Ukraine Update–Day Three

As a conflict geek I am always looking at the techniques and stuff behind the scene…..this is a series I would like to do until this situation in Ukraine is resolved……For people that want more information…..

This information is put together by SOF News…..

Day Three Of The Conflict….

This is a 24-hour roll up on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ground and air operations, diplomatic initiatives, and NATO response. The Russians launched their offensive in the early morning hours of Thursday, February 24, 2022 with an air campaign of missiles and aircraft. This was followed by simultaneous ground movements of troops and armor from Belarus in the north, Russia in the east, and Russian-occupied Crimea in the south. This is now ‘Day Three’ of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Stiff Ukrainian Resistance. The Russians do not appear to be advancing as quickly as many military analysts thought. This seems to be a combination of a few factors. The Ukrainian armed forces are putting up a determined fight. There are reports that the Ukrainian citizenry are also playing a supporting role. The Ukrainian forces are showing resilience in the face of the Russian onslaught. However, in the near term, the Russians will prevail. Their manpower and military units vastly outnumber the Ukrainians. They have sometimes ten or twenty times the numbers of tanks, airplanes, and helicopters. And the Russians have the vast resources of its huge nation behind them.

The Russian Air Offensive. Moscow’s war optimism has now met reality. While the situation is dire for Ukrainians the resolve of the Ukrainian fighters seems intact. The start of the offensive should have knocked out the Ukrainian air defense systems and decimated its Air Force. But apparently the Russians are not that adept at suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD). However, the Russians have plenty of aircraft to expend – their Air Force has a significant quantitative and qualitative superiority.

The Russian Ground Offensive. Initially it appeared that Russian forces made the most headway in the south with forces fighting up from Russian-occupied Crimea. However, recent analysis indicates that the most territory gained in the past two days may have been along Ukraine’s northern border with Belarus and Russia after the initial invasion units were reinforced. A series of small enclaves along the Ukrainian east border have been secured by Russian forces.

The artillery pieces of Russia will play a huge role in its offensive. The TOS-1 Buratino, a heavy short-range multiple launcher rocket system (MLRS) is equipped with incendiary and thermobaric warheads. It is feared that these weapons will be used in the attack on Kiev. There appears to be a lack of coordination between Russian air support and ground units. Two important air assault operations on key objectives have failed due to lack of good coordination. Key Ukrainian targets have yet to be destroyed and important airfields remain uncaptured.

But the overwhelming numbers of troops and military equipment of the Russians will assure them of a victory in the coming days or weeks. The Russians may revert to their World War II strategy of throwing bodies and equipment at the Ukrainians until they are simply overwhelmed by numbers. Some estimates on social media say the casualty rate is about 1 to 10 (Ukrainian to Russian); although this could be hopeful speculation.

Russian Maritime Operations. Russian warships are patrolling the coast of Ukraine. Its naval assets are taking some of the small islands located off the Ukraine coast. One such island has made the headlines over the past few days due to the heroic resistance by Ukrainian border guards. There are reports of a Russian 1,000 man amphibious landing force near the Ukrainian coast that is likely to be used against one of the seacoast targets still held by Ukrainian defense forces. Control of the Ukrainian coastline will provide Russia with a more dominant strategic position in the Black Sea.

Attack from Belarus. In the initial invasion on Thursday, February 24th Russian troops and tanks poured across the Belarus border into northern Ukraine. This country continues to be a staging area and support zone for thousands of Russian troops that are using this avenue of approach to capture Kiev and cut off Ukrainian troops fighting in eastern Ukraine. The latest news reports indicate that Russian forces continue to mass in Belarus and then move southward into Ukraine. One unit of note is the Russian 76th VDV (Airborne) division currently located in southeastern Belarus.

Kiev. One of the goals of the Russian campaign would be to encircle and then capture the capital of Ukraine. The city is already short of food. An interruption of water and electricity would lead to the start of a humanitarian crisis. The Russians would certainly be assured of victory – capturing Kiev – in time. So at some point the political leadership of the country may surrender the city to spare the civilian population of suffering. Immediately following the fall of Kiev Russia would escort in the ‘new regime’ to take charge. There are reports that Russian special operations forces entered an area just six miles north of the city center but the attack was repelled by Ukrainian forces. The Russian soldiers involved in the Friday attack were wearing Ukrainian military uniforms. Some news reports say that the city (as of Friday night) was already surrounded by Russian forces. Apparently the president of Ukraine has rebuffed U.S. pleas to leave the country and is prepared to ‘go down with the ship‘.

Narrative Battles. Russia has been waging a disinformation campaign for years about Ukraine and NATO. This info war is continuing. Russia is no stranger to social media manipulation. American social media companies are closely monitoring the situation. It will be interesting to see how the social media platforms ‘manage’ this new situation. Read more in “Tech on high alert for Russia’s Ukraine disinformation offensive”, Axios, February 24, 2022.

The Cyber War. Although the Russians are very adept at cyber warfare, they are probably better at the offensive part than the defensive part. Apparently Anonymous has breached the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) website and has now downloaded its contents. In the meantime, hackers from Belarus are targeting the members of the Ukrainian government and military. Ukraine’s internet backbone provider (GigaTrans) has been targeted over the last several days. Russia’s history of destructive cyberattacks in Ukraine is raising concerns about a cyberwar in the future. “Is the cyberwar coming or is it already here?”, Recode, February 25, 2022.

NATO’s Response. NATO’s Secretary General has announced that member nations are now sending military equipment, supplies, and weapons into Ukraine to help with its fight against the invading forces. Five NATO countries have decided to supply weapons to Ukraine and shipments had begun as early as Thursday, February 24th. Elements of NATO’s Rapid Response Force are being moved to eastern Europe. Secretary of Defense Austin says that the United States may train Ukrainian soldiers remotely. There have not been a lot of details on how this would be done . . . or how effective it would be.

NATO and Romania. One of President Putin’s complaints is that NATO’s forces keep getting closer to his borders. He demands that NATO scale back its deployments in Eastern Europe, but his aggressive posture toward neighbors is having the opposite effect. On February 11, 2022, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced plans for a permanent deployment of a NATO battle group to Romania. This Balkan country has strategic importance as it shares a land border with Moldova and Ukraine. It also has a coastline on the Black Sea, a body of water the Russians would like to dominate. JD Fuller, a serving NATO officer with extensive experience working in Eastern Europe, provides his thoughts on this topic in “Romania: NATO’s Next Strategic Frontier?”, Small Wars Journal, February 19, 2022.

No Fly Zone? Probably one of the few things that NATO could do to help Ukraine stop the Russians is to establish and enforce a no fly zone over the Ukraine. But there is no appetite among the European nations for that. Some supporters of the plan cite the no fly zones over Iraq and Serbia. However, things could escalate quickly with a country that has sophisticated air defense systems and nuclear weapons. The U.S. has a (if you watch a RQ-4B Global Hawk keeping tabs on the region as it circles over the Black Sea.

Sanctions. The European Union has responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with legal acts that are aimed at Putin, Lavrov, and other Russian officials. Numerous actions are being taken by the corporate world to disassociate itself from Russian business interests. At least two airlines – Delta and United – have opted out of alliances with Aeroflot. Britain has blocked all Russian flights from its airspace and Manchester United has cancelled its deal with Aeroflot. Poland has denied all Russian commercial overflights. News agencies are cutting their ties with Russian counterparts. The long list of ‘separations’ grow each hour. This will have a psychological and economic impact on the Russian people. Unfortunately, sanctions alone will likely not constitute an immediate deterrent to Putin. (Hudson Institute, Feb 23, 2022).

Future Resistance Under an Occupying Russian Army. The Russians could be in for a long hellish time if they remain in the territories of Ukraine that they have captured and will continue to capture. Ukraine has been preparing for this time when they could be occupied by Russia. It has established auxiliary civilian units to continue a resistance. In addition, there are a number of Ukraine paramilitary militias that have existed for years that will continue operations against the occupying Russians. (Small Wars Journal, Feb 21, 2022).

Irregular Warfare. U.S. special operations forces have been providing instruction to Ukrainian forces in irregular warfare (IW). This type of warfare will prove to be costly to the Russian occupation forces. The longer the fight continues the costlier it will be for Russia. Guerrilla forces can raise havoc along the supply lines that will provide the logistic needs of an occupying force in eastern Ukraine and Kiev. Read more on how IW can cost Russia its victory in “The Key to Blunting Russia’s Strategic Victory in Ukraine and Beyond? Irregular Warfare”, by Spencer Meredith, Modern War Institute at West Point, February 19, 2022.

Hybrid Warfare. Russia has been using offensive hybrid warfare to its advantage over the past few decades; however, it may soon see itself conducting counterinsurgency operations and on the receiving end of hybrid warfare. The current conflict in Ukraine will provide the U.S. special operations community, especially United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Special Operations Command – Europe (SOCEUR), an opportunity for some self-reflection on the future doctrine, organization, and capabilities it needs during this new era of confrontation with Russia . . . and of course, China.

Putin’s Mind. In a long essay published on February 21st (before the invasion), Brian E. Frydenborg explored the pre-invasion composition and disposition of Russian forces in Belarus, Russia, and Russian-occupied Crimea. He then explained the complex relationship between Russia and Ukraine and attempts to understand Putin’s reasoning for an attack on Ukraine. Read more in “The Utter Banality of Putin’s Kabuki Campaign in Ukraine”, Small Wars Journal, February 21, 2022.

I will be reading and listening…..

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17 thoughts on “Ukraine Update–Day Three

  1. Thanks for the update, Chuq! Here i am listening to our national TV-stations. There is much more sarcastic laughter about the German support, with helmets, and now older military equipment from the former GDR stock. I think they will shock Putin, when he watches weapons he had last seen in the museum. xx ;Michael

  2. Have modified my earlier post …

    How to understand Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine?
    To what does this unilateral action compare? Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974? The border dispute, known as the Mexican American War of 1848? A more ancient act of imperialism, the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland took place during the late 12th century?

    The latter example not now nearly as pertinent as the former. The issue at stake, centers not upon Russian interests to keep the Ukraine out of joining NATO, but rather the disgrace of UN hypocrisy and its silence to denounce and condemn this latest invasion by countries who dream, think France, that they should merit the status as a ‘Great Power’ in Europe.

    The UN repeats and perpetuates this continuous drip-cowardice; the UN condemns repeatedly ad infinitum the Jewish State of Israel. Yet when China pulls shtik with the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, likewise comparable to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, UN piety immediately loses its religion. Therefore, it seems to me that Nations should respond to UN hypocrisy by withdrawing membership from this House of Cards club.

    The Russia\China axis thrived during the Stalin\Mao era. China faces a similar fuel crisis as did Japan during WWII. Formosa and the Japanese Islands make control of the ocean quite formidable. Therefore China would very much like to conquer Taiwan. For China to fight and win a war that would most probably trigger multi-national involvement, it requires a secure ally which can supply it with oil and gas. Russia fits that need to a tee. Mao rejected Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin’s war crimes. That’s when Sino–Russian relations turns south.

    Russia, even after the fall of the USSR, remains the odd man out among Nato dominated Western European governments. The West, currently jabbering about sanctions blah blah. The Art of War centers upon crippling the supply lines of the enemy. A failure which defines the defeat of US imperialist invasions in both Vietnam and Afghanistan. Those supply lines represent the underbelly of the beast. Quite naturally all belligerent nations understand this critical weakness. A Sino-Russian alliance make tremendous good strategic sense for a new Cold War Russia.

    It seems to me, that the art of politics centers upon whose feet a person can singe in the fire. As a person with duel citizenship, do not want the US to go to war over the Ukraine and Israel ,,, Simply — Hell No. So who can the public hold accountable? For me there’s a simple solution. Denounce, condemn, and expel the UN from New York.

    Weaknesses to my arguments … Brought no proof of US sanctions against Russia. Sanctions constitute part of Washington’s standard operating procedures. The US frequently boycotts, for example, the Olympics. The Russian pipeline to Germany … its almost completed. But Washington opposes this economic alliance with Russia. The Ukraine invasion serves as a pretext for Washington to exert diplomatic pressure opposing the completion of this pipeline. A knee-jerk reaction which Moscow fully expects. Both Russia and China would like to take the dominance of the international US dollar down a notch or two.

    Also my opening blog made no attempt to argue, much less prove, that the UN exists as an illegitimate bastard child of the Allied victors of WWII. This seems an obvious given to me, seeing that the League of Nations spouted out of the puss of the Great Powers following WWI. The UN invites all nation who agree to honor their charter. The UN Charter mandates that the UN and its member states will maintain international peace and security, uphold international law, achieve “higher standards of living” for their citizens, address “economic, social, health, and related problems”, and promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

    What a pompous highfalutin load of political rhetoric. North Korea honors this narishkeit in the breach. The UN has never expelled a member nation for violating its “charter”. Lastly the Ukraine, originally part of ‘Mother Russia’. Russia has every right to determine its international borders which directly involve the Ukraine. States who share no common border with Russia, unlike Poland and the Ukraine, they have no business what so ever getting directly involved in this border dispute. Why? Whenever a foreign country which shares no common border with other countries, should a “hostile State” attempt to impose the borders of any country to which it shares no common borders, such a policy defines the criminal war crime known as “Imperialism”.

    The Ukraine shares a 530 km border with Poland. Its one thing for an invading army to conquer a country like the criminal Bush Administration conquered Iraq. Something all together different for that invader country to hold and maintain Order within that conquered country. This invasion, it promises gorilla warfare for many years to come.

    Unless Mother Russia commits millions of troops to enforce the extension of its international borders to include the disputed Ukraine\Russian borders. Should Moscow commit itself to such a policy, it seems very reasonable to equally assume that if the border with Poland proved itself as hostile … that the Russian military could patrol and close down the borders between Poland and the Ukraine. Poland has a long history, wherein Great European powers – have carved that country, something like a Thanks-Giving turkey, into divide ‘spheres of interest’. Russia, unlike France, it primarily fought and defeated the Nazis. Without any question or doubt it qualifies as a “Great Power” within the States of Europe.

    The French poodle, all it can do – bark like a dog. France has made noise for so long. Russia has gotten used to its empty bark which has no bite. England, remains an occupied nation by the US military forces. It hardly qualifies, especially since the total collapse of its empire, as a Great Power State within Europe. And perhaps this reality nails the 2nd world status of Western European nations, straight upon the head. Post WWII, Europe has no mandate as a Great Power in international politics. Phony attempts by these wannabe, former Great Powers, to impose their criminal imperialism upon nations to which they share no common borders, merits the respect shown to a person who farts in an elevator.

    This brings us full circle back to the UN talking puppet. The UN attempts continually to impose borders upon nations. The states who vote these criminal policies in both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, they share no common borders with the nations which UN meddling seeks to establish. The obligation of diplomacy rests first and foremost with the nations who share a border dispute eruption.

    But what so often transpires alien foreign nations, together with their Press make ad hominem irrational slanders against the leaders of a dispute country which they oppose. Nation states always have strategic interests which have thrived and lived on from generation to generation. State strategic interests vis a vis border state nations do not change like a fashion model removes outfits from off her body. Leaders, both talented and incompetent, come and go — but the strategic interests of a Nation remain permanently fixed.

    The irrational and utterly absurd ad hominem slander attacks foreigners condemn the leaders of conflict nations, this reveals the shallow hollow nature of the people who make these ad hominem slanders, not the leaders who set the policy of State to achieve strategic national interests.

  3. I watch this on the news for long periods every day, and I keep asking the same question. Where is the combat footage? During fighting in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other recent war I can think of, we saw combat footage almost hourly. The BBC has senior war correspondents in most Urainian cities, yet all they do is report ‘talking-head’ style from outside buildings in the centre.

    Ukraine claims to have killed or captured 4,000 Russian troops. They also claim that many are 19 year-old conscripts, with no combat experience.
    Russia is claiming control of airports and river crossings, using special forces, marines, and paratroops landed by helicopter. They claim Ukrainian losses are ‘heavy’ and that they have destroyed armoured columns.

    So why no footage from either side, or from the ‘neutral’ teams of reporters in that country?

    So far, all I have seen is a missile hit on a residential block in Kiev, and film of a Ukrainian jet fighter downing Russian aircraft that later proved to be a scene from an air-battle simulation video game.

    I’m confused.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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