Ukraine–Day 24

My continuing series to highlight the daily struggle of the Ukrainian people against the forces of ‘Vlad the Invader’….

Russian Campaign Update. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said (Mar 17) that President Putin “may be growing more desperate” as Ukraine mounts fierce resistance to the invasion and the Russian offense is stalled. He believes Russia is using its propaganda to develop the narrative of Ukraine planning to use biological or chemical weapons. It is believed that this would lay the groundwork for Russia to employ these weapons but blame Ukraine. The invasion has been costly to the Russians, with an estimated 7,000 soldiers killed. Ukrainian military losses are said to be around 1,300. Russian troop morale has plummeted. The supply problems persist – shortage of food, fuel, and ammunition.

Air and Sea. Russian missiles have struck a number of targets across eastern Ukraine. Kyiv and Kharkiv are experiencing periodic shelling by the Russians. It is estimated (U.S. DoD) that over 1,080 missiles have been fired at Ukraine since the start of the invasion. There are reports that Germany and the Netherlands will provide Patriot anti-air missile defense systems to Slovakia; who will provide their S-300 anti-air defense systems to Ukraine. An amphibious landing force on several ships is still positioned in the Black Sea off the coast of Odessa to land a substantial element of Russian naval infantry. The Russian blockade of Ukrainian shipping continues.

Battle for the Cities. The capital city of Ukraine is experiencing shelling but the Russians do not seem to be making much headway in getting closer to the city center. To the west of Kviv and near Brovary (under Ukrainian control) the Russians are digging trenches and defensive positions. The second largest city of Ukraine, Kharkiv, is located in the northeast of the country and has been under attack for weeks. The Ukrainians have mounted limited counterattacks in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donbas, and Mykolayiv areas. An aid convoy reached the besieged city of Sumy near the northeast border area.

Mariupol. Located on the Sea of Azov, the coastal city of Mariupol is under siege by the Russians. This city is situated along the coastal road network that would provide Russia with a land bridge between Russia and the Crimea. About 130 residents have been rescued from a Mariupol theater where up to a thousand sought safety from Russian shelling. Hundreds remained trapped in the rubble and are feared dead. 80% of the city has been destroyed by shelling.

Mykolayiv. Ukrainian forces conducted a major successful counterattack in the vicinity of Mykolayiv. Located on the west bank of the Dnieper River close to the coast of the Black Sea, Mykolayiv is a strategic objective for the Russians that is on the road to Odessa located further west along the coast of the Black Sea. Without significant reinforcements, it is doubtful that the Russians can advance towards Odessa, located on the Black Sea west of Mykolayiv.

Lviv. This western city has been relatively untouched by the war . . . when compared to cities in eastern Ukraine. It has been a haven for thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs). Many Ukrainians are arriving in Lviv and staying 4 to 5 nights before departing for the border. The city receives about 10,000 people daily and there are no available rooms in hostels, hotel, or apartments to rent.

Refugees. As of March 18, over 3,200,000 refugees have left Ukraine according to data provided by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations Migration Agency says that 6.5 million Ukrainians are internally displaced. The Ukraine: Humanitarian Impact Situation Report for March 18 has been posted by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has released a report entitled Humanitarian and Refugee Crisis in Ukraine, PDF, 4 pages, 18 March 2022.

Situation Maps.  War in Ukraine by Scribble Maps. Read an assessment and view a map of the Russian offensive campaign by the Institute for the Study of War. MilitaryLand provides a daily situation update as well as detailed maps of each of the conflict zones in Ukraine. @JominiW provides his detailed SITMAP as well.

Biden Warns China. On Friday (Mar 18) President Biden threatened China with “consequences” if it aids Russia. In a two hour long phone call with Xi Jinping, the president detailed possible U.S. responses should Beijing provide support and assistance to Russia. It is likely that some of these responses would include sanctions on China.

U.S. Weapons to Ukraine. On Wednesday, March 15, 2022, the White House released a statement listing the weapons provided to Ukraine. Since the start of the Biden administration over a year ago about $2 billion in security assistance has been provided to Ukraine. Some of the direct weapons transfers include 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, almost 11,000 anti-armor systems, five Mi-17 helicopters, three patrol boats, satellite imagery and analysis capabilities, and other weapons. “Fact Sheet on U.S. Security Assistance for Ukraine”, The White House, March 16, 2022. One weapon to be provided to Ukraine includes small, one-time use drones recently adopted by U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). Read about it in “U.S. Adds “Kamiakaze Drones” as More Weapons Flow to Ukraine”, Lobo Institute, March 18, 2022.

Russia’s Shadow Warriors. Wagner Group mercenaries have been battle-hardened in Syria, Libya, Central Africa Republic, and Donbas. They are Putin’s de facto private army loosely associated with Russia’s GRU. They are now, according to some press reports, hunting for the President of Ukraine. “The shadow warriors deployed to kill Zelensky”, Asia Times, March 19, 2022.

Tanks Without Infantry = Failure. There aren’t enough Russian infantry units in Ukraine. Many Russian tanks are in combat without infantry support and traveling down roads with no flank security. This lack of foot soldiers, usually found in motorized rifle regiments, means that Russian maneuver capabilities are limited. A tank’s armor is up front, not on the sides or in the rear. Infantrymen protect a tank’s sides and rear; but in their absence the tanks are vulnerable to ambush by the enemy from anti-armor weapons like the Javelin, NLAW, and others. Tanks in combat are ‘buttoned-up’ with limited visibility. David Axe provides the details: “In Ukraine, Russian Tanks Are Fighting Without the Protection of Infantry”, Forbes, March 15, 2022.

Bread Prices Rise Worldwide. Russia and Ukraine provide 30% of the world’s wheat. The Ukraine War is affecting the food supply worldwide and bread prices are going up. The United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP) says that poorer countries will be most affected by the shortage of wheat.

Russian Astronauts. Apparently three Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station on Friday (Mar 18) in flight suits made in yellow and blue, seeming close to the colors of the Ukrainian flag. They are on board the ISS for a six-month long stay, joining the crew of two Russians, four Americans, and one German. Where their standard-issue blue uniforms are is unknown at this time. “Russian cosmonauts arrive at ISS in colours of Ukrainian flag”, The Times, March 19, 2022.

Rough Start for Foreign Legion? Andrew Milburn, a retired Marine Corps officer who served with MARSOC, is now on assignment in Ukraine for Task & Purpose. He writes about his initial impression of the ‘internationals’ who are joining the Ukrainian’s unit for foreigners. His first impression is mixed. “Legion of the damned: Inside Ukraine’s army of misfits, veterans, and war tourists in the fight against Russia”, Task & Purpose, March 18, 2022.

Escaping the Russians – and Crowdsourcing. Volunteer groups have formed up to provide a way out of the cities currently being bombed and shelled by the Russians and on the verge of capture. Volunteers in Ukraine and abroad are coordinating rides from eastern Ukraine cities to western Ukraine and beyond into neighboring countries on buses, private vehicles, and in taxis. “Ukraine: How crowdsourcing is rescuing people from the war zone”, BBC News, March 19, 2022.

House votes on Trade with Russia. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to suspend normal trade operations with Russia. In a vote of 424 to 8, the representatives voted to strip Russia of preferential trade status and impose higher tariffs. Eight members of the Republican party voted in opposition to the bill.

Ukrainian Women Standing Strong. Some 32,000 women who belonged to the Ukrainian defense forces before the Russian invasion are now patrolling checkpoints and on the front lines. Many more women have joined the country’s armed forces since the invasion. “Ukrainian women stand strong against Russian invaders”, The Washington Post, March 18, 2022.

Pravda Propaganda – and 3 NG Members KIA. The Russian media outlet reported that three members of the Tennessee National Guard died while fighting in Donbas, Ukraine. The news outlet called them U.S. ‘mercenaries’. They listed the names of three current or former members of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment who served during a 2018 training mission in Ukraine. The National Guard says the three individuals are accounted for, not in Ukraine, and are alive. (Military Times, Mar 17, 2022)

How Ukraine Wins. Timothy Garton Ash expects Ukraine to suffer through a Russian campaign of long-distance bombardment and siege. But he describes how Ukraine can win the war. “How Ukraine can win”, The Spectator, March 19, 2022.

Website – “Center for National Resistance”. The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) announced the creation of an official website for the “Center for National Resistance”. The center will support and coordinate those who are fighting for the liberation of Russian occupied territory. It provides guidance on urban warfare and insurgent activities. The website will be run by Ukrainian Special Operations Forces. It is in Ukrainian with an English option.

U.S. Assistance to Insurgency – Vital. Christopher Costa, currently the executive director of the International Spy Museum, is a former career intelligence officer. He argues that the United States needs to start now to help setup the Ukrainian resistance to fight the occupation of the Russians. “The US must help the resistance wage the ‘other war’ in Ukraine”, The Hill Opinion, March 15, 2022.

The conflict is set to be more violent and more chaotic in the coming days and weeks….I will be watching…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


Saturday’s News Dump

Weather here has improved (for now) so I took advantage and got the garden started….tomatoes, potatoes, radishes, herbs….my citrus is in bloom as well as my blueberries and the figs are filling out nicely……more to come….

Enough about my boring life……

Ukraine/Russia conflict has taken some of the news and sent it to the news dump files…..and IST is proud to bring some of this news to light.

New Hampshire made the news when a small group brought a bill to light for a ‘national divorce’ from the US…..

The nation will hold at 50 states for now, after New Hampshire legislators voted down a constitutional amendment calling for the state to secede. Lawmakers said it was the first secession vote held in any US legislature since the Civil War era, WMUR reports. The measure would have sent voters an addition to the state’s constitution saying New Hampshire “peaceably declares independence from the United States and immediately proceeds as a sovereign nation,” per the AP.

The vote to reject the measure, which was brought by libertarian Republicans, was 323-13. All 13 supportive votes came from Republicans; it needed the votes of three-fifths of the Legislature to go to voters. “This is not a fringe idea. #NationalDivorce trends on the internet,” said GOP Rep. Matthew Santonastaso, adding, “National divorce is going to happen.” Some of the sponsors had signed onto a document in 2020 calling the state government illegitimate and Gov. Chris Sununu a tyrant. Claiming fraud, they said the 2020 election was void.

Other Republicans said voting for the bill violated the oath of office, and some Democrats called the attempt treason. “It is beyond disgraceful, and it is a stain on the proud history of this state that we even have to entertain this,” said Democratic Rep. Timothy Smith. Supporters of the amendment said they’re not giving up. “This amendment reinforces Article VII of our Constitution, which declared New Hampshire to be forever a free, sovereign and independent state,” said Republican Rep. Michael Sylvia.

A colossal waste of time and energy for a legislative body.

Ever looked at a pony tail on a girl and immediately went to some sexual fantasy?

Apparently it is a problem in Japan…..

The Japanese school system is rife with strict rules on what students can wear, from their socks to their hair.

But one rule is now attracting growing backlash for the reasoning behind it: female students are banned from wearing their hair in ponytails because men could find the nape of their necks arousing.

Former teacher Motoki Sugiyama is taking a stand over the strict rules in Japanese schools, taking a deep dive with VICE World News on the reasoning behind the tough regulations.

“They’re worried boys will look at girls,” Sugiyama said. “I’ve always criticised these rules, but because there’s such a lack of criticism and it’s become so normalised, students have no choice but to accept them.”

My state of Mississippi has drank the stupid kool-aid and passed a bill that will limit CRT being taught (a course that is taught nowhere in the state school system with the exception of law school and it is NOT mandatory)…..

Blaming the “radical left” and the news media for spreading misinformation about “critical race theory,” Gov. Tate Reeves signed legislation Monday limiting the teaching of racial issues in schools. “Across the country, we’re seeing a full-court press by a vocal minority of well-organized and well-funded activists who seek to tear down the unity that has helped make our country great,” Reeves said, per the Oxford Eagle. The measure takes effect immediately, per the AP. Democratic Rep. Zakiya Summers was critical. “Censoring teachers, dismantling education bit by bit, attempting to erase the past, refusing to acknowledge the hurt and the horror and the heinous acts that have been done to my people and then hiding behind this ‘inferior versus superior’ argument—that’s what this bill will do,” she said. Our original story from March 4 follows:

The same Mississippi Legislature that proclaimed racial reconciliation after removing the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag nearly two years ago passed a bill Thursday to limit how race can be discussed in classrooms. Several Black legislators said during the six-hour debate that the bill could squelch honest discussion about the harmful effects of racism because parents could complain if history lessons make white children uncomfortable. The Republican-controlled House voted 75-43 to pass Senate Bill 2113. It will go to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, who has pledged to sign it into law, the AP reports. All House votes for the bill on Thursday came from white Republicans.

The bill’s short title says it would prohibit “critical race theory.” But the main text of the bill does not mention or define the theory, and many supporters of the bill also have said they cannot define it. The bill says no school, community college or university could teach that any “sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior.” Democratic Rep. Zakiya Summers of Jackson said she has been told by some colleagues that the bill does nothing substantial but it gives them a talking point at election time. “Censoring teachers, dismantling education bit by bit, attempting to erase the past, refusing to acknowledge the hurt and the horror and the heinous acts that have been done to my people and then hiding behind this ‘inferior versus superior’ argument—that’s what this bill will do,” Summers said.

I get tickled when some ignorant idiot on the Right calls others ‘radical Left’…..Dems are no more radical than I am a Mexican gardener…..anyway another colossal waste of legislative time and energy.

Speaking of CRT…..that idiot Donald the Orange gives a call to arms…..

“Getting critical race theory out of our schools is not just a matter of values, it’s also a matter of national survival,” Trump told his MAGA supporters. So-called critical race theory is not something that is taught in K-12 grades, it is a college-level interdisciplinary means to examine social and institutional constructs surrounding race.

“We have no choice,” Trump continued, a claim he often makes when speaking falsely.

That’s when he laid the groundwork for weaponizing his followers in the racist battle inside his mind that one day may erupt in physical war on our streets.

“The fate of any nation depends upon the willingness of its citizens to lay down – and they must do this – lay down their very lives to defend their country. If we allow the Marxists and communists and socialists to teach our children to hate America there will be no one left to defend our flag or to protect our great country or its freedom.”

This is the biggest non-issue in the nation these days… has become a dog whistle for idiots and haters.

Finally, Daylight Savings Time….I made my thoughts known about this worthless waste of energy and time (no pun intended)…..

Spring Forward (Again)

Now our senators, you know that useless appendage of the governing process, has come up with a bill to make this crap permanent….

If you’re still feeling crabby over Sunday’s time change, take heart: The Senate on Tuesday gave the green light to a proposal to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. If the House does the same and President Biden signs the Sunshine Protection Act, the “fall back” ritual that happens each year would be done away with—eventually. The Hill reports the change would go into effect on Nov. 20, 2023, in order to give airlines and other transportation companies adequate time to prepare. It would make for darker mornings but lighter evenings during the winter. The Hill’s two examples: The sun wouldn’t rise until 8:15am on Dec. 21 in New York, but it wouldn’t set until 5:31pm, versus the typical 4:31pm.

Axios reports the bill, which has Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio as its sponsors, passed by unanimous consent. Politico notes “The quick and consequential move happened so fast that several senators said afterward they were unaware of what had just happened.” It adds that Whitehouse says he has gotten no pledge from Nancy Pelosi to get the bill across the line in the House. The Washingtonian reports Congress approved permanent Daylight Saving Time in 1973, but it wasn’t a long-lived change.

The speaker of the House, another corporate owned Dem, Pelosi has said she likes the idea……

The good news for anyone who hates switching their clocks twice a year: Nancy Pelosi is on board with making daylight saving time permanent, and the Hill reports the proposal passed by the Senate on Tuesday is racking up bipartisan support in the House. The bad news: Pelosi hasn’t committed to taking up the legislation any time soon, noting that Ukraine remains front and center for lawmakers right now. In general, she sounded positive though, saying, “I think it’s not going to be much of an issue for us. But we have to socialize it in our caucus, and our Congress, not just the caucus.”

How much did this stupidity costs the corporations?

This issue is widely unpopular with us mere mortals but that matters not…..if business wants it then they will make it so… buys every politician in DC.

Now you know what news you missed…..aren’t you glad you stopped by?

Enjoy your weekend, my friends.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”