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Ukraine 31: Icarus Edition


The Wondering Wolf
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7 minutes ago, Makk said:

I think rather than going for a deep penetrating breakthrough to the south, capturing Verbove allows Ukraine to fortify their only break point of the second Surivikan line. After they do that they can push east and west along the trench network which is easier than attacking a trench head on. The entire main Russian defensive line will become more vulnerable once that happens. 

What you are describing is what they have been doing for the past several weeks.  But even pushing east and west, rather than south, is slow going and challenging.  It looks like the slog south is resuming, and hopefully the Russian defenses are getting weaker, as the time for tanks/IFVs to exploit a breakthrough may be coming to a close. 

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Unconfirmed reports that Ukrainian forces have pushed SE of Kherson City across the Dnipro and turned the area between the Dnipro and Konka rivers into disputed territory. Interesting if that is the case. If so, we might expect their first target to be the town of Oleshky.

Ukraine is keen to push Russia back from short-range artillery range of Kherson, as they keep targeting civilians there, and of course set things up for a bigger push to liberate the rest of occupied Kherson Oblast.

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1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

What you are describing is what they have been doing for the past several weeks.  But even pushing east and west, rather than south, is slow going and challenging.  It looks like the slog south is resuming, and hopefully the Russian defenses are getting weaker, as the time for tanks/IFVs to exploit a breakthrough may be coming to a close. 

The small part of the trench network I was talking about was only captured about two weeks ago. Ukraine had only initially been able to get infantry there and they hav been facing constant counter attacks, especially to the north of Verbove, as Russia heavily reinforced the area. The importance of Verbove is related to the trench network, not as a route to Tokmak, Melitipol or south in another direction. I prepared a jpeg to illustrate what I am talking about but it seems you can't upload attachments to this site? You can see it on the ISW maps

 https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/36a7f6a6f5a9448496de641cf64bd375

if you zoom in on Verbove.

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9 minutes ago, Makk said:

The small part of the trench network I was talking about was only captured about two weeks ago. Ukraine had only initially been able to get infantry there and they hav been facing constant counter attacks, especially to the north of Verbove, as Russia heavily reinforced the area. The importance of Verbove is related to the trench network, not as a route to Tokmak, Melitipol or south in another direction. I prepared a jpeg to illustrate what I am talking about but it seems you can't upload attachments to this site? You can see it on the ISW maps

 https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/36a7f6a6f5a9448496de641cf64bd375

if you zoom in on Verbove.

According to my Ukrainian colleagues, the goal is probably to capture Verbove and then cut the Tokmak-Polohy highway. Russia was using that to shuttle supplies back and forth so they haven't fortified it (you can't mine your supply road), so it's a possible weak point into the rear of the Russian lines, either cutting west to Tokmak or east to Polohy. And if you're on that highway, the Russians need to withdraw from the whole line east and west, they're outflanked. The question is if Ukraine can manoeuvre effectively to actually do that, it's a tricky thing to pull off.

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4 hours ago, Werthead said:

According to my Ukrainian colleagues, the goal is probably to capture Verbove and then cut the Tokmak-Polohy highway. Russia was using that to shuttle supplies back and forth so they haven't fortified it (you can't mine your supply road), so it's a possible weak point into the rear of the Russian lines, either cutting west to Tokmak or east to Polohy. And if you're on that highway, the Russians need to withdraw from the whole line east and west, they're outflanked. The question is if Ukraine can manoeuvre effectively to actually do that, it's a tricky thing to pull off.

Sounds like it be time for emergency wartime roadbuilding on Ukraine's part - get the area at least semi-secure, then punch a road through with whatever heavy equipment they can scrape together ASAP.

 

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9 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Part of it is my take.

There's been some rumbling in the background over Ukrainian grain in Poland undercutting prices for a year or so (tbf, not just Poles are have mixed feelings about this).

The PiS(s) party is also atm busy downplaying/denying a visa scandal, with embassy worker selling off work visa on the black market, esp. in Africa. Which is bad optics esp. for an anti-migrant right wing douchebage party.

Budget issues in the US and now Poland falling out with Ukraine, great news for Russia.

I see the far right party in Poland is calling for gratitude, which is a little blind when Ukraine is fighting for its life.  I imagine Ukraine is a bit over demanding regarding getting help, but again, fighting for its life.

I suppose we can hope that after the election in Poland, things will go back to earlier times but a very bad sign given Russia was always depending on the West blinking first.  And what is going on in the US has even bigger consequences.  Ukraine could use a big military win to change the story line but no sign of that I think.

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6 minutes ago, Padraig said:

Budget issues in the US and now Poland falling out with Ukraine, great news for Russia.

I see the far right party in Poland is calling for gratitude, which is a little blind when Ukraine is fighting for its life.  I imagine Ukraine is a bit over demanding regarding getting help, but again, fighting for its life.

I suppose we can hope that after the election in Poland, things will go back to earlier times but a very bad sign given Russia was always depending on the West blinking first.  And what is going on in the US has even bigger consequences.  Ukraine could use a big military win to change the story line but no sign of that I think.

Then everyone else assisting needs to step it up.

Locally I've been feeling, almost from go, that Canada isn't doing as much to aid Ukraine in its efforts as we can.

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50 minutes ago, Padraig said:

Budget issues in the US and now Poland falling out with Ukraine, great news for Russia.

I see the far right party in Poland is calling for gratitude, which is a little blind when Ukraine is fighting for its life.  I imagine Ukraine is a bit over demanding regarding getting help, but again, fighting for its life.

I suppose we can hope that after the election in Poland, things will go back to earlier times but a very bad sign given Russia was always depending on the West blinking first.  And what is going on in the US has even bigger consequences.  Ukraine could use a big military win to change the story line but no sign of that I think.

Well, realistically, Poland has given (or committed to give) what it can. They have not walked back on promised deliveries or anything. Anything more would rumoredly compromise their defensive capabilities. So it's really more for show on the election trail than anything.

 

However in under reported news (at least didn't see anything in English language media). Ukraine has another problem with German arms delivery. No, not Germany throwing a tantrum or anything.

Ukraine has declined to take on a number of German Leopard 1A5 tanks. Maintenance issues. Those things had mechanical issues. Ukraine doesn't have the resource to fix them, and apaprently some of those older tanks broke down (for lack of a better word) after the Ukrainians were trained on them. Ukrainians were understandbly not particularly keen on equipment that can't be deployed on the battlefield. That those things are probably not in good shape is hardly surprising given the overall quality of Bundeswehr gear, and those things have been phased out like 20 years ago, and the tanks itself are round about 50 years old.

There are now conflicting reports about how badly those things are in need of repairs (easily fix vs. ok this is gonna take a while).

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17 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Well, realistically, Poland has given (or committed to give) what it can. They have not walked back on promised deliveries or anything. Anything more would rumoredly compromise their defensive capabilities. So it's really more for show on the election trail than anything.

But if a significant portion of the Polish population is receptive to this anti Ukraine message, it may not change anything today or tomorrow, but longer term it is a worry.   And this war is all about the long term.

You try to take advantage of mild discontent today, it just burns deeper and you end up with serious discontent in a year.  Political parties have fallen into that trap forever.

it’s not just about actual weapons but having a country banging the drums for you.

Edited by Padraig
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There I'd also argue for caution.

Poland is heading for an election. Polls suggest it's gonna be close and they have that visa scandal hitting the news at an inconvenient moment for them. So the dbags in goverment are trying to collect a few more votes on the far right fringes on top of the rural (farming) votes they need. 

Not great optics, but also not the end of the world imo.  The US budget with GOP controlling the house and them pandering to their idiot voters is a far bigger problem.

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13 minutes ago, Padraig said:

But if a significant portion of the Polish population is receptive to this anti Ukraine message,

 

I'm not actually in Poland and my perspective is therefore second-hand and filtered through my family's views, but I'd seriously doubt that there's actually a significant proportion who are. Or at least, while they might get bitchy about Ukraine, anything that crosses the line into messaging that seems like it's pro-Russian is still a complete vote-killer.

It's why the government immediately rowed back on Morawiecki's statement that Poland would no longer send arms. The dispute was only ever about the grain and even with Zelensky's frustrated raising of the temperature and accusing Poland of being 'fake allies', taking it to that level was an idiotic thing to do on Morawiecki's part and they know it. 

 

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Fair.  I can’t ever see Poland ending up being pro Russian but Poland was seen as the most fervent supporter of Ukraine previously.  We’re “only” 18 months in.  I fear this fatigue spreading.

Next time the push back may not be as severe etc.

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5 hours ago, polishgenius said:

 

It's why the government immediately rowed back on Morawiecki's statement that Poland would no longer send arms. The dispute was only ever about the grain and even with Zelensky's frustrated raising of the temperature and accusing Poland of being 'fake allies', taking it to that level was an idiotic thing to do on Morawiecki's part and they know it. 

 

I am glad they rowed back. But how could they do it in the first place? Saying that they are not sending arms any longer. Somehow this makes me question  the Polish sincerity in backing the Ukrainians in the past. and how can they think they get  more votes for stopping grain imports? the Ukrainians need to export their grain. The Polish people can not be longer very supportive of the Ukranians if you can fish for votes with stopping grain imports and stopping sending arms.

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21 minutes ago, JoannaL said:

and how can they think they get  more votes for stopping grain imports? the Ukrainians need to export their grain. The Polish people can not be longer very supportive of the Ukranians if you can fish for votes with stopping grain imports

 

I don't think the Polish government has handled this at all well (because they are awful people and idiots) but this is a glaringly unnuanced take on the situation and frankly insulting to 'the Polish people'. Like even among the subset of 'the Polish people' that this actually applies to - farmers and agricultural workers- it's ungenerous to suggest that needing to sell their own grain means they don't otherwise support Ukraine. I don't know what the best solution is or if there is a good one but you can't turn the whole of Eastern Europe into a no longer agricultural economy overnight to support the war. That's how famines happen. 

Which the EU must understand to some extent btw because they agreed to the temporary ban in the first place. 

Deciding votes on the back of the refugee crisis and other such things would be anti-Ukraine (and to be clear, that does appear to be happening, but at the margins, it doesn't seem to be a particularly popular view or election-deciding issue). Deciding them because you're a farmer and you've got to be able to sell your goods is not. 

 

28 minutes ago, JoannaL said:

Somehow this makes me question  the Polish sincerity in backing the Ukrainians in the past.

 

I mean, Poland has always been pretty open that this is as much about self-preservation as anything else. Sure, there's been language about solidarity with the oppressed and that's fraying, but it's always been 100% clear that we need to stop Russia in Ukraine because if we do not Poland may well be next on the chopping block. 

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I don't think it's fair to question.the sincerity of the poles supporting Ukraine. Poland is more directly impacted by this war than any other country not in the actual war. They have accepted millions of refugees and continue to give them whatever they can. They have been unwavering in their vocal and material support.

I guess you can choose to question their motivation, but from all accounts they are doing exactly the same thing as a sincere people would, and I care a lot more about impact than intent.

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I dont know why the Biden admin continues to waffle on ATACMs.  These would have been a HUGE factor last summer, and a big factor 6 months ago, but at this point Storm Shadow + Ukrainian long range stuff is doing ~ 75% of what ATACMs could do anyway.  Why not just hand them over?  They cost basically the same to decommission as it does to give them to Ukraine.

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5 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

 

Seems to me that the folks in charge at the USN had better be taking notes and holding a lot of lessons learned sessions in regards to what Ukraine has been able to do to the Russian ships, ports and other naval infrastructure with some missiles and drones.

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3 minutes ago, Wilbur said:

Seems to me that the folks in charge at the USN had better be taking notes and holding a lot of lessons learned sessions in regards to what Ukraine has been able to do to the Russian ships, ports and other naval infrastructure with some missiles and drones.

Note that this strategy - of flooding the zone with very cheap weapons to destroy/disable major naval and base assets - is exactly what the Chinese strategy is going to be against Taiwan per most reports and wargames. The 'good' news is that Ukraine had a very difficult time of it until they were able to disable the major anti-air defenses around the area, and after that it was pretty easy, but China will have significantly more resources and weapons at their disposal. Having single expensive targets is part of the US military doctrine and is going to be very difficult to defend against these types of attacks. 

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1 hour ago, Kalnak the Magnificent said:

I guess you can choose to question their motivation, but from all accounts they are doing exactly the same thing as a sincere people would, and I care a lot more about impact than intent.

Hmm.  I’m sure the majority of people there are still supportive but articles like the below are concerning.
Article

As I said earlier, this is not about today but about a year from now.  That’s why  having even 20% of the population be somewhat hostile is significant.  Maybe I was idealistic but I assumed it was much close to 0.  Not that I know the actual number.  I just doubled the presumed far right vote from that article.

But yes, what happens in the US is more important.

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