16 votes

Megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - May 13-15

This thread is posted Monday/Wednesday/Friday - please try to post relevant content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Especially significant updates may warrant a separate topic, but most should be posted here.

If you'd like to help support Ukraine, please visit the official site at https://help.gov.ua/ - an official portal for those who want to provide humanitarian or financial assistance to people of Ukraine, businesses or the government at the times of resistance against the Russian aggression.

35 comments

  1. Adys
    Link
    Day 80 of the war. I felt bad waking up this morning after saying I don't write here anymore, so I wanted to say something. But not a link dump; there's more than enough of those going around....

    Day 80 of the war.

    I felt bad waking up this morning after saying I don't write here anymore, so I wanted to say something. But not a link dump; there's more than enough of those going around. Instead, I wanted to write a bit of a general update about how things have been going, from my perspective.

    I actually get a lot less news directly from the two sisters than before. They have fully turned the page and are trying to disconnect as much as possible from the war, and on that I say good for them. I have been trying to continue following the situation from a variety of Ukrainian sources, a couple of Russian sources, and in general thanks to contacts through volunteering groups here in Belgium.
    I'm also really trying to keep in mind that... what I see is still going to be warped. There is a very active fog of war right now, and it's under all circumstances going to make things look more favourable to Ukrainians.

    But what I see is that the past few days, things have kind of been turning. Ukrainians seem to be much more actively on the offensive than before. And as Russia has "given up" (for now) on most of Ukraine, something I thought would actually be bad for Ukraine in the medium term, well it turns out that between supplies and morale running low on RU side and more of the EU help starting to pay off on the UA side, things are looking better and better. Russians are now defending their current positions, and what desperate positions they are. In hindsight, this was obvious, but I guess it was not a bad idea to be wary of ulterior motives in Russia's backpedaling.

    I'm not a war analyst. Don't listen to me. I'm probably overly optimistic. But from what I'm seeing, as time passes, things are becoming better for Ukraine. Russia's aggression, which greatly amped up for a while, seems to have diminished. May 9 went by uneventfully.

    So with extreme caution, and a few tears in my eyes, I write for the first time:

    I think Ukraine is winning.

    11 votes
  2. cfabbro
    Link
    Siemens - Statement on the war in Ukraine and on the situation in Russia Siemens is the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe, so this is kind of a big deal.

    Siemens - Statement on the war in Ukraine and on the situation in Russia

    We join the international community in condemning the war in Ukraine and are focused on supporting our people and providing humanitarian aid.

    Siemens will exit the Russian market as a result of the Ukraine war. The company has started proceedings to wind down its industrial operations and all industrial business activities.

    Siemens was one of the first companies to put all new business in and international deliveries to Russia on hold while it evaluated the situation to ensure the safety of its 3,000 employees in the country.

    Siemens is the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe, so this is kind of a big deal.

    5 votes
  3. [5]
    ThatFanficGuy
    (edited )
    Link
    Finally got to watch this video from Anton Ptushkin, a popular Ukrainian travel blogger. The video is called (in the English translation) "Thoughts on the war in Ukraine by a guy from Donbas", but...

    Finally got to watch this video from Anton Ptushkin, a popular Ukrainian travel blogger. The video is called (in the English translation) "Thoughts on the war in Ukraine by a guy from Donbas", but it is essentially an appeal to the (mostly Russian-speaking, like Anton himself) subscriber base: "Look at how your country is lying to you".

    You can watch it with English captions if you don't speak Russian.

    At the end, Anton says (in text) this might be the last video of his on this channel. However, he's also maintained an English-language channel for a while. That's where he posts videos now, his latest one being about meeting Patron, the bomb-sniffing dog.

    The latest five videos on that channel are him documenting what's happening in Ukraine through his own eyes. Like someone said, "all journalists have to become war journalists by necessity". Anton says he's put a halt on travel videos until the war is over; documenting life in Kyiv (where he resides) and in Ukraine in general is his full-time occupation now.

    Instead of asking viewers to donate to him, his video descriptions now link to charities in support of Ukraine.

    EDIT:

    Thinking about it after posting this comment reminded me of my sister.

    I'd stay in her apartment for a night before catching flight to Belarus the next morning. At one point we got to talk about the war.

    She told me she thought Putin did the right thing: she was afraid Ukraine (guided by the US) would attack Russia first were it not for a preemptive Russian strike. She abhorred the war, but she clearly believed the bullshit broadcasts. I wasn't trying to dissuade her: one, it would make no difference, and two, I wasn't about to risk the hospitality she and her husband were providing me.

    Among other things she told me was that she stopped following Anton Ptushkin after his latest video (first link in this comment). The way she described its content, though, now strikes me as a typical Russian mental defense. Her description boiled down to, basically, "Russia bad and Russians are assholes". If you watch the video, you can see how far that is from Anton's calm and thoughtful delivery.

    This mis-take (if you pardon the pun) is what makes me confident it's not just my sister's personal and informed opinion: it's the result of skewed, deeply-biased broadcasts of the state propaganda machine. It's clear she hasn't done her research or thought critically about the internal Russian history of this war. (Anton brings up a few poignant points worth the merit of consideration if you're Russian.)

    This scares me a bit 'cause she's usually that much more liberal, or at least freedom-loving, than the rest of the conservative family who eat state TV bullshit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But then, I guess having to worry about a small child does that to a mother.

    I love her dearly all the same. She's been there for me when no one in my family wanted to. I wish her the best all the same.

    But also... Jesus, wake the fuck up, woman.

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I remember you sharing Anton's Russian language (with Eng subtitles) travel videos ages ago on Discord, and they were wonderful. And I have since watched many of the more recent ones he has...

      I remember you sharing Anton's Russian language (with Eng subtitles) travel videos ages ago on Discord, and they were wonderful. And I have since watched many of the more recent ones he has released too. I had no idea he was from Luhansk though, or that he had taken a stand in the war. And I also didn't realize he had an English language channel now where he covers the war! So thanks for the heads up on that. Subscribed.

      p.s. Sorry to hear that about your sister. I don't have any advice about that, but I know how tough it can be when your own family has drank the Kool-Aid, so to speak. E.g. Certain Conservative Catholic members of my own family/extended family can't stop talking about our PM, Justin Trudeau, and acting as if he is Satan incarnate. I personally don't like the guy either, since I lean even further left than him and hate that he broke his FPTP election promise, but he's nowhere close to as bad as some of my family accuse him of being. :(

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        He's been banned from entering Russia for 50 years, so apparently his stand impressed a few people across the border. Maybe she'll see it for what it is, eventually. Many Russians (at least...

        or that he had taken a stand in the war

        He's been banned from entering Russia for 50 years, so apparently his stand impressed a few people across the border.

        I know how tough it can be when your own family has drank the Kool-Aid

        Maybe she'll see it for what it is, eventually. Many Russians (at least according to Greg Yudin) find themselves having to root for Putin as a psychological defense mechanism. Baseless beliefs hold because of the emotional investment into the solace they provide, so no amount of arguments and retrospective would help here.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          cfabbro
          Link Parent
          That twitter thread gives me hope and yet depresses me in equal measures. :(

          That twitter thread gives me hope and yet depresses me in equal measures. :(

          Literally everyday people approach me on the streets just to say “thank you”, which to me is also a sudden indication that opposition to war is considerable

          However, everyone is very skeptical about the chances to stop Putin. Hopelessness is overwhelming. “You cannot stop him anyway, isn’t worth even trying”. This assumption often makes people support Putin even stronger in hope that he destroys Ukraine soon and ends the war

          I have met people who initially opposed the war but later consciously chose to accept Putin’s claim that “we had no choice” – admitting openly that otherwise life would have become absolutely unbearable for them

          2 votes
          1. ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            Welcome to Russia. /s Although I do wish to say that someday without the acerbic hint. Russia has good people, good places, and a hint of something that a lot of tourists find attractive.

            Welcome to Russia. /s

            Although I do wish to say that someday without the acerbic hint. Russia has good people, good places, and a hint of something that a lot of tourists find attractive.

            1 vote
  4. [4]
    skybrian
    Link
    Ukraine announces first war crimes trial of Russian soldier in custody (Washington Post) [...] [...] [...] [...]

    Ukraine announces first war crimes trial of Russian soldier in custody (Washington Post)

    Ukraine’s prosecutor general said Wednesday that the country would try a 21-year-old Russian soldier who is in custody, adding that he would be the first Russian service member to stand trial there on a war crimes charge in the 11-week conflict.

    The prosecutor’s statement accused Vadim Shishimarin of firing several shots with a Kalashnikov rifle from a car, killing an unarmed 62-year-old resident in a village in the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine on Feb. 28. It said the man was pushing a bike by the side of a road before he was shot in the head and “died on the spot a few dozen meters from his home.”

    [...]

    “Shishimarin is actually physically in Ukraine,” Iryna Venediktova, the prosecutor general, told Ukraine’s public broadcaster. “We are starting a trial not in absentia but rather directly with the person who killed a civilian, and this is a war crime.”

    [...]

    The advantage of holding a trial now rather than at the end of the war, he said, is that access to fresh evidence, including eyewitness testimonies, can bolster a case. “The evidence is very fresh in Ukraine, and it’s being gathered very professionally, from what I have seen,” Goldman [a war crimes expert] said.

    [...]

    Venediktova said her office has opened more than 5,000 cases linked to war crimes and crimes of aggression since the invasion began. Last month, prosecutors filed their first charges, in absentia, in Ukrainian courts against 10 Russian service members they accused of war crimes in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, where investigators uncovered evidence of torture and mutilation after Russian forces retreated. Moscow has dismissed the accusations.

    [...]

    The United States and the European Union are assisting Ukrainian prosecutors, including by providing advice on how to put together a war crimes case and interview prisoners of war.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      How it started: "Kiev will fall in three days. Now it's a matter of hurting Russia enough to sting for a while as Ukraine falls." How it's going: "Kyiv is pushing the aggressor the fuck out of its...

      How it started:

      "Kiev will fall in three days. Now it's a matter of hurting Russia enough to sting for a while as Ukraine falls."

      How it's going:

      "Kyiv is pushing the aggressor the fuck out of its country, inch by inch, and mounting war crime cases while the war is still going on."

      fucking hell ukrainians are fucking heroes

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Well, they're pushing them out around Kharkov, anyway. Elsewhere it's more like holding the line and falling back a bit sometimes.

        Well, they're pushing them out around Kharkov, anyway. Elsewhere it's more like holding the line and falling back a bit sometimes.

        2 votes
        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          For a nation that's been doomed to fall in days? I'd say they're doing pretty fucking well. As far "falling back": the reason they do, from what I've read, is that this is one of the responses to...

          For a nation that's been doomed to fall in days? I'd say they're doing pretty fucking well.

          As far "falling back": the reason they do, from what I've read, is that this is one of the responses to the artillery fire Russia's been dishing out. You either counter-artillery using radars, or you leave.

          Ukrainians didn't have a lot of mortar radars to hone in on the Russian artillery spots before. The US has recently supplied Ukraine with quite a few, in addition to the very-long-range artillery. This should mean the UAF are going to gain further ground against Russia in the coming weeks.

          5 votes
  5. hungariantoast
    Link
    Russian Annexation of Occupied Ukraine Is Putin’s Unacceptable “Off-Ramp”

    Russian Annexation of Occupied Ukraine Is Putin’s Unacceptable “Off-Ramp”

    Key Takeaway: Russian President Vladimir Putin likely intends to annex occupied southern and eastern Ukraine directly into the Russian Federation in the coming months. He will likely then state, directly or obliquely, that Russian doctrine permitting the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory applies to those newly annexed territories. Such actions would threaten Ukraine and its partners with nuclear attack if Ukrainian counteroffensives to liberate Russian-occupied territory continue. Putin may believe that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would restore Russian deterrence after his disastrous invasion shattered Russia's conventional deterrent capabilities.

    Putin’s timeline for annexation is likely contingent on the extent to which he understands the degraded state of the Russian military in Ukraine. The Russian military has not yet achieved Putin’s stated territorial objectives of securing all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and is unlikely to do so. If Putin understands his military weakness, he will likely rush annexation and introduce the nuclear deterrent quickly in an attempt to retain control of the Ukrainian territory that Russia currently occupies. If Putin believes that Russian forces are capable of additional advances, he will likely delay the annexation in hopes of covering more territory with it. In that case, his poor leadership and Ukrainian counteroffensives could drive the Russian military toward a state of collapse. Putin could also attempt to maintain Russian attacks while mobilizing additional forces. He might delay announcing annexation for far longer in this case, waiting until reinforcements could arrive to gain more territory to annex.

    Ukraine and its Western partners likely have a narrow window of opportunity to support a Ukrainian counteroffensive into occupied Ukrainian territory before the Kremlin annexes that territory. Ukraine and the West must also develop a coherent plan for responding to any annexation and to the threat of nuclear attack that might follow it. The political and ethical consequences of a longstanding Russian occupation of southeastern Ukraine would be devastating to the long-term viability of the Ukrainian state. Vital Ukrainian and Western national interests require urgent Western support for an immediate Ukrainian counteroffensive.

    3 votes
  6. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    Here's Twitter thread (unrolled) by a retired Australian general giving context and implications of that failed river crossing over the Severskyi Donets.

    Here's Twitter thread (unrolled)
    by a retired Australian general giving context and implications of that failed river crossing over the Severskyi Donets.

    1. An important aspect of assault river crossings is that they are only undertaken if absolutely necessary. The resources needed - engineers, bridges, artillery - are closely husbanded by commanders. As I already mentioned, they are really hard, especially when being shot at.

    2. Therefore, such operations normally only occur on an axis of advance that is a main effort (or about to become the main effort). This has been missed by many commentators - the Russians clearly intended to invest in this axis and throw a lot of combat power down it.

    3. Consequently, this is probably a larger set back for the Russians than some have speculated. [...]

    4. But perhaps most importantly, defeating this assault river crossing has probably denied the Russians an axis of advance they clearly thought was going to be productive for them in their eastern offensive. This is a significant set back for them.

    3 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Related: Counterintel efforts by a Russian commentator to make it seem as though the river crossing was Ukrainians firing at Ukrainians. Obviously bullshit, but it's worth highlighting as one of...

      Related:

      Counterintel efforts by a Russian commentator to make it seem as though the river crossing was Ukrainians firing at Ukrainians. Obviously bullshit, but it's worth highlighting as one of the ways Russia (or at least pro-Russian observers) would try and skew the events.

      Tweet #3 in the thread confirms my suspicions further, as a Russian. The tone this commentator takes on is intended to belittle anyone who'd dare to think the initial claim to be bullshit, by undermining one's faith in what's ostensibly widely accepted source information. This is a common tactic the Russian bullshit machine uses: painting anyone exerting effort to think critically an idiot for even daring to strand the desired line of think. It's common on all levels of Russian society, unfortunately, and it's quite easy to weaponize against audiences with no defense mechanisms against that kind of verbal abuse.

      5 votes
  7. skybrian
    Link
    Russian energy supplier cuts off electricity to Finland amid NATO bid

    Russian energy supplier cuts off electricity to Finland amid NATO bid

    Fingrid had disclosed on Friday that Russia would be cutting off its supply to the country beginning early Saturday, but the Finnish transmission system operator said that its electricity only made up 10 percent of the country’s consumption.

    “The lack of electricity import from Russia will be compensated by importing more electricity from Sweden and by generating more electricity in Finland,” Reima Päivinen, senior vice president of power system operations at Fingrid, said in a statement.

    3 votes
  8. ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Slava (aka Sviatoslav) Vakarchuk, the lead of the Ukrainian band Okean Elzi, is seen here performing what may be the first ever song in the Chornobyl / Chernobyl NPP. Slava is also currently a...

    Slava (aka Sviatoslav) Vakarchuk, the lead of the Ukrainian band Okean Elzi, is seen here performing what may be the first ever song in the Chornobyl / Chernobyl NPP.

    Slava is also currently a member of Ukraine's Territorial Defense in Lviv.

    Slava is awesome. Okean Elzi is awesome. Do give it a shot.

    2 votes
  9. [6]
    skybrian
    Link
    This is unverified, but here's a Twitter thread (unrolled) translating an interesting account on Reddit by a Finnish volunteer in Ukraine. [...] [...] [...]

    This is unverified, but here's a Twitter thread (unrolled) translating an interesting account on Reddit by a Finnish volunteer in Ukraine.

    An obvious question many asked is how well the training prepared him for combat. "Only after I got there, I learned to properly appreciate the quality of FDF. I would even argue that the FDF is one of the most cost-effective armies after Israel."

    "Finnish conscript training goes a long way here and Finnish reservists are pretty desired in any [ukrainain] unit."

    [...]

    "Especially at the beginning of the war [foreign volunteers from U.S. and NATO countries] were plentiful, but most left after the first missile and air strikes. A Finnish soldier expects that the enemy has air superiority, and we are trained accordingly."

    [...]

    His experiences about the Ukrainian military are mixed: their morale is unshakeable, comparable to Finnish morale during the Winter War, and the younger leaders are excellent.

    But older ones, trained in the Soviet model, are mostly incompetent (he says he and the unit he is in almost got killed because of one's stupidity). There is also a "shocking" shortage of non-commissioned officers - on both sides.

    [...]

    He says they have tried to teach what they know, especially about operating without air superiority, but "sometimes it's been like banging one's head against a wall" and "learning usually requires someone to die first".

    He gives as an example: a large "tent village" where the tents were neatly lined up so that the commander could easily find his men. The Finns were obviously horrified and for a week tried to explain that everything needs to be dispersed and hidden under trees.

    2 votes
    1. [5]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Because that was a strange spot to cut the quote off.

      The commander wouldn't hear of it, and the Finns "did what we do best": went to the forest where they dug deep foxholes and slept in them, without tents.

      That was a source of great amusement to other foreign volunteers.

      Until a missile strike hit a neighbouring tent village, leaving not many survivors.

      Because that was a strange spot to cut the quote off.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I wanted to leave something for people who read the whole thing :-)

        Yeah, I wanted to leave something for people who read the whole thing :-)

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          cfabbro
          Link Parent
          Ah, lol. Didn’t realize it was intentional. Oops. :P

          Ah, lol. Didn’t realize it was intentional. Oops. :P

          1. [2]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            Well it’s rather arbitrary. I could have gone the other way. I think I quote too much sometimes and I’m trying to be more selective.

            Well it’s rather arbitrary. I could have gone the other way. I think I quote too much sometimes and I’m trying to be more selective.

            1 vote
            1. cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Yeah, I have a bad habit of quoting basically the entire article too. It's often tough to narrow it down though, especially when each paragraph has something "important" in it. But I also think a...

              Yeah, I have a bad habit of quoting basically the entire article too. It's often tough to narrow it down though, especially when each paragraph has something "important" in it. But I also think a lot of it comes down to laziness for me too... it takes a lot more effort than I'm willing to put in to considerably narrow things down. ;)

              2 votes
  10. [4]
    cmccabe
    Link
    McDonald's to leave Russia for good after 30 years https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61463876.amp

    McDonald's to leave Russia for good after 30 years
    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61463876.amp

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Non-AMP link. What I'm wondering is: How soon will an entity such as McD be back after withdrawing so completely? What factors would encourage it to do so sooner? It's no small feat to withdraw an...

      Non-AMP link.

      What I'm wondering is:

      1. How soon will an entity such as McD be back after withdrawing so completely?
      2. What factors would encourage it to do so sooner?

      It's no small feat to withdraw an entire large company out of a large country. I imagine it would take time, effort, and many, many negotiations (including hostile). In short, it's going to take resources.

      At some point Russia would have to stabilize into something. Maybe not as a single huge country, but instead a set of enclaves. Maybe not even as a "Russia". But ultimately, it's going to come down to something. So I'm wondering open-endedly about this whole thing, from a limited perspective but with great interest.

      1 vote
      1. cmccabe
        Link Parent
        Yep. We should never forget that these corporations leaving Russia aren’t doing so out of the goodness of their “hearts”. These are calculated business decisions, and they’ll all return the second...

        How soon will an entity such as McD be back after withdrawing so completely?

        Yep. We should never forget that these corporations leaving Russia aren’t doing so out of the goodness of their “hearts”. These are calculated business decisions, and they’ll all return the second their calculus tells them it will be profitable to do so.

        1 vote
      2. MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        Given that the entire kit and caboodle is being sold to a single local buyer, and them trying to make sure the staff is being kept on by the new owner, it's likely they can just repurchase the...

        Given that the entire kit and caboodle is being sold to a single local buyer, and them trying to make sure the staff is being kept on by the new owner, it's likely they can just repurchase the whole thing and put the arches back up if/when the time is right.

  11. skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    The Turkish Drone that Changed the Nature of Warfare (The New Yorker) [...] [...] [...]

    The Turkish Drone that Changed the Nature of Warfare (The New Yorker)

    In April, 2016, the TB2 scored its first confirmed kill. Since then, it has been sold to at least thirteen countries, bringing the tactic of the precision air strike to the developing world and reversing the course of several wars. In 2020, in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s dictatorial leader, Ilham Aliyev, used the TB2 to target vehicles and troops, then displayed footage of the strikes on digital billboards in the capital city of Baku.

    The TB2 has now carried out more than eight hundred strikes, in conflicts from North Africa to the Caucasus. The bombs it carries can adjust their trajectories in midair, and are so accurate that they can be delivered into an infantry trench. Military analysts had previously assumed that slow, low-flying drones would be of little use in conventional combat, but the TB2 can take out the anti-aircraft systems that are designed to destroy it.

    [...]

    In May, 2016, Bayraktar married Sümeyye Erdoğan, the youngest daughter of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s President. Erdoğan is the leader of a political Islamist movement that, the analyst Svante Cornell has written, wishes “to build a powerful, industrialized Turkey that serves as the natural leader of the Muslim world.” Turkey’s arms industry has grown tenfold in the past twenty years, and most of the country’s military equipment is now manufactured locally. “The Bayraktars, and particularly the TB2s, have turned into the flagship of the Turkish defense industry,” Alper Coşkun, a former Turkish diplomat, told me.

    [...]

    Once a fleet is purchased, operators travel to a facility in western Turkey for several months of training. “You don’t just buy it,” Mark Cancian, a military-procurement specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me. “You have married the supplier, because you need a constant stream of spare parts and repair expertise.” Turkey has become adept at leveraging this relationship. It struck a defense deal with Nigeria, which included training the country’s pilots on TB2s, in exchange for access to minerals and liquefied natural gas. In Ethiopia, TB2s were delivered after the government seized a number of Gülenist schools. Unlike dealing with the U.S., obtaining weapons from Turkey doesn’t involve human-rights oversight. “There are really no restrictions on use,” Cancian said.

    [...]

    In the past few weeks, though, the release of strike videos has slowed. This may be due to security concerns, but it’s also possible that the Russians have caught up—the TB2 has no real defense against a fighter jet, and in the lead-up to the invasion the Russian military trained against the drones. In early March, Ukrainian officials announced that they were receiving another shipment from Baykar; by the end of the month, a tally of press releases showed that Russia claimed to have shot down thirty-nine TB2s, which would likely constitute the bulk of the Ukrainian fleet. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, was initially enthusiastic about the TB2, but in April, at a press conference in a Kyiv subway station, he downplayed the aircraft’s importance.

    1 vote
  12. [7]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Ukraine praises ‘liberation’ in the Battle of Kharkiv (Al Jazeera) Similar articles from other sources: Ukraine has won the battle of Kharkiv, analysts say, as Kyiv warns of ‘long phase of war’...

    Ukraine praises ‘liberation’ in the Battle of Kharkiv (Al Jazeera)

    Russian troops are withdrawing from Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv after weeks of heavy bombardment in another battlefield setback for Moscow.

    Ukraine’s military said on Saturday the Russians were pulling back from the major northeastern city and focusing on guarding supply routes.

    “The enemy’s main efforts are focused on ensuring the withdrawal of its units from the city of Kharkiv,” said the spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff.

    Western officials also said Ukraine had driven Russian forces back from around Kharkiv, which was a key target for Moscow’s troops.

    The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War agreed with the assessment.

    “Russian units have generally not attempted to hold ground against counterattacking Ukrainian forces over the past several days, with a few exceptions,” it said.

    “Ukraine thus appears to have won the Battle of Kharkiv. Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone seizing Kharkiv, and then expelled them from around the city, as they did to Russian forces attempting to seize Kyiv.”

    Similar articles from other sources:
    Ukraine has won the battle of Kharkiv, analysts say, as Kyiv warns of ‘long phase of war’ (The Guardian)
    Ukraine: Russians withdraw from around Kharkiv, batter east (AP)
    Ukraine says Russia has withdrawn from Kharkiv, but continues offensive in the east (CBC)


    Personal note: IMO Russian defeat/retreat/withdrawal from the area has clearly been happening for several weeks now, as evidenced by the battles occurring further and further away from Kharkiv with each passing day. However, this is the first time the situation there has been acknowledged by credible Western media sources, which is why I am sharing it now.

    p.s. https://liveuamap.com/ is surprisingly useful for keeping track of the war.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I'm going to go on a limb and assume that, like many war-related sites, the live map is not accessible from Russia. (Opposition newspapers aren't, as are some Western sources, like BBC. Also some...

      I'm going to go on a limb and assume that, like many war-related sites, the live map is not accessible from Russia. (Opposition newspapers aren't, as are some Western sources, like BBC. Also some non-news, anti-war sites.)

      Which makes me wonder if the Russian soldiers deployed in Ukraine have access to it. Like, they'd still have to be serviced by the Russian ISPs (or at least cell Internet providers), which are bound by the Russian law. The consequences of "reporting fake information about the war" (i.e. telling the truth) are severe, and no federal-level ISP would want to contest this.

      So... is this a perfectly safe source of intel that the enemy certainly has no access to?

      If so, it would be a fair bit of cruel irony in which I'd relish eagerly.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I don't think anything reported to liveuamap would really be that useful to anyone on the ground, Russian or Ukranian. It's not real-time intel, since what's reported there is often hours or even...

        I don't think anything reported to liveuamap would really be that useful to anyone on the ground, Russian or Ukranian. It's not real-time intel, since what's reported there is often hours or even days behind, and it's also sporadic and far from exact. Whereas Militaries have recon teams, drones, spy planes, satellites, and other far more effective means of gathering pertinent intel. But the site does still serve as a decent way for those of us on the sidelines to keep track of major movements along the front, which is how/why I knew this news about Kharkiv was likely coming soon.

        1 vote
        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          Do remember that it's Russian forces you're talking about here. By the time they're able to disperse the intel among their troops, it's barely of any use anymore. I dunno. I'm catching a giggle...

          Whereas Militaries have recon teams, drones, spy planes, satellites, and other far more effective means of gathering pertinent intel.

          Do remember that it's Russian forces you're talking about here. By the time they're able to disperse the intel among their troops, it's barely of any use anymore.

          I dunno. I'm catching a giggle thinking about Russian forces potentially using that map because it's quicker than their own conventional intel delivery.

          1 vote
    2. [3]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      After Kharkiv, the next region to keep an eye on: Ukraine update: Something big is happening, as the Battle of the Izyum Salient begins (Daily Kos) Related article: Ukraine presses...

      After Kharkiv, the next region to keep an eye on:
      Ukraine update: Something big is happening, as the Battle of the Izyum Salient begins (Daily Kos)

      With unconfirmed reports that Ukraine has pushed Russia mostly out of its territory north of Kharkiv, we have been speculating where Ukraine would counter next—toward the railhead northeast of Kharkiv in Vovchansk, or the the logistical hub at Kupiansk, where three major rail lines connect. Both those locations would cut off the flow of supplies to the Izyum salient and Russia’s 22 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) in the pocket—the largest concentration of Russian forces anywhere in Ukraine.

      Ukraine took a look at both of those critical logistical centers, and then decided to hit the salient directly instead.

      NASA FIRMS satellite data, designed to track forest fires, gives us a perfect indication of the direction of combat:

      https://images.dailykos.com/images/1069686/large/FIRMS.png?1652544783

      The woods to the west of Izyum, where any Ukrainian counteroffensive would originate, are lit. It’s happening.

      Also note how, east of Izyum, the line of fire exactly follows the north bank of the Donets River—those are either Ukraine’s last positions on that bank (just Lyman and Severodonetsk at this point), or Russian forces who have reached the waterline being shelled by Ukrainian artillery.

      We can even see the massive artillery barrage at Russia’s ill-fated Bilohorivka river crossing attempt. If you haven’t read my story on Bilohorivka yet, I highly recommend it. It might be the most unbelievable story of the war. Meanwhile, those fires north of Kharkiv are on newly liberated Ukrainian territory, which means Russia is firing artillery on those positions either to slow down their advance, or simply out of punitive anger. Much of Russia’s military strategy appears to be a manifestation of Vladimir Putin’s aggrieved, irrational rage.

      Back to the Battle of the Izyum Salient, Russian telegram claims five Ukrainian brigades are moving in on Izyum from the north, looking to directly cut off supply lines to the bulk of the Russian forces in the salient. That would be the equivalent of 10-15 Russian BTGs which seems … fantastical. Given how well Ukraine has fought, Russians may be mythifying them so they seem 10 feet tall and three times their number. But for context, a Ukrainian brigade is around 1,600 troops and 200 armored vehicles. If these reports are correct, we’re talking about 1,000 armored vehicles, and a metric buttload of artillery, raining on Russian positions. Ukraine had 20 brigades pre-war, with another four in reserve, which are likely already in action. More are being created from reservists, but there’s no indication they’ve had to be fielded just yet. So five brigades would be a massive commitment of forces.

      Regardless of their actual size (and I do hope it’s five brigades), those Russian sources on telegram also say Ukraine has crossed the Donets for the attack. So if Ukraine is crossing the Donets to attack Izyum’s supply lines, then this seems like a logical place to do so:

      https://images.dailykos.com/images/1069690/large/salient.png?1652545952

      And that NASA FIRMS map certainly supports the notion of ongoing operations both in that pocket, and on the east side of the Donets in the pink (contested) territory just west of Izyum.

      https://images.dailykos.com/images/1069692/large/assault.png?1652546153

      Remember, Ukraine doesn’t announce operations in advance. Looking at FIRMS imagery over the past several days, we can actually see the counter-offensive began on May 10-11:

      https://images.dailykos.com/images/1069709/large/counter.jpg?1652547529

      Russia abandoned Kharkiv because it had no reserves left. Ukrainian general staff and the Pentagon have said Russia has 19 BTGs in reserve in Belgorod, so why weren’t they rushed to Kharkiv to defend their supply lines? If there’s anything left in Russia, it’s likely shattered remnants and troops refusing to deploy or redeploy.

      Now, with Russia already at its limits, Ukraine is taking direct aim at the largest concentration of Russian forces in Ukraine. Guys, 20-25% of Russia’s entire Army is in that pocket.

      Something big is happening. I mean big, as in war-altering.

      We were looking at Izyum’s supply hubs in Kupiansk and Vochansk. Ukraine is going straight for the jugular instead.

      Related article:
      Ukraine presses counteroffensive on key Russian line of assault, governor says (Reuters)

      1. [2]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        I guess the Russians know already, but I kind of don’t want to know about this sort of thing in advance. We are just observers, so speculating about future attacks as Kos is doing is unnecessary...

        I guess the Russians know already, but I kind of don’t want to know about this sort of thing in advance. We are just observers, so speculating about future attacks as Kos is doing is unnecessary for us. We will find out the results soon enough.

        One thing I find interesting, though, is looking up local place names in Wikipedia, so you find out what’s there and what the geography is like. For example, after reading about the Donets, some of the other local names make more sense.

        2 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          To each their own. I personally enjoy reading the day to day assessments, and even predictions like this, since I find the OSINT process fascinating.

          To each their own. I personally enjoy reading the day to day assessments, and even predictions like this, since I find the OSINT process fascinating.

          1 vote
  13. skybrian
    Link
    Belarus dictator: Putin’s Ukraine invasion is not going according to plan

    Belarus dictator: Putin’s Ukraine invasion is not going according to plan

    During his interview, Lukashenka repeatedly called for an end to the war in Ukraine while seeking to position Belarus as an intermediary rather than an active participant. “We categorically do not accept any war,” he stated. “We have done and are doing everything now so that there is not a war.”

    Lukashenka is widely seen as a junior partner in the Russian attack on Ukraine, having allowed his country to serve as a staging post for Russian troops to invade northern Ukraine and as a platform for ongoing airstrikes against Ukrainian targets. However, he has so far stopped short of ordering the Belarusian army to join the invasion despite significant Russian pressure to do so.

    This reluctance is in part due to the punishing losses sustained by Russian troops during the first weeks of the conflict as the advance on Kyiv stalled. Belarusian hospitals and morgues were soon overflowing with Russian casualties, leaving Lukashenka in no doubt regarding the scale of the difficulties Moscow was encountering. Putin’s invasion force was eventually forced to admit defeat in the Battle for Kyiv and withdraw entirely from northern Ukraine.

    1 vote