Russo-Ukraine War - 02 May 2022 - Day 68
On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. The military buildup in preceeding months makes it obvious that the unprovoked and dastardly Russian attack was deliberately planned long in advance. During the intervening time, the Russian government had deliberately sought to deceive the world by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
"To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [Judgment of the International Military Tribunal]
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country.
New York Times reports: "When Ukrainian forces launched an attack on one position visited by General Gerasimov, at School No. 12 in the Russian-controlled city of Izium on Saturday evening, he had already departed for Russia."
- Presumably Gerasimov was sent to the front to kick butts and take names, and get the "major offensive" un-stalled. A week into this operation, and there have been no meaningful Russian advances on any front. This offensive started slow and petered out fast.
- The Russian command system is so rigid and stratified that unless the senior commander is personally present giving extremely precise instructions, there is a tendency for nothing to happen because junior commanders are afraid of doing the wrong thing.
- Why was it essential that Gerasimov travel to the very pointy tip of the spear in Izium, within Ukrainian artillery range, rather than having junior commanders meet him half way, in Belgorod, for instance?
- Something is wrong with Russian OPSEC, since this is the second command post attack in as many weeks. Do the Americans have a little friend in the Kremlin? [possibly] Do the Russians use a stereotyped layout of tents to erect a field command post? [probably] Are Russian comms so insecure that meeting plans can be detected [probably]
- The Russians lack secure wideband communications that would enable such a meeting to be a teleconference. Putin likes to Zoom, but he has land lines that are probably absent with Russian troops in Ukraine. American commanders teleconference, but they have secure wideband satellites comms.
The sixty-eighth day of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continued. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander said that the United States intends to ensure that the situation around Ukraine turns into a "strategic failure" for Russia.
"The task of the US government in relation to Russia, as well as to European security, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, is for this crisis to end in a strategic failure for Russia," the Pentagon official said, speaking at a seminar at the Atlantic Council in Washington. She explained that she meant failures for Moscow in military, political and economic terms. According to Wallander, Western sanctions will, over time, "increasingly" hit "the Russian economy as a whole," but also its defense industry sector in particular.
The West will try to hold "the Russian leadership" accountable in the face of its own population and on the "world stage," a US military spokeswoman said. According to her, Washington considers the latter especially important, since "other countries are watching to see if Russia will succeed." "The stakes are about global stability and security <...>", Wallander believes.
Nazism has featured prominently in Russia’s war aims and narrative as it fights in Ukraine. In his bid to legitimise the war to Russian citizens, President Vladimir Putin has portrayed the battle as a struggle against Nazis in Ukraine, even though the country has a democratically elected government and a Jewish president whose relatives were killed in the Holocaust. Asked in an interview released on Sunday about Russian claims that it wants to “denazify” Ukraine, Lavrov said Kyiv could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including the country’s president, were Jewish. Lavrov then added, speaking to the station in Russian, dubbed over by an Italian translation: “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood.”
Israel slammed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov over “unforgivable” comments about Nazism and anti-Jewism – including suggestions that Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots – and demanded an apology from Moscow. Summoning the Russian ambassador on for “clarifications”, Israel said the remarks blamed Jews for their own murder in the Holocaust. Israel has sought to walk a fine line between Moscow and Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Moscow describes its actions as a “special military operation” and says it wants to “de-militarise” and “denazify” Ukraine. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Lavrov’s statement “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error”. “Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of antisemitism [anti-Jewism],” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has slammed Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s comments on Jewish people and Adolf Hitler, which included a false claim that Hitler was Jewish. “Such an anti-Semitic attack by their minister means that Russian authorities have forgotten all the lessons of World War II, or maybe they never learnt those lessons,” Zelenskyy said during his nightly address. “These words mean that Russia’s top diplomat puts the blame on the Jewish people for Nazi crimes. I have no words,” he said.
The Russians continued to conduct a full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine and is conducting offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and maintain the land corridor with the temporarily occupied Crimea.
Russian forces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — where the bulk of the fighting is taking place — are suffering from poor command and control, low morale, and less than ideal logistics, a senior US Defense Department official said. "We continue to see minimal, at best, progress by the Russians in the Donbas," the official said. "They are not making the progress that they had scheduled to make and that progress is uneven and incremental." The Russians have had some minor gains east of the Ukrainian cities of Izyum and Popasna, the official said, adding that that progress has been anemic.
"What we saw there in Popasna is not unlike what we've seen in other hamlets in the Donbas. [The Russians] will move in and then declare victory and then withdraw their troops only to let the Ukrainians take it back. So, there was a lot of back and forth over the last couple of days," the official said. Also, the Pentagon has observed that Russian forces seem to have a risk and casualty aversion in both the air war and the ground war.
Ukrainian forces continue to hold Kharkiv against nearby Russian forces. The city continues to endure Russian air strikes, the official said. "But the Ukrainians have been doing an able job over the last 24 to 48 hours of pushing the Russians further away. And they have managed to push the Russians out about 40 kilometers to the east of Kharkiv," the official said. That's a good example of the stiff and formidable resistance Ukrainian forces are displaying.
The greatest activity of the invaders is observed in Slobozhansky and Donetsk directions. In the Zaporozhye, Kryvyi Rih and Mykolayiv areas, the Russians regrouped troops, strengthened artillery units and air defense units. They were trying to establish a system of logistical support for the grouping of troops in these areas. The Russians continued to prepare reserves in order to further transfer them to operational areas in Ukraine. The Russians continued to launch missile and bomb strikes on targets in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Zaporizhia oblasts. The shelling of the city of Kharkiv continued in the Slobozhansky direction.
In the Izyum direction, the enemy's offensive actions in the directions Izyum - Barvinkovo and Izyum - Slovyansk continued. To strengthen the group, the Russians moved to certain areas of the units of artillery and jet artillery. In order to improve the transport infrastructure, the Russians built a pontoon-bridge crossing over the Seversky Donets River. The Russians continue shelling the positions of Ukrainian troops and civilian objects located at a short distance from the state border of Ukraine from the territory of the Russian Federation. In the Belgorod region, the concentration of Russians' reserves for fighting in the Eastern Operational Zone continued.
In the Donetsk direction, the main efforts of the Russians were focused on establishing full control over the settlements of Rubizhne and Popasna and advancing in the directions of the settlements of Lyman and Siversk. In the Tavriya direction, measures were underway to regroup units and engineering equipment positions. In particular, a tube artillery unit was deployed at firing positions near the settlement of Tokmak in the Zaporizhia region. The Russians carried out artillery shelling of the positions of Ukrainian troops in the area of the settlement of Orikhiv.
In the temporarily occupied territories of the Zaporozhye region, the Russians deployed a fuel and lubricants depot and a point for repairing and repairing damaged equipment. In the South Bug direction, the Russians were fighting to improve its tactical position. They did not stop trying to reach the administrative border of the Kherson region, and continued to deploy rocket and tube artillery units to fire on the positions of Ukrainian troops.
The transfer of material resources from the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea with the use of the railway infrastructure of Ukraine continued. In the Bessarabian direction, the situation in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova remained tense. The enemy, through controlled media, continued to spread provocative reports about the growing threat to the population of Transnistria from Ukraine. In the Volyn, Polissya and Seversky directions, the possibility of the enemy's demonstrative and provocative actions in the areas adjacent to the state border of Ukraine was not ruled out.
The threat of missile strikes on objects on the territory of Ukrainian state remained. Measures to strengthen the administrative-police and counter-intelligence regimes continued in the Bryansk region bordering Ukraine. In the waters of the Black and Azov Seas, Russians ships were involved in missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine, perform the task of isolating the area of hostilities and conduct reconnaissance.
The Russians continued to destroy Ukraine's civilian infrastructure. Inflicts rocket-bomb strikes and carries out artillery shelling of residential areas of the city of Nikolaev, and also settlements of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions. In the temporarily occupied territories, the Russians were artificially creating and exacerbating humanitarian and economic crises. There was a shortage of medicines in the settlements, the range of grocery stores is limited, and banking institutions do not function.
During the day, Russian missile forces hit the command post of the Ukrainian 93rd mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said. Aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 36 military facilities in Ukraine with high-precision air-launched missiles during the day. Aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 36 Ukrainian military facilities with high-precision air-launched missiles during the day. In particular, among them there are five command and control posts, including command and observation posts of the battalions of the 81st Airmobile and 95th Airborne Assault Brigades, 25 strongholds, areas of concentration of military equipment and manpower of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including in the area of Aleksandrovka - a "Nazi" formation "Aidar, the representative of the department noted. According to Konashenkov, a depot of rocket and artillery weapons and ammunition was destroyed near the village of Pokrovskoye in the Dnipropetrovsk region. In addition, four launchers of the S-300 air defense system and a reconnaissance and guidance radar station were destroyed near the village of Mezhevaya .
Konashenkov added that operational-tactical and army aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 13 strongholds and areas of concentration of military equipment and manpower of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In addition, artillery units hit eight artillery batteries, two command posts, 12 strongholds and 28 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment. According to a representative of the Ministry of Defense, 36 units of weapons and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as up to 170 nationalists, were destroyed.
Konashenkov , said that Russian air defense systems destroyed 10 Ukrainian drones and two Tochka-U missiles in a day. According to him, the VKS with high-precision air-launched missiles hit 38 Ukrainian military facilities in a day. Also, the missile troops hit nine strongholds and areas of concentration of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in a day.
Konashenkov specified that since the beginning of the operation, 316 multiple launch rocket systems, 2,760 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,246 field artillery pieces and mortars, as well as 2,578 units of special military vehicles have been destroyed. He added that they also destroyed 112 helicopters, 146 aircraft, 690 drones, 285 anti-aircraft missile systems.
Most of the Russian air defenses, Jack, are coming from inside Russia. They haven't placed a preponderance of their air defense in Ukraine. Most of it comes from outside the country. And it's still very contested airspace. Proof of that is the manner in which when there is fixed-wing manned aircraft strikes, they don't spend much time in Ukrainian airspace. They get as close as they need to get to, to drop, and now that they're dropping more dumb bombs, they've got to get much closer. And then they deliver their payload and they go back. And they go back home into Russia. So it's still pretty contested. The Ukrainians continue to be very nimble in how they use both short and long-range air defense. And they have proven very effective at moving those assets around to help protect them, but also to be more effective against the Russians and to continue to force the Russians to be risk-averse when it comes to their own air operations inside Ukraine.
The Pentagon is considering whether to speed up the production of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and Stinger man-portable air defense systems in light of the massive arms shipments to Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a regular briefing for reporters. The transfer of Javelin anti-tank systems by Washington to Kiev does not affect the combat readiness of the US Armed Forces, Jen Psaki said.
The Pentagon reported that the United States has already transferred to the territory of Ukraine more than 70 American howitzers out of a total of 90 guns intended for Kiev as part of the latest military aid packages. Over 140,000 155 mm rounds that these cannons use have been delivered, which is about half of the projectiles planned for delivery.
US Senate Majority Leader Schumer has said he hopes the Senate would take up Biden’s request for $33bn in emergency aid for Ukraine as soon as next week. “It is my hope that a bipartisan agreement can be reached very soon and that the Senate can begin processing this aid package on the floor as early as next week,” the Democratic Party leader said in remarks opening the Senate. “Quickly approving this emergency funding is essential to helping the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russia,” Schumer said. “Again, I expect both sides to work quickly, decisively and with bipartisan cooperation to get this aid out the door and onto the president’s desk.”
US Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff has said Washington “must do even more” to ensure that Ukraine gets the intelligence it needs from US agencies in the face of Russia’s continuing invasion. “U.S. intelligence helped expose Putin’s plans to the world. That helped unite our allies around sanctions. We must do even more,” Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, wrote.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out a new package of military aid worth £300 million ($374 million), to support Ukraine’s ongoing defence. The package includes electronic warfare equipment, a counter battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices, according to a government statement. “This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national story that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come,” Johnson will say in a speech to Ukraine’s parliament, as the British embassy reopens in Kyiv. The UK will also send in coming weeks heavy lift systems to provide logistical support to isolated forces. More than a dozen new specialised Toyota Landcruisers will be sent to help protect civilian officials in Eastern Ukraine and evacuate civilians from frontline areas, following a request from the Ukrainian government.
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