The War for Ukraine Update 6: As Dawn Breaks, Ukraine and Her Defenders Are Battered, But Holding

I’m going to keep this rather short tonight as I’m completely wiped from picking up large boxes, moving them, reorganizing the space they were in, and then moving them back.

As has been the case for the past several days, the Russians increase their operational attack tempo as dawn approaches.

And this just in!

The miles long column of Russian armor is also still slowly making its way towards Kyiv.

This convoy makes no sense. It is out in the open, moving slowly, and completely exposed. From what I understand from the reporting it has no real support behind it. And so far the Ukrainians are not just making bombing run after bombing run at it with their air force or bayraktar drones. I’m beginning to wonder if the Ukrainians have intelligence indicating that the convoy is partially intended as bait to draw their fighters out where the Russian Air Force assets that have not been used very much so far can just engage them. Whatever the reason for its movement and for the Ukrainians seeming to just leave it alone, it is slowly making its way towards Kyiv. Eventually it will have to be dealt with. And given how the Ukrainians have operated so far, I expect they have a plan for doing so.

Putin has now decided to saber rattle at every state that is supplying or resupplying Ukraine with weapons.

And, of course, he’s decided to just start indiscriminately hammer targets in Ukraine, which many, if not most of us, knew was coming. As a result, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced earlier today that he had enough probable cause to open an investigation into Russia for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine and that he was doing so.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN continues to kick ass!

Read the English transcript of that young Russian Soldiers last communication with his mother. The young Russian Soldiers killed or wounded in this war, many of them conscripts that had no idea this is what they were going to be ordered to do, are going to be victims just like untold number of Ukrainians.

And the feral Chechen fighters may be back. The Ukrainians have reported that after they blowed up the warlord that Kadyrov sent to lead them, as well as a good number of the Chechen fighters themselves, the rest fled back to Chechnya. Kadyrov has released this video indicating otherwise. Or maybe he’s sending more.

We have some clarity on the transfer of fighter jets from EU states to Ukraine:

Ukrainian pilots have arrived in Poland to start the process of taking control of fighter planes they expect to be donated by European countries, a Ukrainian government official told POLITICO.

It’s not clear just yet what countries are donating the jets, but European Union security chief Josep Borrell pledged over the weekend that the EU would fund the transfer the fighter planes from multiple countries.

Borrell walked that back slightly on Monday, acknowledging that any transfers wouldn’t come from the EU itself, but would instead be donated “bilaterally” by individual EU countries.

Representatives from the Polish and Slovakian governments did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov on Monday said he had rejected the request.

Poland and Slovakia still fly Russian-made planes similar to those used by the Ukrainian air force, meaning the pilots would not need much training if the planes were transferred.

In a move likely aimed at increasing pressure on Europe to act, the Ukrainian parliament on Monday tweeted that Europe was sending 70 fighter planes to Ukraine, including 28 MiG-29s from Poland, 12 from Slovakia and 16 from Bulgaria, along with 14 Su-25s from Bulgaria.

The fighter plane drama came on top of a flurry of announcements over the weekend that saw European leaders promise a flood of new weaponry for the Ukrainian military to assist in fighting off invading Russian troops, an overt and very public acknowledgment of Europe’s newfound will to inflict pain on the Kremlin for its military adventurism.

Everyone clear now? Good!

The White House has made it clear there won’t be a NATO no fly zone. I understand why. I understand why it is the right strategic decision. As you all know I disagree with it in principle, though recognize why the decision has to be made in practice. Frankly, this is one of those places where national values runs headlong into realpolitik and for the time being realpolitik has to win out.

A number of states, including some surprising ones, have joined the economic reprisals package against Russia. Japan, Singapore, Monaco, and Switzerland are among them. The latter two are the big surprises. Disney has indicated it isn’t going to release any movies in Russia while they are reinvading Ukraine and Netflix told the Russian media regulator to pound sand rather than agree to stream the Russian state tv channels as part of its Russia service that the regulator was requiring. The Russian economy is a mess and it has been announced that the Russian stock market will remain closed on Tuesday. Because that’ll keep it from crashing…

I want to draw everyone’s attention to two excellent threads. The first is the best political-military (pol-mil), defense enterprise/logistics, and socio-cultural analysis of what’s going on I’ve seen so far! And given that the former and the latter are both my professional bread and butter, that’s saying a lot. Just an excellent, exceedingly excellent, very excellent piece of analysis.

The second is a very thorough, in depth analysis of an article mistakenly run by RIA Novosti on 26 February that was supposed to be a self congratulatory victory lap. The thread provides a pretty interesting window into how what the Russians are doing is being presented if not perceived in Russia.

And to finish off a bit of levity:

You want the Tik-Tok video in the second tweet in the thread, not the Alex Jones meme in the first.

I think I’m in love!

Now here’s something you don’t normally see at bar and bat mitzvahs and Jewish weddings! Perhaps at a bris…

And if you’re looking for other ways to support Ukraine and Ukrainians, perhaps a little shopping?

There’s a full description of their operations at the site/storefront including their registration as a Canadian charity. I’ve emailed them to get sizing information as what they have on the site doesn’t make sense, I’ll report back what I find out. I want to order a couple of shirts, but I need to make sure that the XXLs are actually XXLs.

Depending on how things go tomorrow, I want to spend at least part of the update post talking about something I’m not seeing a lot of reporting on, but that I’m sure someone is planning: the need for a humanitarian assistance airlift of food, potable water, and other non-munition, non-weapon supplies into Ukraine. Think the Berlin Airlift, but sized way, way up!

ETA: I’ve removed the Andrew Feinberg tweet as it was inaccurate as to the source of the explosion and slightly revised the text regarding indiscriminate Russian targeting.

 

Open thread!

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