Western military leaders are doing a poor job of hiding their growing consternation about the progress of Russian in achieving the “de-militarization” of Ukraine. Following Poland’s announcement it was sending T-72 tanks to Ukraine Russia upped the ante:
Russia has suspended gas supplies to Poland under the “Yamal contract” – Polish portal Onet
According to the newspaper, the Russian Federation did not inform the Polish side about the reasons for the suspension of supplies. A crisis group has already been urgently convened in the Polish government.
This is not only a blow to Poland but to other European countries who rely on the gas the travels throught the pipelines in Poland. I think the Germans and French will be taking more cold showers in the coming days. Even in the summer, icy water is not always refreshing.
Besides turning the economic screw on Europe, Russia is sending a clear message with bombs and missiles–the Russians blew up key railroad junctions west of Kiev, effectively cutting the ability of moving any tanks or heavy equipment to the east. Here is the map of the latest strikes (confirmed by the Ukrainians):
Jacob Dreizin provides important insight into the technical implications of this strike:
Russian cruise missiles destroyed a total of six traction substations within the Ukrainian rail system, paralyzing electric train traffic (and thus, all rail traffic) in western Ukraine.
Traction substations house transformers that take power from the grid and convert it to the voltage, amperage, and frequency needed to drive electric train motors through overhead lines or (more often) third rails.
This is not Union soldiers blowing up Confederate railroad tracks that can be quickly repaired. Replacing iron rails may be easy. Finding new transformers is more troublesome (where are they made, for example).
There are three ways to move military materiel to the Ukrainian soldiers getting pounded in the Donbas–air, railway and trucks. Ukraine has no air assets to move such equipment. So scratch that option. Rail transport was a possible option until today. But the eight rail road junctions suffered serious damage and are inoperable for the near term. Can they be repaired? Sure, with time and the necessary material. But Ukraine and NATO have yet to come up with a solution to stop the Russian aerial onslaught of cruise missiles. If we rebuild it the Russians will destroy it again.
That leaves trucks. Forget about it. The Ukrainians do not have enough trucks to carry out a significant resupply and any sizeable column of trucks will face the same fate as the railroad junctions. They will be destroyed enroute. The only hope for Ukraine is that Russia runs out of precision guided missiles. If that happens then Russia will have to rely on dumb bombs. But that silver lining is not so shiny. Trucks are still a big fat target and are not accompanied by mobile air defense systems. The Russians still have de facto air supremacy in Ukraine.
POLITICO, in a surprising act of journalism, provides a gripping first hand account of what it is like to be on the receiving end of Russian artillery and aerial bombardment in the Donbass. It ain’t pretty:
Eighty miles north of the city, First Lt. Ivan Skuratovsky, serving in the 25th Airborne Brigade, told POLITICO that help needs to come immediately.
“The situation is very bad, [Russian forces] are using scorched- earth tactics,” the 31-year-old married father of two said via text. “They simply destroy everything with artillery, shelling day and night,” he said via text.
He fears that if reinforcements in the form of manpower and heavy weaponry — particularly air support — don’t arrive in the next few days, his troops could find themselves in the same position as those in Mariupol.
Skuratovsky described his soldiers’ situation as “very desperate.”
“I don’t know how much strength we will have,” he said, adding that the troops under his command around the city of Avdiivka, near Donetsk, have gone without rest since the start of the war. At least 13 of them have been wounded in recent weeks, he said, and they are running dangerously low on ammunition, reduced to rationing bullets.
The day before, he told POLITICO his soldiers were being bombarded with Russian howitzers, mortars and multiple-launch rocket systems “at the same time.” Just hours earlier, he said, they had been attacked by two Su-25 warplanes, “and our day became hell.”
Skuratovsky had a message for the United States and other NATO countries: “I would like to tell them that grenade launchers are good, but against airstrikes and heavy artillery we will not be able to hold out for long. People can no longer endure daily bombardments. We need air support now. We need drones.”
First Lieutenant Skuratovsky clearly does not understand the capability of Russian air defense systems, which have been shooting down Ukie drones in devastating numbers. And drones do not solve the problem of resupplying troops that are being encircled by the Russians. As I noted in previous posts, the Russians are cutting key lines of communications (i.e., roads) that are needed for trucks hauling needed supplies.
Desperate me do stupid things. The Russians do not appear desperate to me. The same cannot be said for the Ukrainian troops in the Donbas.
the msm declare russia weak and lost soldier and tanks by thousands , many russian tanks captured by ukraine troops , hundreds of russian fixed wing and rotor crafts were shotdown by ukraine ace ghost of kiev , russian troops running away due to lack of ammo food fuel.. and running out of guided weapons too. Every ukraine news call for renewed offensive pushing russian out of ukrraine proper and invade russia.
just how much these nonsensical lies will hold up when the ground truth start to emerge that russian special operation have reach their objectives ?
those sheep who insult Canadian truckers protesters as NAZIs now openly support and praise real NAZIs in ukraine.. what a sad sad joke
Ellis Aluyi says
Couldn´t have said it better, thank you.
Thank you for your comment. You seem to forget the freest press in the world can immediately change the narrative to say empty shelves in Super Markets or what ever at the drop of the hat. Remember they didn’t bat an eye to change narrative from Covid to defense of Demorcracy in Ukraine.
Moreover, consider Anthony Blinken boasting about his step father being freed from a Nazi German concentration camp.
And Lloyd Austin, no disciple of Martin Luther King or Black Lives Matter; rather:
“Immediately after retiring as CENTCOM Commander, Austin joined the board of Raytheon Technologies, a military contractor, in April 2016. As of October 2020, his Raytheon stock holdings were worth roughly $500,000 and his compensation, including stock, totaled $2.7 million.” (Wikipedia)
Nothing but conflicts of interest there! War for money in guise of “saving democracy”. Nonsensical indeed. Downright jokers and scammers…
This First Lt. Ivan Skuratovsky, makes me laugh. He states, “the troops under his command around the city of Avdiivka, near Donetsk, have gone without rest since the start of the war and at least 13 of them have been wounded in recent weeks.”
Right, not one soldier has been killed and only 13 injured. His masters taught him well.
At war, one side losses more. Regardless of fault, this is a tragedy – and like a stone thrown into a lake, the ripples of pain and sadness will go on and on and on
His truly is tragic. Human kinds best, most courageous are being killed en masse while preserving the terminally stupid to reproduce. The human gene pool may never recover.
This essay is sad, hard to read, but needs to be
D.E. Murray says
Agree. I feel sorry for the regular Ukrainian soldiers. Azov, not so much.
Thanks Larry, I read this for my listeners & shared it to my social media.
What is your view on the Ukraine /West attacks / potential attack on Transnistria.
It’s said to have massive ammunition store.
Romanian, Moldovan and Ukrainian attacks on it are reported to be launching soon.
Can Russia fight effectivenely on two fronts if NATO attack Transnistra. It’s close to Odessa so I can see why it’s being targeted
M Droy says
Poland has had it’s gas cut off (for now, and it isn’t an urgent issue in April, they have all summer to up their stock levels before winter).
But is this because of the T-72 tanks? Or because it has refused to pay in Rubles?
The latter probably.
Actually even “paying in Rubles” is a euphemism. It means exchanging hard currency with Russian central bank – which is Russia’s method of making sure all payments arrive in a form that Russia can use. That is why so many countries have found ways to “pay in Rubles” without breaking their “principles”.
Poland is just being Poland on this, and I have no doubt they will revert to “Paying in Rubles” instead of paying lip service to principles soon.
They refused to pay in rubles.
But they are still going to buy Russian gas they will just pay more to buy it indirectly from Germany who will have to pay in rubles to get it.
They are hanging on about getting gas from Norway in Oct if if that pipeline is done, but Norway does not have enough gas for all Europe. And they top up their own gas from guess where.
So it’s a let’s pretend merry go round where everyone pretends they are not buying from Russia while buying indirectly from Russia
Larry no doubt you have seen this already. It is very good.
Larry Johnson says
I had not seen this. Many thanks. An excellent piece providing context and sound understanding of Ukrainian political dynamics.
We have this little tid bit from the Turks. I haven’t seen an English version of this yet, but I talks about somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 high level Nato personnel in the catacombs of the Azovstal plant. Macron asked Putin to set up a humanitarian corridor to allow escape of the Nazis holed up there without any admission that up to 50 of them are French.
Putin refused, saying he would accept surrender. It appears they are under orders not to surrender.
It could be interesting. But Nato certainly doesn’t want them talking in a war crimes tribunal.
Thank you for this link to one of the best synopsis yet on the crisis.
Thanks. This needs to be spread far and wide. This essay opened a lot of eyes for people I know.
We need to get more eyes here on sonar21.
Eric Newhill says
In addition to the logistics issues in getting the stuff to the front, there are two other problems. Most of the weapons systems that are being sent are old mothballed tanks, etc. Outdated. More challenging to my mind is that UKR troops would have to train to learn how to use the systems. Training camps would be obvious to the Russians and would be destroyed; along with the weapons systems and the troops training to use them. MSM, politicians and retired brass are funny. They act like you just send them the systems and the troops automatically know how to use them in combat.
Also, the US military is depleting itself when they send current good stuff. For example, Raytheon just said that they haven’t built stinger missiles in years and they really don’t have the components and assembly processes to build new ones any time soon. China is noting this as it eyes Taiwan? The insane idea of sending US 777 artillery pieces to UKR suffers from all of the issues; from inability to get them safely to the front, need to train on them without being detected and destroyed and depleting US forces of very critical cannons.
I don’t know how much longer NATO can afford to send weapons and ammo for the Russians to use for target practice.
Eric Newhill says
I have people telling me (and with media sources, of course) that the EU (even Germany) was beginning to wean themselves off Russian fossil fuels anyhow and that by this Fall they will have alternative sources.
I don’t buy that for a second. Even if there’s some element of truth to it, it seems like an extreme gamble to build out new sources + infrastructure with winter coming on.
Anyone have any thoughts? Thanks.
how ? numbers dont add up , by consumption alone it is impossible to get gas/oil from outside sources without high pricing.
Eric Newhill says
Allegedly by shipping from other countries (US, Iran, Venezuela and North Atlantic) and some kind of reconfiguration of the pipeline networks. Agree, the numbers don’t add up any way I look at it. I thought I might be missing something.
IMO, it is merely the latest propaganda of the ” ’tis but a scratch” variety (reality denial) now that Poland has been cut off from Russian fuel and Russia is threatening to weaponize the fossil fuels via denial of service to the rest of Europe.
“Finding new transformers is more troublesome…”
That’s the understatement of the year. If the rail systems are anything like electric utilities in the US then there is a consortium that owns a limited number of reserve transformers as the normal failure rate is negligable and nobody wants a couple million in inventory on the books if the normal risk is that low (hooray for finance!). After they are put into service the reserves will be zero for a long time. We saw this with various transformers in the US after hurricane Andrew (though that was an issue of weeks) and in Iraq after Gulf War 2 as we blew up a hell of a lot of infrastructure.
Larry Johnson says
I was trying to be cautious brother. I appreciate you pointing out how serious this is.
“Rachet up” indeed. Attacking lines of communication (LOC) and centers of gravity (CoG) definitely take this to a higher level…I was kinda wondering what was taking the Russians so long to get to that point.
I respect First Lt. Ivan Skuratovsky’ “scorched earth” narrative–he’s a fighting man and has earned my attention. I’m not on the ground but in my opinion the Russian forces are not anywhere close to a “scorched earth” scenario…when I think of scorched earth I think of Sherman’s March to the Sea in the American Civil War. The Russians have been quite restrained so far in my humble opinion–it could get a lot worse for Ukrainian forces.
Give it a few more weeks and I predict a paradigm shift on the part of the EU and NATOstan…I see a couple of courses of action (COAs)
1. NATO becomes more belligerent and commits forces into Ukraine…stupid move but maybe
2. EU comes out of their delusional US trance and rethinks its relationship with Russia especially in terms of NATGAS and oil supply shortages…smart move by Putin suspending gas supplies to Poland…possible COA bu
oops I got cut off….
2. con’t…this COA depends on how much longer the EU masses are willing to sacrifice their own well being and livelihood for the Ukrainians…
3. The Ukrainian forces are rendered combat ineffective and can no longer defend or attack–forcing them to the negotiating table…I see this as the most likely COA
4. Disney moves it Florida operations to Kiev…you always have to have a “throw away COA”
…anyone have any other possible COAs…it’s not looking to good for the Ukrainians, EU or NATO right now.
Larry Johnson says
Too damn cold in Ukraine. I was there in September 30 years ago and it was chilly. Mickey Mouse would die of frostbite.
Eric Newhill says
5. Poland moves into Western UKR…..I see this as likely.
Explanation – The US and NATO assess that UKR is getting its ass handed to it by Russia. Any way you slice it, Russia will ultimately win. UKR, Zelensky, et al are a lost cause. However, being defeated in this proxy war is unacceptable to US/NATO. So Poland and maybe some other NATO country bordering UKR move into UKR to secure a large swath of Western UKR. Basically a Polish (+other?) expansion. Russia cannot attack a NATO country. UKR dissolves. Russia keeps the Donbas for now. Poland increases its hold on Western UKR. Down the road, Poland and Russia clash along the Dnieper River. WW3 begins.
In this same issue Politico writes: “Two weeks ago, Ukrainian forces armed with anti-tank American Javelin missiles and British NLAWs surprised the world when they forced a Russian retreat in the battle for Kyiv”
They are hilarious and don’t assume they were totally fooled by the Russian strategy of forcing most of the Ukrainian army to station in Kiev to defend the capital from a fake Russian attack. Then the Russians abandoned Kiev to reinforce their troops in Donbass and are now bombing roads where Ukrainian troops could be transported to Donbass.
And the stupid, when occupying a land abandoned by unnecessary to russians, boast that they have won a great military victory.
Larry; what do you think is actual motivation for Germany to send their antique Gepard anti-aircract “tanks” to Ukraine. I started suspecting it was to get the Russians to waste precision missiles blowing them up, but I’m not sure NATO command is capable of that kind of strategy.
The tanks would never be effective against Russian forces or aircraft, plus I think the Swiss who made the ammunition are saying they allow any to be supplied for this conflict.
Trying not to be cynical here, but are they just trying to dump their useless old junk on Ukraine so the US will send new stuff to replace it?
This is all making less and less sense by the day.
Larry Johnson says
It is akin to going to a Sushi Restaurant and choosing to eat the two day old California rolls. A deadly illusion.
Larry Johnson says
You got it. Justification for buying new tanks that will be costly museum pieces.
they would do better to send old ancient shilka from east german stock if there anything left. gepard is overly complicated machine
Thanks Larry, I read your review of the situation in Ukraine. I am glad that there are people who are trying to understand and assess the situation, and not just scold Russia. I will wait for further reviews on the situation in Ukraine, although it sounds strange “The Russian guy is waiting for a review on the situation in Ukarin on the US website.” Good luck
Larry Johnson says
I understand history. At least some. Please read my new piece. Your comments as a Russian are especially welcomed.
is there no shame of this guy posting obvious propaganda nonsense ? you can almost feel the hate toward russian in every post of this lithuanian garbage
“SpaceX shut down a Russian electromagnetic warfare attack in Ukraine last month — and the Pentagon is taking notes” – TTG
“Comment: Not really news by now, but sharp work by Musk, SpaceX and Starlink. First they got the terminals into Ukraine within a few days. Next they moved the satellites into place to optimize reception and then they spanked the Russians’ much vaunted radio-electronic combat capability. I was expecting much more from the Russians in this field, but it appears their marketing far out stripped their true capabilities here as in the rest of their military. “
Why are you making that comment here rather than over there?
do you really have to ask ????