Ukraine Update: LOL no, Russia isn’t attacking Odesa. They’re already out of steam in the Donbas

Ukrainian farmers will be harvesting bomb fragments (or worse, unexploded ordinance) for decades.

Oh brother …

Jack Detsch is a great reporter, so honestly don’t understand this click-bait piece of shit story predicated on an unnamed “Western official” who claims “the assumption is that they could face another very serious Russian offensive” toward the southern port city of Odesa.

“Assumption.”

Could face.”

I assume that a meteor could hit the Earth next year, or that Godzilla could emerge from the Sea of Japan. 

Let’s be clear: There is no scenario in which Russia can or will make a serious effort against Odesa, just like it couldn’t manage to do so when it was at the height of its “shock and awe” phase of the war, all its shiny toys intact and troops still alive. Given Russia’s inability to sustain supply lines more than a few dozen kilometers from the nearest railhead, why would anyone pretend that Russia would suddenly be able to extend hundreds or thousands of kilometers to reach Odesa with a Ukraine now armed with both modern Western tube and rocket artillery and a full complement of anti-ship missiles like Harpoons?

This is like early in the war, where you’d see “Western intelligence officials” say that Russia was on the verge of an amphibious assault on Odesa, and I’d be like, “LOL no.” Then they’d be like “Belarus will invade!” and I’d write, “LOL no.” And there was even the time that Russia was supposedly going to push toward Dnipro city hundreds of kilometers west of Izyum, and that one was extra stupid

I mean sure, of course we can assume that Russia could target Odesa next year. But no, it won’t.

———-—

Will Russia ever move again? The exhaustion from their effort to take Severodonetsk plus HIMARS’ decimation of Russia’s ammunition storage depots has ground their progress to a halt. Per War Mapper on Twitter, there was no notable change on the ground on July21July 20July 19July 18July 17July 16July 15July 14July 13July 12July 11July 10July 8, and July 7. You may have noticed July 9 missing. This was the entry for that day: 

That update was based on Russian claims that they controlled Hryhorivka. Ukraine never bothered to deny them. Turns out, they never captured it. Funny. So really, you have to go back to July 6 to find any notable Russian advance. (No Ukrainian advances have been recorded in that time, either. Ukrainian General Staff has clamped down on any information about its activities at the front.)

Russia has now stalled for over two weeks, with dwindling sign of life. Is this the culmination we’ve all been waiting for, the point when Russia runs out of steam and is forced to shift from offensive to defensive operations? We won’t know for sure for a few more weeks, but it sure does look that way. 

Combat exhaustion and HIMARS are factors, obviously. Maybe the Severodonetsk defense was worth the cost and broke the Russian advance. But it’s hard to ignore the very factor that makes the Odesa story above so damn ludicrous: logistics. Look at the map above, with the arrows pushing toward Sivers’k. What do they all have in common? They are pushing away from their supply depots. Even without HIMARS, they’d be just as stuck as the Popasna advance toward Bakhmut, and the Izyum advance toward Sloviansk. Izyum was captured April 1 and Popasna on May 7, well before the arrival of HIMARS or other Western artillery. Both those advances are dead in the water.

(Funny aside, remember Russia trying to cut off the main highway from Bakhmut to Lysychansk in an effort to cut off supplies to both that city and Severodonetsk? Look at the map above: Russia still hasn’t captured that highway.)

Speaking of artillery …

Ukrainian soldiers on the Donbas front have been quoted in various news articles marveling at the sudden quiet as Russian guns go silent. We talked about “shaping the battlefield” yesterday—the act of preparing the battlefield to benefit an army’s greatest strengths. For Russia, they shape the battlefield by turning it to rubble, but that’s hard to do when their artillery guns are out of ammo, fuel, and spare parts. 

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analyst DefMon on Twitter shows most action happening on the Russian side of the front lines

NASA FIRMS fire data, July 21, 2022.

It is eerie just how quiet the Donbas front has gotten, particularly on that approach toward Sivers’k. For now, most of the action is happening down in Kherson area, and a great deal of it behind the front lines. Mark wrote recently about false positives on FIRMS fire data, particularly now that farmers are burning off harvest stubble to prepare for the fall seeding. DefMon filters those out, cross-referencing fires with other satellite imagery to confirm they are militarily related. He removed 48 such nonmilitary fires in today’s map. Still, no one is perfect. So either he missed some agricultural fires, or Ukraine is utterly decimating Russian supply and command and control deep in enemy territory. 

Yesterday I speculated Ukraine was shaping the battlefield by cutting Russian supplies to the swath of territory between Kherson-Melitopol-Tokmak, forcing them to retreat lest they end up besieged. This map certainly supports that assertion. 

——————

Many of you know that my son Ari is in advanced infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, right now. Here’s video of his unit doing a live-fire exercise at night (sound on for full effect). These are 18-year-olds playing with live ammo, hence the training cadre shadowing each trainee closely as they go through their paces. (The next day they have to go back to pick up all the brass casings from the rounds fired. It’s a shit detail.)

It takes 22 weeks to train an American infantryman: 10 weeks for basic combat training, and 12 for advanced infantry training. Five-and-a-half months. Then they go to their units for additional training under experience noncommissioned officers (sergeants), or to more advanced schools. (Ari is trying to earn a spot at Ranger school.) Meanwhile, Russian volunteers get one week “training” before being shipped to the front lines, and Ukrainian basic training doesn’t appear to be more than a few weeks as far as I can tell. It’s distressing. 

M109 are self-propelled guns, superior to the towed M777s the Americans have delivered. Norway already donated 22 of theirs to Ukraine. Interestingly, the U.K. doesn’t field the M109, so I think they’re buying decommissioned units from Belgium to then send to Ukraine. 

This package is worth around £1 billion ($1.2 billion) and includes “sophisticated air defence systems, uncrewed aerial vehicles, innovative new electronic warfare equipment and thousands of pieces of vital kit for Ukrainian soldiers.” Helmets and body armor aren’t sexy, yet are among the most necessary kit Ukraine needs. It physically hurts me anytime I see a video of a Ukrainian under fire without a helmet.

The U.K. is also training thousands of Ukrainian soldiers in a crash course lasting “several” weeks.

The soldiers are fully kitted out with uniforms, body armor, helmets, and other supplies like sleeping bags and shovels (for trench and latrine digging).

——————

This is the most upsetting video I’ve seen this entire war. I don’t know what it is, but the quiet pain wrecks me. The pictures were horrid. The video even more so. 

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/7/22/2111869/-Ukraine-Update-LOL-no-Russia-isn-t-attacking-Odesa-They-re-already-out-of-steam-in-the-Donbas

11 comments

  1. “I mean sure, of course we can assume that Russia could target Odesa next year. But no, it won’t.”

    I fully agree. Odesa is out of the equation. Mafia land stands no chance getting to it, much less taking it.

    “Russia has now stalled for over two weeks, with dwindling sign of life. Is this the culmination we’ve all been waiting for, the point when Russia runs out of steam and is forced to shift from offensive to defensive operations?”

    Dwindling sign of life is a good way to put it. Let’s see…
    The cockroaches are lacking modern tanks. They are now using air defense missiles as ground-to-ground missiles. They are very low on morale. They are lacking trucks. They are lacking truck drivers. They are lacking soldiers. They are now also lacking ammo and who knows what else. They’ve lost a record-amount of generals and colonels. Their leadership is largely amateur-like and downright self damaging.
    Does this sound like an army ready to start another offensive at ANY time … within the next 10 to 20 years?
    I didn’t think so.
    Mafia land is all but finished, but they don’t know it yet.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Putin doesn’t care. He’ll send every cockroach living in cockroach land and have them killed. He’ll stop like Hitler stopped. With a bullet to his and everyone of his cronies head

      Liked by 3 people

      • Of course, he doesn’t care. His generals don’t care either. Not even many mothers and fathers and wives care. Sending meat puppets into a senseless battle still makes it senseless. The outcome remains the same.

        Liked by 3 people

    • You can’t write the putler murder gang off until they are all dead. And you can’t write RuSSia off until their economy has gone right down the shitter for the next 30 years.
      Most importantly, you can’t write off their military until 200,000 fucking orcs are in the ground.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Naturally, there is still a lot of work ahead. But, this “army” can’t and won’t launch another “major offensive” anymore. And, I do hope that 200,000 orcs will be eliminated and the evil dwarf to, along with the entire cast of characters in the Kremlin. And, its economy must be set back to number 20 or 30 in the world rankings. Maybe even to the level of Burundi.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. At most, putin’s got Russia stuck in a stalemate against Ukraine. If it was ONLY Ukraine defending themselves without much support or any weapons being shipped in, then I think putin’s original plans would have probably worked.

    But nearly all of Europe has sided with Ukraine. If Russia takes the fertile black soil of Ukrainian farmers, then putin would be able to apply his will against whoever would buy grain and other crops. Perhaps hunter biden is scared of whatever corruption he tried to reap in Ukraine, but whatever his motives, I’m glad America is helping.

    This although many conservatives believe America doesn’t have the money to afford it, and that biden is bankrupting the country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, without support, the little cockroach would have succeeded, but still even then never fully. Looking back in history, taking a city like Kyiv would have required about 250,000 troops, for instance. The partisan activity would have been countrywide. In short, it would have been Afghanistan 2.0. However, I am also glad that the US is helping, and a few others too.
      I say, fuck those conservatives! Our country is supporting many other nations, most of which hate our guts. In foreign aid paid by us, there are only about 8(!) countries that get none. We also give military aid to many nations, also to those who hate us. If money is the issue, then they know what is the right thing to do. But, maybe it’s another issue that’s at work here that makes them wary of helping Ukraine.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I wish you wouldn’t broad brush everyone. Whether or not I’m a conservative or a trump fanatic or whatever a “nationalist” or a republican doesn’t mean I don’t value the life and death of my brothers and sisters in Ukraine. There are many conservatives and republicans who support not only Ukraine but any nation who shares our values.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think you both made some valid points. Unfortunately, circumstances don’t always give us what we want to help others. Personally, I’d like to see either biden commit enough foreign aid for Ukraine to quickly end putin’s dreams, or commit to rebuilding America’s economy. But he’s taking a “middle of the road” approach on both, which means neither will get enough effort to solve them. I hate biden as much as I hate putin. The only difference is that I don’t want to see biden gone right away, because then he’d get replaced by harris who’s quite possibly worse in policy, and definitely more stupid than biden. American liberals (or at least the radicalized ones) have become a case study in “progressing” towards stupid and corrupt.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Okay, cap, I was perhaps being too expansive with my phrase, regarding conservatives. Of course, I meant only those who feel like we’re spending too much money on Ukraine, while at the same time we spend billions on countries that hate us. I thought that I was clear enough. On the same note, I also mean any liberals who feel that way and everyone else in the entire political spectrum. Fair enough?
    BTW, I am also a conservative.

    Liked by 3 people

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