UKRAINE UPDATE: Military update, Putin and Musk

UKRAINE THE LATEST, Telegraph Podcast (10/12/22)

“Nobody’s going to break us.  We are strong.  We are Ukrainians.”

Military Developments

  • It has been an active 24 hours.  Ukraine says it’s reclaimed five villages in the Donbas.  There’s a steady advance by the Ukrainians.  Four Russian helicopters shot down.  Missile strikes all over Ukraine. 
  • 30 Cruise Missiles fired from Russian aircraft which were over the Black Sea or Russia.  These are well away from any air defense by Ukraine.  Russians will not sent their air force beyond Russian territory or beyond their own troop lines.  This is a significant lacking militarily. 
  • There drone strikes as well.  They are drones with warheads on them as well as cameras.  The operator can determine what the drones attack.  They are called “one way” drones or “Kamikaze” drones.   

Kerch Bridge)

  • The Kerch bridge attack.  There is a road bridge and a rail bridge.  Early in the morning on Saturday, there was an explosion on or under the road bridge.  This caused a massive fire in a train passing.  Some of the road bridge fell into the water.  We think the blast was on the road bridge.  There is speculation it came from underneath the bridge.  We don’t know.  Probable it was a truck bomb.  If it was a suicide bomber, it would be a first. 
  • Putin has been saying he could protect Crimea and keep the war from coming to them.  This puts the lie to that.  This added to the sense of insecurity of the Russians in Crimea.  Something got through the Russian defenses. 

Donetsk Region

  • This is the scene of conflict for a long time. The Russians have pushed forward in this region.  Incremental progress. 
  • Bakhmut is the front line. On the east, the Russians have a foothold.  The shelling is constant. 
  • We’ve been told that the Wagner group is around Bakhmut.
  • The Wagner Group is driving the Bakhmut offensive.  There have been rumors that the Russians are keeping the Wagner Group occupied so they won’t be involved in any power struggle that might occur in Moscow should Putin’s power be questioned.
  • The locals were saying that the Wagner Group was on the east side of the river.
  • The reporter has no idea why the Wagner Group is there.  There are rumors that they are being paid by the activity they engage in.  They get paid for fighting.  Maybe there is a bounty on Bakhmut. 
  • Article in Telegraph about Russia’s private armies.
  • Wagner is the Russian private military operator.  Man behind Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, challenged Russian lawmakers to fund private armies or go to Ukraine and fight themselves.
  • (Note: BBC article about Wagner. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-60947877)
  • Prigozhin is shaming the Russian legislature for not being active enough.  This is something to watch.  A discussion is going on among analysts about how public Prigozhin is becoming.
  • For years, he was not seen in public.  You would have trouble finding photographs of him.  Question is what this means.  Is he vying for Putin’s attention? 
  • Biden’s interview with CNN.  Biden’s comment on Putin’s motivation.  Whether Putin is delusional.  Biden says Putin is a “rational actor” who miscalculated.  He honestly expected that Ukrainians would welcome Russian soldiers with open arms. 
  • At the beginning of the war, it was leaked that the FSB was feeding Putin with inaccurate information. 

Elon Musk

  • Musk was supposedly talking to Putin when Putin told him personally that Putin would use nuclear weapons if Ukraine tried to reclaim Crimea.  The claims about the conversation came from Ian Bremmer.  Musk denies saying this.   
  • The content of this alleged conversation was that Putin was ready to talk peace, but conditions were that Crimea would remain Russian and that Ukraine has a neutral status and that Russia’s annexation of the four territories is recognized.  If that really is the position of Putin, it betrays a disconnect with reality.  First, you don’t make demands like that unless you are winning the war.  Second, Crimea was probably going to be Russian, remain Russian before the beginning  of the war.  Putin has no grasp of the attitude in the West.
  • Putin thinks that the West has “always given in to us, and they always will.” (Quote from reporter)  There is a spineless mercantile attitude behind the statement of values.  He doesn’t grasp how seriously the West takes this war.  He doesn’t believe that they consider this part of their existential status. 
  • The Kremlin has denied the conversation with Musk.  But, it’s not the first time Putin is talking about matters of national importance with celebrities.  As Putin is disillusioned with politicians, he has been trying to reach out to celebrities.  He has hosted anyone from French and American actors (Seagal).  This became an outlet for addressing the publics. This is not out of character for Putin.
  • They are trying to find a way to seek a cease fire.  This will likely happen again.

Sir Jeremy Flemming, head of GCHQ, national intelligence Britain

  • This was an annual security lecture.  He was highlighting the threat from China in terms of internet hackers.  Talking about Ukraine, he was saying that there had been a huge amount of cyber activity going on.
  • He was asked about prior warnings, preparations for a nuclear attack.  He said it was highly likely we would spot it, but not certain. 
  • NATO exercises are not going to be cancelled.  Practicing the reaction to nuclear attack. 
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