Sunday, May 8
Counter-offensives, Snake Island, and Geopolitics
🇺🇦 (Pictured) UA is counter-attacking Izium from all sides
🇺🇦 Russia's 64th Detached Motor Rifle Brigade, which was responsible for the atrocities in Bucha, was obliterated by UA in Izium. While positive news, I wish they had lived to see justice for their actions. Then again, there was likely a low chance that they would ever be prosecuted, so this was likely the best conclusion.
🇺🇦 After news broke of the 64th Rifle Brigade’s warcrimes last month, Putin awarded them with the new title of “Guards” for “protecting Russia’s sovereignty” and displaying “great heroism and courage”
🇺🇦 The Ukrainian campaign in Kharkiv will likely push Russia back to the border within days. Russia is conducting strategic withdraws, and is destroying bridges o slow Ukraine advances. Destroying bridges means they have no intention on going back.
🇺🇦 Russian forces withdrawing from Kharkiv will likely redeploy further east in an attempt to attack Izium from the east. Not sure if this will matter because Russia has stalled in Izium.
🇺🇦 Russian command and control (C2) nodes are easily targetable because 1) they’re big systems that can’t be concealed and 2) their signals aren’t easy to mask. So UA is targeting these nodes, which is 1) allowing UA to k1ll high ranking officers and 2) causing major communication chaos on the RU side
🇺🇦 The above bullet applies to the entire eastern front (Donetsk).
🇺🇦 Most RU Air Force sorties right now are designed to disrupt aid from the west.
🇺🇦 These air strikes are largely ineffective because their Air Force can’t strike moving targets very well. Lol? Edit: oh, this is due to a lack of training and lack of guided missiles…they’re trying to use dumb bombs to strike moving targets
🇺🇦 Kherson and Odessa…little activity. Russian forces continue to try to reinforce those areas, but there’s not much to reinforce with
🇺🇦 Russia continues to try to attack Odessa with with cruise missiles.
🇺🇦 Ukraine is dominating cyberspace. A lot of people assumed that Russia would win the cyber warfare game, but western companies like Microsoft are interdicting and stopping Russia’s cyber attack attempts. The western cyber infrastructure at just better than the state-run cyber capabilities at Russia.
🇺🇦 All civilians have been evacuated from Azovstal. Sounded soldiers still remain.
🇺🇦 CIA says that Putin’s frame of mind will make him double down. He’s in a position where he can’t afford to lose. He is convinced that doubling down will improve his odds of success. (CIA Director Burns)
🇺🇦 Not sure if I mentioned this before, but Russia’s tactic is to destroy everything in order to demoralize the public and make them easily conquerable. There is repeated historic precident. To this end, Russia destroyed a school with 90 people in it today, and as of today, Russian troops have destroyed or damaged nearly 400 healthcare institutions including hospitals, maternity wards, and outpatient clinics.
🇺🇦 US is processing 50-100 UA refugees a day.
🇺🇦 The Russians fleeing Russia likely can’t return, because they’ll be charged for treason for avoiding military service.
🇺🇦 Russian refugees(?) are begging for passage to the US. Some are showing up at US borders.
🇺🇦 Some lawmakers are imploring Biden to roll out the welcome mat to Russian refugees(?) in order to 1) send a message to Russian citizens of US generosity as well as 2) accelerate Russia’s brain drain. Whether this happens or not, either way, this is a combination of all of Putin’s biggest fears rolled up into one. That is because…
🇺🇦 Putin is motivated by revenge for the embarrassment of former USSR states aligning with the west and becoming cosmopolitan advanced societies, while Russia is largely left behind. Also, he knows his country’s biggest pre-war problem was demographics, which includes brain drain. (I mean, look, when you set your self up as the world’s adversary, and become a literal mafia oligarchy, your global partnerships dry up and your people leave.)
🇺🇦 Russia continues to attack Transnistria in order to motivate them to attack Ukraine. (See what I mean in the above bullet point? Russia, everyone hates it when you do stuff like this!)
🇺🇦 Russia destroyed a large stockpile of western weapons en route(?) to the front.
Snake Island (tagging Mike S and JB):
🇺🇦 A Bayraktar drone destroyed a Russian Serna class amphibious assault ship at Snake Island as it unloaded. This was that widely shared video. This is one of only two in the Black Sea. That number is important because…
🇺🇦 Russia no longer seems to have the capability to launch an amphibious assault on Odessa. Russia can’t replenish their fleet because Turkey blocked access to the sea to Russian crafts
🇺🇦 UA also destroyed an RU missile defense system on Snake Island. Two Su-27 craft dropped bombs, then dropped flares as they fled. Three bombs hit three targets. All of this was filmed with a Bayraktar drone.
🇺🇦 After the amphibious landing craft was destroyed, Russia sent special forces to the island. A Bayraktar destroyed two approaching special forces boats.
🇺🇦 A Bayraktar drone then destroyed a helicopter on Snake Island.
🇺🇦 Russian mercenaries are now publicly complaining that Snake Island has been lost.
🇺🇦 Assuming Russia loses this war, one of the biggest geopolitical losers will be China. The Russian-China relationship building was based on the shared worldview that the west was in decline, and that a Xi-Putin partnership would emerge as the premiere economic alliance in a post-western world. As the world distances itself from Russian production, China ends up losing from the relationship they formed
🇺🇦 China had good reason to think America was in decline. There are a bunch of examples, but the primary one is America had begun withdrawing from the geopolitical stage (e.g., abandoning TPP, Paris Climate Accord, etc), so the world had started to look towards China for economic leadership
🇺🇦 Taiwan is a big winner. Seeing Ukraine has inspired them to invigorate their defenses and it will make it that much harder for China to invade. China also sees the west’s attitude towards Ukraine and is discouraged from action in Taiwan
🇺🇦 Xi Jinping has been reduced to a bystander. China is being affected by decisions made outside of Beijing. Rather, the global decisions makers are Washington, Brussels, and Moscow
🇺🇦 (“Brussels?” Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament.)
🇺🇦 Europe, and by extension America, are big winners, as the alliance has strengthened to a point that was unfathomable two years ago. This time, every country is pulling their weight in mutual defense
🇺🇦 The loss for Russia is so significant that I personally believe it will take at least 50 years for Russia to recover, and up to 100 years before they’re a legitimate world power. There are just so many things interfering with progress in Russia: systemic corruption, institutionalized criminality, demographics, brain drain, sanctions, indoctrinated anti-world sentiment, and on and on
📢 Countries apply to be in NATO. NATO doesn’t seek to expand. Saying NATO is encroaching on Russia is Kremlin messaging. Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that’s the first
📢 Yes, Ukraine has a nazi problem, but it’s a very small percentage of the country, and not representative of the whole. Using a small group to smear the entire group is called “guilt by association.” Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that’s the second.
📢 If you ever hear anyone say “What about America…” in an effort to redirect attention away from Ukraine and onto the west, that is called “Competitive victimhood” and the associated meme is *always* created by Russian-backed media. Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that’s the third.
⚠️ Note: I got lazy with my citations and I apologize. My top sources are: Current and former military planners, singularly-focused pundits, and all manner of vetted open-source intelligence. Top cited open source pundits and sources include: CP Scott, Institute for the Study of War, Kyiv Independent, Aaron Parnas, Philip DeFranco, John Aravosis, Malcontent News, and mainstream news with high levels of journalistic integrity and track records. Sadly I can’t source private individuals, of course.
⚠️ These posts are not affiliated with my employer, nor done during my employer’s time. Every item I report is from my own research, my own opinion, and written during my own time.
⚠️ Note: War happens fast and even high fidelity news needs a ton of corrections after the dust settles. Also, I’ve been spoiled by social media’s format where I can update the final product every time I find a typo. That poses a problem because…
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