Ukraine

LeoV

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BBC reporter in Russia;
Like Natalya Sergeyevna's garden, which produces a wealth of berries, fruits and vegetables, in Russia there is a fertile soil for the idea of Russia as an empire, a superpower, dictating to its neighbours and taking on the West.
The Kremlin knows that its messaging will strike a chord with many here. But striking a chord is one thing. Persuading Russians to join the fight in Ukraine is quite another.
"I support the special military operation. So many of our lads have been killed," says an 18-year-old student in Novorzhev. "If I'm called up, I'll go and fight. But I don't want to sign up."
"It's our duty to fight, if we're enlisted," another student, Konstantin, tells me. "Otherwise I won't go near there. Not for money, not for anything. Family's more important."
The Kremlin may dominate the information landscape. But there are limits to its powers of persuasion.
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"It's our duty to fight, if we're enlisted," says it all.
 
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LeoV

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The first ship, RAZONI, left Odesa port at 9:15 a.m. and is heading to Turkey. It carries 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn. Another 16 ships are waiting for their turn in Odesa.
It is visible on marinetraffic.
 

Black Sox

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Somewhere, someone in the Russian leadership is comparing this to Stalingrad. Forgetting that they suffered 1.1m military casualties for that victory. Let's hope it doesn't go as well for them.

Dictatorships do tend to go for the no retreat, fight to the last me sort of thing. Whereas democracies tend to be more careful with their soldiers
And the dictator in question is usually far, far away from the front lines
 

barfy

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I was looking at the DeepStateMAP , there's steady advance to the west in the Donbas salient by the RU. I've highlighted the railway line from the map, which will be at river grade. Its downhill to there for the orcs, then an uphill fight. This will be the line that Ukraine forces will use as the kill zone.

Screen Shot 2022-08-01 at 23.50.03.png
 
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Stingray~

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The first ship, RAZONI, left Odesa port at 9:15 a.m. and is heading to Turkey. It carries 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn. Another 16 ships are waiting for their turn in Odesa.
It is visible on marinetraffic.
Excellent news, let's hope it ramps up in a big way.

Fingers crossed.
 

chesirecat

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Shoebox on M'way
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-n...e-hunt-russian-spies-eyeing-western-military/

Text below for those without sub.

Britain is helping Ukraine hunt Russian spies targeting Western-supplied weapons, the acting head of Kyiv’s military intelligence has said.

Finding and destroying military aid flowing into Ukraine from Western countries is “goal number one for Russian agents”, according to Major General Vadym Skibitsky.

Long-range artillery pieces, such as the US-supplied Himars system, have brought Moscow’s advance almost to a halt and in recent days have rendered bridges in the Kherson region impassable to Russian vehicles, cutting off troops as Ukraine prepares a counter offensive.

Western officials believe Moscow has instructed intelligence agents, possibly including spies from the GRU’s Unit 29155 – deemed responsible for the 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack and other attempted assassinations – to find the weapons donated by Western partners.
Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph from Kyiv’s heavily fortified government security district, Gen Skibitsky said tracking down the Russian spies searching for the supply lines was “impossible” without help from Britain and other international partners.

“As far as military intelligence is concerned [Britain and the US have provided] almost everything from information to equipment.”

Gen Skibitsky gave no specific details of the support Britain is providing, but said the assistance was “minute-to-minute, real-time information [of] all kinds”.

A significant portion of the lethal aid flowing into Ukraine is originally flown into the Rzeszów-Jasionka airfield in Poland, close to the border.

Russian agents thought to be operating near the airfield are suspected of tracking military flights, passing information to colleagues in Ukraine. It is thought these operators then follow the weapon transfers to find the storage sites.

These locations are then targeted for destruction by Russian long-range weapons such as Kalibr cruise missiles fired from submarines in the Black Sea.
Some Russian spies have been found as far west as Chernivtsi, near the border with Romania.

Russia claims to have destroyed several Himars rocket launchers in recent weeks, including two on Monday. However, Ukraine and Western sources say none have been damaged by Russia.

More Himars arrive in Ukraine​

Four more Himars systems arrived in Ukraine on Monday, taking the total in operation to 16.

Gen Skibitsky said: “The cooperation with Poland is also very high as almost 90 per cent of all military assistance comes from there. We are talking about very tight cooperation and joint operations with our partners.”

In the weeks up to the February 24 invasion, Russian “subversive elements” were joined by “reconnaissance groups” to gather information on Ukrainian military intentions, troop locations and logistic sites, Gen Skibitsky said. The first weeks of the war were “very difficult” as a result.

“We had to identify, detect and neutralise them, but we haven’t got rid of all of them.

“These days, collecting data on the military assistance coming to Ukraine from Western partners is goal number one for Russian agents.

“We don’t know how many there are [but] they use all kinds of intelligence: airborne, space, collaborators from the Ukrainian side. Russia has [a lot of] information.

“The movement of people is intense. There is an entire mechanism designed to acquire and neutralise these people.”

Ukraine, a country as large as France with a 2,300km front-line, requires huge resources to find these spies passing into and across its territory.

“It’s not just special forces, but also police and ordinary Ukrainians reporting strangers in their local area. Everyone is working as one body because it’s about the existence of Ukraine,” Gen Skibitsky said.

Kyiv has established hot lines in some areas under Russian control – such as Enerhodar, location of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – for local people to pass information on “collaborators and occupiers”.

Asked how the US-provided Himars multiple-launch rocket systems have so precisely targeted Russian fuel and ammunition depots, as well as battlefield headquarters in eastern Ukraine, Gen Skibitsky said “in this case in particular, we use real-time information”.

US officials are not providing direct targeting information, which would potentially undermine their case for not being direct participants in the war, Gen Skibitsky said.

However, he suggested there was a level of consultation between intelligence officials of both countries prior to launching missiles that would allow Washington to stop any potential attacks if they were unhappy with the intended target.

“I can’t tell you whether [we are directly tasking] British and American satellites, but we have very good satellite imagery,” he told The Telegraph.

“We have very good cooperation with our partners in the UK in this field. We have very good communication with all the sister intelligence agencies.”

Working closely with Britain’s MoD​

Ukraine’s military intelligence department is known to work closely with colleagues in Britain’s MoD.

Gen Skibitsky said he was pleased Gen Jim Hockenhull, Britain’s former chief of defence intelligence, has been promoted to be head of the UK’s Strategic Command, responsible for military intelligence, special forces and space-based capabilities.

Increasing Ukraine’s “agent capabilities” inside Moscow has been the priority for Gen Skibitsky’s department since Russia’s 2014 invasion.

“Human intelligence is one of the cornerstones of our activity. This is because in 2015 an ambitious task was set [for] us to get into the decision-making centres of our adversaries.

“For us it’s very easy to work with our adversary – you know the country we are talking about. We used to share the same language, same appearance as people and, until recently, the same mentality. We used to be one country. A lot of Ukrainians used to live or still live in Russia … and have established very good state careers there. There are many Ukrainians in decision-making positions in Russia.

“Obviously it is a covered activity as there is a very intense counter-intelligence effort in Russia.”
This network of informers told Kyiv the invasion was originally planned for February 15, Gen Skibitsky said. The order to postpone the assault to February 24 came from Vladimir Putin personally as he wanted the attack to match the date in 2014 when the war in Crimea started.

Despite the poor performance of his army and strong resistance from Ukraine (a “huge underestimation from the Russian side”), these spies in Moscow are reporting no reduction in Putin’s war aims, Gen Skibitsky said.

“The main strategic goal remains the same – the total destruction of Ukraine as a state. He’s not likely to stop, he has no room for manoeuvre. He understands the resistance from Ukraine will remain very strong, therefore he destroys everything he sees as obstacles to this strategic goal.”

Ukraine’s spy network in Russia is “definitely in demand” from the US and Britain, Gen Skibitsky said. “This is because we’re not talking merely about the situation in Ukraine, but the security of Europe and the eastern flank of Nato as a whole.”

Ukraine’s spies in the Kremlin have been able to comment on recent reports about Putin’s health.

Gen Skibitsky said the Russian leader “is not in good health physically or mentally”.

“He uses a lot of doubles … and sometimes it is difficult to detect if it is the real Putin or someone replacing him.

“Some of his inner circle are panicking about his health and those decisions he is taking at the moment.”
 

Stingray~

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US officials are not providing direct targeting information, which would potentially undermine their case for not being direct participants in the war, Gen Skibitsky said.
Yeah, right! Even Congresscritters have acknowledged that the US is providing real-time targeting intel.

The smaller details of dug-in tanks in nearby villages are perhaps being identified by drone operators who provide targeting feedback to the nearby artillery guys but the US and maybe British intel too are orchestrating things in the larger picture. Guaranteed.

Gen S may be saying 'the right thing' but what's going on is waaaay above his head and he surely knows that. The US could hardly be more engaged short of moving forces into UKR - and the USN into the Black Sea, something several retired US Admirals are arguing for.
 
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enigmatically2

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UK MOD intel report. But if Ukraine are using HIMARS to target the bridges, then the reflectors will do no good because they are not radar guided. GMLRS are GPS and inertially guided. Odd

 
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dogwatch

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Informative piece about the Russian economy and pivot (or not) of Russian hydrocarbon flows towards China. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/sanctions-are-working--whatever-putin-says

A series of radio interviews from Kherson, I found it interesting. May be geo-blocked. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0019rc2

Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive to retake Kherson, the largest city captured by Russia in this year's invasion. But the occupiers are redoubling their efforts to integrate the city and surrounding region into Russia - and they need the help of local collaborators. A few Ukrainians are eagerly serving the invaders. But many key workers - teachers, doctors and other state employees - are forced into a cruel choice. They must agree to work according to Russian rules, betraying their country - or else lose their jobs. Tim Whewell reports on life behind Russian lines in Kherson - and talks to some of those who've thrown in their lot with the occupiers, including the eccentric former journalist and fish inspector who's now deputy head of the region's Russian-backed administration.
 

enigmatically2

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Informative piece about the Russian economy and pivot (or not) of Russian hydrocarbon flows towards China. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/sanctions-are-working--whatever-putin-says
Thanks for that. I was looking at the drop in car production in Russia- in particular a breakdown by brand. I can't find that now, but the reduction is pretty shocking. One would assume that for most brands (including russian ones) repairs will be increasingly difficult as they are dependent on russian imports.

So as well as not being able to build new vehicles, the existing cars and lorries will progressively start to fail. And of course aircraft as previously discussed. At some point that will start to have massive secondary impacts on Russia's whole logistics and distribution networks. Then their remaining domestic industries will fail.
Their rail network will probably cope better and I know that is big there, but still need local distribution by road.
 


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