(This photo is a before and after picture of Russia’s attack on the UAF ammunition depot near Zhytomyr on May 28, 2023.)
With all the loose talk from Ukraine and the West about the upcoming (or underway) counter offensive, it is natural for some observers to conclude that Russia is sitting back waiting to see what unfolds. That is wrong.
Before delving into the details of what Russia is doing, I want to highlight the latest delusional pronouncement by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who reports he has been briefed on Ukraine’s looming operation. Graham says:
“The Russians are ‘in for a rude awakening’ when the Ukrainian counter-offensive begins. In the coming days, you will see a rather impressive show of force by the Ukrainians,” he said.
Not sure what constitutes an “impressive show of force” but Ukraine has stepped up its attacks on Russian civilian targets and continues to try to send special forces teams on raids into Russian territory. Ukraine, with encouragement from its Western backers , is trying to carry out a terrorist campaign in the vain hope that it will incite panic among the Russian populace and stir unrest among the Russia leadership. The failed drone attack on Moscow this week is one manifestation of this “strategy”. Here are some of the latest Ukrainian efforts:
In the area of the Berkhovsky reservoir, the enemy attempted to storm the landing according to his favorite scheme: a jump of an armored group with infantry and the fastest approach to our positions. However, the landing infantry of the Armed Forces of Ukraine quickly came under machine-gun and artillery fire from our marines, and one of the YPR-765s was hit by an ATGM shot. As a result, the enemy could not withstand the resistance and hastily retreated.
Over the past two weeks, the intensity of the Belgorod region border territories shelling has significantly increased. Yesterday the region bypassed the #Donetsk agglomeration in terms of the number of incoming AFU ammunition. At the same time, explosions continue to rattle in several districts of the #Belgorod region today. Seven civilians have been injured and one person has died alone in the last two days.
Three sabotage and reconnaissance groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been disabled close to Timkovka, Sinkovka, and Kotlyarovka. Up to 70 Ukrainian personnel, two armoured vehicles, and four pick-up trucks were neutralised. (They were reportedly headed to the Russian border with Ukraine).
There is a stark difference between the Ukrainian and Russian attacks. Ukraine is continuing its tradition of shelling civilian targets while Russia is focused on taking out Ukrainian military personnel, installations and infrastructure.
Russia is continuing its shellacking of Ukrainian postions:
- 10 explosions reported in Kiev tonight so far
- Ukraine mass media reports of explosions in Kherson
- Ukraine mass media reports of explosions in the Kharkov region
- Reports of explosions in Sumy region.
- Extensive airstrikes are reported upon Ukrainian positions in Zaporozhye Oblasts, specifically rear echelon positions on artillery firing points and logistics depots by the Russian Aerospace Forces. These air strikes use guided bombs and disrupt UKR preparations for their offensive.
It appears that one of Russia’s objectives is to force Ukraine to fire expensive air defense assets (a rapidly diminishing amount) against low cost drones. This is degrading Ukraine’s ability to protect Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and enhances Russia’s capability to use fixed wing aircraft on strike deeper inside Ukrainian territory.
The Wagner Group is no longer the number one story. I continue to believe that the media focus on Wagner was part of a Russian information operation to distract attention from the activities of Russia’s main military forces. It looks like Russia is shifting the Wagner information operation back to the Chechens, who were the featured force in the capture of Mariupol in May 2022. The Akhmat battalion i s back in the news and Yevgeny Prigozhin, a GRU mouthpiece, is touting their prowess.
“Akhmat” will deal with certain areas. They don’t have the task of liberating the entire DPR. They will deal with certain areas in which they will operate,” said the head of the PMC “Wagner”.
In short, Russia is pressing Ukraine along the front lines and hitting military targets in Western Ukraine, near the Polish border, and Ukraine has no answer. Just because the Western media is avoiding reporting on Russian activities that does not mean Russia is asleep at the wheel. At a minimum Russia is making sure that the political and military officials in Kiev and Lviv are not getting a good night’s sleep.