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Ukraine 31: Icarus Edition


The Wondering Wolf
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Russia has apparently lost control of the southern railroad out of Bakhmut. Ukraine has had it under fire control for months, but apparently it has seized several positions east of the line, repulsed Russian counterattacks and forced Russia supply lines to reroute via the main highway to the north-east. Ukrainian attacks north of the city have petered out, suggesting that Ukraine might be preparing to solidify the lines for winter and reinforce rather than continue to attack.

A Ukrainian report on Avdiivka. Russia attacked the city with overwhelming superiority in infantry, vehicles, artillery and aircraft, but the defences held and Russia suffered incredible losses. Ukrainian losses were also significant, but they held the main lines. Russia did secure several positions, but not in the city itself and only at a very high loss. The reported retreat from the city is apparently just a tactical pause with Russia brings up reserves and prepares to try again.

 

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Big strike on Berdyansk airfield in Russia.  Reports indicate that 9 helicopters were destroyed/damaged seriously, along with a fuel depot and ammo dump destroyed.  Some indications that this was done with ATACMs, although it's not 100% confirmed.  If so, that is the first confirmed use of them. 

EDIT:  Berdyansk is in occupied Ukraine, not Russia.

Edited by Maithanet
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1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

first confirmed use of them. 

Ya, the WaPo did a breaking news banner on this 54 minutes ago:

Ukraine used long-range ATACMS to strike Russian depot and aircraft

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/10/17/atacms-missile-ukraine-russia-war/

 

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18 hours ago, Werthead said:

Ukraine has launched an offensive on the Lyman front, retaking Syn'kivka and driving Russian forces back from areas they took just a few weeks ago. Unclear on the scale of this at the moment.

They didn't really lose Synkivka before though. But there is some pushback there indeed.

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Some large Ukrainian drone formations buzzing Russian rear positions along the Sea of Azov, triggering air defences. In some areas apparently the Russians did not fire as they did not want to give away the position of AA systems to ATACMS. They now know the entire shoreline is in Ukrainian missile range.

Whilst that was going on, Ukrainian marines stormed the south bank of the Dnipro in a second position near Kherson. The Russians believe they are planning a large-scale assault in the near future to establish a permanent bridgehead on the south bank, then bring up German and French-made pontoon bridges and try to invade the southern front from the west. They are iffy on if Russian defences can hold them, as some strength was transferred east to the Tokmak front and the Donetsk offensive.

Ukraine has been threatening a cross-Dnipro offensive for months and the logistics always seemed too challenging, so unclear if this is psyops or a real threat. Their failure to break through the lines spectacularly further east may make an assault in this sector more attractive.

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Ukrainian counter-offensives on the northern front seem to be gathering pace, with larger amounts of enemy material and equipment destroyed. This makes sense, Russia has not had time to heavily fortify this sector and its gains were only recent.

The Avdiivka front is becoming "desperate," with Russian command ordering a breakthrough to be achieved at any cost. This has led to an explosion of criticism on Telegram against "meat attacks." Ukraine has reinforced heavily, it has zeroed the area with artillery, ATACMS are now going overhead to destroy the Russian supply bases and Russia grinding forwards only at colossal costs. Ukraine has also managed counter-attacks against several strongpoints the Russians occupied in the last couple of weeks and has been able to retake some of them. The Russians have tried to deploy aircraft to break the defences, but Ukrainian air defences are too powerful: at least five Su-25s have been lost in the last week or so.

Russian sources now believe the Ukraine has dug in deep on the southern bank of the Dnipro and is now mounting constant raids up to 4-5km away, pushing the "grey zone" in Kherson Oblast into Russian lines. Ukraine is not commenting on this attack, instead focusing on Avdiivka. If Ukraine can stage a breakthrough here, it would be remarkable and a massive strategic victory, putting Ukrainian forces on the very border with Crimea and cutting the southern resupply route. It's a big ask, though.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Russian sources now believe the Ukraine has dug in deep on the southern bank of the Dnipro and is now mounting constant raids up to 4-5km away, pushing the "grey zone" in Kherson Oblast into Russian lines. Ukraine is not commenting on this attack, instead focusing on Avdiivka. If Ukraine can stage a breakthrough here, it would be remarkable and a massive strategic victory, putting Ukrainian forces on the very border with Crimea and cutting the southern resupply route. It's a big ask, though.

Has the Ukrainian military that capability? (I mean to cross the river and roll up the Russians from the flank) I see the logic behind it, but a river crossing with heavy armour seems like a suicide attack without air superiority, Artillery superiority, massive amphibious and engineering capabilities... or could they go around the russian lines by using the land that has now fallen dry after the dam got destroyed and the lake receded?

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/17/world/europe/ukraine-atacms-attacks-russia.html

In this article its said that Ukraine got around 20 ATACMS missiles from the USA... Budanov said in an interview recently that they need hundreds...

Edited by Bironic
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23 minutes ago, Bironic said:

Has the Ukrainian military that capability? (I mean to cross the river and roll up the Russians from the flank) I see the logic behind it, but a river crossing with heavy armour seems like a suicide attack without air superiority, Artillery superiority, massive amphibious and engineering capabilities... or could they go around the russian lines by using the land that has now fallen dry after the dam got destroyed and the lake receded?

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/17/world/europe/ukraine-atacms-attacks-russia.html

In this article its said that Ukraine got around 20 ATACMS missiles from the USA... Budanov said in an interview recently that they need hundreds...

In theory, yes. It has significant river-fording capabilities from France and Germany, and it has tons of armour to deploy since they never got round to using it on other flanks.

I also think this sector has long been seen as a sideshow, a distraction and a feint, but it now presents various opportunities: it can put Ukrainian forces very close to Crimea, it can shut off the land bridge, and, due to defences in the area being denuded to reinforce other areas, it's not as heavily defended as other areas. It also appears that Russia may have been over-relying on the river as a defensive bulwark and the heavy mining and defensive lines we've seen elsewhere are not present in this area, at least not on the same scale as between Robotyne and Tokmak.

Also, frankly, Ukraine is aware that it has not produced the same kind of "spectacular victory" in 2023 that they did east of Kharkiv in the autumn of 2022, which may start to eat away at their support, especially if they fear a risk of having to compete with Israel for US support and attention. Therefore risking a lot more than they might have been prepared to risk six months ago to achieve a "spectacular" might now be a more pressing concern, even if the conventional military wisdom is that it's a bit of a stretch.

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39 Russian vehicles lost in a renewed attack on Avdiivka. One Russian milblogger says that by his estimate Russia has already expended more lives, more vehicles and more munitions in two weeks on that front than the Ukrainians have for their entire summer offensive, for much smaller gains.

On a profound question, why the hell are any Russians driving TOS-1 thermobaric launchers anywhere within Ukrainian territory? I've lost track of how many have been lost like this, with zero survivability for the crew in every case (I've seen a couple where they weren't driving around loaded, where there was at least a small chance the crew might have escaped).

 

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

39 Russian vehicles lost in a renewed attack on Avdiivka. One Russian milblogger says that by his estimate Russia has already expended more lives, more vehicles and more munitions in two weeks on that front than the Ukrainians have for their entire summer offensive, for much smaller gains.

On a profound question, why the hell are any Russians driving TOS-1 thermobaric launchers anywhere within Ukrainian territory? I've lost track of how many have been lost like this, with zero survivability for the crew in every case (I've seen a couple where they weren't driving around loaded, where there was at least a small chance the crew might have escaped).

If you look at Russian history surivivability of what they call "meat" was never a major concern...

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Some claims that the last 3-4 days have seen the worst, concentrated equipment loss for the Russian Army since WWII. At least 1400 killed, more wounded, 120 infantry vehicles destroyed, 55 tanks lost (not sure if those are all tanks but include heavier armoured vehicles as well). Not just at Avdiivka, but in repulsing a heavy armoured assault west of Krashnohorivka and in more fighting on the Lyman and Robotyne fronts.

Russia has resorted to digging tunnels to try to get closer to Avdiivka, but it's too easy (as temperatures drop) to see them via heat scopes and drop artillery on them, so that's not going very well. Russia is also apparently experimenting with unmanned robot cargo vehicles, which seem to be impressive but expensive.

Very little footage from the Kherson front, but reported Russian drone strikes on dug-in Ukrainian positions along the river's south banks.

A Russian pundit/propagandist, Yevgeniy Satanovsky, has been fired from his job. Since then he's been unleashing tirades of invective on his social media channels against his former bosses and colleagues, has insulted Medvedev continuously (deeply comical) and begun discussing who will Putin's successor be. Expect him to disappear off the airwaves shortly.

Ukrainian offensive actions around Verbove appear to have resumed, with Ukrainian forces grinding forwards and taking several additional trenchlines. Infantry formations covered by artillery with Bradley fighting vehicles for support seems to be an effective tactic once an area has been demined.

Edited by Werthead
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Moscow's man in Africa: Yevgeny Prigozhin and the collapse of the French empire
Before his sudden demise, the shadowy Wagner Group leader helped unravel 60 years of French domination in Africa

https://www.salon.com/2023/10/22/moscows-man-in-africa-yevgeny-prigozhin-and-the-collapse-of-the-french-empire_partner/

 

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Ukrainian spies with deep ties to CIA wage shadow war against Russia

A long, in depth piece, which may be of interest to the commentators here who are interested in methods and armaments in this war.

Gift link to go behind sub pay wall:

https://wapo.st/3s1PiA3

Quote

 

.... These operations have been cast as extreme measures Ukraine was forced to adopt in response to Russia’s invasion last year. In reality, they represent capabilities that Ukraine’s spy agencies have developed over nearly a decade — since Russia first seized Ukrainian territory in 2014 — a period during which the services also forged deep new bonds with the CIA.

The missions have involved elite teams of Ukrainian operatives drawn from directorates that were formed, trained and equipped in close partnership with the CIA, according to current and former Ukrainian and U.S. officials. Since 2015, the CIA has spent tens of millions of dollars to transform Ukraine’s Soviet-formed services into potent allies against Moscow, officials said. The agency has provided Ukraine with advanced surveillance systems, trained recruits at sites in Ukraine as well as the United States, built new headquarters for departments in Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, and shared intelligence on a scale that would have been unimaginable before Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine. The CIA maintains a significant presence in Kyiv, officials said. ....

 

 

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