a central strategy of Putin’s since the invasion started.

Prigozhin said that the grief of “tens of thousands of relatives” of killed soldiers might reach a boiling point, and the Russian government will have to contend with broader anger and discontent, exacerbated by economic disparity.

CNN video of the interview includes the following, omitted from wapo story:

sabotage and reconnaissance forces calmly enter Russia and march, uploading videos driving their tanks, armored infantry vehicles.

Where’s the safeguard that they will not enter Moscow?

TheGuardian report included:

“This divide can end as in 1917 with a revolution,” he said in an interview posted on his channel on the Telegram messaging app. “First the soldiers will stand up, and after that – their loved ones will rise up. There are already tens of thousands of them – relatives of those killed. And there will probably be hundreds of thousands – we cannot avoid that.”

Ilya Ponomarev, a Russian dissident based in Ukraine who claims to lead the political wing of the Freedom of Russia Legion, said the incursion had three aims: to declare a corner of the country as “free Russia”, to send a signal across Russia that the rebel movement was real and effective, and to divert Russian troops from the frontline to guard the border.

“There are 800-something kilometres of border between Ukraine and Russia that are currently totally uncovered by the Russian military and the reason for this is because the west says all the time that Ukraine should not attack Russia,” Ponomarev said.

He said that Prigozhin was a smart analyst of what was really happening in Russia and was “spot on” in his prediction about a brewing revolution. Asked about the absence of evidence so far of popular resistance in Russia, he said that in January 1917, Vladimir Lenin had said he doubted his generation would live to see the fall of the Tsarist regime, “and that was less than one month before the revolution started”.


Of course Arestovich would take that position but there’s a big gulf between some eager, anti-Putin nationalists and regime change, as tenuous as it may be.
I’m with Benny on this; It won’t be them and the’ll amount to a footnote. I do see them gaining some traction and increasing in number but there are bigger, more organized factions that will seize any momentum they may gain.


Here’s another comment on breaching.
Again, if they are not defended, it’s a walk in the park. If they are, it’s a tough nut to crack.


Those are two separate issues. Arestovich did not suggest that those forces would end up leading the regime change. In fact he specifically highlighted the importance of military units deciding to change sides, which is again different from the bigger more organized opposition factions that are already visible.

It is entirely possible that the events last week will be a minor footnote among the many developments to come.

Mutterings of "deep and dangerous crisis, fraught with unpredictable consequences,” from the Kremlin hardly deserve a footnote these days.

But the raid was the most important thing that happened last week .

I’m hoping it gets at least a footnote as a turning point in global awareness that what is at stake is the regime itself and that the opposition to it includes armed Russians as well as Ukrainians.

Up until now there has been very little awareness of that.

The “reaffirmation” that the US does not decide how Ukraine fights is itself worth a footnote.

L8R gone



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Anything that can fire an AA-2 Atoll? That is a reverse engineered Soviet version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder, so close a copy that parts could be interchanged.

The R-3S was seen by the West in 1961 and given the NATO reporting name AA-2A ‘Atoll’ . Minimum engagement range for the R-3S is about one kilometre. All K-13 variants are physically similar to Sidewinder, sharing the 5 inch (127 mm) diameter. Subsequent examination of AA-2 missiles captured by NATO forces showed that parts from an AIM-9 could be interchanged with parts from an AA-2 and either combination would still work.

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Wolf Blitzer (who runs the CNN Situation Room) has posted his 26 May CNN interview with Kirby on his own twitter account.
CNN has umpteen different twitter accounts with different coloured ticks, it seems random in selecting the twitter site to post.