By Nighvision for the Saker Blog
Russia continues grinding down the Ukrainian infrastructure, and that has been the theme of the last few days. There has been a huge uptick in aerial assaults and missile strikes on various infrastructural objects all over. As of this writing a huge amount of missiles are recorded flying over Ukraine, and Tu-95MS bombers are said to be in the air to contribute their KH-101’s.
Pavlograd railways were hit:
Many objects in Dnieperpetrovsk, Kremenchug, Druzhkovka, Poltava, Kharkov, Odessa and elsewhere were all hit with very powerful strikes, multiple missiles at each location. Not only Kalibers from both submarines and ships in the Black Sea, but KH-101 Missiles from Tu-95MS’s as well.
“According to Russian military spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, in the afternoon, “high-precision long-range air-launched missiles” hit a logistics terminal located on a military airfield near Odessa, where “a large batch of foreign weapons received from the United States and European countries was stored.”
Ukraine is extremely low on fuel to the point that secret trains have been discovered delivering enormous emergency fuel supplies from Moldova. Video:
One note on this: sometimes it’s hard to quantity military success when we hear of these strikes because they seem ‘abstract’ and once they start adding up, the numbers begin to feel more and more abstracted and inconsequential. Each day the Russian MOD announces the destruction of hundreds of new AFU objects. And soon enough one’s mind naturally begins to question, ‘how much damage are these strikes really doing if Ukraine continues to operate?’ etc.
And it’s a good question, we know in military reasoning that you can’t win a war by airstrikes alone, boots on the ground need to make large strategic victories in the old fashioned way. There’s too many examples to list (most of them American) of vast bombing campaigns over long periods of time not doing much to eradicate a resolute insurgent force.
With that said, it’s often easy to fall into a trap of extremes where one begins to think that strikes are not doing anything at all. In fact they are doing a huge amount, but suffice it to say they’re not going to single-handedly make the AFU surrender.
Also, it only reinforces my position that the real Phase 2 has not really begun yet, and this big uptick in strikes is a continuation of a softening pre-phase. Other analysts like Colonel Cassad agree:
“Let me remind you that a few days ago Ukraine already announced that the Russian Armed Forces had launched a general offensive, after which the next day the Pentagon announced that the offensive had not yet begun and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine urgently began to change shoes.
So far, Russia has only announced the start of the 2nd phase of the operation in Ukraine, but has not announced the start of a general offensive.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine warns of an imminent large-scale offensive by the Russian Armed Forces
The GUR says that the Russians are finishing the regrouping of troops and are now focusing on identifying the most vulnerable places of the Ukrainian armed formations. And in the near future will begin a “full-scale offensive”
Despite the absence of a general offensive, the RF Armed Forces nevertheless continue to conduct offensive operations in the Izyum direction (there is an advance in the direction of Slavyansk, the front is approaching Krasny Liman, Yampol and Seversk), as well as in the Zaporozhye direction east of Gulyaipol. But it is obvious that most of the forces have not yet been put into action.”
So the important distinction above is that Russia announced a 2nd phase, they did not specifically announce a new general offensive. The two are not necessarily interoperable. The fact of the matter is, there are still large regroupings being done and we are not seeing much large-scale offensive operations in most of the theaters on the Russian side – most of the larger advances are being done in the LPR at the moment.
Just yesterday, the Russian Naval Infantry / Marines detachment from Mariupol had only begun to redeploy, and were visible driving on the road north of Mariupol. It could be days before they reach their new positions – which we don’t know what they are yet. https://twitter.com/200_zoka/status/1517879620384837638
And now we hear other confirmation such as the following: “@anna_news
Regarding the general offensive of the RF Armed Forces, sources are coming out, citing British sources, that the offensive will begin within 72 hours.”
And: “The head of the administration of Krivoy Rog Alexander Vilkul said that Russian troops are preparing for an attack on Krivoy Rog.”
So these indications appear to point to a much larger grand offensive starting sometime soon.
With that said, there were some good/significant battlefield updates and advances, mostly in the LPR direction:
Novotoshkovske was captured, south of Severodonetsk (NE of Popasna).
Zarichne was reportedly captured as well, which is right next to Torske which we reported captured last time:
And now there is reported fighting in Yampol which means it will soon fall as well. If you look on the map that means Lyman is being slowly surrounded, and that is the final large obstacle before Slavyansk itself.
Here’s a good overall map of this area: https://twitter.com/Denyo666/status/1518255454106828800
We reported Lozove falling last time, but now the small settlement of Ridkodub just east of it has reportedly been captured as well, which creates a slowly enveloping unified front that’s pushing southward towards Slavyansk.
South of Izyum, it’s now being reported that Russian forces captured the small settlement of Kurulka, east of Barvinkove.
These are small, incremental gains but will add up soon, particularly if a larger offensive begins.
Here’s some footage of the capture of Kreminna a few days ago: https://twitter.com/islamicworldupd/status/1518294606546411523
Also, in the far north, AFU attempted an offensive towards the Russian border. Another one of their psychological ops to try and keep morale afloat. It ended badly for them and photos/videos emerged showing the loss of several armored units and up to 30 KIA:
There’s even more gruesome photos of a few dead AFU in this escapade with their heads blown off, which are not included in the above.
Here’s what one analyst wrote of the attempt:
“The bloody failure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in this case will force them to draw conclusions and prepare the next such attempt more carefully.
She definitely will. It does not have any military purposes. The task is to invade the territory of the Russian Federation with infantry and equipment at least a few hundred meters at any cost and announce the “transfer of war” to the territory of the Russian Federation. Even if they are then driven back, it will not hurt to promote the victory in social networks to raise the morale of the troops.
Well, the fact that such PR will be expensive hardly confuses his customers. They have repeatedly demonstrated their real attitude towards the killed and captured UAF soldiers.”
On the southern front, no real advances but some interesting updates. Firstly there’s been a lot of troop captures, including some near Malinovka just east of Hulipole. 17 were captured, pictured here:
Reportedly 2 of them were Azovs, 1 a foreign instructor, and one Croat. What’s interesting is that more and more we’re seeing foreign fighters among the AFU troop compositions. There’s been 3 different new videos showing fighters with British flags, this being one of them: https://www.bitchute.com/video/o1FbzFu0hRsa/
I posted last time a British flag on a liquidated fighter. Now also in the north Russians recovered a chevron that is said to be of a Sergeant in the French Foreign Legion:
Everywhere you look now on the battlefield there are foreign flags. Here’s an earlier video of the storming of Rubizhnoe, with American flags visible for some reason:
Now there’s reports that a Canadian General may be one of the high value targets trapped in Azovstal:
There is no real details about him being in Azovstal, and this appears speculation partly stemming from reports he hasn’t been “heard from” in Ukraine. However his departure to Ukraine is a 100% confirmed fact reported in Canada’s own press: https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/retired-canadian-general-under-police-investigation-for-alleged-sexual-misconduct-is-now-in-ukraine
In fact the general was under fire for sex crimes and appeared to have “retired” and quickly fled to Ukraine to dodge repercussions. He’d make a good bedfellow to the Azovites in Azovstal. Some have even speculated that, since the alleged ‘American general’ who was purported to be trapped in Azovstal also has a similar last name that starts with a ‘C’ (Cloutier), that perhaps a mistake was made and all this talk of a trapped general is in fact this Canadian named Cadieu.
Now, a Turkish newspaper is claiming Macron abandoned over 50 French officers who are trapped in Azovstal:
“According to the source, these are high-rank French officers. They’re on the ground to ensure that Ukrainian military & neo-Nazis are able to use the weapons handed over by the Western countries. They are entrapped now and only way out to go through the corridor by Russian side.”
You can translate the article here: https://www.aydinlik.com.tr/haber/macron-subaylarini-mariupolde-olume-terk-etti-312526
On the topic of Azovstal, some interesting updates:
Firstly, more light is being shone on the insides of it, leaked pictures showing wounded Azov fighters and some of their milieu. https://twitter.com/Cyberspec1/status/1518207023502217216
A video has also emerged showing the rotting Azov wounded festering in their subterranean dwellings:
Some Azov fighters manage to sneak out and are caught by the allied cordon around the plant. Here’s one who points out his own dead commander to the Chechens who caught him: https://www.bitchute.com/video/ecEJtPRZ8TBy/
Here’s an Azov fighter captured by Chechens who begins showing them the maps of where the Azov group is hidden in the factory:
And a video of an ex-employee of the Azovstal who was once a shift supervisor there, who has volunteered his expertise to show the likely place where the main Azov group is hiding in the complex:
“An underground pedestrian tunnel passes under the plate shop, right under it the exit goes inside the shop, two exits – in the TLC itself. If the workshop is hot, then there is a powerful water supply system for cooling equipment and metal, and then there are necessarily powerful reinforced concrete sedimentation tanks there,” Chuprin said.”
As you can see, the operation to root the Azovites out still continues despite Putin’s decree to not ‘storm’ the complex. They are abiding by the decree but are simply going about it the smart way, figuring out exactly where Azov is in the complex and then finding a solution to root them out.
In fact Alexander Sladkov continues to show the advances into the north of the complex, the “cement factory’ grounds:
And here’s a map: https://twitter.com/Suriyakmaps/status/1518305324633100289
The captured cement factory is the northernmost part of the Azovstal complex, with the orange dotted lines you see above.
Here’s how Azov is apparently eating down there: https://twitter.com/CanadianUkrain1/status/1518274778846609409
A few random updates:
Zelensky commented on the Bayraktar drones, admitting their futility against Russian AD: “But with all due respect, I will honestly say that this is a different war, experts say, it cannot be compared with any other in the 21st century. Those or other drones can help, but do not affect the result.”
In fact there’s one account on Twitter who is counting each day since Bayraktar’s last appearance in the form of any footage, and we’re somewhere past 36-40 day mark since the last footage of any kind of Bayraktar attack has appeared.
Advanced American Harris-Falcon encrypted battlefield comms systems were captured by Russian forces:
(alt link) https://www.bitchute.com/video/b0P03XkrKNkn/
Last time we mentioned how the corrupt OSCE was outed, its employee arrested for espionage. And I spoke of stories how OSCE was even doing artillery fire correction for the AFU.
Now: “the Ministry of State Security of the LPR found documents confirming the interaction of the OSCE SMM with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Among other things, a “list of infrastructure facilities in the Luhansk region that may be subject to fire damage” was found, indicating their location.”
“Information was collected by the head of the OSCE Severodonetsk team, a citizen of Poland, Yaroslav Kurak. The order to start collecting information was given
Deputy Head of the OSCE Lugansk Human Rights Team Pilar Castro Moto, a Spanish citizen.”
OSCE Employee Admits To Passing Information To Foreign Intelligence Services – LPR
“The Interior Ministry of the LPR has shown documents confirming that the OSCE special monitoring mission has been working for a long time in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.”
Also it’s been discovered that France has been supplying ammunition to the AFU “by diplomatic mail possibly on board civilian aircraft. Boxes with cartridges of 12.7 mm caliber were found at one of the positions of Ukrainian security forces in Donbass, where the addressee is the French Embassy in Kiev.”
And a new poll has reportedly found:
“75% of Chinese residents support the Russian operation in #Ukraine. The corresponding data is provided by the U.S — China Perception Monitor study. 60% of respondents believe that #China should support the Russian operation in Ukraine. 16% were in favor of providing weapons for the Russian army, if necessary. 70% of respondents consider the information about American biological laboratories in #Ukraine reliable. #China has already said that the main culprit of all recent events is the United States and #NATO, and arms supplies to #Kiev will not bring peace to #Ukraine. 3/3”
First appearance of Polish suicide drones called Warmate in Ukraine: https://twitter.com/UAWeapons/status/1518284891766636546
By the way, some in the West are apparently slowly starting to come around to the reality, and new excuses are fast being forged:
A few last random videos:
Russian BM-27 Uragan MLRS in action again: https://www.bitchute.com/video/SU3atvVPVAmz/
Reporter infiltrates Manhattan, NYC pro-Azov rally to ask some searing questions: https://www.bitchute.com/video/fr0p8gTOQ1vc/
Chechens now fighting in Popasna: https://www.bitchute.com/video/AZSsVSJu7jdN/