UKRAINE UPDATE: Explosions in Crimea


Ukraine, The Latest Podcast, The Telegraph 8/16/22

  • Day 174 of the War against Ukraine
  • Crimea
  • There have been, in the last 24 hours, three large explosions in Crimea.  An electricity substation, close to a railroad interchange was first.  Then an ammunitions depot was struck.  Russia does not protect its ammunition from the weather and there it can be an explosion.  But, it is more likely to be Ukrainian military action.  The substation is vital for the Russians. 
  • Military aviation base in the middle of Crimea was also attacked.  Explosions were seen on social media. 
  • Something has gotten through Russian defenses.  It is probably action from the ground, roving groups.  Within a few days, these explosions behind the Russian lines have occurred. 
  • Have the attackers been in Crimea for the entire war?  Probably not.  Perhaps they have been within the regular population.  Or perhaps they have been brought into Crimea lately.  This seems very professional. 
  • Black Sea Fleet
  • The British government has been talking about Neptune missiles used against the Black Sea fleet.  The Moscow has been taken out and they have lost control of Snake Island.  Still firing long-range missiles, the fleet is limited in effectiveness.  The threat to Odesa is largely neutralized. 
  • So, if the force feels that it is the hunted rather than the hunter, this is a problem.  They are vulnerable also if they don’t have air cover.  And if there is no support from submarines, they are more vulnerable.
  • Diplomatic Updates
  • Putin has accused the US of trying to prolong the war.  He has also said they are sparking conflicts in other parts of the world such as Taiwan.  He has made efforts to forge a relationship with North Korea.  He is bragging about Russia’s arsenal and offering to send them around the world. 
  • Washington Post Article – Lead up to the War
  • This is an essential article.  It is about high-level conversations leading up to the war.
  • The attempt to seize Kyiv in a few days included a plan to seize Zelensky, kill him if necessary, and install a puppet government. 
  • Putin was realizing that time was running out.  The country wanted a free and democratic future.  Different country believed different things.  Some believed that it was coercive diplomacy, and he was not going to invade (Germany).  Others thought Russia might do something, but something small.  Britain and the Baltic States thought a full-scale invasion was coming.  They were trying to persuade the rest of the world. 
  • Zelensky was profoundly underestimated.  He did doubt the invasion himself.  He was not completely convinced by the intelligence.  But, when it became more and more obvious, he was saying to the Western officials that he couldn’t tell people to prepare, or it would have wrecked the economy. 
  • Zelensky mistrusted some western officials.  He thought that some of them wanted him to flee so there could be a quick resolution.
  • Last ditch attempts to avoid the war, conversations between Blinken and Lavrov.  Lavrov walked out at one point.  They couldn’t find anything that the Kremlin really wanted to avoid war because there was nothing, they really wanted that could have avoided war.
  • The Russian leadership seemed to really believe that the Ukrainians so identified with the Russians (the one country line) that they would not fight.  Nothing was going to divert them and they thought Ukraine was theirs.
  • Was this invasion partly prompted the lack of reaction to the incursions of the past (Crimea, Syria)?   
  • The skeptical counties were asking how the Americans and the British knew they were right after the intelligence failures of the past, for example about Iraq. 
  • The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a factor.  There was a feeling that the Americans just didn’t want to get involved in foreign wars. 
  • The desire was there, it was the timing that was provoked by conditions combined.
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