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Ukraine War, 29 June 2023
This afternoon I’ll start with unimportant news. At least according to latest appearances of top of Putin’s propaganda-industrialists.
Correspondingly, and for everybody’s information: the Prigozhin/Wagner ‘mutiny’ was instigated by the aggressive NATO expansion, and CIA too, and they didn’t say a word to Russia so the Russians can go killing each other. Shame on the West. And that the West was involved was confirmed by nobody less than Pudding, when he announced that Wagner was always fully financed by the state. Which means: by Putin. Therefore, the entire affair is unimportant. A disagreement between two boyars. Happened time and again in the history of the Russian telenovela. Which is why, on 27 June, Pudding rushed to decorate Shoygu for suppression of the entire affair, too…
….cannot but conclude that the actually best summary of this affair was meanwhile published somewhere else (and request you to watch with sound on, please)….
Was short of continuing with the other telenovela about this war: this time the story of Ukraine, NATO (foremost UK, Denmark, the Netherlands….), USA, Australia, and the ‘F-16s’ and ‘F-18s’ and…. Meanwhile, I find that topic such a pointless waste of time and efforts, I apologise for even mentioning it. If I do so then because one conclusion is unavoidable: if NATO and Kyiv would’ve spent all of that money and time into getting more electronic warfare systems, more artillery, yet more ammunition, more tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, not to talk about much more de-mining/anti-mine equipment to Ukraine, none of ‘Experten’ in the West would have to wonder why is the Ukrainian counteroffensive not coming forward at the pace they expect…
(Which reminds me that I’ve had the, ‘oh, how nice’-moment earlier this week – when somebody asked me something in style of, ‘why isn’t Ukrainian counteroffensive coming forward as quickly’. I felt free to ‘snap’ back something in style of: ‘….and who said how quickly is it going to come forward….?’)
On the other hand, perhaps the US refusal to deliver F-16s is a good thing: gauging by reports from that corner, some of Ukrainian pilots are apparently already undergoing training in Sweden. So, lets hope that Washington’s big games are going to open the way for Sweden to supply JAS.39 Gripens: these are far better suited to Ukrainian requirements than any F-16s, anyway.
But, I guess you’re coming here for some ‘news’ on latest developments on actual battlefields of this war, thus, lets move in that direction….
On 25 June, the terrorist entity known as the Russian Air-Space (or Aerospace) Force – VKS – bombed a vegetables market in western Idlib, massacring about 50 Syrians in cold blood….
Why am I starting with Syria while I’m supposed to discuss Ukraine, you ask?
Because the mass of people who are going to read this isn’t paying attention about what are the Russians doing to the Syrians, almost every single day, for eight years now – but still wonder how comes two days later the Russians did the same to Ukraine.
Which in turn is a topic I’ll discuss as next, to some length (and please mind: I’m too short on time, and also too lazy, to collect and post all the links to online sources for the following).
From what I know about it, the story went like this: on 27 June, one of GRU informants in Kramatorsk informed the GRU about a large number of Western volunteers wearing military fatigues ‘gathering’ at a restaurant and a catering centre in the town centre. This intel apparently went up the entire Russian chain of command and as a result, the Russians hit the place with two Iskanders. Precisely enough to kill at least 12 people (including three Ukrainian children), and wound more than 60…. The figures are still far from final then, AFAIK, Ukrainian authorities were still clearing the wreckage as of this morning…
Before anybody comes to the idea to either describe this as a ‘typical mistake caused by the fog of war’, or ‘intentional’, please spend a few minutes to think about the following.
1.) Immediately after this strike, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported to have arrested the responsible GRU-informant (GRU is the top Russian military intelligence service). One is left to wonder why did they arrest him only after the attack, why not before it? Can it be Ukrainians suffered a problem caused by adaptation of their- to Western, i.e. EU laws: along which, generally, one can’t arrest people just based on suspicion, at least not without sufficient evidence? Guess, this might need a careful check, and some adaptation in the future.
2.) Whether the informant told the GRU that the ‘target’ is a restaurant also frequented by civilians: right now, no idea. But, why should he? There’s enough info available, meanwhile, that he saw something like ‘a gathering of lots of people in military fatigues’. It’s on hand he had an incentive to ‘provide more intel’: the more he provides, the ‘better source’ he is, and the better he gets paid. That’s how things work in that business, no matter if in the East or the West.
3.) On the other hand, it’s perfectly possible that the informant was acting ‘at own discretion’. For example: he might have had a dispute with the owner of that restaurant… perhaps one of waitresses? So, there was an ‘opportunity’, and he used it. Wouldn’t be the first time ever: has happened dozens of times already – especially in Afghanistan, often in Iraq, and several times in Yemen. See: ‘I’m jealous about that jerk owning a petrol station down in the village: how about misinforming the intel service XY? Booom…. Oh, the petrol station was blown up, but 50 people too….? How unfortunate….’
4.) Though, in turn, this also means: if the GRU has to depend on such jerks to find out the HQs of different ZSU units: good. For Ukraine.
It’s sad for civilians that get killed in the process. As ‘collateral’ damage. And exactly like in Syria…. or Yemen, or Afghanistan, or Pakistan…
5.) But, and again: why should the GRU care? For eight years In Syria, the VKS - and before, during, and ever since: also the ‘Syrian Arab Air Force’ - is (are) all the time bombing hospitals, schools, food depots, water treatment facilities, tightly packed markets etc. – which the GRU declared for ‘jihadist headquarters and ammunition dumps’ and whatever else. NOBODY CARES. Until this very day, not a single statesman/woman in the West ever complained about such practices, nor publicly demanded prosecution of those responsible (on the contrary: ‘friend Assad’ is back on the international diplomatic scene - especially within circles of the Arab League, which is today very upset about some stupid in Sweden burning Qoran, and thus complaining about ‘freedom of expression’….).
….and those ‘non-officials’ that did (like me) were (and still are) promptly declared for ‘jihadist-supporters’….
That’s so not only because the West has a lots of bad conscience about applying similar practices already since Iraq and the Rif Republic (nowadays: northern Morocco) of the early 1920s, not to talk about Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, different ‘corners’ of Africa etc. (that list is really long) of modern days. The ‘West’ didn’t care even when the Russian campaign of terror drove millions of Syrians out of their homes, and then out of their country, eventually causing the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015-2016’. So, why care now?
That’s so also because the USA created a precedent when ‘turning off’ all the international regulations for such cases by the Qusay Bush administration’s ‘Hague Invasion Act’ (a.k.a. ‘American Service-Members Protection Act’ of 2002): a law de-facto illegalising the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Was Bush – or any other member of his administration or the US Congress – ever prosecuted/sanctioned for that law? Nope. Did Obama, Trump, Biden overrule it? Nope. So, if the US- and members of allied intelligence services and armed forces ‘can’t be’ prosecuted for war crimes, why should anybody now insist on the Russians being prosecuted….?
….while people can’t get more furious about ‘useless UN’….? Ho-hum…
6.) And then, where would all the glorious intelligence services – in the West, in Russia, in Ukraine, or, say, in holy and peaceful Israel - end if now somebody starts prosecuting them for war crimes committed because they’ve provided piss-poor intel…?
….can already imagine all their complains in style of, ‘but hey, then nobody is going to work for us ever again….’
7.) Is it then really surprising if the Keystone Cops in Moscow seem to have felt free to label this strike with ‘successful destruction of the HQ 56th Motor Rifle Brigade, ZSU, with high precision weapons’….?
8.) Another interesting point: while Ukrainians meanwhile became disciplined enough not to ‘spontaneously pull out their smartphones and start taking videos’ of ‘results’ of this Russian strike (as is something like ‘general, and accepted norm of behaviour’, almost anywhere around the World nowadays) – because their authorities ‘taught’ them this is against the law: a number of Americans, Canadians, and South Africans present on the scene in Kramatorsk promptly did exactly that: ‘only minutes later’, these videos were making circles in the social media – ‘informing everybody’ about the ‘next Russian act of terror’…. but also that the Russian S-300s did hit ‘lots of people wearing military fatigues’. Indeed, that, ‘there are lots of soldiers under the rubble’…. From the point of view of the Keystone Cops in Moscow, not to talk about countless Pudding-fans in the social media: ‘perfect’. At least a ‘reason enough’ to target the restaurant.
….which is speaking volumes about the ‘discipline’ of certain foreigners in Ukraine….
9.) ….which, in turn, is imposing a big question mark over the way Ukrainian authorities are applying their own laws and exercising their own duties: are foreign volunteers in Ukraine something like ‘holier than holy’ because they’re volunteering to help defend the country, or helping Ukrainian civilians…? That they ‘can’t be’ prevented from informing the Russians…?
And: both the SBU and the ZSU have learned their lesson. ‘It’s war and thus bad for one’s health to bunch together in big numbers’ – especially in a place as close to the frontline as Kramatorsk: but, this ‘rule’ is ‘not valid for foreigners’, eh….?
Finally, and while I stress that nothing of my critique is an attempt to excuse this Russian act (tragically, just one between hundreds of such actions so far, and hundreds, if not thousands, that are to follow), please mind: ‘(public) restaurants’ are ‘civilian facilities’. Sure. But, they also do have ‘dual purpose’ – or at least can appear as such, as soon as frequented by personnel wearing military fatigues, and especially to intelligence- and military services as careless as the GRU and the VKS. Indeed: the entire System Putin, including the Keystone Cops in Moscow and the GenStab.
The entire top of the System Putin is ‘that way’: cynical enough to be eager to strike any such place. Have warned about this already back in early March the last year (and, to make sure: for once even some of the mainstream media made itself useful when forwarding my warning in this regards): can only hope few people might, finally, decide to take that warning seriously.
….all of which is a logical consequence of the systematic application of the ‘law of the stronger’ on the international scene, and for decades: a logical consequence of countless situations where it was ‘OK’ if ‘our’ did ‘something wrong’ to ‘them’, but never if ‘them’ did ‘what we do not like’ to ‘us’… anything, just no justice…
Elsewhere on that 27 June 2023 (the first anniversary of the Kh-22-strike on a shopping mall in Kramatorsk, where 20 civilians were massacred), Tu-22M3s from the Shaykovka AB attacked Kremenchuk and Zaporizhzhya (according to official Kyiv, about 140 Kh-22s have been released by now).
No idea about ‘results’ there, which – I hope – is just as good: apparently, no Western volunteers (of whatever sort) were anywhere nearby… Sadly, one person was killed and three critically wounded when the Russian artillery randomly targeted Orikhiv…and that on top of – meanwhile ‘usual’ – bombardment of different villages in the Sumy Oblast (57 explosions recorded on 27 June), the town of Nikopol (7 residential buildings damaged), and the city of Kherson (316 shells…)… that sad list is, meanwhile, very long, too…
On 27 June, the PSU hit Russian supply depots in the Berdyansk, Prymorske, and Melitopol. During the night from 27 to 28 June, PSU hit Melitopol, and Ukraine run an UAV strike on targets in the Kursk region. The Russians ‘retaliated’ by releasing six Shahed-136s: all were claimed as shot down by the PSU. Another round of Russian artillery- and rocket strikes followed yesterday, on 28 June, and went on well into this morning. AFAIK, one person was killed in Kherson (the city was hit at least 12 times by Russian artillery this morning alone).
In other ‘news’ related to air warfare:
- The VKS is known to have flown 47 registered air strikes on 27 June: most of these in the usual ‘spray & pray’ fashion, but a few including the release of MPK/UMPK glide bombs. Most of these were targeting ZSU in the Orikhiv and Novodanylivka areas.
- The VKS is known to have flown 44 tactical air strikes on 28 June: the PSU should’ve flown 11. A MANPAD-team of the 10th Mountain Assault claimed a VKS Su-25 using an Igla.
- Yesterday afternoon, Zelensky reportedly decorated Colonel Serhii Yaremenko, CO 96th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade for (quote), ‘….shooting down 13 Kinzhal missiles…’. Guess, this means it’s the 96th that’s operating US- and Germany-supplied PAC-2/3 SAM-systems.
BATTLE OF DONBAS
Kupyansk-Svatove-Kremina….Essentially, the Russian counteroffensive is stalled everywhere: stopped by much too heavy losses. Sure, in some cases, the ZSU is ‘down’ to killing single tanks with UAVs, but it works. The means do not matter: important is the result and nobody was hurt on own side. Sadly, the ZSU lacks electronic warfare systems for all sections of the frontline, and thus, and just for example, the Russians hit back, striking one of ZSU positions with their FPVs. That said, and above all: the Russians are shelling everything and everywhere they can: some 20 different positions of the ZSU and villages were listed as hit, every single day, the last 3-4 days.
Bakhmut…north…gauging by Ukrainian reports, the ZSU is (cautiously/slowly) pushing from three directions (north, west and south-west) on Soledar and Krasna Hora. Exactly like further south: even if causing massive Russian casualties, this is taking time…
Bakhmut…north/north-west….the 93rd Mech is also advancing back into northern outskirts of the ruined town, and reported the destruction of this T-72 there. For some 3-4 days now, the Russians are – massively – shelling Ivanivske and all of western fringes of the ruined town.
Bakhmut…south…. The 80th Airborne joined the task of clearing Russian trenches in small forests north/north-west of Klishchivka. It’s an arduous task, where it’s really about smoking the Russians out of every single hole. BTW, yesterday, the activity of this brigade caused quite a lots of claiming on both sides: supposedly, the 80th was ‘surrounded’ (so the Russians), or ‘has surrounded’ (so Ukrainians)…. Actually, the 3rd and the 80th overrun one of Russian positions north-west of Klishchivka, and collected quite a lots of POWs in the process. But, nobody was encircled, no matter on what side. As, meanwhile, ‘usual’, the VSRF reacted with another artillery barrage, and knocked out a BMP. And the 28th Mech continued a similar task, in the same, cautious and systematic fashion, but in the Kurdyumivka area.
Avdiivka… east of the town, the 110th Brigade (ZSU) continued grinding through the old LOC, and pushing into areas occupied by the Russians since 2014 (this unit is well-supported by artillery, BTW). It has crossed the H20 highway on both sides of Kruta Balka. South of Avdiivka, there were reports that, sometimes on 25 or 26 June, the ZSU liberated (completely ruined) Vodyane. Haven’t seen any evidence yet, though.
Mariinka….the 79th Airborne seems to be busy exchanging lots of UAV-strikes with the Russian opposition, but there are no changes on the ground.
SOUTHERN ZAPORIZHZHYA (& SOUTH-WESTERN DONETSK)
Vasilivka… the 128th is grinding into north-eastern side of Zherebyanky, but the problem now seems to be the Russians entrenched in a small forest north of that village. That is going to require another, systematic, ‘clearing’ by infantry.
Orikhiv….the situation is still what it was, which is: the 47th and the 65th Mech, supported by UAVs, are grinding additional paths through the minefields into northern Robotyne, to widen the area within which they can manoeuvre, and force the Russian ATGM-teams away. The Russians seem to be sending all available reinforcements in that direction: along the frontline of just 7,000-8,000 metres, they’ve concentrated the (remnants of) 291st Guards Motor Rifle Regiment, 70th Motor Rifle Regiment, both the 22nd and 45th Spetnaz Brigades, plus BARS-11 and BARS-14. The VSRF is still striking back at every opportunity, too. Meanwhile, mostly by tank-fired anti-tank guided missiles, sometimes by Ka-52s (although, the number of their strikes went down by a margin, since the last weekend), and – whenever Ukrainian electronic warfare permits it - by FPVs.
Staromaiorske-Staromlynivka…Since securing Ryvnopyl, the ZSU seems to be squeezing Pyyutne from both east and west. On the eastern side of this sector, the ZSU (infantry) attack into Urozhaine is meanwhile in ‘full swing’. Ukrainian 47th Artillery has meanwhile exterminated the mass of the Russian artillery in the Staromlynivka, and is lately shelling targets all the way down to the Novopetrykivka area, including this Buk M1 SAM-system, possibly also this ‘UAV-control unit in southern Zaporizhzhya’.
…..and Oleshky, i.e. Ukrainian bridgehead in the area of the Antonovsky Bridge? Lots of claims, by both sides (including some panicky Russian demands for VKS to provide close air support), but no firm data. Thus, gotta wait until I’ve got something ‘firm’ to report.