By Nightvision for the Saker Blog

We must evaluate the timing of the Bucha false-flag, which is of great importance and will give us major clues as to the real unfolding of events behind the curtain. It is no coincidence that the single largest mass surrender of the conflict so far occurred literally in the latter part of the same day as the false-flag. There is a clear connection.

Here’s the surrender video for those who haven’t seen it:

In short, Ukrainian command and the western Intel services that control it, are getting desperate. The fall of Mariupol would mean the beginning of a long chain of events that will start a domino effect of collapse for the AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine). The Ukrainian elite obviously knew that one of the last remaining contingents holding Mariupol together at the seams was ready to fall and they needed an event that would somehow disrupt the momentum Russia was soon to have from the upcoming fall of Mariupol. Because it is now clear the battle for Mariupol is nearing its end – the fall of the 501st special marine battalion today was like a giant edifice crumbling from the face of a barely standing building.

The powers that be know that once Mariupol falls, the Russian, Chechen, and DPR forces therein will be freed to immediately begin Phase 2 of the operation. And all indications from my analysis points to the fact that Phase 2 will be much more brutal and swift than what we’ve seen so far, for the following reasons:

  • Particularly after the pullbacks from Kiev, Sumy, Chirnihiv regions, and the injection of freed Mariupol forces, Russia will have more forces than ever concentrated on a much smaller area of operations. This will have a big compounding effect.
  • Freed from the constraints of large urban warfare, where the Russian forces are at a disadvantage, they will instead be facing the open plains of the western Donbass and Dnieper regions which favor the Russian force disposition in every way imaginable. Not only are civilians much easier to evacuate from the small villages and settlements but Russia can much more freely use its ‘big guns’ like the Msta 2S19 self propelled 152mm artillery, the various MLRS including Tos-1 thermobarics, and its fleet of attack choppers – all of which have been completely locked out of the urban battles in Mariupol and Kiev for the reasons of preventing mass civilian death and civil infrastructure destruction. We’ve had a taste already of how a more unrestricted Russian attack can look in the battle of Volnovakha and it was not pretty. I won’t needlessly post the photos/videos but Ukrop forces were brutally gored there.

The Ukr command are desperately trying to forestall these events. They know they stand no chance without some major escalation from NATO and unwilling European friends have been dragging their feet and noncommital about providing the types of arms that would allow Ukraine to stand a chance in Phase 2, in short – things like actual good light armor / tanks. Germany has supposedly agreed to give ancient 1960 BMP-1’s from the GDR era, but even if it manages to effect this the delivery to the frontlines would take time and this is exactly why they need to forestall as much as possible with these ‘false flags’.

Also there’s now reports Czech Republic has sent many T-72s and BMP-1 equivalent (the Czech copies/versions)

And on the topic of urban vs. open warfare. One thing that’s important to mention is, a lot of people claim Russia’s initial strategy of seizing cities was a ‘failure’ of intel because Russia hoped these cities would lay down their arms and embrace Russia and that didn’t happen. But if you really examine the opening more closely, it’s clear that Russia’s plan DID work to a large part – they seized several of their most important key cities in the exact way they wanted, without firing a shot nor destroying the cities in urban warfare. These are: Kherson, Melitopol, Energodar, Berdiansk. The ones they hoped would give up but failed were Kharkov, Kiev, and arguably Nikolayev. It’s obviously a partial success, and more so for the fact that the ones that fell were in the important region that Russia is likely to incorporate in one way or another into its sphere of control anyway. So how can one claim the strategy was a “failure” when Russia now controls this belt of important cities and life there has returned to normal, and the cities are being fully integrated into the Russian economy. New reports show how Kherson and Energodar have created economic commissions which are now coordinating trade economies with Crimea, and fiber internet from Crimea has also now been established linking Kherson directly to the RF and cutting it from the Ukraine.

But back to the first point: we still don’t know the exact objectives of Phase 2, and most of us just assume by far the main thrust will be to close the ‘Great Cauldron’ in Donbass. But there are some indications that Phase 2 will in fact either include or even favor an initial focus on Nikolayev and Kharkov. These are only rumors, but simply something to keep in mind. Western/Ukrainian intel ‘sources’ and chirps from their upper command claim that Russia is set to attack Kharkov, and there is an obvious RF force accumulation towards the Nikolayev axis.

One possibility is that Russia continues to play maneuver warfare and keep Kiev guessing to throw them off and strike them where they’re weak. Everyone fully expected the cauldron to be next and Kiev announced the sending of large reinforcements there, but Russia may instead choose to focus a powerful thrust onto a lesser defended Nikolayev instead, as an example.

Anyway, though there is mostly an operational pause on the ground, at least for the RF side while they regroup, reposition and wait for Mariupol to fall so that they can begin Phase 2, there are still some gains and frontline changes we can speak of.

Reinforcements continue pouring in:

The DPR continue to break through the defensive line in NW Donetsk. There are very gruesome videos of Ukrainian trenches being overrun, littered with the UAF dead.

In the Izyum direction, UAF command has announced the loss of Brazhkivka, which is a town on the way towards Barinkove. Dovenkhe which can be seen here is under attack by RF forces as they appear to be pushing a possible two pronged direction towards Barinkove and Slavyansk.

In the LPR, it appears Ukrainian forces withdrew from the rest of Rubizhnoe and as is their usual tactic (remember the coke factory detonation when they withdrew from NW Donetsk?) they blew up a big chemical plant which now threatens large civilian populations with all sorts of toxic acid.

On the Mariupol front, there appears to be more surrenders, exact numbers not confirmed yet but I heard 30+. As I said previously, Mariupol appears to be crumbling and speeding up.


Also there are several new videos of self-propelled artillery for seemingly the first time being brought in to the frontline. One of the suppositions is that, since the Azov militants are holed up in the factories, the allied forces now feel more comfortable being able to shell them with indiscriminate artillery without inflicting civilian casualties.

Also, for those that haven’t seen it yet, a beret of some sort of French foreign legion or mercenary, as well as a pin were found by Semyon Pegov in Mariupol:

And there continues to be reports that French mercenaries are still trapped in Mariupol and have not yet been evacuated in those previously failed helicopter rescues.

Unconfirmed reports like this: “NATO officers from France, Germany, Britain and “neutral” Sweden got stuck at Azovstal in Mariupol. Right now they are getting in touch with the Russian troops with a request to help them leave, to organize a corridor for the exit. – journalist German Vladimirov.”

Now there are new reports at the time of this writing that RF forces have shot down 2 new Mi-8 helicopters in Mariupol, sources such as Colonel Cassad are reporting. Someone is getting extremely desperate to evacuate some VIPs there it seems. The choppers were allegedly coming over the Azov sea and were shot down on approach and fell into the sea, so we’re unlikely to see crash photos this time, but we’ll see how this report pans out.

Meanwhile Russian marines and DPR troops pour in towards the final frontlines near the factories:

Elsewhere in Dnipro, Ukrainian troops have been filmed committing monstrous brutality against civilians These are the ‘glorious heroes’ that we’re supposed to believe are the ones protecting civilians like in Bucha and elsewhere? Time and time again we see the absolute brutality of Ukrainian troops on civilians. There are countless videos of them shooting civilians from the start of the war. And in general civilians do not seem to be greatly valued in Ukrainian society as the Volkssturm terror wave continues unabated throughout the country, in fact recently it’s spread to taping children, old women, etc, to poles indiscriminately.

One thing that must be noted and expounded upon. What we’re seeing is a shift in Ukrainian tactics from actual, ostensible warfare to psychological warfare almost exclusively. What this means is, Ukraine has ceased even trying to win in the sense of operable offensives / counter-offensives and real strategic battlefield victories. Rather they have now devolved into a strategy where only psyops, intimidation, and propaganda aimed at reducing morale is their chief and primary ‘weapon’ against RF forces.

There hasn’t been a single recorded ‘victory’ of any sort from the Ukrainian side in a long time against actual Russian troops. They are retreating and losing manpower virtually everywhere apart from the places Russia willfully pulled back. But this is a huge difference between being forced to retreat due to suffering losses, and a reorientation in strategy. For instance, in every single place where Russia pulled back, they were actually gaining ground and taking victories against Ukrainian forces. Example: in west Kiev, Russia had captured several new towns and was pushing towards Byshiv and other areas SW of Kiev. But then they simply stopped and pulled back due to the decisions of high command. Same goes in areas like Chernuhiv where we know Russia had just recently made major gains, captured the town of Slavutych and encircled the city of Chernuhiv. Ukrainian forces on the other hand are being brutally driven back and killed en masse as many videos in my possession attest.

So the point is, Ukraine has shifted to conducting only a psychological war as its last resort. From Bucha, to the POW tortures/killings, to the pointless but ‘showy’ strike on Belgorod, which did nothing more than attempt to deal a psychological strike to the Russian morale. Remember, Russia is drowning in oil/fuel, that is the least of their problems. An attack targeting a minor, insignificant oil depot in a small backwater town is strategically irrelevant. The fact that Ukraine risked such a daring operation shows the shift into psychological war rather than actual strategically effective war against real targets. It is a sign of an enemy who is losing and desperate.

The Ukraine is now fighting a war primarily in the electronic/cyber/abstract sphere of influence, rather than the real objective sphere of physical battle and direct warfare. In short, they are doing anything possible to take the attention away from their own massive strategic losses on the real, physical battlefield. This is effectively a shift to a psychological operation rather than physical operation on their behalf. The types of attacks and “victories” we are likely to see from them from this point on will be things of this nature – small strategically insignificant but ‘showy’ and designed for psychological effect – and of course a likely initiative switch to increasing the scale and frequency of false flags of all types we will see from this point onward.

Now, I don’t want to paint an overly rosy picture. The RF continues to experience some losses as well but they are typically of an asymmetrical nature. UAF is not winning any ‘battles’ whatsoever or even engagements. They are merely bleeding our forces here and there with small guerilla attacks that manage to take out one or two vehicles from a supply convoy, or as seen recently, take a helicopter or plane every once in a while.

This takes me to the final topic, yes it appears true that after suffering little to no air losses for a couple weeks now, we have suddenly seen the shoot down of an Su-35 and a Mi-28. It is claimed that a new Wunderwaffen from UK called the Starstreak manpad was used for these shootdowns. I can confirm having viewed the videos that it is possible the Starstreak was used, as opposed to just ‘propaganda’. The reason is, the most notable characteristic of the system is its exorbitantly high speed, Mach 3-4 of the projectile, which is much greater than most/standard manpad systems. In the Mi-28 video in particular, the projectile does appear to come ridiculously fast nor has a smoke plume that is characteristic of typical rocket-engined manpads. The Starstreak has a rocket stage that falls off, sending a trio of metal penetrator rods at the target. This is exactly what I seemed to see in the video and if true, this weapon system does appear to be quite a problem because the DIRCM systems in use by Russia (or anyone in the world for that matter) cannot possibly consistently stop such a system. The simple fact of its speed means it takes less than a second or two for it to go from the launch to the hit, which makes a response nearly meaningless (depending on the height of the aircraft, but in this case the helicopter was low, as most RF choppers are as per their operating standard in these areas).

The Su-35 on the other hand seemed to fall straight down in a strange way that could be indicative of a hit from these metallic penetrator rods that would have severed the empenage causing a catastrophic fall. A typical manpad strikes with a smaller explosion that often just damages the engine and/or wings, causing the plane to fall in a characteristic pattern more in line with rapid forward descent, not catastrophic straight down flat stall.

And by the way, the pilot of the Su-35 was apparently captured by Ukrop forces, as I saw a photo of the bleeding tied up pilot who will likely now be tortured. But the Mi-28 pilots fortunately not only survived but were successfully evacuated by our retrieval forces.

So what can Russia do against such advanced anti-air systems? Not much really. The fact is, NO country can do much against them. If these same Starstreaks were used against the U.S. airforce, they would have the same exact problems as Russia is having. There is simply no real way to effectively and consistently stop them. The only difference might be that the U.S. has a far greater drone capability and the U.S. would likely cease using its airforce in the area and would instead hunt these targets with drones nonstop. But of course, the U.S. has never gone against a near-peer enemy of this sort that is supplied with such advanced weapon systems. Even in Iraq going against an enemy who literally lacked manpads at all and used only much larger and easier to spot/kill ancient legacy soviet anti-aircraft systems, the U.S. still suffered massive aircraft losses. Here’s a list of many of their air losses just to give you an idea

The list is equally as long for Afghanistan.

But my point isn’t to make fun or imply the U.S. couldn’t have done a better job, but simply to illustrate that air losses are an undeniable mainstay of combat. You simply cannot stop them entirely without completely withdrawing your airforce from action. There is only stopgap measures you can use to ‘minimize’ the threat as much as possible, which are already being used – like flying at low altitudes and rapid speed, or conversely flying at extremely high altitudes out of the manpads’ range. But you can never get rid of the threat entirely and no electronic counter measure on earth is 100% effective against them but merely reduce the chances of the manpad functioning depending on a multitude of factors, such as the aircraft’s vector, velocity, atmospheric conditions, manpad range to target, number of simultaneous manpads fired, etc, etc. I have several videos showing the neutralization of enemy manpads by Russian counter-measure systems.

With that said, RF airforce is conducting a large amount of sorties daily, and their losses in the past few weeks have been extremely minimal for this level of conflict, and in fact videos appear all the time showing the effectiveness of the Ka-52 and Mi-28’s strikes on enemy positions.

I’ll finish with a map of current Mariupol. Time is ticking and the desperate rescue attempts are increasing, there can’t be much time left for Mariupol.


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