UKRAINE UPDATE: STRUGGLE IN THE DONBAS

UKRAINE UPDATE, 6/16/22

Air raid sirens went off while the four European leaders were in Kyiv today.  This was their first trip to Ukraine since the war began.  Ukraine says that it is outmatched by 10/1 by the Russian armaments.

Ukraine, the Latest Podcast by The Telegraph

  • France, Germany, Italy and Romania, the leaders from these countries were in Kyiv today.
  • The opposition leader in Germany has been to Ukraine before Scholtz. 
  • Zelensky has called out European leaders for weapons supply lag.  France and Germany were laggers in accepting the fact that the Russians were going to invade.  They have been playing catch up since then.
  • Germany has done an about term and promised weapons, but it has sent mostly light weapons. 
  • Macron has faced criticism over his relationship with Putin.  He has made comments about not humiliating Russia. 
  • There are fears that they are in Ukraine to try to talk Zelensky into making concessions to calm things down so that things can get “back to normal.”  Zelensky is not interested.
  • Today, they have been making all the right noises, but they are noises. 
  • Macron passed a piece of graffiti that said: Make Europe, not War.  Macron made some kind of statement of agreement. 
  • The issue of membership should be important.
  • Germany has been very hesitant about giving weapons.  They are now saying that they will supply heavy weapons.
  • This is watched closely in Moscow. 
  • Macron is saying the right things, but if they are not backed up by action and continue to be backed up by picking up the phone and calling Putin, it’ useless.
  • Romanian prime minister is there.  Talk about getting the grain out of Ukraine to the world and Romania may have a role to play.  Turkey has said it’s going to host a four way meeting.  Will be interesting to see if there are any comments from Romane about the blockade in the Black Sea today. 
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  • Lloyd Austin (US) has tried to bring in allies to send weapons. 
  • U.S. servicemen captured in Ukraine. 
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  • Navalny is in a prison called Russia’s “scariest prison.”
  • They were expecting him to be moved after another sentence.  This added another decade to his sentence. 
  • Lawyers appeared on Tuesday at his regular jail.  He was no longer there.
  • 24-hours later, his lawyer was able to see him at the different, high security prison. 
  • The move makes communication with his family and the outside world is more difficult.
  • There is cause for alarm.
  • Still heavy fighting going on in Sieverodonetsk. They think most of the fighters have gotten out. 
  • The Russian fighting is increasingly “ad hoc.”  Units are smaller and increasingly traveling on foot.  The vehicles are just not there. 
  • Ukrainian counter attacks in Kherson.  These have been unnoticed because of the focus on the Donbas.
  • There are important dams there.  If Russians lose these dams, it could cause a problem because they supply water to Crimea.
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  • Mercenaries used by the Russians.
  • Men were called up as soon as the invasion started in Donbas, by the Russians.  There have been protests from the wives of some of those conscripts.  They say they have no idea what is happening with their men.
  • They say their men are poorly trained and supplied.
  • There is a new report of an intercepted conversation, two intelligence officers communicating about using prisoners of war as cannon fodder. 
  • Officers were describing ways to use Ukrainian prisoners of war, referring to them by a slur word.  They were talking about using them to demine fields, “in a natural way.” 
  • There were also discussions about using them as free labor.
  • It was spoken of as a completely natural thing to do.
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  • Recently a report from Dnipro, an officer talked about separatists in Luhansk that were badly supplied.  They didn’t have helmets.  The Russians would throw in a group of separatist conscripts to their own deaths, helping the Russians know where the Ukrainian forces were.
  • Latest report from separatist authorities, admitting, high casualties.  In one report they were admitting losing half of their military members.
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  • If Putin was deposed is there any hope of a non-authoritarian rule?
  • It would be a long, difficult process even if Putin was no longer there.
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  • There was previous euphoria about Russians getting bogged down.  But it could be one of the most dangerous phases of the war.  Ukraine is outgunned.  Russia has time on its side. 
  • Ukrainian ammunition is running out.
  • The war is about territory, conquest.  The “Peter the Great” speech is important.  Interesting to see the language of NATO and the EU in response to this speech. 

WAR ON THE ROCKS, podcast 6/13/22

  • Earlier on the Russians had gotten very far into the city.  Now, it is unclear who controls the city.
  • The Russian offensive overall is that they have taken ground slowly.
  • They are threatening lines of communication to Sieverodonetsk.
  • The set us is for a battle for Kramatorsk. 
  • Both sides are reaching a state of exhaustion.  Beyond the Donbas the counteroffensive of the Ukrainians have not gotten very far. 
  • The Russian offensive has gone slower and slower but it is still going on. 
  • Trying to do mini-envelopments of Ukrainian troops.
  • Russians have to keep shifting forces around depending on where they think they are going to be successful.
  • This is a challenge for Ukraine.  They are outmatched.  More air power is being used by the Russians. 
  • In the beginning, the Ukrainians were releasing a lot of information negative for the Russians on open-source internet.  This led to a kind of euphoria that Ukraine was winning.  Now, even the Ukrainians are admitting that they are outmanned and out gunned and need more.
  • The Russians weren’t releasing any information and so it looked like Ukraine was winning. 
  • The first was a campaign for regime change in Kyiv.  Now, it’s a campaign for territorial control.
  • They are now fighting the way we thought they were going to fight in the beginning, the Russians.
  • Ukrainian casualties are higher now.  The running out of ammunition is a problem for the Ukrainians.
  • Ukraine has lost some of its best troops.
  • Minor gains are possible, but they can’t adequately take advantage of that (both sides.)
  • Putin has decided against a mobilization. Has been trying to buy people back into the military.  It’s a “shadow mobilization.”  Creating reserve battalions.  Offering increasing money to conscripts.  They are keen not to use conscripts. 
  • Russians think that they will grind down the Ukrainians and that the West will get disgusted and pull out.
  • With the US it takes time to get the material.  Maintenance is also a question for this new equipment.  There are issues with technical know-how.    There was gross optimism about the ability of the Ukrainians to just pick up how to use this new equipment.
  • This is one of the most dangerous periods of the war for Ukraine.  There is a likely big operational pause.

THE POWER VERTICAL PODCAST, May 26, 2022

NEW YORK TIMES

  • Russia cut flows to Europe’s most important natural gas pipeline for the second day in a row. 
  • The Russians are claiming that repairs were to blame. 
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